Cisco Expo SA 2013, Sun City – Government could soon reformulate an ICT Advisory Council similar to the one that former president Thabo Mbeki created during his tenure. Cisco SA MD Alpheus Mangale says he, and the networking giant, would be keen to assist in any way they could.

Mbeki famously roped in the likes of then HP CEO Carly Fiorina and Oracle supremo Larry Ellison to his advisory council to advise government on the way forward for the country regarding ICT. But the panel seemingly disintegrated following Mbeki’s departure as president.

At a press Q&A following his keynote at this year’s Cisco Expo, Mangale continuously stressed how important ICT was now being viewed by the present government as a means to uplift the country – particularly in the health and education sectors. He was also keen to point out that he and Cisco were in continuous dialogue with the government and that the company could play a major role in any future private/public partnership.

Mangale went as far as to state that one of his key strategies over the next three years was to make Cisco “the leading BBEE company in the country”.

When quizzed on whether the government was actually paying any attention to the representations of local ICT organisations, and whether there was the possibility of them co-ordinating a similar advisory council to Mbeki’s, Mangale said the present government’s reaction was increasingly positive.

“The government is extremely keen, particularly Cyril Ramaphosa, on an advisory council-type body which could help lead the country forward in terms of ICT,” he says. “So, yes, there is the distinct possibility of such a body being formed and myself, personally, and Cisco would be more than willing to participate in any way we could.”

Earlier, along with the key ambition of establishing Cisco SA as one of the top five employers in the country, Mangale stated that another of his key strategies was to make Cisco more relevant when it comes to government.

“I want to establish Cisco’s relevance to the government and be a trusted partner to government,” he says. “When they talk ICT, I want them to think about us.

“We have a deep commitment to the country’s compliance and transformation and we want to be the leading BBEE company in the country,” Mangale adds. “We are aware of where our country’s been and where it is going, and we want to be part of that agenda.”