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Tim Brown

CIO of Stanlib

Brandon BekkerAs chief information officer at Stanlib, Tim Brown is involved with defining, designing and executing the ICT strategic direction for the organisation.  Prior to joining Stanlib, he was CIO of Maitland Group. He holds an MBA and a PhD degree in management of technology and innovation.

In his earlier career, Brown founded two ICT business. He was founder and MD of Aqute Business Intelligence - a company that offered a range of pre-built analytics for the short-term insurance industry, as well as founder and COO of WebSoft, later to become WebSoft Maven. WebSoft provided an extensive range of software, general technology and consulting services for the insurance industry, becoming the leading supplier of bureau services for brokers, insurers and third-party administrators.

He is also board member of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa (NSFAS) and chairperson of NSFAS ICT Committee. NSFAS is an entity of the Department of Higher Education and Training mandated to provide a sustainable financial aid system for study loans and bursaries. NSFAS currently disburses over R9b annually.

James Devine

Chief Information and Innovation Officer, Project Isizwe

James DevineJames Devine is the Chief Information and Innovation Officer as well as one of the founding members at Project Isizwe, an NGO that is committed to rolling out free WiFi in South Africa. The locations that have benefited so far are the City of Tshwane and surrounding areas.

James is driving the design and roll-out of the appropriate technical solutions for free WiFi in rural areas, enabling communities, especially students, to connect and become digitally included for a brighter future. He designs the innovation and technology providing free WiFI, which Project Isizwe believes will create a catalyst for improved education, economic development and social cohesion.

His passion for his role extends into enhancing the skills and leadership development of young technicians. Project Isizwe is currently setting up a skills academy which will provide certified courses and cover theoretical and practical content. He is a dedicated and engaging member of the executive team, and well known for assisting in the upliftment of his employees.

James is most proud of the Tshwane Free WiFi project, enabled by Project Isizwe and officially confirmed as the largest government-funded public WiFi deployment in Africa, with over 680 sites, more than 720 000 unique users, 157 000 average monthly users and over 57 000 daily users at average speeds of 15mbps symmetrical – truly world-class for a South African initiative.

James has worked his way through the IT ranks over 17 years, starting his career as a computer technician at Hattech Computer back in 1998. He has gained extensive experience in the telecommunications sector, including: solution architect, VAS & group IT manager (at iBurst), professional services engineer (at Systems Fusion SA), senior network and security specialist (at Intekom/TelkomSA ), help-desk consultant / and network analyst (at FirstNet).

Peter du Plooy

CIO at Engen Petroleum

Peter du PlooyPeter du Plooy, CIO at Engen, currently serves as a steering committee member for Engen Exco, chair of the architecture review board  and vice chair of the global SAP advisory board. He has built the Engen IS&T department to a sizeable and recognised division within the organisation by developing an overall IT strategy supporting and enabling business strategies. He constantly has to find ways of restructuring the division on a 5-year basis to ensure employees are challenged, motivated and aligned to the changing IT and business landscapes.

He is a passionate strategic leader who has the ability to set a vision and goals and lead a team to execute and deliver according to the strategies. He focuses on continuous improvement, operational excellence, a demanding and challenging work environment and delivery to commitments.

Du Plooy sits on the Advisory Panel for Gartner. He is also extremely passionate about education and the doors that it can unlock. He is involved in various social projects at Engen, including the interns and graduates placed within the IS&T department at the organiation. He presents at various industry events, such as SAPHILA, Mastering SAP Technologies, CIO Forum, where he shares knowledge with the rest of the ICT industry. Peter is one of the most approachable CIOs and has been a true visionary not only internally at Engen but in the ICT sector as a whole.

He is also involved with Harley Davidson and the charities that the chapters support, and is the regional director for the Harley Owners Group (HOG) for the Cape and Namibia regions and gets involved in the charity work done as part of the rallies where any surplus made at the rally is donated to a local charity. He is also involved in the annual Harley Davidson blanket run, as well as the Kids Run.

Thagaran Govender

CIO, Mercantile Bank

Thagaran GovenderThagaran Govender holds a B.Sc in Computer Engineering and an associated degree in Electronic Engineering from the US-based Wentworth Institute of Technology. He has completed the Management Development Programme and Management Advancement Programme at Wits Business School together with the International Executive Development Programme at GIBS in collaboration with NYU-Stern.

Govender started his career in the US as an intern at State Street Bank and worked his way up to being a senior manager for trading systems. Upon returning to South Africa, he worked at Icasa, Transnet as group CIO and the Land Bank as CIO before moving to Mercantile Bank in 2012.

Govender's responsibilities include running, growing and transforming the bank. "You can only grow and transform from a stable, reliable foundation." He says that customers want a combination of the repeatable experience and a blend of 'new' so the banking experience has to continually improve and the IT function at Mercantile plays an important role in providing this balance. Govender adds that no IT function can run successfully without a continuous focus on IT governance and compliance requirements continue to grow with a significant number facilitated through IT systems. Providing defences to cybercrime is also a priority for the bank.

Govender believes he can make a difference using his professional skills. Recently, he took on a set of students with graduate degrees and trained them in banking systems and involved them in the digital transformation of the Bank. These students are now being hired full time into the Bank as system's analysts. And over the years he has been involved in initiatives that form part of the various team of company contributions to social upliftment.

Antony Hlungwane

Group IT director, Mr Price

Antony HlungwaneAntony Hlungwane is currently the group IT Director at Mr Price Group (MRPG), a leading South African Value Fashion Retailer. He was previously CTO for Hollard Insurance, a financial and service provider. He is a passionate leader and an experienced IT executive with extensive knowledge across a number of industries including retail, financial services, telecommunications and government. He looks to inspire and motivate his teams by developing a compelling vision to lead them forward. This has led to performance improvements and delivered value to the business. In 2013, he was a finalist in the annual Visionary CIO Award.

Hlungwane has implemented a number of initiatives in his career and some of the highlights include implementing an Automated SMS response capability for Hollard, implementing a Life Insurance line of business systems to replace a legacy system. He also built an 800 seater call centre for Hollard with capability for sales and service channels and both inbound and outbound, and implemented Global Payments Utility for Absa, which replaced legacy payments systems.

At present Hlungwane is busy implementing solutions in the MRP Group that will enable international growth into new markets. Additional projects include increasing the Group's online capability, building the smart stores of the future, improving the supplier chain capability, taking advantage of data for decision making and leveraging off our existing capability for new markets.  

Thabo Ndlela

Group CIO, Tiger Brands

Thabo NdlelaNdela has more than 15 years of experience in information technology management, electronic business and supply chain management. He has an impeccable track record as a CIO in manufacturing, hospitality, banking and media, and has worked for companies including Sun International, Absa, Volition, SABC and Nampak. He provides strategic advisory to company boards on IT governance, strategy, enterprise architecture and technology sourcing.  He is an industry thought leader, research contributor and frequent speaker at ICT conferences such as Gartner, ITWeb and Brainstorm CIO forums. He is chairman of Westcon Southern Africa, non executive director of the IFS Africa Board and independent trustee for the Cisco Foundation.

He holds a BSc Electrical Engineering Degree, Masters in Information Technology and is studying towards a PhD in Commerce at the University of Cape Town. He belongs to the South African Engineering Council, South African Institute of Electrical Engineers and Institute of Directors.

Ndlela's role has transformed from being a technology provider to a business leader in the digital age. He believes the evolution of mobile, social media and cloud has changed the role of a CIO, and it is no longer about implementing technology but creating business value, growing revenue and improving customer experience. He feels the CIO's role is about leveraging disruptive technologies that give business a competitive advantage. While the primary responsibilities of architecture and design, delivery management, data management and vendor management still remain, he says they must be augmented by such business skills as marketing.

Ndlela pioneered the Absa Make A Difference (MAD) initiative, which built 296 houses and a community centre over four years, and has participated in establishing Women 4 Humanity (@women4humanity), which provides sanitary towels for school girls in rural areas. He is a member of the Computershare run, Change A Life Cycling Tour ( that has fundraised more than R30m since inception in 2008.

Willie Oosthuysen

Altron Group Executive: Strategy & Technology

Willie OosthuysenDr Oosthuysen has overall responsibility for technology and business strategy, development and delivery within the Altron group. He defines Altron's technology vision and direction in order to improve its competitive performance in the telecommunications, multimedia and IT (TMT) and power electronics sectors. He is also the custodian for the overall Intellectual Property Rights Portfolio of the Altron Group.

Altron has started its transformation from a pure investment holding company to a strategic operating company and Oosthuysen plays a vital role in guiding and coordinating the operations towards greater efficiency and a united go-to-market strategy.

Dr Oosthuysen joined Altech in June 2011 as CTO. A respected systems engineer with more than 20 years of technology experience, Dr Oosthuysen formerly held various systems engineering director positions at Cisco for 12 years. The geographies he managed for Cisco included Russia, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

He holds a B.Sc. Computer Science and Applied Mathematics degree, B.Sc. Honors in Data Communications, an MSc Degree in Computer Science and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of the Free State, together with an Executive MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, Boston (USA).

He recently won the Innocentrix Innolive 2015 Corporate Entrepreneur award, which recognises best practice in organisational innovation capabilities.

Lungi Sangqu

Executive director: ICT, UNISA

Lungi SangquLungi Sangqu graduated from the University of the Transkei with a degree in Computer Science, Mathematics and Chemistry. She also holds a master's degree in Business Leadership from Unisa.

Sangqu started her career as a junior computer programmer in 1990 and held senior positions at the SA Post Office, the State IT Agency and the SA Reserve Bank. Previously, she was head of IT at DHL Express, responsible for ICT services in the sub-Saharan region.

By the end of 2015, her aim is to provide an ICT platform for the current Open Distance Learning (ODL) business model. Setting the platform for ODL started in 2011 and involves major refresh of ICT infrastructure, such as the local area network, wide area network, the data centre hardware, and key business systems. The end of 2015 coincides with the end of the organisation's planning period. A new business strategy is being developed from 2016 to 2030, and Open Distance eLearning (ODeL) is the new business model to support this strategy, which will see some programmes be fully provided online.

According to Sangqu, the use of ICT to support teaching and learning is central to the ODeL business model, ensuring that Unisa remains relevant in the digital era. The IT strategy covering the next five years will support both Unisa's business and digital strategies. She says they will focus on ensuring that students have access to devices and the internet so they can access content online. Another major focus area will be building capacities in the datacentre for the anticipated volumes of data and information that will be transmitted, processed, stored and secured as the institution goes digital.

Sangqu led the team that aggressively negotiated with the major cell phone operators to provide affordable Internet access for students. The cell phone providers agreed to offer Unisa students monthly 3GB data bundles at R100 from August 2013.

Brandon Stafford

CIO: FNB Fiduciary

Brandon StaffordBrandon Stafford is CIO for FNB Fiduciary – the FirstRand business responsible for looking after client’s legacies. After spending five years consulting in the technology architecture space for Accenture, he joined FNB as head of architecture in the Wealth segment where he was responsible for IT strategy and architecture across RMB Private Bank, FNB Private Clients, FNB Islamic Banking, FNB Trust Services and FNB Securities.

The FNB Wealth architecture team won the 2014 iCMG Architecture Excellence Award in Banking and Financial Services and Stafford spoke at the awards ceremony in Bangalore about the integration layer and mobile solution that won them the award. He then took on the role of CIO for FNB Fiduciary where he built up the team from seven part time centralised IT people to a dedicated team of 35 without increasing costs and in only six months. The five strategic projects were moved from Waterfall to Agile Scrum methodology, the IT operations and development teams changed culture to follow DevOps with break-fix work being reduced by more than 25% and production release cadence being improved by over 60%. Automation testing was also implemented which has reduced testing timelines by up to 94%. Currently the team are implementing continuous integration and Stafford is being approached by other organisations to provide thought leadership on moving from Waterfall to Agile.

Stafford enjoys exploring new technologies with a particular interest in the intersection of mobile, cloud, big data and social. He is also an avid songwriter and leads the worship ministry at his church. He volunteers his time at a local orphanage and spends as much time as possible with his family and friends or on a mountain bike. He also volunteers for Impilo, a home for children left orphaned by AIDS. Him and his family help out by having the children over for the weekend to allow the house parents to get some rest.

Louise van der Bank

CIO of AfriSam

Louise van der BankVan der Bank began her career in 1987 as a programmer at Iscor (Arcelor Mittal), becoming GM of Information Management in 2001. She joined Standard Bank South Africa in 2005 as the director of SAP Core Banking, before joining the South African Post Office in 2007 as CIO. Van der Bank was appointed CIO of AfriSam in 2010. AfriSam is the leading black-controlled construction materials group in southern Africa and has aggregate, ready mix and cement operations in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, and produces over four million tons of cement annually. The company also has a 68.33% interest in Tanzania-based Tanga Cement Company.

Van der Bank's role has shifted from primarily running the company's IT to ensuring the organisation gets the most value from IT, and helping to create business differentiation and competitive advantage through the effective leveraging of IT. "The CIO role is becoming more externally oriented," she says, "giving more attention to transformational issues, leveraging IT to increase organisational effectiveness and efficiencies, improve services and streamline business models across all departments." As an executive team member, Van der Bank is a strategic partner in decision-making, strategy formulation, innovation and the organisation's overall management.

She holds a B.Sc degree with Computer Science as major, and a Higher Education Diploma, both from PU for CHE (now the University of the North West). She has completed various leadership programmes, including The Executive Program from the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia (US).

Van der Bank believes providing clarity of vision and leadership in embracing digital opportunities and threats, and that the execution of the digital business strategy will drive technology deployment. Priorities include customer-focused applications, modernisation of legacy applications, mobile advances in devices, applications, and enterprise app stores.


Event sponsor


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Awards announcement

The 2015 winners of both awards will be announced at the IITPSA President's Awards breakfast event on 12 November 2015 at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton.

Click here to book your seat today!


2014 Winners
Click here to view the IITPSA President's Awards 2014 gallery

Previous Winners

IT Personality 2015

Gian Visser Gian Visser (2014)
Barry Dwolatzky Mteto Nyati
Barry Dwolatzky & Mteto Nyati (2013)
Rob StokesRob Stokes (2012) Asher BohbotAsher Bohbot (2011)
Rob StokesMark Levy (2010) Rob StokesIvan Epstein (2009)

Visionary CIO

Tshifhiwa Ramuthaga Tshifhiwa Ramuthaga (2014)
Sal Laher Sal Laher (2013) Sello Mmakau Sello Mmakau (2012)
Sandi Macfie Sandi Macfie (2011) Patrick Monyeki Patrick Monyeki (2010)
Carl Louw Carl Louw (2009) Rabelani Dagada Rabelani Dagada (2008)