IITPSA President’s Awards IT Personality winner, Tiyani Nghonyama and IITPSA President Thabo Mashegoane. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) has named Geekulcha chief operations officer Tiyani Nghonyama as the IT Personality of the Year and Alexander Forbes Group chief information officer (CIO) Sandra La Bella as the Visionary CIO for 2019.

In the past the award has been conferred to some of the leading technology leaders in corporate South Africa.

The 2019 winner ,Tiyani Nghonyama, is a qualified Computer Systems Engineer who serves  on the Advisory Committee Boards of the Tshwane University of Technology and the Vaal University of Technology for Computer Science. Since 2014, he has worked with the University of South Africa in Open Source initiatives. He also championed hackathons, where young people get together to work on technology challenges.

In 2015, he created the Geekulcha Student Society programme at Sol Plaatje University, and this programme has now spread to 17 campus in 5 provinces in the country. He also spearheaded the creation of the Future GeekStars programme to expose and equip youngsters with the right skills for the ICT industry, as well as the Geekulcha Vacation Work programme, which benefits 1 440 learners in five provinces.

At the annual IITPSA President’s Awards in Johannesburg, Aerobotics, a technology startup in Cape Town was awarded the Technology Excellence Award Ligbron E-Learning Systems, won the Social Responsibility/Community Award.

Professor Rossouw von Solms, Director of the Centre for Research in Information and Cyber Security at the Nelson Mandela University School of ICT, was honoured with a Distinguished Service in ICT award, and Professor Elize Ehlers, head of the Academy of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, received an IITPSA Fellowship award.

The President’s Awards are now in their 41st year.

Congratulating the winners, IITPSA CEO Tony Parry said it was encouraging to note that the 2019 IITPSA President’s Awards nominees and finalists had all been world-class, reflecting the overall high standards and innovation of the ICT profession in South Africa.

IITPSA President Thabo Mashegoane urged the sector to do more to empower the next generation to use technologies and enter the ICT profession, before the 4IR widened the gaps between haves and have-nots.

“At IITPSA, we think the ICT sector is perfectly positioned to help South Africa transition into this brave new world. Our industry has the knowledge and resources to put the right technology tools into the hands of the next generation, allowing them to self-teach if necessary; and enabling them to start their own small businesses,” he said.

“Our businesses, our professionals and our industry bodies can do a great deal to make the 4IR work for our people. Our ICT professionals can help to educate youths and communities about new technology; play an advisory and mentoring role to young professionals, and up-skill from within organisations.

"By doing this we can contribute towards closing the skills gap.” said Mashegoane as part of his call to industry to enable society to reap benefits from the upcoming technology revolution.

BUSINESS REPORT