IITPSA names 2022 IT Personality, Visionary CIO and Brilliance in IT Award winners

The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) has named the winners of the South African IT sector’s most prestigious awards for 2022.

The awards were handed over at a gala breakfast themed ‘Brilliance in IT’, marking the IITPSA’s 65th anniversary, in Sandton this week.

Nyari Samushonga, CEO of WeThinkCode, was named IT Personality of the Year; and Intikhab Shaik, Head: Technology and Solutions Delivery at SARS, won Visionary CIO of the Year award. The Technology Excellence Award went to Justin Thomas, Head: Strategy, Alliances and Digital Transformation at Standard Bank; the Siyavula MSDF team won the Social Responsibility/Community Award; and Ayanda Dladla, CEO & Founder of Mowash and Runtime Solutions, was the winner of the new Dynamism in ICT Youth Award. Christopher Guy, IITPSA Fellow and Membership/Critical Skills Assessor, received a Distinguished Service in ICT award.

With a history spanning over 40 years, the awards have continued to evolve over time, and this year introduced a youth award for exceptional achievement and promise among IT professionals under the age of 35. The new Dynamism in IT Youth Award, launched to support the IITPSA’s efforts to encourage and raise the profile of emerging IT professionals, was well supported, with a corps of strong nominees.

IITPSA President Admire Gwanzura noted that this year’s awards also demonstrated progress in efforts to encourage more women to enter the IT sector. “This year, for the first time, we saw a 50-50 split between men and women among the finalists,” he said. “We see this as an encouraging sign that gender gaps in the sector are finally closing.”

IITPSA CEO Tony Parry added that the number of outstanding candidates being nominated for the President’s Awards has been impressive. “We are gratified to see the sheer numbers of brilliant and deserving candidates being put forward for recognition every year. This may make selecting winners a difficult task for our panel of judges, but it indicates that South African IT is world class, populated by scores of visionaries, strong leaders and innovators.”

The winners of the 2022 President’s Awards, presented in partnership with ITWeb and the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria, are:

IT Personality Award – Nyari Samushonga, CEO of WeThinkCode

This award recognises a person who has made a positive impact on the SA ICT industry, has been successful in building a highly-respected IT organisation or business, has made a major contribution to the IT profession, has made a significant technical or academic contribution to the IT industry, and/or has aided the development needs of the community.

A Chartered Accountant by training, Nyari Samushonga is the CEO of WeThinkCode, a South African tech academy with a presence in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. As an Entrepreneur and Tech Executive, Nyari is passionate about seeing Africa take its place as a maker of cutting-edge technology.  She has effectively scaled WeThinkCode’s initiatives and impact, doubling its recruitment capacity and launching a home grown curriculum for the South African market. She has previously served as the Managing director of ThoughtWorks Africa, and as a Manager in Deloitte’s audit and assurance division in both Harare and New York.

Visionary CIO AwardIntikhab Shaik, Head Technology & Solutions Delivery at SARS

This award recognises excellence in a person with overall responsibility for IT strategy and application of IT in an organisation, who has demonstrated visionary leadership in using IT to support, grow and transform business, and/or who has established best practice in implementing technology solutions in an organisation.

As the Head Technology & Solutions Delivery at the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Intikhab Shaik brings more than 30 years professional experience in the Customs, Tax and Technology domains to drive innovation and pursue digital transformation to realise SARS’ Vision 2024. He was responsible for the implementation of several landmark systems integral to SARS’ modernisation including the electronic filing, processing, and risk profiling of income tax, VAT, employer and Customs declarations, the successful implementation of digital case workflow systems, and leveraging 3rd party data across various tax processes. These systems were first-of-kind in South Africa’s history. He has also served as the chairperson of the World Customs Organisation’s (WCO) Information Management Sub-Committee (IMSC) for three consecutive terms in Brussels.

Technology Excellence Award – Justin Thomas, Head of Strategy, Product Development and Digital Transformation at Standard Bank Fleet

This award recognises a person or team who has made exceptional/innovative use of IT, or designed an innovative new technology, for an organisation, and/or who has exhibited technological excellence that has delivered measurable benefit for business or the SA economy.

Justin Thomas has worked in financial services for over 20 years for some of the biggest banks on the African continent. As the Head of Strategy, Product Development and Digital Transformation at Standard Bank Fleet, he is responsible for driving strategic digital transformation initiatives, ecosystem as well as fintech and platform development focused on the B2B payments space.  He has successfully implemented a diverse portfolio of digital solutions across multiple markets from transactional payments, insurance to asset-based lending.  He holds a Post graduate diploma in Management and is currently completing his Masters at the Wits Business School finalising his research paper on B2B digital fleet payments in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Social Responsibility / Community Award –   Siyavula  

This award is presented to an outstanding person/team/project delivering the benefits of IT on a not-for-profit basis into the community, or who brings the community into the IT space by addressing the digital divide.

Siyavula, driven by project manager Nosipho Sithole since inception, is an online platform making high-quality learning accessible anywhere, anytime, and with any device.  Students can practise Mathematics (Grade 8 – 12) or Physical Sciences (Grade 10 – 12) through the platform, with questions marked immediately, and step-by-step solutions given. Since its inception in 2012, students have answered more than 60 million questions on the platform. In collaboration with the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), Siyavula deployed its technology to high schools in Gauteng in 2019, giving teachers and provincial officials access to detailed reports to diagnose problems and remediate.

Dynamism in ICT Youth Award – Ayanda Kevin Dladla, CEO & Founder of Mowash and Runtime

This award, introduced for the first time in 2022, is specifically for people under the age of 35 years. It recognises a person who is demonstrating exceptional potential or achievement in IT over the past 3 – 5 years.  

Ayanda Kevin Dladla holds a BSc Computer Engineering from UKZN Howard College. He worked at SAB as an Automation Engineer until 2017, when he founded Mowash, an award-winning mobile platform that allows clients to book a mobile car wash or other cleaning services in Gauteng and Durban. He later also founded Runtime Solutions, offering Consulting in Automation Engineering and Mobile App Development.

Distinguished Service in ICT Award – Christopher Guy, IITPSA Fellow and Membership/Critical Skills Assessor

This award, presented in partnership with EngineerIT, acknowledges distinguished service within the IT sector over several years.

Christopher Guy, IITPSA Fellow and Membership/Critical Skills Assessor received the award in recognition of 38 years’ service excellence.