Hasmukh Gajjar - Chairperson, ZADNA

Dr. Gajjar, a graduate from the University of Cape Town, practiced as a medical doctor for twelve years. In 1987, in partnership with Rasheed Hargey, Hasmukh launched HNR Computers. HNR became one of the pioneers in black economic empowerment in the Information Technology industry and was appointed by WordPerfect Corporation as their distribution partner for southern Africa. HNR Computers established itself as the premier software distributor with WordPerfect as its flagship product. Through pioneering marketing and customer support, HNR stormed onto the SA market.

When WordPerfect established its own office in South Africa in 1992, Dr. Gajjar was to head its African operation. He served as country manager for WordPerfect for two years before Novell acquired WordPerfect in the USA. He then served Novell for another two years as its Marketing Director and Groupware Product Manager.

During his stint with Novell, Dr. Gajjar became one of the founding members of the Black Information Technology Forum, Western Cape. He was elected Chairman of its first executive. Dr. Gajjar was also appointed as the Chairperson of the National BITF in May 1999.

In 1996 Dr. Gajjar and his colleagues started their own venture in Cape Town, Ndizani Technologies. Dr Gajjar left Ndizani Technologies in October 1997 when he was appointed as the non-executive chairman of Vodacom Group (Pty) Ltd.

He devoted his time at Vodacom on a full time basis and successfully steered the organization into its continued phenomenal growth. Vodacom became Dr Gajjar’s first major organizational change management experience. Promotion of shareholder congruency in strategic matters, improved relationship between shareholders and management and Vodacom’s vastly improved interaction with government were some key outcomes of his tenure. Addressing the needs of the economically marginalized consumers was a strategic emphasis promoted by Dr Gajjar within the organization. Appointed for two years, Dr. Gajjar left Vodacom in March 2000 after having spent twenty-seven months at Vodacom as its Chairman.

In April 2000 he was appointed as the President of the Black Business Council at a time when Government began formulating policy and legislating, the Black Economic Empowerment Act. In 2000 Dr Gajjar joined the J&J Group as an Executive overseeing J&J’s technology investments.

Dr. Gajjar was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Consilience Technologies (Pty) Ltd in 2001, a J&J led initiative in partnership with Tata. When the J&J led consortium acquired a 30% stake in Faritec in April 2003, Dr Gajjar joined Faritec as Deputy CEO, representing and managing the J&J interest. Dr Gajjar continued to represent J&J in various portfolios as an executive until February 2011.

Since March 2011 Dr Gajjar undertakes strategy work for J&J Group as a non-executive. He is also initiating a non-profit organization (FYMT) focused on how the ubiquitous cellular infrastructure and devices can be smartly leveraged to promote socio-economic service delivery.

In March 2011 Dr Gajjar joined Silulo Communications, where he was the founding partner and executive chairman. Silulo Communications was a joint venture between Dr Gajjar and Silulo Ulutho Technologies. The purpose of this venture was to create a nation wide chain of digital lifestyle centers for consumers who may only have a mobile device as their sole access device. This venture was undertaken by integrating the Vodacom business into an existing chain of digital stores. Dr Gajjar was based and operated from Khayelitsha for almost two years.

Free Your Mind Technologies is currently rolling out a chain of stores that are positioned to serve those who only posses a mobile device. These stores provide products and services that promote a full digital lifestyle through integrating the mobile device to integrated fixed devices and services such as printing and storage of documents and images, office support functions and training and education.

Free Your Mind Technologies (FYMT) is also exploring and aggregating products and services to create and distribute content on mobile devices that support learners in the secondary schools in South Africa. This initiative is being undertaken by Dr Gajjar to express a natural inclination to undertake development work and is being established as a philanthropic endeavor

Outside of his executive role at J&J, Dr Gajjar participates in numerous ICT and other related forums.

Dr Gajjar has thus developed skills and expertise in change management specifically in transforming organizations in South Africa as dictated by the economic and developmental imperatives of South Africa. His experience over the past 22 years in the information technology sector has converged with his stint in Vodacom as a mobile operator and additional interaction with role players in the communications sector. His role as chairman of .za Domain Name Authority has promoted an understanding of the internet and its ongoing evolution as a significant factor to be considered in the convergence of fixed and mobile technologies and the role all of these can play, outside of commercial opportunities, in the development of emerging economies and countries, especially Africa. eLearning and eHealth and their developmental and commercial impacts are of particular interest to Dr Gajjar.

Previously spoke at:

iWeek 2013

iWeek 2012

Company website: