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IITPSA winners happy to serve Africa

IITPSA winners happy to serve Africa

Peter du Plooy, CIO at Engen Petroleum won this year's IITPSA Visionary CIO Award, while Niel Schoeman, Founder and CEO of Vumatel, was crowned IT Personality of the Year.

The two gentlemen, who walked away as ultimate winners from a strong lineup of nominees at the 2015 Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) President's awards, have a expressed a desire for their work to inspire their counterparts throughout Africa.

Judges described Du Plooy as a visionary CIO who not only demonstrates a thorough understanding of technology and business, but has adopted an active approach to developing skills and capacity for the sector in addition to empowering his team.

Speaking to ITWeb Africa soon after his win, Du Plooy said he hoped IT professionals around the continent would take lessons from the work he has done at Engen.

"We operate in 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands so I do travel into our African operations and I do work with the people there, some from the supplier community and those employed by Engine within the IT environment. I find that whether you are in Europe, America, Asia or Africa, the problems and the technology are the same and the opportunities are there. If there is someone that wants to learn, I am prepared to talk and it does not matter where that person is from," he said.

Du Plooy's creation of a strong alignment between business and IT at Engen Petroleum was highlighted as a remarkable achievement which has helped convert ideas into tangible benefits for the company.

Schoeman credited his team at Vumatel for the award he received and remarked that it is the result of teamwork. Vumatel is the first company to bring fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) to non-gated communities in Johannesburg in 2014. Vumatel has installed its FTTH network for residents and as a complimentary service at schools in the city.

"Our solution could definitely be applied throughout major cities all over Africa. We've always been transparent about our business models and a lot of competitors in South Africa have copied it and people in the rest of the continent can also do that and take their destiny into their own hands in terms of connectivity. We can play a role but if they wait for me it might never happen so everybody should do their bit. It is doable in the major metropolitan areas."

More winners

Dr Rabelani Dagada, deputy director of Teaching and Learning Development at Unisa took home the IITPSA's Fellowship of the Institute Award for his contribution to the profession while Axess Consulting CEO Dr Jill Sawers scooped the Distinguished Service in ICT Award.

Matangari primary school in the northern part of South Africa was this year's charity beneficiary. The school received a donation of R50 000 and books for a new library.

Lufuno Mauda, a teacher at the primary school accepted the gifts on behalf of the school. "I think this library is going to uplift the standard of the school because many of our learners will learn a lot by using the library and preparing for university."

IITPSA President Ulandi Exner urged the IT industry to continue work to improve the standing of the sector in order to ensure that its professionals are become highly regarded.

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