With Black Friday and Cyber Monday firmly behind us, the Christmas season is well and truly upon us. You just have to walk into any major retailer or shopping mall for confirmation – bedecked Christmas trees, tinsel, glitter and, of course, Boney M belting out their traditional seasonal hits.

And, as has become tradition at this time of the year, Channelwise opens its pages to the channel to send their annual wishes to that most famous of North Pole residents, Santa Claus.

This year, we also had the added incentive of a good bottle of Scotch for the most inspired submission. After much debate – many of the Westcon entries were in close contention – the team decided that it would make its way to Tobie van Schalkwyk from Duxbury Networking. Check his contribution out, he really does make an amazing Santa …


Pierre Spies, Pinnacle

These are my wishes:

What an eventful year we have had; with Brexit and Trump – who would have thought that? My first wish is that the world’s volatile economy will stabilise and settle down.

A repeat of a previous wish : We thought no electricity was a problem – imagine if we run out of water? We have had three years of drought and I wish for a fair amount of rain to break it … soon.

That the current international scourge which is terrorism could be eradicated once and for all.

I wish that we could wipe out all the fraud and corruption that is a blight on our awesome country.

On a lighter note, my wish of last year has not come true and I call on vendors to stop “over-trading” the market by appointing additional distributors, selling direct or signing up more and more direct resellers.

Finally, I wish each and everyone one of you peace, prosperity, and the happiest of New Years.


Uwe Brandkamp, Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa

This Christmas, I wish for:

* Some margin for the channel – it has been bloodbath this year moving towards 0, and no-one in the channel benefits from it;

* A stable exchange rate so we can get some normality into purchasing decisions – I have seen some deals on the table for more than a year;

* Improved growth in our economy – averting a ratings downgrade may be a good start to help this along;

* I would say the top three wishes also apply to our neighbouring economies but they also need foreign currency availability – it has been a tough year for our neighbours and there is a good amount of pent up demand; and

* More time for family, friends, and getting out to see our beautiful country.


Craig Brunsden, AxizWorkgroup

Dear Santa – Would a stable rand be too much to ask for? I know you must be busy this time of year but you must know people who can. Seriously, if the rand could just pick a number would make our lives in the channel much easier, albeit less exciting.

In 2016 we saw real evidence of the cloud. Not just words on a Powerpoint slide but real business applications and, more selfishly, channel models that work. It my wish in 2017 that more vendors deliver cloud programmes that resellers and distributions can embrace as profitable opportunities.

I wish for more creative and responsible ICT leadership in government. Surely South Africa can do better in using technology to solve some of our basics socio-economic challenges. We have so much potential, I hope we use it better.

I get the feeling that the channel is seen as important again and that we may be around for a while … I sincerely hope that continues in 2017.

I work for an amazing company, in such an exciting industry with so many good people, I can only hope that 2017 delivers more of the same to our channel. Please Santa?


Ian McAlister, CRS Technologies

This year, I wish for:

A thick skin;

A crystal ball;

32 hours in a day;

Stability in South Africa; and

A bottle of Johnny Walker Black.


Ernest Kleynhans, Assimilated Information Systems

My Christmas wishes are:

I will settle for a clone while we crack the secrets to time travel;

Can’t we all just get along …

Good health;

Financial stability for everyone; and

The absence of a cluttered, unfocused and fragmented mind.


Fred Saayman, Pinnacle

This year, I wish for:

World peace;

Lots of Huawei sales in 2017 for Pinnacle; and

Really good red wine for Christmas


Guy Whitcroft, Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa

This Christmas, I wish for the following:

I don’t know about all the beauty queens wishing for world peace – I’ll settle for world sanity: Trump/Hillary in the US, Brexit in the UK/EU and the stuff that you couldn’t make up that we read about every day. If the US voters were shareholders (as, in effect, they are) they should fire the board (their party leaderships) for putting up those two candidates for CEO. On Brexit, nothing has changed since June 24, except that the pound has weakened and UK growth has been higher than expected. Why, then, the gloom and weak currency? Of course the UK can, if it comes to that, negotiate decent trade agreements – it’s the fifth or sixth (depending on relative pound/Euro exchange rate) largest economy in the world. And as for the daily goings-on in South Africa: as I said, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

I’m also wishing for decent rains in our part of the world. If things get much worse, I won’t even be able to come to Joburg to shower (I live in Cape Town, and we’ve had big problems with water this summer). Maybe all our talk of cloud will bring rain.

On a more serious note: please can vendors stop being so short-termist and instead start working strategically? Just as one cuckoo does not a spring make, one quarter does not a year break. It seems to have become worse since the global economy slowed. The whole channel is doing the best they can, so let’s work together on providing the best solutions to our customers’ needs.

Of course, we’d also all like much bigger margins, but I guess we’ll have record snow before that happens (wistful harking back to times BC – Before this Century).

And lastly, I’m sure we’re all wishing for our economy to regain a decent growth rate in 2017.


Max Stone, Pinnacle

This Christmas, I wish for:

Lots of rain;

A stable rand; and

A Springbok win


Netshield South Africa’s Marien Dreckmeyr, Inus Dreckmeyr, Nadia Hill and Ashton Midgley

The Netshield team has these wishes for Santa:

New ID numbers, preferably starting with a 2 – especially for our bosses, Inus and Marien, who never act their age;

A comfortable couch for the sales office, to take a well-deserved nap on because we believe thoroughly in the concept of “work hard, play hard”;

Orders, orders, orders – not those from the boss; those that bring in money!

Good rains for the whole of South Africa to relieve still badly-stricken drought areas; and

Peace and prosperity for all, and unity for this beautiful Rainbow Nation.


Muggie van Staden, Obsidian Systems

My wishes are:

* World peace;

* A piece of the world (more purchase orders);

* Procurement awarding on most value, not cheapest price;

* More collaboration between vendors, resellers and customers to collectively realise more value for all; and

* More open standards, across technologies.


Kyle Woolf and Greg de Chasteauneuf, Saicom Voice Services

Our wishes this Christmas are for:

A new president;

A stronger, less volatile rand;

Fibre to every home and business in the country;

Elves who will read all our email for us; and

A world where Father and Mother Christmas have no pay disparity.

Ralph Berndt, Syrex

My wishes this year are:

Rain, rain and rain;

More holiday time with my wife and boys;

Winning the American Powerball Lotto for Christmas; and

Continued health and happiness for everyone I know.


Tobie van Schalkwyk, Duxbury Networking

For Christmas this year, I wish for:

A Supermand Lava lamp;

BB8 sphero;

The ability to understand other people;

A drone;

No traffic; and

A helicopter


Claude Schuck, Veeam

This year, I hope I get:

A GoPro Karma Drone – best new toy in the world to capture life and family;

Backup and recovery for the human body – rid everyone from terminal illness, just restore back to healthy and you’re good to go;

A recording of “I told you so” to share with customers who come back begging for help after an availability outage; and

Predictable currency – providing stability for country and customer budgets.


Bridget Nkuna, Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa

I wish for:

A new president;

The rand to strengthen;

School shoes for every child who needs them;

Someone to sing to old people in old age homes and hug them; and

To be whisked away to some beautiful island.


Heinz Stephan, Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa

My Christmas wish list is:

Another day added on to the week as part of the weekend;

Email to die – phones and WhatsApp will suffice;

Have at least half or more of next year where positive news outweighs the negative;

Rain every day for at least an hour, or an aggregate catch-up during the week; and

The Santa coming down my chimney this year must be a girl.


Andrew Potgieter, Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa

This Christmas, I have the following wishes:

A safe and secure festive season for all;

To all travelling on holiday, safe travels and returns;

A more stable economy with growth in 2017;

Hoping that the digital gifts we give and receive don’t become part of a 2017 IoT DDoS attack; and

Wishing that the stresses and turmoil of 2016 will be equalled and bettered by the blessing and peace in 2017.


Louise Taute, Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa

My Christmas wishes are:

Number one … of course will be “peace on earth”;

Resellers to fully adopt digital transformation that includes the Comstor technologies and services offering;

Unwrapping of the Meraki offering –Comstor is the only disti in the SADC region;

Self-improvement – including looking at where VMware can accelerate growth;

A more predictable ROE – yes please; and

That my little black party dress still fits me after Christmas


Tiens Lange, Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa

What I wish for is:

A stable rate of exchange;

Stock always being available from vendors, not just at their quarter-ends;

Improved forex availability in African countries and for the growth and investment of business not to be hampered by the lack of available dollars;

A house in the bushveld; and

Our dams to be full of water again, good crops for our farmers and enough water for our animals


Gary Carter, Dac Systems

My Christmas wish list is:


Interesting times next year (every time I mutter this statement, my staff cringe as it seems to always happen);

A corruption-free, decentralised government, using blockchain technology to ensure indisputable contractual promises;

“Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done”; and

I wish you all a merry Christmas.