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Hi-tech South Africa is ‘too white’

So says black IT forum chairman

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The information and communications industry is
still too white, a black achievers gala in South
Africa heard at the weekend.

Dr Hasmukh Gajjar, national chairman of the black
IT forum, praised the event in Johannesburg for helping to challenge what he called "a legacy which refuses to budge beyond tokenism", ITWeb reports.

He criticised major ICT players for deploying strategies that appeared to help black businesses, but in reality left them exploited and marginalized.

By way of example, he cited pre-paid phones, the fastest growing area of the mobile phone industry in South Africa. While acknowledging that this gives more people access to mobiles in South Africa, Gajjar said it is only needed because of the country's credit rating system.

Gajjar, a former non-executive chairman of
Vodacom, criticised South Africa's tiered
distribution model in the mobile industry, saying
it did not offer equal profit opportunities to the
big retailers and smaller shops.

He also expressed concern at the negative feeling
that he said ICT companies were expressing to potential investors in black ICT, and called on the government to intervene.

He claimed also the existence of exclusive supplier agreements between bigger companies which exclude black ICT companies. "It is clear that they [large ICT groups] have no interest in Africa," he said. ®

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