CIO SA Tech news roundup: South African software engineers take up roles overseas, and Elon Musk sued for backing out of Twitter deal


South African engineers opting to work for international firms

Local companies seeking world-class local software engineers are losing out to Europe, and many of these engineers do not even need to leave the country – they are taking advantage of the hybrid working model, which allows them to earn large sums of money from the comfort of their own homes.

“Being able to choose where your ‘office’ is has opened up amazing opportunities for local developers,” says Stephen van der Heijden, VP Community at OfferZen. “Between 2019 and 2022 we’ve seen a 14 percent decrease in the number of South African developers looking to move abroad and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this number continue to drop.”

“Our State of the Software Developer Nation Report found that nine out of 10 South African developers already work in some kind of remote setup: 51 percent fully remotely, 41 percent in a hybrid environment, and only eight percent still holding down a traditional office job,” Stephen adds.

4IR project to address youth unemployment

4Sight Holdings, an IT services management firm, has launched an ambitious pilot programme that will provide 50 young South Africans with specialised training in Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies over the course of 18 weeks.

According to the company, certification from the programme will guarantee employment. Tracy Short, 4Sight’s COO, estimates that the total cost of this pilot will be close to R10 million. “To realise the potential of the 4IR, we desperately need a deep pipeline of talent with the right skills. At present they are in short supply, which is the reason we are prepared to invest so heavily in this project,” she says.

“Our learning programmes will contribute to addressing the skills gaps in our industry, and 4Sight will become the first place people will turn to learn more about careers, develop new skills and retrain for new positions,” she adds.

The programme has been designed to maximise success, and 4Sight says it has been fortunate to receive the support of various partners, who have contributed significantly with rigorous recruitment and screening of potential candidates, equipment for participant training, a discount on the facility where the training will take place, and 12 weeks of technical training.

Huawei big cloud investment

Huawei South Africa has announced that its third data centre availability zone will go live three years ahead of schedule, as well as its $5.8 million (R100 million) Cloud Spark programme, which will help more than 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) over the next three years.

Both announcements are part of Huawei Cloud’s “Everything as a Service” strategy, which is being implemented both locally and globally.

Jay Zhou, MD, Huawei Cloud South Africa, explained at the Huawei Eco-Connect event last week at the Sandton Convention Centre that the Everything as a Service approach combines traditional cloud offerings such as Infrastructure as a Service, Technology as a Service, and Expertise as a Service.

While traditional IT infrastructure investment has decreased, cloud computing investment has increased by 32 percent in South Africa. According to Huawei, this expansion has allowed the company to continue expanding its availability zones (AZs) in South Africa. After opening its first in 2019, the third AZ will cut cloud latency in half to 20 minutes. Huawei also acknowledges that it is critical that SMEs benefit from Huawei Cloud’s vision as well as corporations. This is one of the motivations behind the Cloud Spark initiative.

Twitter sues billionaire Elon Musk

According to a court filing, Twitter has sued Elon Musk for breaching the $44 billion (R748 billion) deal to buy the social media platform and has asked a Delaware court to order the world’s richest person to complete the merger at the agreed $54.20 (R918) per Twitter share.

Elon apparently believes that, unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law, he is free to “change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday.

Twitter shares fell to $34.06 (R578) on Tuesday, down from more than $50 (R853) when the deal was approved by the company’s board in late April.

The social media giant has for years stated in regulatory filings that it believes about five percent of the accounts on the platform are fake. Musk also claims that Twitter violated the acquisition agreement by firing two top executives and laying off a third of its talent acquisition team.

Twitter stated that it negotiated to have language in the merger agreement removed that would have made such firings a violation of ordinary course requirements.

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