SOUTH AFRICA – Vodacom has announced that its long-serving group chief technology officer (CTO), Andries Delport has resigned.

In a statement, the mobile operator says Delport is leaving to pursue external interests with effect from May 2020. He had been with SA’s number one mobile operator for 23 years.

He will also relinquish his role as director of Vodacom Tanzania and director of VMSA (Mozambique), the operator says.

Delport held a number of senior positions in the company since joining Vodacom in June 1996 before being appointed CTO and a member of the Vodacom Group executive committee in November 2010.

During his tenure at Vodacom, Delport played an important role in establishing network leadership across all five of Vodacom’s operating countries – DRC, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania – and building capabilities in technology and security for the group.

Under Delport’s command, Vodacom has emerged as the network that customers are most satisfied with for four years in a row.

Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub, said in a statement that Delport’s contribution to the group has been immeasurable.

Delport’s resignation will be felt as it comes at a time when Vodacom is preparing for 5G and transitioning from a mobile network operator to an Internet of Things technology group, says Tasneem Samodien, research analyst from Private Client Securities at Old Mutual Wealth.

Delport was integral in helping to set up the first commercial 5G network in Africa in Lesotho. Lesotho launched 5G before South Africa, which has been restricted by a lack of spectrum. Only newcomer rain has launched a 5G offering in South Africa.

Vodacom Group chief executive officer, Shameel Joosub, says: “Andries has been a key member of the Vodacom family for the past 23 years and his contribution to the Group has been immeasurable.

“I would like to thank Andries for his leadership in building world-class networks and his commitment to transforming our technology capability across the group. Andries has been instrumental in building strong teams renowned for innovation. On behalf of the Executive Committee of the Vodacom Group, I wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Delport will join telecommunications business Community Investment Ventures Holdings, in which Remgro has a 54% shareholding, as CTO from May 2020.

Vodacom said it will announce a successor for the group CTO position in due course.