To do business with the government, Huawei must have South African personnel

Huawei has six months to make sure South Africans sell the Chinese tech giant’s services to the government, said Luvuyo Keyise, chief executive of the State Information Technology Agency (Sita).

Keyise – who spoke to the Post and guardian on the sidelines of the Huawei Cloud Summit for the Middle East and Africa, held in Dubai, he commented on the recent controversy over recruitment practices at Huawei Technologies South Africa. Sita is tasked with providing the public sector with an efficient and value-added information technology service.

On February 11, the Department of Employment and Labor announced that it had filed judicial documents against Huawei, which is based in China. The company, the department said, violated South Africa’s labor and employment laws by filling 90 percent of its workforce with foreign nationals.

A month later, it emerged that the department and Huawei Technologies South Africa reached an out-of-court settlement. The department accepted the company’s employment plan to increase South African representation to more than 50% within three years, according to a joint statement.

In terms of the deal, Huawei will also provide ICT internships and training to South Africans drawn from the department’s database as part of the deal, which has been described by both parties as a “win-win”.

Keyise acknowledged the department’s deal with Huawei, but said he personally asked the company to include more South Africans in its workforce if it intends to do business with the government.

“Even simple things like sales consultants. You can not [say] that in South Africa we don’t have enough sales consultants who understand their product. You can not [say] we don’t have business architects, application architects, solution architects, business architects who can have an understanding of their technology stack. Those skills are there in the country, “Keyisile said.

“So, even if they [Huawei] they received from the Minister of Labor Thulas Nxesi a three-year plan to ensure that over 50% of their workforce is South African, I received a six-month plan from me to ensure that the people who sell Huawei services to the government are South Africans ”.

The effect of skills shortages on digital transformation was the topic of Huawei’s cloud summit on Monday. The summit aims to expand the influence of Huawei’s cloud business in the Middle East and Africa and promote the company as a leader in digital transformation in the region.

“There are some key challenges that stand in the way of this transformational journey,” said Ranjit Rajan, vice president of International Data Corporation in the Middle East and Africa. “One of the key challenges is the lack of skills. And you see that they evolve and develop in particular in the last two years ”.

Governments, Rajan noted, are accelerating their national skills development programs to address skills shortages. “But it will take time to build that local talent pool to fill some of the skills gaps we see in the regions.”

Frank Dai, president of Huawei cloud in the Middle East, said: “I firmly believe that skills, talent, will ultimately be the competition factor for all countries … to support the digitization of the country.”

The reporter’s trip to Dubai was sponsored by Huawei.