Mandla Msimang, has more than 12 years experience in ICT policy and regulation having worked in both ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) and its predecessor SATRA (South African Telecommunication Regulatory Authority) where she held increasingly senior roles from Advisor to the Deputy Chairman of SATRA to Senior Manager, Policy & Research with ICASA. She moved into the private sector where she was Senior Manager: Policy & Regulatory Affairs within a new Mobile operator in South Africa. Her experience in SATRA / ICASA has equipped her with an understanding of the requisite structural changes necessary to ensure that an ICT regulatory authority is equipped to meet the rapidly changing environment within which it operates. As the regulatory interface between a private operator and the regulator, she also understands the expectations of external stakeholders and their impact on the Authority’s structure and activities.
After completing her studies and receiving an MSc in Utility Regulation, at the London School of Economics (LSE), Mandla returned to South Africa and formed Pygma Consulting.
In addition to her experience on both sides of the regulatory equation – regulator and operator – she has extensive consulting experience in South Africa, where her clients have included both public and private players in the ICT sector. Beyond South Africa she has provided advice and guidance to various public and private clients in the Middle East and on the continent including, Tanzania, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.
In addition to her MSc in Utility Regulation, she has a BA (with Distinction) from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.
Keeping up with the rapid pace of technology is a challenge. However, finding ways of applying technology to improve socio-economic development – regardless of what the latest technology, device or gadget is – is always rewarding. Also, seeing project recommendations and policy proposals that we have developed being practically implemented and knowing the impact on the ICT sector and beneficiaries of the sector makes my work interesting.
As an entrepreneur as well as an ICT regulatory practitioner, an exciting challenge (and opportunity) relates to managing a growing consulting firm, and working on a broad range of often diverse projects at one time.
After doing a Bachelor of Arts as my undergraduate degree (Cornell University), I went on to do an MSc in Regulation (Utilities) at the London School of Economics. I specialised in Telecommunications Regulation.
A profession in the ICT sector provides an opportunity to combine technology innovation with social and economic impact. The ICT sector is unique in that due to the fast pace of change, youth is an advantage! In many ways, it is young people who are best placed to understand technology, its impact and its potential. In addition, the sector is cross cutting and so ICT skills, especially in the area of policy and regulation which is my focus, can be applied in many sectors – e-health, e-education, e-governance…the possibilities are endless.