Fake IT services and products on the rise

Irene Shone - BG Correspondent
Monday, 10 December 2018
Fake IT services and products on the rise

Concerns over increase of counterfeit IT services and solutions in Botswana’s market space are real and due to low level of awareness are reportedly both a business and health hazard.

General Manager of Tarsus Distribution, SADC Region, Johannes Groenewald says that through their branch in Botswana, they are hands-on to raise awareness on technology, to ensure that genuine suppliers use genuine products. “We engaged enterprise customers and government institutions as well as partners in the country to assist them in identifying the kind of problems that they have in their environment from IT infrastructure and IT Solutions,” he said in an interview with BG Business, saying they have just introduced Dell and Microsoft as strategic partners.

This, Groenewald says will help them transform the IT environment and infrastructure in Botswana. He further said that they are currently working with the vendors to help them invest in IT solutions.  He reiterated that they want to provide solutions to customers at a cost effective price and in a professional way. “Once we have identified solutions, we would be identifying customers to consult and implement,” he said. Branch Manager in Botswana, Thabang Molapisi also clarified that their warehouse deals with brands like HP, Lenovo and Dell. He highlighted that most often, they experience situations in which HP brand toners are counterfeit and compactable. He clarifies that they assist supply companies that do tenders to make sure that they provide genuine IT solutions.

Molapisi told BG Business that they conduct anti-counterfeit workshops in which they engage the youth, government, and private sectors. “We want to raise awareness because we have realised that most people in this industry don’t have skills for technology updates,” he said.

He added that this they do to enable genuine suppliers to check if they have proper solutions for their supplies. “Botswana takes pride out of these awareness lessons since we help the youth companies. We have observed that the young people do not know technology nor funding and consultation,” he said.

He added that they help the youth to complete tenders, supply and even get funding at institutions like CEDA, Ticano Group as well as banks. This is to make sure that there is business continuation because business stops once a tender is cancelled. This initiative works under an impression of citizen empowerment, as it operates as a 100 percent local citizens’ sales warehouse. Molapisi says that he appreciates the fact that Botswana staff is sent to South Africa for training, from time to time.

On the other hand, Groenewald applauded Botswana for the IT community that is well represented and keen to develop. He urged the government to be open to engage in their workshops in order to make sure that they buy smart and great. This he said, pointing out that they have also engaged Botswana Police to train them and they have proven that there are issues of counterfeit in IT solutions provision.

He further said that it is important to be transparent because selling wrong solutions break trust in the field, therefore they want to build trust and be transparent in every possible way. “In Botswana, the big problem with counterfeit, lies especially with HP suppliers,” he reiterated saying that this could cause an environmental problem because the fake toners usually have a dangerous powder that cannot be seen with a naked eye but rather affects health. “This could be dangerous to the customers and the client, which is why education on this matters is necessary,” he said

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