Wits University’s IT guru wins top ICT award
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Johannesburg - Wits University’s chief information officer (CIO), Dr Stanley Mpofu, has stamped his authority on the information and communications technology (ICT) industry.
The 57-year-old recently bagged the visionary leadership award for ICT at the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa.
The award is for dedicated individuals in the ICT industry, and Mpofu was announced as the joint winner with Nomthi Nelwamondo, chief information officer of Assupol.
“The award means a lot to me and it shows that the university has a dedicated team of workers in the ICT division committed to their work.”
Mpofu praised ICT employees and other stakeholders in the university, saying they had created a “conducive environment” despite lockdown challenges.
Born in Zimbabwe, Mpofu came to South Africa in the early 1990s with a hunger for learning despite his humble background.
“My parents were not educated, my father never went to school at all and my mother only went up to Standard 1 (Grade 3), which is something that motivated me to work even harder.”
Since his arrival in South Africa, Mpofu has spread his wings to different parts of the country, saying he has overseen a number of projects in the ICT field.
“I always had the desire to learn and work. I was open to travelling anywhere the job took me and that moulded me into the person I am today.”
Despite his extensive knowledge in the ICT space, Mpofu said it was not easy joining Wits University as a CIO.
“Coming from 25 years in corporate, getting into Wits with its complexity was a difficult journey. Acceptance as a black CIO was also not forthcoming, but I persevered through showing my competence, which helped generate trust.
“I had to make a lot of changes to make Wits move ahead of other universities and I managed to achieve this with the help of my team.”
Mpofu, a former Eskom IT guru, has been at the forefront of developing smart classrooms at the university, which played a key role in the university’s transformation to online learning provider as part of its response to Covid-19.
“As a university, we always had courses which were online, so it wasn’t that difficult to switch to online learning. Obviously now we had to make sure that we accommodated both lectures and students, but the model and the system has always been in place.”
Mpofu said his priority was to make sure the university’s students’ education was not compromised.
Since making his move to the institution, Mpofu has successfully executed a number of ICT business models there – including cyber, cloud, digital and mobile – to assist the university on the ICT front.
“It comes down to teamwork, I am surrounded by people who are always willing to help and they go the extra mile to achieve our goals,” he said.
Mpofu said he was not done with transforming the university’s ICT division. “We can never rest or be complacent; digitalisation is the future and we need to make sure that changes are aligned with the university’s strategies going forward.”