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Developing Durban 2023

Developing Durban 2023

Developing Durban 2023

EOH has successfully partnered with large municipalities and numerous government entities in South Africa for many years, enabling the public sector to offer its private sector and citizen customers services that allow them to be more efficient and productive. EOH’s technology solutions available to the City of eThekwini are designed to put powerful data relating to services and infrastructure in the hands of the City’s decision-makers. “When the relevant data is provided, the City gains important insights into how its services and assets are performing,” says Marius de la Rey, group executive of iOCO Services, a proudly EOH company. “This data will allow the City to understand where it is losing water, where it is gaining and losing revenue, how to efficiently manage and maintain assets like plants, and how to devise an effective roads and highways repair plan.”

De la Rey gives the example of sensors placed on the road to monitor factors like the volume and weight of traffic. “This solution will help the City to determine exactly which roads need to be repaired when and allow it to develop an effective road maintenance plan.”

The Group’s technology solutions work together to help make the City world-class. Online portals provide citizens with an easy way of reporting service interruptions or infrastructure problems like missing road signs or manhole covers, providing the City with important, real-time data on its services and operations on the ground.

Advanced technologies powering catalytic projects

EOH offers the City of eThekwini advanced technologies to power its catalytic projects. As one of the largest ICT groups in Africa, the Group benefits from its working relationship with leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the world and has a wide range of expertise and proprietary products.

“Our partnerships with OEMs give us access to the latest technological developments around the world,” says De la Rey. “Because we have in-depth expertise within our Group, we augment these solutions with our own best-inclass intellectual property.”

The Group’s advanced technology offering includes a digital twin capable of virtually replicating the entire infrastructure estate of the City or a selection of power, road and other infrastructure. The digital twin is powered by data and artificial intelligence programs and allows the municipality to monitor its estate, perform predictive maintenance on its infrastructure and optimise the performance of its assets.

One of EOH’s own technology solutions, the IMQS platform, provides a detailed picture of infrastructure such as cables or pipes that runs underground. The platform indicates to property developers what they will find below the surface of the ground and updates the digital geospatial map with their property development plans. It enables better management and maintenance of City assets by providing the exact geolocation of leaking pipes or other below-surface infrastructure that need to be repaired.

“This EOH solution is a prime example of how we place data in the hands of the right people, from the technician on-site to the person dispatching the repairs team for the City,” says De la Rey. “It goes a long way to making the City smarter, since it sends the team directly to the correct site.”

EThekwini also stands to benefit from EOH’s Scan RF mesh network technology, which will prepare the way for reliably connecting all the port’s devices and systems and making it a seamless, secure and almost entirely automated operation. This would be part of a digital transformation roadmap that the Group offers the City to improve the efficiency of the port and restore its world-class status.

A trusted public sector partner

EOH is a long-standing partner of the public sector, having provided major ICT solutions and services to public sector entities in KwaZulu- Natal, across South Africa and beyond the country’s borders over the past 25 years. Its excellent track record of delivery for the sector includes: security solutions for the City of Cape Town; information technology and payment upgrade solutions in KwaZulu-Natal; water conservation and demand management projects in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng (through its JOAT business); and roads management and specialist engineering support in Namibia. “The Group has developed a full-service municipal offering in the last 20 years, spanning mechanical, electrical, civils, water and environmental technology infrastructure solutions,” says De la Rey. “We provide all the technology infrastructure required for the City of eThekwini’s planned upgrade and development projects, which will bring prosperity to the province and the rest of the country.”

The EOH Group’s technology solutions are bespoke and modernised. Where the City may have outdated IT systems that need to be replaced, EOH can help it to achieve efficiencies by modernising the older systems. “Because the Group is embracing the global trend of offering technology solutions as a service and on a consumption basis, it will replace old systems with more efficient and cost-effective solutions like the cloud, where you only pay for what you use.

“EOH has a dedicated public sector team that understands what a municipality wants and is increasingly providing cities with ICT services based on consumption models. The Group has extensive experience of working with the public and private sectors in KwaZulu-Natal and is therefore wellpositioned to realise the efficiencies that can be achieved in eThekwini Municipality.”

EOH’s successful partnership with large municipalities is based on its ability to provide tailored, innovative and regulatorily compliant technology solutions and services to forward-thinking cities.

Its offering includes all the technology solutions required for a thriving smart city, including data analytics solutions, scalable infrastructure asset management solutions, connected healthcare and education solutions, electronic security solutions, turnkey power and power management solutions, and renewable energy solutions. In addition to technology infrastructure, EOH offers bespoke application development, data solutions, cybersecurity solutions, and other core ICT products and services.

“EOH is a socially responsible citizen that supplies solutions that are in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution market trends. We believe that strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors in the area of technology support job creation and lead to citizens becoming part of the global workforce ,” says De la Rey.

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DNA structure made of various abstract objects

Intelligent infrastructure needs smart interconnectivity

One of the most significant milestones in modern history was the unveiling of the world’s first programmable digital computer in 1945, coined ENIAC. Although, basic in today’s terms, it represented a major leap forward for digitalisation and the power of interconnectivity via the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The path of change is now constant, so staying ahead of the IoT curve is essential to remain competitive and relevant as smart technologies continue to positively transform society,” Bennett explains.

Within South Africa, NEXTEC’s digital transformation thrust is spearheaded by its Infrastructure Solutions and People Solutions platforms. The Infrastructure Solutions business line comprises two key service clusters, namely Digital Infrastructure and Infrastructure Consulting. The latter has two main offerings which includes environmental, sustainability and social-impact consulting solutions and the multi-disciplinary engineering consulting solutions.

NEXTEC’s Digital Infrastructure services are designed to seamlessly integrate physical systems with digital technologies to create intelligent, resilient, and high-performance systems. Areas that they specialise in include water, power, connectivity, as well as building technology, logistics and asset management.

Bennett believes the people solutions combined with the technology offering creates a unique proposition allowing clients to move forward into a more technologically-enabled age. For example, having the ability within the business to provide solutions that use technology to lower accidents rates. In parallel, People Solutions help clients respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by digital transformation in terms of recruitment, learnerships, training, and functional client outsourcing of non-core processes.


“We refer to our holistic services as NEXTOPIA, the connected and increasingly digitalised world we imagine for our clients and their customers,” Bennett explains.

“Technology and IoT provide amazing opportunities to raise socio-economic standards through improved service delivery, smart infrastructure and intelligent business processes, which for any country is essential to remain globally competitive,” Bennett continues.

Every nation is at different stages in the digitalisation journey. Cities like Dubai and Singapore are at the cutting-edge of the so-called Smart City evolution, spurred on by robust GDP growth, IoT investment and adoption, and a highly advanced education system. South Africa still has some way to go to match this, but it’s a work in progress.

The Smart City concept enables the capturing of big data to analyse, interpret, predict, manage, and model every conceivable process via Digital Twining – a virtual rendition of the real world. Within the public sector arena there are far reaching benefits for the management and refinement of all social infrastructure and related activities like education and healthcare.

“Our business model focuses on providing practical solutions that are scalable, improve operational efficiencies, lower costs and boost profitability, and includes close working relationships with our OEM technology partners. For public sector clients, key deliverables include improved asset utilisation, enhanced asset security, and better service delivery,” Bennett expands.

Now, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (Ai), the large volumes of data captured via 5G devices can be processed with a high degree of speed and accuracy, translating this information into meaningful reports and tasks.

Smart non-revenue water management

An example of a NEXTEC intervention is the use of smart systems to combat non-revenue water (NRW) losses. Currently, some 40% of South Africa’s portable water is unaccounted for due to one or a combination of factors, namely leaks, apparent losses (such as illegal connections and faulty meters), uncollected billing (including non-payment), and inaccurate billing.

NEXTEC’s water solutions include network analysis and master planning, leak detection, and the matching of consumption to billing data. Recent case studies include a project for a large provincial government to identify and then reduce leaks.

Asset management

Within the infrastructure space, predictive and preventative maintenance interventions ensure well-executed services. However, this is dependent on municipalities ensuring that they have an accurate and up-to-date asset management register as a basis for budget provision and maintenance scheduling. Smart technologies allow municipalities to get ahead of the curve, a prime example being the backlog on road maintenance in South Africa.

Poor road surfaces are a constant, low-level drag on the economy, with potholes becoming almost endemic. And the generally reactive approach to fixing them isn’t working. It simply delays the inevitable deterioration and rebuild. But there’s a smarter approach.

“We have technology at NEXTEC which allows you to look at the cracks in the pavement, and predict where potholes will arise in six months,” says Bennett. “Identifying a crack in the road through image analysis and machine learning is low-cost, and then allows asset owners to fix cracks before they become potholes, at a fraction of the cost and inconvenience to traffic.”

Award-winning project

A recent example of a comprehensive asset management solution is a NEXTEC project working with one of the provincial governments which is responsible for managing over 2 800 facilities, including schools, hospitals, clinics, office buildings, depots, parks, and infrastructure.

NEXTEC’s team is developing an Infrastructure Asset Management Framework and Asset Data Model aligned with industry standards and complex technical requirements. The outcome was that communication and governance improved; management was more effective; long-term forecasting could inform strategy, budgeting, and resource allocation; and the department was placed in a position where it had better control over outcomes.

Smart buildings and warehouses

Energy efficiency gains is another focus area, both from an environmental, demand side management and cost perspective, given the recent escalation in electricity tariffs.

In this respect, NEXTEC’s building management solutions have been able to pass on significant efficiency gains for clients with power usage reductions of up to 35%, and a one to three-year payback on the initial technology investment.

NEXTEC also has a division that specialises in the design of intelligent warehouses and distribution centres. Our approach focuses on driving operational efficiency through the design of optimised process flows and the application of fit-for-purpose mechanised and automated materials handling systems, overlaid with appropriate IT systems. Further efficiencies are gained through the design of a building and site envelope that supports the internal operations and flows, enabling the distribution operation to achieve its required throughput. Distribution centres today have a key role to play in environmental sustainability and supporting ESG initiatives - our team has this at the centre of their design approach.

Smart security

An overriding concern for municipal asset owners is the protection of infrastructure from theft and vandalism. This is a serious problem in South Africa – exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns. Railway networks and electrical infrastructure were among the worst affected.

In response to these and other challenges, NEXTEC has available a wide spectrum of smart security solutions. “It’s far more cost effective and efficient to have drones, cameras and heat sensors monitoring kilometres of railroad and electrical cable than to have people patrolling them. The millions saved could be better spent on other priority areas like education,” Bennett asserts.

Integrated solutions

NEXTEC’s services are frequently integrated. A recent example is a large Government agency contract secured by NEXTEC for an integrated building management system, digital twinning, and security solution.

The Government agency required a holistic solution for their facility – integrating everything from perimeter control to CCTV, access control, and alarms – as well as a building management solution that linked their IoT and critical assets, including laboratories and data centres, in a utility-efficient manner.

NEXTEC’s system design enabled the agency to access a digitised 3D graphical representation of their buildings’ critical systems. As a result, the agency can now proactively monitor, maintain, and change conditions on their hydraulics, generators, HVAC, and laboratories via smart devices.

Thinking ahead

Thanks to the progressive roll-out of its 5G network, South Africa’s access to data, communications technology and connectivity is now on par with the world’s best. This is further supported by large-scale local investments in data centres.

“We have the power of connectively in our hands. Now we need to embrace it to shape South Africa’s future socio-economic landscape in a more coherent and collaborative manner. It’s an exciting mind shift, and an opportunity to catch-up and keep pace with digital trends that promote sustainability,” Bennett concludes.

“We refer to our holistic services as NEXTOPIA, the connected and increasingly digitalised world we imagine for our clients and their customers.”

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Reskilling programme for retrenched workers completes first run

The final intake of learners for the maiden year of the Road to Reskilling training programme is set to take place later this month in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape.

The programme was conceived as a means of reskilling and recapacitating 300 previously retrenched workers in the automotive components manufacturing sector to support their reentry into employment by providing them with priority skills as identified in the sector skills plan.

The training programme is implemented in collaboration with National Association of Automobile and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM), associate member training providers Siyaya Skills Instituteand Siyanqoba.

Siyaya Skills Institute is part of the Learning Development Group of Companies, which, in turn, is part of infrastructure and people solutions provider NEXTEC – a wholly owned subsidiary of the technology services conglomerate EOH Group.

The induction of the first intake of 81 learners took place on May 17 in Gqeberha, with an additional 36 being enrolled in Gauteng shortly thereafter. The second intake of 102 learners in Gqeberha and 37 in Gauteng completed the programme last month.

The final group of 44 learners will bring the final tally of learners to 300, thereby fulfilling the mandate of the funding, which was acquired through a discretionary grant awarded to NAACAM by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta).

“Based on the Covid-19 lockdowns, stricter work capacity regulations and the subsequent impact on the industry, we anticipated retrenchments. The programme was borne out of the need to reduce this impact,” explains NEXTEC cluster executive Brent Oakes, adding that Covid-19 was cited as a key reason for retrenchments in the industry.

However, he notes that “during the recruitment drive, we were unable to find significant numbers to ringfence the programme to the automotive component manufacturers sector, which could be indicative of a less adverse than thought impact on the sector”.

However, a formal industry survey is under way to properly quantify the impact.

The Road to Reskilling programme supports in-classroom training and includes two learning options at National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 2 and NQF Level 4 – depending on the needs of the participating learners.

“NAACAM is committed to supporting the development of a pipeline of critical skills for the sector and is grateful for the generous support from the Merseta,” said NAACAM commercial director Shivani Singh at the induction in May.

Although the discretionary grant award was ringfenced to the first 300 learners, Oakes explains that there are other prospective skills-demand-driven projects in the pipeline, as well as plans for different programme iterations based on the training programme in future.

“Our focus has been on ringfencing the programme to the automotive component manufacturing and allied industries, which all form part of the automotive value chain and those retrenched within it. Additionally, there is a need for transformation with an emphasis on gender transformation at all occupational levels,” Oakes concludes.

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SOLVING TOGETHER: Learning Development Starts Here – Tech Job Creation Project a Huge Success for Youth Employment

Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative
ProServ South Africa
Faculty Training Institute

With the need for youth skills development at the forefront of everything we do, ProServ South Africa [PSA] and Faculty Training Institute [FTI] partnered with the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative [CAPACITI] in 2019 to deliver a highly successful ICT skills development project. Both PSA and FTI have a 20-year reputation of responding to IT, ICT and Business Analysis industry requirements.

The overall aim was to deliver training via reputable institutions, give practical work experience via host sites, and create job opportunities for 600 unemployed youths. For us learning and development always begins with associating with the right organisations. To this end the MICTSETA, CAPACITI, The Jobs Fund and the International Youth Foundation, have made all this possible.

Four qualifications were trained:

  • FETC: IT Technical Support – NQF Level 4
  • NC: IT Systems Development – NQF Level 5
  • NC: IT Systems Support - NQF Level 5
  • NC: Business Analysis Support Practice - NQF Level 5

Four provinces were involved:

  • Gauteng
  • Western Cape
  • Eastern Cape
  • KwaZulu Natal

The results are staggering, even in normal circumstances:

  • 568 youths aged 18 to 28 trained
  • 485 successfully graduated (85%)
  • 276 graduates employed (57%)

Given the high levels of unemployment in South Africa and a pandemic disrupting economy’s globally, this is an initiative to be truly proud of.

To all our partners, we thank you and to our graduates, we salute you.


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EOH provides comment on ENSafrica’s Steven Powell at the Commission

EOH Group Chief Executive Officer, Stephen van Coller

Steven Powell’s testimony at the Commission – 25 May 2021

EOH Group Chief Executive Officer, Stephen van Coller and EOH’s legal counsel, the ENSafrica’s head of the Forensics Department, Steven Powell initially provided testimony to the Commission in November 2020, related to irregular legacy EOH contracts. The ENSafrica investigation initiated in February 2019 at the new EOH Board's instruction, covered the period from 2015 to Stephen van Coller’s appointment in September 2018. Steven Powell’s recent testimony was a continuation of his initial testimony from November 2020, and a request by the Commission to provide additional information. It was during that testimony on the 25th of May 2021 that Steven Powell provided further clarity on wrong doings that occurred between 2014 and 2019.

The corruption modus operandi

This modus operandi as evidenced by the ENSafrica Forensic investigation has shown that often contracts were bid for and concluded below the value of the cost of delivery of the contract in order to secure the work. It is believed that the intention was for the perpetrators to open a contract account in EOH finance to submit invoices, in order to siphon off money. This was done, in many instances, before any payments had been received for the contract. More frequently than not, the payments made by EOH to sub-contractors for work not done were related to parties who were not even part of the tender process. ENSafrica’s view is that the perpetrators belief was that in the future they could get change orders signed off (work around the procurement requirements) and increase the contract amount to a reasonable level.

This contracting practise has cost EOH significantly as it has concluded the delivery of services under these problematic contract. Furthermore, almost R900m has been stolen from EOH through the siphoning process. The new EOH board and management faced enormous challenges and have had to work extra hard to repay R2bn of the R4bn legacy debt that was racked up due to poor management and looting. As previously reported, EOH has made significant progress and reported its first positive operating profit for the first half the 2021 financial year since the new Board and management took over. In addition, the process to create a permanent capital structure for EOH is well advanced and should be completed in the next 12 months. As has been disclosed extensively over the past two years, the new EOH management team has proactively engaged and co-operated with all authorities including the Hawks, Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), National Treasury, SARS and other law enforcement authorities. Furthermore, civil and criminal proceedings by EOH against implicated parties are underway to recover funds from parties who have been unlawfully enriched at the expense of EOH.

Department of Home Affairs ABIS (DHA) agreement awarded in 2015

Following the presentation to parliament on the 24 May 2021 of the Nexia SAB&T report findings into the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) AGSA Forensic Investigation regarding the appointment of EOH Mthombo (Pty) Ltd for the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), EOH wishes to provide clarity on this issue:

Stephen van Coller, EOH Group CEO said, “The Department of Home Affairs ABIS (DHA) agreement awarded in 2015, was to migrate from the Home Affairs National Information System (HANIS) to an automated biometric information system (ABIS). This was a critical project to consolidate citizens’ data and enable further digtisation of the Department of Home Affairs processes. This contract formed part of the initial problematic legacy contracts as identified in the ENSafrica forensic investigation initiated by the EOH Board in February 2019. At the time of discovery, the new EOH management team reported its concerns regarding the awarding of the contract to the Hawks and the FIC.

As acknowledged in the Nexia SAB&T forensic report, EOH fully cooperated with the investigation on information available to the Group at the time, and importantly EOH further initiated action to recover losses caused by the perpetrators of wrongdoing.

Background to the contract

The total contract value was c.R410 million. The contract bid was placed at R200m below the other competitors in order to secure the contract, allegedly based on leaked inside information. EOH has only received c.R282 million incl. VAT in payment for services rendered. To date, EOH has successfully delivered 51 of the 60 contracted milestones for phase 1 of the Project, which have been signed off and accepted by the DHA. EOH has further procured and built two data centres as contracted. In addition all contracted interfaces have been built and unit testing has been completed.

The remaining milestones in phase 2 were ceded to a the sub-contractor by EOH on 1 April 2021 following a proposal submitted by EOH to the DHA in March 2020. This has the required legislated approvals. As part of EOH’s commitment to deal with the past appropriately, EOH ensured the cession remains within the original budgeted expense and that the hand over is managed appropriately. This has been at EOH’s own cost. The project was unfortunately delayed for a number of reasons and in order to resolve the disputed issues, this now forms part of an ongoing arbitration process.

Accountability remains paramount

Said Stephen van Coller, EOH Group CEO, “The EOH independent forensic investigation itself is behind the group, and we have reported suspected fraud and corruption to the authorities and instituted legal proceedings where appropriate. We have also duly engaged the relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that anyone found guilty of wrongdoing will ultimately be held accountable for their actions.

We remain encouraged by the ongoing support and feedback we have received from all our stakeholders including our clients, our suppliers and our investors. I am especially appreciative of our c.6200 hardworking and honest people who were not part of these legacy issues and who have remained committed to staying the course and building the EOH of the future.”

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Integrated, customisable workforce management for today’s challenges

NEXTEC Security and Building Technologies (SBT) has been in operation for over 25 years, and although the name of the company may be new, NEXTEC SBT is still an EOH company. The NEXTEC Security and Building Technologies division focuses on providing integrated solutions to current challenges businesses face.

SBT provides end-to-end solutions for electronic security, CCTV, fire detection/suppression, audio visual, building management systems, Wi-Fi and LAN, structured cabling, and data centre/server rooms, as well as solutions for the Workforce Management vertical. The Workforce Management Division offers solutions integrating time and attendance (T&A), access control as well as health and safety solutions. It currently services over 600 clients, has a solid base across South Africa where it supplies its workforce management solutions as well as the Synerion product range.

Linda Glieman, business unit manager for Solutions at SBT, says the company is constantly innovating and developing new solutions to keep up with the changing workforce and markets. A significant part of its development is focused on integration with many of the access control, HR, and related technologies in the market, allowing it to provide a seamless solution to clients without limiting which products they can use. As an example, the company has integrated its solutions with biometric and traditional access solutions from companies like IDEMIA, Suprema, Impro, Gallagher, Hikvision, and others.

The SBT solution includes offering on-site, cloud, or hybrid workforce management solutions according to customers’ requirements. In addition, given the disruption caused by COVID-19, the company is geared to support mobile workforce management to include remote workers with its Synerion Mobile solution

Working remotely or in the office

Glieman says the mobility solutions it has available range from traditional T&A through to expensing and HR functionality to ensure that no management information is lacking just because people are not in the office. This includes collecting GPS location data, ensuring productivity is well managed.

The cloud service makes the entire solution simpler for the customer as SBT handles all the infrastructure challenges, backups, and any updates are immediately available. Maintenance is also simplified as technicians’ travel time to and from clients is dramatically reduced. All additional infrastructure services, on-site or in the cloud, including product development, are available from SBT, ensuring a cohesive integrated approach to solving clients’ needs.

Delivering a full, customised solution

With this approach, SBT can provide complex workforce management solutions with field and maintenance services integrated with electronic security, safety, and network technology equipment. A dedicated service operation centre manages contracts and service delivery according to client specifications and priority levels.

Of course, Glieman adds that many clients want to keep their solutions on premises, and SBT caters for this by allowing full on-site control and management. Its own developed S-QUBE and BES solutions are functionally rich and can be customised to meet the client's specific requirements. SBT has a dedicated development team that is backed by the extensive EOH iOCO Software Development Division.

Synerion is an international workforce management solution aimed at large enterprises, also offering a range of functions for corporate workforce management requirements, including cloud services. SBT offers this product along with all the services and backup support required.

Customisation services are available to each client, no matter which product they use, as well as bespoke development, to ensure the software and services integrate seamlessly into their environment.

“From time and attendance to occupancy-based scheduling features, absence management, operational health and safety, and payroll and HR integration, our comprehensive and efficient workforce management software platforms help optimise resources and productivity,” notes Glieman. “The integrated solutions we create are smart, resilient, and robust enough to operate in corporate offices as well as at mining and industrial operations. We connect people and buildings to data, information, processes, places, resources and each other.”

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