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Abraham Thomas
Country GM, IBM SA
Abraham ThomasAbraham Thomas took the helm of IBM South Africa as country GM in 2012, relocating from Singapore, where he was VP of System Sales for IBM's Growth Markets Unit, Systems and Technology Group. He began his career at IBM in 1986 as territory representative for the Small and Medium Business solutions unit. Thomas has a strong focus on three things: people, clients and partners. He has actively championed the development of the IT ecosystem and supported many skills development projects.

In addition, Thomas has supported the local roll-out of IBM CSR programmes, such as early childhood programmes with KidSmart, and TryScience programmes with the Department of Basic Education, that have touched hundreds of teachers and thousands of children.

In his tenure, IBM Corporate Services Corps teams have doubled – providing local NGOs and government entities with pro bono consulting assignments. He has also successfully advocated for Tshwane, Cape Town and most recently Durban, to receive the Smarter Cities Challenge Grant valued at US$400 000.

Alison Gillwald
Executive director, Research ICT Africa
Alison GillwaldAlison Gillwald (PhD) is executive director of Research ICT Africa and holds an adjunct professorship at the Management of Infrastructure Reform and Regulation Programme at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, where she convenes an ICT policy and regulatory executive training programme for regulators, policymakers and parliamentarians.

Gillwald was appointed by then president Nelson Mandela on the advice of Parliament to serve on the founding Council of the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA). Prior to that, she set up the policy department at the first Independent Broadcasting Authority. She also served on the first South African national digital advisory body which reported on digital migration in 2001; the board of the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation; and is currently deputy chairperson of the SA National Broadband Advisory Council. In 2013, she assisted the Ministry of Communication with South Africa's Broadband Plan: SA Connect, and earlier this year she served on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) President's Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation.

Ahmed Ismael
Director, Siyafunda Community Technology Centre
Ahmed IsmaelAhmed Ismael began his IT career in the 70s. Over the past 32 years, he has worked at Makro, Massmart, Affinity Logic and UCS Solutions. With a vision to empower, educate and e-connect communities by providing access to the Internet and technologies at the doorstep of communities, he opened the first Siyafunda Community Technology Centre in Palm Ridge in 2006. The core values and principles of sustainability, affordability and access remained key project drivers.

The Community Knowledge Centre Model, through Community Public Private Partnership, established the model for the now more than 80 centres nationally. These Siyafunda centres have played a significant role in driving innovation and revitalising communities, offering exposure to a computer and the opportunity to research and prepare assignments, access online services or apply for employment. In 2011, the centres began providing essential skills training through affordable, accredited short courses, equipping learners with business and entrepreneurial skills, and longer, more technical courses, which help people increase their employment opportunities.

Bertie Buitendag
Bertie Buitendag Bertie Buitendag's strong drive to uplift the poor in SA through IT has seen him work tirelessly and selflessly to support IT as a subject in South African secondary schools for more than seven years.

He is one of the developers of the current national IT CAPS document, which regulates the implementation of IT in secondary schools, and has developed and distributed free Delphi tutorial videos nationwide.

Buitendrag has travelled the country at his own expense, training teachers and learners in order to promote IT in all communities; and disadvantaged communities in particular. In 2014, he was awarded an MVP by Embarcardero for having contributed positively to the development of IT in SA.

Excellent leader, visionary, selfless, he is a perfect example of what a leader should be. He is a respected personality. He has a strong drive to uplift the poor members of SA through IT.

Bevan Ducasse
CEO, WiGroup
Bevan DucasseBevan Ducasse completed his financial analysis studies at Stellenbosch University, thereafter joining UCS Solutions as a junior consultant. He then went on to work as a business development manager at a mobile advertising firm.

In August 2008, Ducasse founded wiWallet at the age of 23. The mobile application allows customers to pay with their phone by linking the app to any credit card. Realising that wiWallet was competing with other mobile wallets and services for a piece of the competitive consumer app market and that retailers were reluctant to integrate to point solutions, he led the pivot of the business to become an open platform provider, which aims to enable all mobile transaction apps at any retailer's point of sale.

Today, wiGroup's platform is live in more than 50 000 till lanes across SA and Africa, and more than R2.5 billion worth of transaction value has been processed through the platform. wiGroup's clients include two of the largest FMCG retailers, the two largest telcos and some of the largest application providers in SA. The business is also expanding into southern Africa, Nigeria, the UK and Europe, and is poised to tackle other markets on the back of demonstrating real value in SA.

    Ducasse and wiGroup's recent awards include:
  • Best Alternative Payments award at the Card and ePayments Africa Awards (2014).
  • Ducasse was accepted on to the global Endeavor entrepreneurship programme at the organisation's 53rd International Selection Panel at Florianópolis, Brazil. He is one of only 29 high-impact entrepreneurs around the world to receive this honour, which he received in 2014.
  • Ducasse was chosen as the Maverick under-35 winner in Johannesburg (June 2014).
  • wiGroup is currently one of 10 finalists in the PWC Vision to Reality awards programme.

Charles Pritchard
Founder and CEO, Entelect
Charles PritchardCharles Pritchard holds a BSc Eng and a PhD from the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of the Witwatersrand. He received an award for the "best light current engineering graduate" in 1992.

He spent two years working as an embedded systems engineer in the Altron Group, and in 1998 rejoined the university as a senior lecturer for a nine-year tenure. In this role, he lectured courses and wrote supporting textbooks in the fields of microprocessor engineering and control systems design, led a DTI-based THRIP programme, graduated six MSc students, authored three peer reviewed papers in the International Journal of Control, and co-authored seven other papers. During his tenure at the university he also co-founded and edited an SADC business journal (1999-2001), was editor for Elektron, the ICT journal of the SAIEE (1998-1999).

In 2001, he founded Entelect and remains as CEO. Entelect today is South Africa's leading software engineering company, employs an unsurpassed pedigree of degreed professionals, and has a strong and loyal client base. Charles' current focus is on increasing the scale of his foundation investments and initiatives which are focused primarily on helping and uplifting underprivileged people. He is a member of Young Presidents Organisation, senior member of the SAIEE and sits on variety of industrial advisory boards.

Denis Smit
MD, BMI-TechKnowledge
Denis SmitDenis Smit has over 22 years' direct experience in the ICT industry. His business experience includes the establishment and running of a high technology VLSI chip testing facility, numerous high-profile business consulting engagements and the position of MD of BMI-TechKnowledge, a premier technology-focused market and industry research consultancy company in SA. He has provided leadership in hundreds of assignments covering business strategy, ICT policy development, business and market development, commercialisation projects and business case evaluations. Smit has extensive experience in broadband project evaluation at provincial, metro and municipal level, where he has assisted provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, as well as metros such as the City of Johannesburg, with their broadband strategies.

Smit was part of the consultative process which produced the green and white papers on telecommunications, which ultimately resulted in the Telecommunications Amendment Act of 2001. Smit had the vision to start the debate about provincial and municipal broadband through hosting the "Digital Cities" events from 2006 to 2009. International speakers were brought to SA in order to share their ideas about government-driven broadband initiatives at municipal and city level. Smit was a member of the "Broadband Experts Group" that worked with the DOC and minister Yunus Carrim on drafting the SA Connect Broadband policy. Smit is a widely respected consultant to government and industry.

Gian Visser
CEO, Afrihost
Gian VisserAfter completing BCom Accounts studies in 1996, Gian Visser was recruited by KPMG to intern as an accountant while he studied towards his honour's degree. However, he decided to leave the corporate environment for a career in teaching. In 1997, he was approached with the idea to form a part-time business around the Internet and Web hosting, and has never looked back. Visser's first company, VSN, offered Web hosting and IT services. It grew rapidly and was bought out by the Vesta Group in 2000, with Visser appointed as the head of the Internet Division. However, he again elected to move away from the corporate environment to follow his own personal vision, by forming Afrihost.

Starting again from scratch, Afrihost grew in 13 years from a humble three-man operation to one of the biggest Web hosting and DSL broadband service providers in SA, a two-time ISP of the Year Award Winner, employing more than 150 staff. Afrihost's success has been largely attributed to Visser's business strategies and his dedication to client service. Although he insists that all three of his fellow directors make an equally substantial contribution to the running of the company, it is his personal approach and communication with clients that has set Afrihost apart from its peers.

Jarred Cinman
MD, Native
Jarred CinmanJarred Cinman is a founder and current MD of Native. He is a longstanding member of the South African digital industry, having founded one of the first professional Web services firms in 1995. After selling his first business to the VWV Group, Cinman was part of the founding team of VWV Interactive, which went on to dominate the Web development industry during the late 90s. As creative director, he helped win several major awards for clients such as SAA and Nando's, and pioneered many of the technologies and practices that are commonplace today.

Past experience saw Cinman in the role of chairperson of the Digital Interactive Media Association – the first body to represent the industry – and played a key role in having digital represented in the Loerie Awards. In 2000, he left VWV to found Cambrient, which became the leading provider of content management solutions in SA. Customers such as Moneyweb, DStv, Kagiso Media and South African Tourism established Cambrient as a major force in the digital industry.

During this period, he also contributed extensively to blogs and publications, writing about industry trends and topics. He started The Digital Edge podcast, which has produced over 100 episodes and is a key voice for digital marketing in the country. The show was awarded a Gold Bookmark in 2010.

JJ Milner
Founder and MD, Global Micro Solutions
JJ MilnerFew people in SA's IT industry are as passionate about cloud services and business IT as JJ Milner, founder and MD of Global Micro Solutions. His hunger for innovation, love for reading and ongoing research into progressive technologies and methodologies for doing business, combined with his sound business and legal background, have geared Global Micro for success.

As the 'father of cloud computing in SA', Milner has headed many 'firsts' in the local IT industry, including the first local deployments/delivery of Hosted Exchange, Hosted Office Communication Server, Federated Hosted Exchange and Parallels Automation for Cloud Services Enablement.

Formed in 1990, Global Micro Solutions, the Johannesburg-based managed services firm, has evolved into one of the country's most experienced providers of comprehensive business-related managed technology services. The dynamic team at Global Micro services more than 18 000 businesses and has infrastructure to support 400 000 users in 53 countries. It has been named Microsoft's Hosting Partner of the Year for three consecutive years, and was a Microsoft Worldwide Hosting finalist in 2013.

Milner also founded Flowgear, the first African integration platform as a service, recognised in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for iPaaS.


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Supporting excellence key focus at ICT awards
Promoting excellence is what the annual IITPSA President's Awards are all about, and this year's event sees this extend beyond the winners of each award, into the entire audience for the event and further into the IT community.
Join the celebration of SA's top ICT talent
Everyone loves a winner – and there will be plenty of past and present winners in the room at this year's IITPSA President's Awards, to be held at the Montecasino Ballroom on Thursday 6 November.
IT Personality, Visionary CIO finalists named
The 2014 IT Personality and Visionary CIO awards near the final stage as the top five finalists in each category have been selected.


Having a bicycle changes lives by increasing the distance people can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there. Click here to find out more about our charity recipient for this year.


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Three reasons the IITPSA President’s Awards is a must-attend event:
Network with senior IT professionals and key players of the local ICT industry
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Attended by leaders from corporate business and government, in addition to some of the most influential people from the IT community, this is in an event not to be missed. Join us in celebrating the ICT industry's top achievers. Click here to confirm your attendance at this exclusive business breakfast today.


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The Institute, formerly Computer Society South Africa (CSSA), actively engages with Commerce, Industry and Government in order to influence policy formulation on behalf of both its own members and other stakeholders. The Institute also encourages the growth of professionalism, and the responsible and professional use of Information and Communications Technology throughout the South African economy. See more at: