By Dr Marius Oberholzer, CEO of Huge TNS

South African IT engineers have kept our country running. South Africa had about 100 days of power cuts by the end of April and yet, business still does business. It is for this reason I nominate the South African IT engineer as Person of the Year 2023.

The humble techie, usually working out of sight, would certainly have been my choice for 2020, when we all discovered the importance of functioning information and communications technology links.

We surely must acknowledge the continued success of a few in the midst of the repeated failures of so many. As load-shedding deepens and two and a half hours of darkness morph into four hours of misery for the masses, and the middle class still somehow manages to cling on, it is the geeks who scramble to keep us connected.

Many of us are increasingly noticing friends and relatives in the ICT sector excusing themselves from social events to attend yet another after-hours Eskom-created communications emergency. And it is the techies who have quietly been laying the foundations for SA’s future energy resilience by steadily building high-speed fibre-optic networks. According to the Independent Communications Authority of SA, in seven years SA’s high-speed fibre subscriptions skyrocketed from 31,843 to 1.3-million recently.

Now again, the country’s IT corps is coming to the nation’s rescue. With Eskom on the blink since 2007, there cannot be a group of ICT professionals anywhere in the world who have performed so admirably under such conditions.

As we soldier on, lets take a moment to thank the men and women in the trenches.

Dr Marius Oberholzer