The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) has announced the finalists for the 2023 IITPSA President’s Awards.
The awards recognise leaders in the ICT sector, and have grown in scope over 30 years to include the IT Personality of the Year, Visionary CIO, Technology Excellence, Social Responsibility, Dynamism in ICT Youth and Distinguished Service in ICT awards.
The 2023 finalists are:
IT Personality Award
The IT Personality Award recognises a highly respected and outstanding ICT professional who has made a significant technical or academic contribution to the industry, who has been successful in building a highly-respected IT organisation or business, and/or who has made a major contribution to the IT profession over a number of years.
Dr Stella Bvuma, Director of the University of Johannesburg’s School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems. Dr Bvuma served on several boards, including the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) as Deputy Chairperson, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and the City of Joburg Mayoral Office as an Advisor on Digital Strategy, ICT, and the 4iR Committee, and has received numerous accolades, including the 2023 Women in Technology Winner.
Mamela Luthuli, Founder and CEO of Take Note IT. As a career entrepreneur, Mamela Luthuli now heads one of the few black, female-led cyber security and IoT firms in South Africa. She is a board member of the Female Founders Initiative Middle East and Africa, Women in Tech Global Association, and an Advisory member of Defense and security CSIR. Her accolades include the Corporate livewire Global Awards 2022/2023 Cybersecurity Service of the year-South Africa Winner, Top Empowerment Winner 2022, AfricaTech Week: Security Technology Company Award Winner 2021, and Woman Of Stature: Women in IT: Technology category Award 2022.
Rich Sibusiso Hlatshwayo, CEO of Me2You. Rich Hlatshwayo innovations include the development of real-time sign language to speech translation technology for the hearing-impaired, a groundbreaking algorithm that matches first-time car buyers with their ideal vehicles, and meal kit delivery service that addresses food waste and accessibility challenges. He has won several awards, including the CPSI Special Ministerial Award, the Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans, News24 100 Young Mandelas and the ACTIVATE! Active Citizen Award.
Lucas Mohaswa, Founder and CEO of Reslocate. Lucas Mohaswa is helping transform the student housing market with Reslocate, a platform that connects students with suitable accommodation options, funding opportunities, and career prospects in Africa and Europe.
Dr Fazlyn Petersen, Senior lecturer – Department of Information Systems at the University of the Western Cape. Dr Fazlyn Petersen is a dedicated researcher and passionate academic, is deeply committed to nurturing the next generation of leaders. Her primary focus is fostering academic excellence and cultivating future IT entrepreneurs and employers.
Technology Excellence Award
The Technology Excellence Award will be presented to a person or team who has made exceptional or innovative use of technology for an organisation and/or who has exhibited technological excellence that has delivered measurable benefit for business/the South African economy
* Kudoti enables manufacturers to effectively measure and improve their sustainability with a platform allowing them to easily track their supply chain sustainability impact. Kudoti has successfully partnered with prominent companies including Nestle, Heineken and Kimberly Clark, as well as forward-thinking small and medium enterprises like CRDC and Repurpose Global, and has effectively monitored over 16 million kilograms of materials across six countries.
* Peter Robb, Group Chief Architect – Multichoice Group. Peter Robb is a highly skilled ICT, Management and Strategy Executive with over 24 years’ experience across multiple industry sectors that include ICT & Management Consulting, Media, Banking & Financial Services, Telecommunications, Insurance, Motor Manufacturing & Finance, Government & Public Sector. Among his recent accomplishments are driving the multi-national digital transformation of a R232 million portfolio over 5 years across 55 countries, negotiating R190 million in licensing & supporting service costs; and redefining an ICT operating model for Group Technology.
* Joseph Lumbahe, Manager & Lead AI Engineer, Co-Founder & CTO of the Aizatron Group and Bus54. Joseph Lumbahe, an accomplished tech professional and entrepreneur, drives the Aizatron Group’s AI Division while also serving MTN South Africa in Fraud Detection. With Bus54, he is revolutionising intercity transportation across Africa, benefiting passengers, operators, and financial institutions. Associated with bodies like IEEE and AAAI, he was also appointed to the IITPSA Programming Olympiad’s Scientific Committee in 2021.
* Prof Mark Nasila, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at FNB’s Risk office. He holds a PhD in Mathematical Statistics from NMMU and MSc (cum laude) in Mathematical Statistics from NMMU, and is a steering committee member of the National Institute for Theoretical Physics and Computational Sciences (NITheCS), a research fellow at Stellenbosch University and a Professor of practice in Artificial intelligence at the University of Johannesburg. He was named one of the Corinium Global Intelligence ‘2020 Global Top 100 Innovators in data and analytics’, the 2022 Southern Africa Finnovator of the year by Exibex at the FINNOVEX 2022 awards, and won the Excellence in Data & Analytics 2022 award at the DigiBank Summit.
Social Responsibility / Community Award
The Social Responsibility/Community Award will be presented to a person, team or project that delivers the benefits of IT on a not-for-profit basis into the community or brings the community into the IT space.
Nomisa Keninda, E-learning Specialist and Founder of the Mpumalanga ICT Club. Nomusa Keninda is an e-Learning Specialist for the Mpumalanga Department of education and the Founder of the Mpumalanga ICT Club. Within the club, she launched the DigiGirlz Initiative to empower and mentor young girls from rural villages to pursue STEM-related careers. Her coding initiatives with youth have earned her prestigious accolades, including the Inspiring Fifty 2020, a Trailblazer award winner 2021 by the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI).
Geekulcha. Since its launch in 2013, Geekulcha has grown to a community of over 19,000 young techies, innovators, and entrepreneurs across Africa. Geekulcha works with the public, private, academic, and community sectors to drive talent development, design thinking and innovation, youth empowerment, and social and economic impact. Its work has been internationally recognised, including a profile by the World Bank in the form of a case study and mini-documentary video. In 2022, Geekulcha was awarded a Special Ministerial Award at the Public Sector Innovation Awards for its innovative youth programmes.
Byron Batteson, software developer at Amazon Web Services, part-time Consultant and Software Developer at Tangible Africa. Byron Batteson was the innovator behind the first Tangible Africa Tanks, Rangers and Boats games, which introduce children to coding without the need for a computer. He worked with Prof Jean Greyling, his honours supervisor, and the Leva Foundation to expand the reach of the initiative to as many learners as possible.
Amukelani Michael Mhlongo, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Silicon Gold. Silicon Gold is a non-profit company codenamed “Si¹⁴ Au⁷⁹” based in Johannesburg, with a mission to redefine entrepreneurship and innovation. Silicon Gold takes a holistic approach to venture building with a comprehensive ecosystem of support covering every facet of a startup’s journey from concept validation and product development to strategic positioning, funding connections, and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
Nicoli Koorbanally, CEO at mLab. Originally a Research Chemist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Nicoli Koorbanally is a technology commercialisation expert with over two decades of experience in research, development, and innovation in South Africa. She was instrumental in spearheading transformative projects such as the SA-Finland Knowledge Partnership on ICT, establishment of the World Bank-funded Southern African Mobile Applications Lab (mLab), and has lent her expertise to Boards and Committees, including WITS Commercial Enterprise, start-up CapeBio Technologies, and as a founding member of the South African Innovation Network.
Dynamism in ICT Youth Award
This award recognises a person who has demonstrated exceptional potential or achievement in ICT over the past two to five years; or a person who has demonstrated dynamism in ICT and exhibited the characteristics of a positive and inspirational role model for young people in, or seeking to enter, the ICT profession.
Amukelani Michael Mhlongo, Chief Operating Officer – Me2You. 25-year-old entrepreneur Amukelani Michael Mhlongo co-founded Me2You, which combines a meal kit delivery service with a virtual food bank, targeting food waste, hunger, and environmental sustainability. Me2You’s Amaqhawe program also serves as a platform for local employment, empowering community members as delivery personnel, giving them opportunities to earn income while contributing to their neighbourhoods.
Ruan Schoeman, Student – Home School Midrand. 17-year-old Ruan Schoeman is almost completely self-educated in programming and IT, yet he was the overall winner in the category Computer Science and Information Technology at the Eskom Science Expo, won silver in the Computer Applications Olympiad and bronze in the Computer Programming Olympiad at the age of 14, and has since won first place in the Computer Applications Olympiad for two years running.
* Ashleigh Mabiare, Graduate Software Engineer. Ashleigh Mabiare holds a Bsc Information Technology in Computer science and Informatics from the University of Johannesburg. She was part of the UJenius club, and ranked in the top 10 for a majority of her majors and is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. She is dedicated not only to personal growth, but also to fostering the growth of others and mentor a couple of students who are also studying IT and are aspiring to be IT professionals.
* Ashlesha Pillay, SAP Consultant Intern at Epiuse Africa’s Technical Services team. Ashlesha Pillay earned her stripes as a BCom Informatics graduate of the University of Pretoria, where she was included in the esteemed Golden Key Society. Ashlesha has a burning passion for software development and is dedicated to coding and creating innovative solutions
* Benjamin Kleyn, first year Bachelors of Science student. Benjamin Kleyn is studying at Stellenbosch University, with a focal area in Mathematics and a second major in Computer Science. His accomplishments include winning the 2022 South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad, winning the 2022 South African Computer Programming Olympiad, representing South Africa at the 2022 International Olympiad in Informatics, and receiving bronze medals at both the 2023 International Mathematics Competition for University Students and the 2023 International Olympiad in Informatics.
The IITPSA regrets that it is unable to present the Visionary CIO award this year, due to circumstances beyond its control, but looks forward to the return of the award in 2024.
To show your support for the finalists, please go to https://www.iitpsa.org.za/annual-presidents-awards-finalists/ and click on those you believe to be most deserving of an award.
The winners will be named at the President’s Awards breakfast at The Wanderers Club in Illovo on 28 November.