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IT boffin wins national technology award

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Joel Seabi, acting Manager of Information Communication Technology (ICT) Security at the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), recently won the third prize in the Youth in ICT category of the Public ICT Awards held in Durban
The award recognises the contribution of young achievers to the sector and to the growth and development of the industry as a whole. Seabi, 28, was up against government and private sector officials from around the country.
Aspects taken into consideration for the awards were educational achievements, practical achievements, evidence of innovative contributions to the ICT industry, personal and professional barriers that were overcome, leadership and the nominee’s contribution to the image of the organisation and ICT industry as a whole and the improvement of the lives of citizens in the work place and community, evidence of continued professional development and papers and presentations delivered.
He has been working at the department for the last four years. When he started at the department he was acting Manager ICT Governance and Projects and then Deputy Manager System Analyst and Administration. He is committed to propelling service delivery through ICT enablement and innovation as part of the Government Information Technology Office.
He chairs the Departmental Youth Forum and is also representing workers as branch deputy secretary of a labour union. All through his life he was involved in community upliftment projects: as a student at the University of Limpopo (UL) he taught Mathematics and other subjects to Grade 11 and 12 learners on Saturdays, he organised a career guidance expo for the youth in Mankweng, was a member of the organising committee for HIV/Aids campaigns in Mankweng, Secretary of the Student Council and team leader of a host of projects in the professional aspect of his work, among other leadership positions. He is also involved in politics.
Seabi hails from Mamontintane and his interest in computers has its origin in his high school days. He obtained a BSc in Computer Science and Statistics from UL, is currently busy with his BSc Honours in Computer Science and plans to do an MBA.
“I first thought of becoming a doctor, but later I decided it was to be something to do with computers and computer programming,” he said. He said he was the product of an upbringing by his self-employed mother, a single parent and his grandmother, and at times he sold ice-cream and other goods at school to help make ends meet. He is the first person in his family to obtain a degree.
After finishing his studies at the university he worked there for a couple of years as tutor, laboratory assistant and supervisor, facilitator for ICT and helped villagers to use the computer.
Joel attributed winning the award to team work at the department, and say he was lucky to have been accepted into and to work with this team.
He is ambitious and has great plans for the future, wanting to reach the level of a CEO as soon as possible, venture further into business intelligence and maybe later also establish his own business. He says government is still very vulnerable in the ICT field and cybercrime is rife. He wants to make a difference.
“My work is significant, but it is all team work,” he said.
Watch this space, this young guy is going places.

NELIE ERASMUS
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