The Institute of IT Professionals IITPSA, has been around for 60 years!The Institute of IT Professionals IITPSA, has been around for 60 years!Previously known as Computer Society South Africa, the founder and first President of the Society was Cecil John Aspinall, known as John. Born in Pietermaritzburg in 1918, John joined Hollerith Tabulators. Henry Hollerith was the founder of what became IBM. In 1941, during WWII John was inducted into the Royal Signal Corps. He was given permission to wear ‘civvies’ and joined Hut 7 at Bletchley Park where he oversaw the maintenance of the machines used to crack the Enigma code. He is credited with a modification to the machines that increased their speed. His contribution is recorded here:  John was demobbed in March 1945 and returned to South Africa. He founded the South African Computer Society in 1957, together, as I understand it, with some members of the British Computer Society who were living in South Africa. 


Picture taken at Conference dinner in 1998: (left to right) Jonathan Miller (CSSA President), John Aspinal, Martin Klein (KZN Chapter Chair).


John passed away in 2002.






Computer Society South Africa (CSSA) was formally registered as an NGO in 1958.The first CSSA Annual Conference was run by Peter Aspinall (SBS) and the Western Cape Branch in  1990 “ Bridging the Gap” and raised R128,000 for the CSSA. This led to an annual event with SBS that raised money to equip the offices with the latest equipment and employ a full time office manager.


The 10th CSSA Conference was in Durban in 1998 and the last one in Cape Town 1999


Tel.Com was another major fund-raising CSSA event born out of Telkom’s annual Telematics conference for Telkom’s own engineers. Alan Knott Craig of Telkom contacted Peter Davies (then Chairman of the Data Com Sig) and Peter Aspinall to take over the annual event and open it to the public. This ran very successfully from 1995 to 2002 and became the largest telecoms event in Africa. In 2003, it was merged with Computer Faire and became FutureX which closed a couple of years later hence the CSSA lost one of its biggest sources of revenue.


It is appropriate at this stage to recognise Martin Klein who, in addition to his duties as Chapter Chair, created the first Society website in 1997. Martin recalls that Exco worked on member benefits, which apart from the obvious value, was also a way to draw visitors to the website. Martin also started the Society’s LinkedIn group, which remains today. 


Other milestones in the 1990’s, under the Presidency of Jonathan Miller, Peter Davies, and Peter Aspinall (among others) include:


• Recruiting the first Office Manager and equipping the office with computers using money we made from the   CSSA annual conference and Tel.Com

• Establishing the ICDL in South Africa

• Formalising the Computer Olympiad which was developed by Peter Waker into a major national annual         event.


The first female President was as far back as 1971, when Virginia Emily Marting took the mantle. Fast forward to the 21st century when Moira de Roche served as President from 2004 to 2008. We celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 2007, with some low-key events at different venues. CSSA acknowledged the anniversary by naming the two board rooms at the offices for John Aspinal and Moira de Roche. Ulandi Exner was appointed as President in 2015.


We appointed Tony Parry, our first full-time CEO in 2007. Tony is still with us, and has helped us grow the Institute’s membership and revenues.


To show that the body is a professional one, and recognising that “computer” is a limiting term, CSSA changed its name to Institute of IT Professionals (IITPSA) in 2011.  We were recognised as a Professional Body by SAQA in 2012, and were accredited by IFIP IP3 July 2013. The IP3 accreditation means that our Professional Grade members are assessed against a global standard. 


IITPSA is a member of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), a global body created by UNESCO in 1960. 


IITPSA took over the Women in IT group last year. Women in IT was founded by Microsoft.


We are planning several celebrations in our anniversary year. The Annual Awards event on 8 November 2017 will be a gala dinner in Gauteng. Events will be held for at Chapter level around the country, giving all our members the opportunity to commemorate this auspicious year with us.


Director – IITPSA