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Dwolatzky, Nyati, Laher scoop top accolades

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Barry Dwolatzky, director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering and Mteto Nyati, Microsoft SA MD. Photograph by Dylan Mohlala.
Barry Dwolatzky, director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering and Mteto Nyati, Microsoft SA MD. Photograph by Dylan Mohlala.

Mteto Nyati, Microsoft SA MD, and Barry Dwolatzky, director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering, are the co-winners of 2013 IT Personality of the Year Award, while Sal Laher, CIO of Eskom, was named the 2013 Visionary CIO of the Year winner.

The winners were announced during the Institute of IT Professionals SA (IITPSA) President's Awards ceremony at Montecasino this morning.

Other finalists for the IT Personality of the Year Award included Pieter de Villiers, founder and CEO of Clickatell; Stafford Masie, founder of Thumbzup; and Wesley Lynch, CEO and founder of Realmdigital.

For the Visionary CIO of the Year Award, Laher shrugged off competition from Antony Hlungwane, head of group IT at Hollard Insurance; Fred Swanepoel, Nedbank Group CIO; Alec Joannou, CIO of Sasol; and Quinton Caryer, CIO of FNB Wealth.

In their citation for the IT Personality co-winners, the judges noted the common link between Dwolatzky and Nyati - both have a passion for nurturing young talent and emerging entrepreneurs, and have made that a core principle guiding their careers.

"This is the first time that I've come to a casino and actually won something," joked Dwolatzky on accepting the award. "The key thing I'd want to state is that working for Wits University has been the best in my life. They have always allowed me to experiment and I've always got fantastic support from colleagues."

Sal Laher, CIO of Eskom.
Sal Laher, CIO of Eskom.

Nyati said there were many people who have helped him get this recognition. "Our mission at Microsoft is to enable individuals and businesses to realise their full potential; and if you are a leader in such an organisation, there is no room to sit on the fence but to take a stand to improve society."

A CIO's vision

2013 Visionary CIO Laher has been the driving force behind a 14-month turnaround in the public utility's IT division - taking it from total breakdown to Eskom's top-performing division. His vision for Eskom IT has been clear - it had to become a strategic partner and technology enabler for the organisation.

In their citation, the judges noted beyond Eskom, "Laher understands the role a well-run state-owned enterprise can play in the country's transformation. He wants to grow local skills, drive e-government and use technology solutions to fight fraud and corruption."

"I am extremely humbled and very much appreciate this award," said Laher on accepting the accolade. "This is a great award if I look at all the other candidates."

He also expressed gratitude to the management team at Eskom, saying the company was set to grow from strength to strength.

Other winners of the morning included World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, who received the Distinguished Service in ICT Award presented by EngineerIT and the IITPSA, and Ooba, which was named IT Leading Employer for 2013 by TalentAlign and the IITPSA.

Looking back

The IT Personality of the Year Award is now in its 35th year. Past winners include Alan Knott-Craig, Andile Ngcaba, Mark Shuttleworth, Asher Bohbot and, last year's winner Rob Stokes, founder and CEO of Quirk. The award is presented by the IITPSA in association with ITWeb, GIBS and Gartner Africa.

The Visionary CIO Award, now in its sixth year, recognises an executive who heads up ICT strategy in an organisation and has demonstrated visionary leadership in using technology to support and grow business. Past winners of the award include Rabelani Dagada, head of ICT at Royal Bafokeng Administration; Carl Louw, head of the Internet Channel at Absa Bank; Patrick Monyeki, CIO of De Beers; Sandi Macfie, CIO of Tsogo Sun; and in 2012 Sello Mmakau, CIO of Home Affairs.

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