It’s just been bought by the government, but who is Portnet Software?

Victor Mukandatsama Avatar
Portnet Stand

Recently, a little-known company Portnet Software was acquired by the State’s internet provider, ZARNet, in a move that further strengthens the government’s direct participation in ICTs. This comes a few weeks after the ICT Ministry disclosed plans to set up an Infrastructure Company that consolidates infrastructure from state enterprises hot on the heels of the almost concluded sharing rules.

There is much suspicion on the drivers for this deal including a section of readers that think it was created to give business to “friends of the government”. After all, Zarnet could not afford such a deal if the results of its audit by the Comptroller General are anything to go by (it registered a $290,000 loss in 2013)

At the same time, people asked, Why Portnet? There is no story really with Zarnet as any business can have a shelf company for future business. Imagine if Econet had reserved the Ecobank name locally, they would have easily kept the “Eco” prefix.

I am not aware of the selection process for the company to buy into but I can confirm that Zimbabwe has three SAP partners which are Portnet Software, Devoted Business Solutions (a Twenty Third Century Systems affiliate) and Greenview Investments (mainly an SAP Education Partner) is the last. They are all silver partners.

Twenty Third Century Systems is a Gold Partner but is not listed under Zimbabwe. So the government has these three to choose from and only Portnet seems to have the strong market presence.

Portnet’s claim to fame

It is an SAP Value Added Service Silver level Reseller of at least 7 SAP modules. Its partnership licence allows it to implement, Service and Support SAP solutions. Prior to being an SAP partner, it was a Sybase partner before Sybase became a division of SAP.

Portnet Software is in itself only part of the larger Portnet Corporation, an all round ICT solutions provider in operation since 2002. In terms of market share, locally it has provided SAP solutions to the Ministry of Finance, ZIMRA, Public Service Commission and NRZ. Regionally it has the same solutions in the Zambian Finance and Defense Ministries and Zambia Electricity Supply Commission.

In addition to SAP, it is a Microsoft enterprise product vendor giving it the ability to provide the robust backend and the case-by-case front end system. ZIMRA has one such setup for its e-services platform. Its developed solutions include HR & Payrolls Software, Billing Systems and Help Desk Software, Records systems, POS Systems. It also focuses on web development solutions.


  1. itworks

    in pics Tafara and Mary have since left Portnet, a company without employees

  2. Ronald

    Zimra and Ministry of Finance (PFMS) projects are been implemented by Twenty Third Century Systems may be Portnet is also a sub contractor on the projects.

  3. chituta

    Hmm, perhaps I am being too demanding, but where is the meat in the matter? I thought I was going to get substantial insight into who Portnet is, not a whiff of it.

    1. Nyatimhenyu

      my exact sentiments, @ chatter

    2. Nyatimhenyu

      my exact sentiments, @ chituta

  4. tinm@n

    Portnet isnt a “little-known company”.

    If you’re active in the sector, you will know that it’s best known for sales & distribution of various types of hardware.

    To many, it is the involvement in SAP that came as a surprise and is “little-known”

  5. Chuchu

    Of course portnet was once a big corporation, but not anymore. Its more like a white elephant in the IT sector, its primarily being led by two people who once had companies that are now under liquidation, how can two blind people lead ea h other?

  6. Okech

    TechZim should just have said no one knows why Zarnet bought Portnet and that like in any other sector there is information asymmetry in Zimbabwe. This is wasteful expenditure of national resources that are scarce. If Zimbabweans knew that they have certain rights this deal would be under serious scrutiny for cancellation. How can a loss making organisation acquire another seemingly dying company?

  7. Okech

    Chuchu, in Zimbabwe the blind have been leading the blind for many years since 1990, when compared to say Kenya, which had the same GDP as Zimbabwe then?

    TechnoMag, please correct the impression given when you broke the news about the purchase. Zarnet is not listed as an IAP on Potraz website. In this article you now say Zarnet is the government internet services provider? So does Zarnet want to go into software?

    Techzim, if you know the guys at TTCS, why not encourage them to buy Zarnet, then government and the country get even better service, not these half backed ideas. The purchase of Zarnet by TTCS then kills the idea of Zarnet wanting to do another impossible feat – the acquisition of Telecel, which Telecel subscribers should resist with their dollars?

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