MAREDI TECHNOLOGIES PROVIDES ICT MAGIC

Established in 2005 and trading since 2010, the 100% black-owned Maredi Technologies prides itself on the vast number of ICT infrastructure services it offers to clients, both in the public and private sectors

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Focused on providing turnkey solutions, which are cost-effective and operationally efficient, Maredi Technologies was born from one man’s desire to build a legacy that will make a generational impact in the ICT space.

”Maredi Technologies is not just about building a successful business, it is about charting out a new trajectory for redefining and reshaping ideas we have about technology and innovation. When I was still a young boy, I knew I didn’t want to finish school, only to find myself working for someone else. I bought into the idea of being the master of my fate, the captain of my soul and I knew I wanted to be able to make a mark. The possibilities of what I could accomplish and the journey I could curve out for myself has created an interesting life so far,” says Maredi Thema, the Managing Director of Maredi Technologies.

Upon completing his tertiary education, Thema came across Telkom, which was recruiting at the time. The offer looked impressive and he started his career with the company in 1999.

“This is where I learnt my trade, working as a technician at the time. But I knew then already that in the long term, this wasn’t the job for me and I found myself drawn to project management. One day, an opportunity caught my eye and I moved on to another company where I was employed first as a Sales Engineer and then as the Sales Manager. This is also where I first noticed a gap in the market, and this is when I decided to start my own company,” he says.

The dream for Maredi Technologies continues to grow, as Thema hopes to, one day, see the company offer its clients a one-stop shop ICT experience. At present, the company provides a variety of ICT services and products and Thema believes that its biggest advantage is its ability to provide its clients with both.

“The dream for me is still to see us providing customised solutions in line with our partnership model with our customers. Currently, we operate in three segments—Telecoms, IT and Last Mile solutions or end-user experience. Primarily, we design, build, optimise and maintain networks,” he says.

For him, it is of particular importance that Maredi Technologies continues to become known in the industry as the partner of choice in the ICT sector. Just as important is recognition of the company’s efforts in becoming a preferred employer. Thema is hard at work fostering a culture of integrity, service excellence, performance, social responsibility, passion and innovation.

“I take the company’s values and mission quite personally, probably because I wrote them myself. But for me, what it really means is that we are working hard to build a company that operates on a partnership model with our customers. They should know they can call us anytime and we will continue to make sure we always provide services that give value for money at all times,” he says.

Health and safety are other special focus areas for the company, eliminating all the risks that may be encountered in the working environment. As the government continues to put in place new and revised regulations, Maredi Technologies continues to ensure that all employees are protected.

“The line of work we do follows construction health and safety standards. It is high risk, with height, buildings and driving vehicles involved. It is a priority to keep these standards high and our policy has been structured to minimise incidents.

“With everything that we do, there is always a proper risk assessment involved and we employ a full-time health and safety officer. We put a high emphasis on the implementation of our HSE policy and it is one of my key performance areas as the MD of the company,” says Thema.

Already successful in providing clients with excellent service and employees with a safe, nurturing environment to grow and learn, Thema is proud of what the Maredi team has managed to achieve so far.

“We have been able to attract and maintain relationships with a number of major clients, including one of South Africa’s biggest telecom giants. Our current staff complement is around 30 people and, of course, our seven years of existence is, for me, also a huge achievement. Not everyone lasts this long and so I do think we need to celebrate that we’re still here,” he says.

Thema has ambitions of building a billion Rand company, one that will make a huge impact in terms of employment in the country, and a company name that resonates with prospective clients as their ICT partner of choice.

“It’s also about building a sustainable business and growing from strategic partnerships with like-minded companies. I would love to be able to employ as many as possible and contribute to South Africa’s employment. We have a great responsibility as leaders to see beyond just making profits for our businesses. We need to see our roles in the society we work in as an opportunity to create good for its members. My goal has been more than just being an innovator and disruptor, my existence in this space has a clear objective—I want make to make a difference,” he says.

As a small company, Thema does, however, find access to the market a significant challenge in taking his business forward.

“People are often reluctant to let you in and even if they do, they still want to keep you small. Once you do manage to break into the market, there are various levels you need to navigate, and you need to accept that the market determines your growth at that time. It can be quite disheartening, and sometimes you do struggle to balance this with the skills you need to keep going. Access to money can also be difficult and money is ­significant when it comes to taking your business to the next level,” Thema explains.

As MD and captain of his ship, Thema’s previous technical experience has gone a long way towards preparing him for his current role, giving him both the technical knowledge and sales experience needed to perform his duties.

“Both my formal and informal education have added great value in terms of preparing me to lead a company. I have also built a strong team around me, which helps me to execute my functions more easily. My tech know-how helps, I’m an engineer, so I do have a good background, and then, of course, the sales experience has given me the exposure of how a business should be run. And even now, as the MD, I’m still the company’s chief sales person,” he says.

Thema is in the process of completing a business management leadership qualification and is in his third year, placing just as much stock in his formal education as he does with his informal experience. “Together these things add to my life and play a big role in determining how I do things,” he says.

For Thema, leadership is about empowering the people around him, preferring not to do everything himself, and he takes the time to groom people appropriately so that they are accountable to each other.

“I just think it’s better when both parties know and understand the other person’s expectations. I don’t have to micro-manage. I prefer to let my staff be and trust that they will deliver on my wishes. I also have an open door policy and anybody is allowed to have access to me. But don’t just throw problems at me, because the first thing I will ask is what do you think? And have you spoken to your manager?” he says.

“I also love to mentor people but when you see yourself as a mentor, you have to be careful what you say because you could end up changing someone’s life. People listen and they will take in whatever you say. You could be all they have and they’re looking for inspiration.

“A favourite quote of mine is that support and motivation don’t come as hugs all the time. We may not always have a pleasant conversation and we may have to arm wrestle sometimes to sort something out,” he concludes. 

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