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James Devine

Chief information and innovation officer, Project Isizwe

James DevineJames Devine is as passionate an individual as you can possibly find in the ICT industry today. He works relentlessly towards connecting all South African's to basic Internet service. He has taught himself more about satellite communication systems (VSAT) than many who have been working in the industry for years. This in itself is truly remarkable and proof of his personal motivation to improve himself and then give back tenfold.  

Devine is a hands on leader, traveling for days to build infrastructure in the most remote places of South Africa. No obstacle slows him down, even if that means working through the night.

Project Isizwe makes the bold statement to remove the need of individuals who have to sacrifice providing food on the table in exchange for a little bit of Internet connectivity. They provide a basic limited free Internet service wherever they can, and James has been instrumental in this momentous task.  

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.

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.

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.

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.


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)