FOUNDER OF SA'S WEBNET SELLS HIS STAKE TO WOMEN, INCLUDING NIECE

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   Saths Moodley, a co-founder of Webnet, had decided to empower women in information and communications technology (ICT) by selling his 45 percent stake in the company for an undisclosed amount, he said. Webnet, an ICT solutions company, was started five years ago by Moodley, Granny Seape and Thembi Tambo.

  The two women and new shareholder Natasha Moodley, his niece, will acquire 100 percent ownership of Webnet. Saths Moodley said the sector was dominated by men and it took courage to take the big step in awarding women ownership of an ICT company. The decision to give up his stake was not difficult, he said, because women at Webnet had contributed more to the company than men since its inception.

  "I voted with my head and used my ideological meanings. Men hold on to power for too long and we need to give way for new blood. That is how companies grow," he said. The firm, which recorded a R22 million turnover last year, is a managed partner of Hewlett-Packard, which is Webnet's biggest international supplier.

  Moodley said the company was forecast to grow between 25 percent and 30 percent this year. He would continue to lead the company as managing director. Moodley said that he had been given a mandate to look at a number of projects, including a plan to acquire a stake in a small IT firm.

  This deal would be finalised in the next two weeks. He would also manage a new government project and oversee an internal training and skills development programme. Moodley said the company would not be listing at the JSE Securities Exchange any time soon. "As a private company we've done well and retained control."

  The company has a permanent staff of 15 and its clients include government departments, Total South Africa, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cell C and some of the government education and training sectors. Earlier this year Webnet lost a tender worth about R24 million with the SA Revenue Service to Comparex Africa. Moodley said he felt Webnet should have won the tender but "through the process we have learned a lot".

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