Sunday, December 31, 2006


Todays post was taken from the Business Warrior site ( where it was posted by Sharon H of LIGHTwise designs.
The message is very clear - ALWAYS BE POSITIVE!
With that thought in mind, I would like to wish you all a joyous and prosperous New Year. May the Gods (whomever you perceive them to be) grant you all, health, wealth and prosperity in great abundance!
See you all tomorrow!
Thoughts for 2007

Once upon a time there was a bunch of tiny frogs.... who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.
A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants.... The race began.... Honestly: No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.
You heard statements such as: "Oh, WAY too difficult!!"
"They will NEVER make it to the top." or:
"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"
The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one.... Except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher.... The crowd continued to yell, "It is too difficult!!!
No one will make it!" More tiny frogs got tired and gave up....
But ONE continued higher and higher and higher.... This one wouldn't give up! At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!
THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it? A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal? It turned out....
That the winner was DEAF!!!!
The wisdom of this story is: Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic.... because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you -- the ones you have in your heart!
Always think of the power words have. Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions!
Therefore: ALWAYS be.... POSITIVE!
And above all: Be DEAF when other people tell you that you cannot fulfill your dreams..because you know you ARE!

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Wow! What on earth is this man doing teaching? What on earth is the Department of Education doing employing this kind of person? What on earth is the Principal doing, that this kind of problem has been allowed to go unchecked for a whole year?

Yes I agree children need to be disciplined, but they also need to be nutured and built up. We need to teach and lead by example! This kind of behavior just tells them that it is okay to insult people and disrespect them!

My goodness, perhaps it is time that we go back to grass roots and look at what we are doing to the school system, what we are doing to the kids that are being taught - remember these children are the future of our country and that needs to be kept in mind at all times.


Johan Schronen
December 09 2006 at 12:25PM
A teacher accused of calling his pupils "scum of the earth" and "dregs of society" before refusing to be in their official class photo, was forced to apologise during a special assembly. Ben Jordaan, a Grade 7 teacher at Table View Primary School in Cape Town, was also accused of manhandling one of the pupils and shoving him from the classroom during an altercation. But this week Jordaan dismissed the issue as a "storm in a teacup". He said: "I did shove a pupil out of the class and I did not appear in their class photo, but that was because they could not find me in the school at the time.
"It was not intentional. I was busy with a task in another room," he said. However, several pupils told Weekend Argus Jordaan had told them before the photo session that he would not be in the photograph as he did not want to be associated with them. "I've apologised to the child who I was supposed to have hurt and every one is now happy," Jordaan said. He denied insulting his pupils, but conceded: "I did say that children without ambition would end up begging on street corners with cardboard signs hanging around their necks. "School principal Kobus Smit said the relationship between Jordaan and his pupils had been "problematic and uncomfortable" the whole year and things came to a head last week when a parent took up the issue with the school. He confirmed that Jordaan had apologised to the Grade 7 pupils and to an individual pupil during an assembly. "But we've addressed the problem internally and everyone is happy," Smit said. Education department spokesperson Paddy Attwell said shoving a child out of a classroom with physical force would be "viewed as assault", but declined to comment on the allegations at Table View Primary before knowing the merits of the case. "It's always difficult to get to the truth of a classroom matter where emotions often run high between teachers and pupils. "Jordaan said that the pupils had given him a difficult year. "The ones who gave me trouble were not necessarily children with poor academic ability, but those with behavioural problems."

This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Argus on December 09, 2006


Oh dear, not a good way to encourage votes and/or money from "pink" voters! It never fails to amuse that the word "Democracy" means so many different things to so many different people. The case in question obvioulsy means that there should be democracy for the Traditional Leaders and with that goes the right for men to have several wives (but not the other way around you understand), but obviously the Traditional Leaders don't feel that gays and lesbians should even have one legitimized spouse!

Smacks of "do as I tell you and don't do as I do" to me!

Thankfully, the bill was in fact passed and gays and lesbians now have the right to wallow in wedded bliss, should they so desire.



October 27 2006 at 08:09AM

By Angela Quintal
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) has incurred the wrath of gay and lesbian activists, who on Thursday accused it of pretending homosexuality did not exist in African culture. This after the organisation - which is led by ANC MPs Patekile Holomisa and Mwelo Nkonyane - argued against the Civil Union Bill and the recognition of same-sex marriage as "unAfrican". The ANC is divided on the issue of same-sex marriage, although the bill is being piloted by the government in line with a Constitutional Court judgment.
In a submission to parliament earlier this week, Contralesa also called for a constitutional amendment to ensure such unions were not recognised in South African law. Nonhlanhla Mkhize of the Durban Gay and Lesbian Community and Health Centre said Contralesa had chosen to pretend that homosexuality did not exist in African culture and in doing so whitewashed the lived reality of African lesbian and gay people.
There is ample research illustrating African people have engaged in same-sex relationships throughout our history. "For example, in Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, bond friendships, ancestral wives, female husbands and male wives have existed for centuries as forms of same-sex relationships. All these relationships were accepted and respected in Africa before colonialism and apartheid. "In a submission to parliament, Contralesa argued that same-sex marriage was the unintended consequence of South Africa's Eurocentric and liberal constitution.
However, a national network of 17 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organisations, hit back on Thursday, saying the Contralesa submission was an affront. "Contralesa's attack on the constitution, the building blocks of a free and democratic society, illustrates a mindset amongst traditional leaders that is stuck in a patriarchal and homophobic past. "Contralesa claimed that gay and lesbian people should be treated with dignity, yet it referred to such people as "oddities" and a "problem" that needs "remedy", the statement said. It said the proposal to amend the constitution took the country a step backward. "True leaders lead with intellect and wisdom and not with ignorance and suppression. We need Contralesa to realise that as traditional leaders, they need to ensure that the influence of African traditional values is experienced through peaceful development in the modern South Africa," it said. Meanwhile, cabinet spokesperson Themba Maseko said the executive was monitoring the parliamentary passage of the bill "quite closely".
The Constitutional Court ruled in 2005 that a law recognising same-sex marriage should be on the statute books by December 1, or else the Marriage Act would automatically be read to provide for such unions.

This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Times on October 27, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Ok, so we all know that crime is through the roof here in South Africa. The Government keeps giving us statistics which would indicate that they are winning the war against crime, but then when you read the daily newspapers, it is quite evident that they are not winning anything, let alone the war on crime!

My problem here though, is this is an extremely violent crime, twice over - firstly the rape and then the murder of a young girl and it seems to have been committed by teenagers. What is happening to our youth, that their innocence has been lost at such a young age. That they are so angry at the world that they have to turn to such violence in order for them to exist?

If this is what we as a nation have to look forward to, going into the future - we are in serious trouble!



October 30 2006 at 12:00AM

A 15-year-old girl was raped, strangled and then dragged to a house in Pacaltsdorp, near George, where her body was dumped, Southern Cape police said on Sunday.
She was found lying outside the kitchen door by the house owner at 5am on Saturday, said spokesperson Ntobeko Mangqwengqwe.
Police arrested five boys, aged between 14 and 17, and expect to arrest a 20-year-old man in connection with the murder. "From what we have gathered, the boys took the girl to some house in the same area, where she was raped and killed."They then dragged her body all the way to the other house," said Mangqwengqwe.
Police are investigating a case of murder and rape. - Sapa

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cosatu is corrupt, says Sanco President

So now the "wars" start and who ultimately gets to finance the who sebang! Well you and I as the tax payers do of course - why would it be any different than usual. It will be interesting though as the fight hots up to see how everyone positions themselves at the start and where they end up - could be in a totally different corner to the one that they started in. I guess time will tell.



Boyd Webb
December 13 2006 at 12:00PM

The Congress of South African (SA) Trade Unions has been accused of corruption and trying to buy support to influence the SA National Civic Organisation's leadership election.
The claim was made by outgoing Sanco president Mlungisi Hlongwane on Tuesday at the start of the embattled civic organisation's national conference in Bloemfontein.
Hlongwane, who has come under fire from within his own organisation for his perceived support for President Thabo Mbeki, said Sanco would not take sides in the ANC's 2007 succession battle.
In a hard-hitting address to more than 1 000 delegates, Hlongwane, who was previously suspended for uttering statements not supported by the entire leadership, accused Cosatu of trying to buy Sanco's support.
"One sad political moment emerges that Cosatu will even be keen to fund the Sanco conference on condition that certain leaders must not be elected as Sanco leaders," he claimed.
It has been revealed that the Sanco conference was cut by a day due to financial problems.
Hlongwane blamed certain groups who had promised sponsorships for failing to honour their agreements at the last minute."Corruption is not only when people defraud or accept a bribe. It is counter-revolutionary political opportunism, and yes, corruption, when leaders offer cash bribes for political positioning," he told the stunned audience.Sanco is the orphan in the alliance with the ANC, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party - which is generally regarded as the tripartite alliance - because of the civic organisation's almost non-existent role.
Hlongwane questioned when last Sanco members heard Cosatu or the SACP shouting "Viva Sanco" at gatherings, and took exception to the alliance being referred to as the tripartite alliance, which necessarily excluded his organisation.
"Why does the leadership of Cosatu and the SACP at national level undermine their own national decision to assist in building Sanco, and yet have consistently since 2002 voiced their own dissatisfaction over Sanco being a part of the alliance?" he asked.
He said Sanco's revolutionary allies continued to treat the organisation with disdain, despite surveys that showed it was Sanco that held the fabric of the alliance together.
He said 29 percent of ANC members were also Sanco members compared to the 14 percent who were also Cosatu members and 16 percent who were SACP members.
"It tells us one thing, and that is Sanco can influence the outcome of the ANC elections in 2007," said Hlongwane.
He voiced his clear support for the ANC and in particular praised Mbeki, whom he described as the "most advanced and brilliant of cadres ever produced".
Hlongwane, who has long been viewed as a staunch Mbeki ally, recently came under fire for supporting calls for the president to stand for a third term.
His recent deployment as mayor in the Vaal region of Gauteng was seen by some as a reward for supporting Mbeki and for positioning Sanco as a neutraliser in an alliance where Cosatu and the SACP often criticise the government's delivery record.
Hlongwane made it clear that Sanco would not interfere in the ANC election process.
He said the ANC branches and its leadership would determine who leads the ruling party.
Pointedly referring to alliance partners, he said Sanco would never tolerate the burning of T-shirts bearing the face of any of its leaders and would refrain from fanning divisions within the ANC.
Cosatu on Tuesday night rejected the allegations, describing these as "totally absurd". Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven denied that the federation had ever offered to finance Sanco members in return for a certain vote.
Cosatu's first deputy president, Sdumo Dlamini, was expected to address the conference on Tuesday.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on December 13, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Oh Wow! Look what is being taught in the Univercities of today - how to perform fraud and corruption! This is what you send your children to learn! There is a saying that goes something along the lines of "Teach/lead by example". What are we teaching our children today - this is how to steal!

108 cases of fraud slpit amongst 6 people works out to an average of about 18 each - wonder if this is the whole story? Personally, I would say that there are more people involved in this little bit. Sounds to me like a little more digging needs to be done, with a whole lot more consequence!



Noloyiso Mchunu

December 06 2006 at 09:51AM

Six staff at the Durban University of Technology have been suspended, according to the recommendations of a forensic audit into fraud and corruption and fraud at the institution - reportedly amounting to millions of rands. DUT spokesperson Nomonde Mbadi said the university had instituted disciplinary hearings against two of the six staff and that more hearings had been scheduled for later in December.

The university called for the audit after allegations of fraud and corruption were made in 2005 to the institution's now dissolved council. Of the 108 cases investigated by audit firms KPMG and Amaface, 64 were reported in the findings, 26 were not pursued because of insufficient evidence and 18 were referred to the university management for action.

Mbadi said none of the implicated staff would be named because the process had not been finalised. A 397-page report released by DUT Administrator Jonathan Jansen in November revealed that several staff members had helped themselves to the institution's money. University computers had been used to mass-mail pornographic images, university vehicles had been used without accountability and contractors had been paid before work had been completed and, in some cases, for work not done at all. Irregularities were found in several administration departments, including human resources, payroll, procurement, maintenance, finance and student housing.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on December 06, 2006

Monday, December 25, 2006

SANDF cannot affor the "gravy train" trip

How appropriate - the "gravy train" on Christmas day! Seems like our Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is up her her old antics yet again and also interestingly enough - the results of Affirmative Action is also highlighted here.

How sad for us South Africans, on both points!



December 12 2006 at 04:43AM

By Boyd Webb and Angela Quintal
The cash-strapped South African National Defence Force cannot afford Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka's R4,55-million flight, according to Thandi Tobias, the National Assembly's defence committee chairperson.
"We are watching developments very closely. We are very worried what will happen if the (defence) department is forced to pay the R4,55-million with the financial situation it is already in," she said on Monday.The Auditor-General would no doubt give the SANDF another qualified audit "just when we thought we were getting the books on the right track", she said.
Tobias was responding to reports that the Deputy President had flown to the United Kingdom in a jet chartered from Switzerland at a cost of millions. Lekota, as Defence Minister, is responsible for providing President Thabo Mbeki and Mlambo-Ngcuka with air transport, courtesy of the South African Air Force for official business.
Lekota did not authorise the cost of the trip. Tobias said she would be taking a keen interest in what the board of inquiry - established by Lekota to investigate the chartering of the plane - would recommend. "We can't afford to have another qualified audit, especially of that amount. And whether we like it or not the Auditor-General is going to give us another qualified report for unexplained expenditure," Tobias said.
Lekota's spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi on Monday was unable to say as yet who would head the board of inquiry, noting it would be difficult to find an available advocate this close to Christmas. But he said the board's composition - that was expected to follow a paper trail to who ultimately authorised the hiring of the plane - should be announced this week as per Lekota's wishes. He said the terms of reference had also not been established yet but could not rule out that it may also look into the leaking of information to the media from Defence Force sources. But he restated Lekota's apparent approval of such information being highlighted by "whistle blowers".
Meanwhile, Mlambo-Ngcuka, who is expected to arrive back in South Africa from London early on Wednesday, is apparently very upset by the allegations that she knowingly spent R4,55-million to hire a plane. "She has been very upset by the national reaction, especially when she has been trying so hard not to do anything wrong," said her spokesperson Thabang Chiloane from London. The deputy president, who flew to Marseilles in France and then to Edinburgh, Scotland, for meetings with university vice-chancellors and investors on matters relating to the government's Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative, claims she had no hand in the travel arrangements. Lekota has also said Mlambo-Ngcuka herself was not at fault.
Mlambo-Ngcuka, who then flew to Gatwick airport south of London for further talks with the South West Teachers Training College, is reportedly trying to establish training programmes or "twinnings" in order to promote Business Processing Outsourcing, which forms part of the Asgisa programme. "The plane seats about 10 people and only essential staff accompanied her - there was nobody catching a free ride or anything," Chiloane said, describing the allegations against the deputy president as "unfair". However, Mlambo-Ngcuka has been criticised for similar flights twice before.
Last year an Air Force plane was used to transport her and her family for a private holiday in the United Arab Emirates. Earlier this year she again made headlines when she took a 13-minute plane ride to a golf tournament at the nearby Sun City resort. Mlambo-Ngcuka had to charter a flight last week, after the SANDF did not have sufficient pilots available to fly her to France and the UK. The Freedom Front Plus said on Monday the fact that there were not enough pilots available in South Africa to fly the South African Air Force's presidential jets was proof of the "total collapse as a result of government's affirmative action and transformation policies".
"The FF Plus asked the Minister of Defence last year in parliament about the sufficiency of suitably trained black pilots for the presidential jets and was assured by the minister that there was one qualified pilot and a further four in training. "It is, however, not known how many of the pilots in training completed successfully since last year," FF+ spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said. The air force's affirmative action policy had also come under fire earlier this year, when it became known that the three top students in training - who were white - were not allowed to proceed with further training as fighter pilots, Groenewald said. "The events point to a disregard for the South African taxpayer in that cost are incurred due to the Defence Force," he said.

This article was originally published on page 4 of Pretoria News on December 12, 2006


Supplied by one of my colleagues on the Business Warrior site (, this explains why we have bad service.
The Plan
In the beginning was the Plan:
And then came the Assumptions.
And the Assumptions were without form;
And the Plan was completely without substance;
And Darkness was upon the faces of the employees;
And they spoke unto their Supervisors, saying: “The Plan is a crock of sh.t and it stinks!”
And they went unto their Superintendents and said: “It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odour thereof.” And the Superintendents went unto their Managers and said unto them:“It is a container of excrement and it is very strong
Such that none here may abide by it.” And the Managers went unto the Senior Managers and said: “It is a vessel of fertilizer and none may abide by its strength.”
And the Senior Managers went unto their General Managers and said: “It contains that which aids plant growth and it is very strong.”
And the General Managers went unto the Managing Director and said unto him: “It promotes growth and is very powerful.”
And the Managing Director went unto the Board and said: “This powerful new Plan will actively promote the growth and efficiency of the Company.”
And the Board looked upon the Plan and Saw that it was good, and the Plan became Policy!

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Oh dear shame, the bosses here could not stand the heat in the kitchen! It is heartening to see here that somthing, that was a personal opinion, that almost, but did not quite, cost this lady her job. Not that I am suggesting that we should all go out and rant and rave about the bosses and what we think of them etc. However there is also something called "Freedom of Speach" and this appears to have been held up in a court of law.

Well done to the legal system on this one



December 08 2006 at 04:10PM

It's okay to use derogatory and vulgar language about your superiors in the office as long as it is done behind their backs, a Malaysian court has ruled. The Industrial Court said a secretary at Malaysia National Insurance Bhd was not guilty of misconduct when she sent emails from the office computer to friends, griping about her superiors, the national news agency Bernama reported on Friday.Court chairperson Syed Ahmad Radzi Syed Omar said Ratnawati Mohamed Nawawi's sacking for misconduct was unjust, and the court awarded her back wages and compensation amounting to 66 850,80 ringgit, Bernama said. The Industrial Court handles workplace grievances, and it was not clear from the report whether the company can appeal the decision. Officials of the company and the court could not immediately be reached for comment. "The court agrees that if those derogatory, insolent and impertinent (words) are used toward the superior officers directly it would construe a serious misconduct on the part of Ratnawati," Syed Ahmad Radzi was quoted as saying."But if those words or language are only used behind their backs and only between a few friends it would not be a misconduct.
Those words are not meant to be heard by the senior officers," he said in a 12-page judgment. Syed Ahmad Radzi noted that no complaint was lodged against Ratnawati, and her conduct came to light only as a result of an unrelated investigation into the leak of a confidential report. He said he agreed with Ratnawati that her words were not meant to undermine any senior officers but were merely gossip, equivalent to tea room chitchat, between her and three close friends. "It is quite common and natural for staff to gossip about their superior officers.
It can happen anywhere and anytime... it could be over coffee or tea or a meal" and happened to be on email in this case, the ruling said. Syed Ahmad Radzi said the company need not give Ratnawati her job back as the trust between her and her employer was broken.Bernama did not say when she was fired. - Sapa-AP

Friday, December 22, 2006

How terribley sad. Sad for the thousands of young men and women who took themselves off to university, at their own cost, who worked hard to set themselves up in business and who are now being forced to close because of the South African government and in particular our wonderful Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. This is not the first time that she has been in the centre of havoc (she seems to be hell bent on making and causing as much racous as possible), recently she became the laughing stock of the South African community (and quite possibly the world) with her declaration at the world HIV thingy in Canada that people infected with HIV should eat Beetroot and garlic and lemon juice instead of taking anti retroviral drugs. I have become embarrassed by her and her antics!

I also personally have friends who have already had to close shop after many years of being a pharmacist and owning a business because of the legislation that the government has passed. What a waste of an education, what a loss of a business. In one particular instance this business had in excess of 10 staff members - all of them had to be retrenched and there are now 11 people out of work. Wasn't the idea to grow the economy? Leave it to the Manto's of this world to shut it all down!

What about the rural communities that, thanks to the Manto's of this world, now don't even have a pharmacy in the community? I guess, for her - it's who cares!

Well done Manto! Well done for showing us exactly who you are and the kind of person that you are! Well done Manto, for once again putting in leglislation that will not only harm our economy, but show the rest of the world how we are really just not ready to join the 1st world!



November 22 2006 at 12:27AM

South African pharmacies could face closure due to dispensing regulations coming into effect in January, the United South African Pharmacies (USAP) group said on Tuesday. Speaking at a meeting held at the Glenhove Conference Centre, USAP chairperson Julian Solomon said the new regulations would lead to many pharmacies having to close down. Director of Management Healthcare System, David Boyce, said the department of health's pricing committee did not make provision for inflation. He said the implementation of the regulations would lead to pharmacies not being able to cover their expenses. Under the tariffs announced on October 31, the dispensing fee for medicines with a single exit price (SEP) of R75 would be R4 plus 33 percent of the SEP, while 64 percent of medicines fell under this bracket, Boyce said.
The fee on medicines costing between R75 and R250 would be R25 plus six percent; between R250 and R1 000, R33 plus three percent; and R1 000 and more, R50 plus 1.5 percent. Boyce said that of the 2 467 pharmacies polled, 63 percent would fail, 22 percent were "likely to survive", while 15 percent were at a significant risk of failing. "A casualty rate whereby operating expenses exceeded operational income would occur," Boyce said. Ivan Kotze, executive director of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa (PSSA), said the Pharmaceutical Stakeholders Forum held a meeting on Tuesday with the Pricing Committee to discuss resolutions to the regulations.According to Kotze, a letter to Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and director general of health, Thami Mseleku, had been written to "defer" the implementation of the regulations. Solomon added that a minimum of six towns in South Africa were without pharmaceutical services, and that affordability and availability of medication was important. - Sapa

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You go girl! Life is serious enough, without us as indivuals making it worse by not having a laugh now and then. Laughing certainly does help lighten the load, especially if all laugh together rather than at one another.


Tessa Silberbauer

15 November 2006 at 11h15

Nobody ever died of laughter. That is according to Max Beerbohm, an English parodist and caricaturist whose works were popular in the early 20th century. That's certainly still true these days. At work and in leisure, laughter remains one of the most essential, priceless and most naturally healing things one can do.
Work is a serious commitment on which much of our personal security rests. But serious does not mean you have to be soulless. Any intelligent human resources practitioner cringes at all the lifestyle advertisements depicting work as a soulless, dreary, dismal place of boredom and frustration. But the image remains: business is business and never mix business with pleasure.
That is the last mistake you want to make. New boundaries must be set and held. If you're on holiday it's generally a bad idea to take your work with you. Romantic affairs at the office tend to complicate work horribly, and can pull the entire office (or factory) into opposing factions if they go wrong. A person who cannot laugh at their mistakes has lost more than perspective - he or she will probably be unable to step back enough to learn from a mistake, and is, therefore, likely to repeat it in the future. Such a person is also likely to risk being unable to identify the small mistakes from the big ones, and will, therefore, be unable to take action to prevent a mistake becoming a disaster.
A team that cannot laugh together is unlikely to build or maintain relationships of trust. There are other important reasons to encourage fun at work. Laughter restores energy better than stimulants like caffeine, with no side-effects. It stimulates our bodies to release restorative hormones and rejuvenates the body's natural healing process.

This enables the team to build stamina and work more effectively. Laughter vents tension better than any rant. It allows us to drop our personal guard and accept each other and ourselves. No one is perfect, and laughter helps to remind us of that fact, as well as reminding us what mistakes to avoid repeating in the future. It makes the workplace a pleasant place for everyone.
So far, I have not been the best at choosing and telling jokes, or even at choosing the right time to tell a joke. More often than not, my attempts fall flat. But I'm learning, and I get a better response than I used to, simply because I still try. But while I'm learning, I'm also listening to and appreciating others' stories and laughing with them. Of course there are appropriate and inappropriate times to lighten the mood. An irate customer will be offended if you try to turn their valid complaint into a joke without resolving it first. A crisis meeting is also usually a bad time. But once the decisions have been made, or while they're being implemented, it is probably a good idea to say something to lighten the mood. It takes trial and error to learn how to do this effectively.
Also, I find it important to avoid jokes about violence, prejudice and other serious crimes against people. I tend to see them as nothing more than an attempt by people too lazy to develop good taste. The work atmosphere is not a choice between crude vulgarity and stilted formality. There are many shades and degrees between the two extremes. Maybe it is time to implement your personal employee wellness programme and contribute to a more pleasant atmosphere, even if it is only allowing others to enjoy their workspace jokes.

Tessa Silberbauer is a Joahnnesburg-based life management trainer. For information, corporate training or private consulting, contact her on 083 310 0955 or

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Whilst this is great news in the grand scheme of things, I would like to suggest that even if one tenth of all the Taxi Drivers, licences had been checked, the figures below would be a great deal higher than they are. Making sure that the person in the car next to you is a properly licenced driver is only half of the battle! Making sure that the person in the car next to you is a licenced driver and making sure that their car is fit to be on the road - now that would be a win/win situation.

So many times, when going through a road block, all you see are the police checking that you have a current driver's licence and that you have paid up all your traffic fines. The fact that you may be driving a car that does not have a proper stearing wheel or that the fuel tank is in fact a plastic 5 litre bottle that is situated behind the "cigarette smoking" driver or that the tires are absolutely bald does not seem to feature at all.

Perhaps it is time to look at the "big" picture instead of just picking on a specific point and then patting yourself on the back for a job well done!



Graeme Hosken

October 06 2006 at 04:32AM

Tens of thousands of drivers are about to lose their licences in a massive clampdown on corruption by the Special Investigating Unit. The clampdown is part of a huge effort by the government corruption watchdog to stamp out fraud.
The SIU on Thursday revealed major dents made in fraud syndicates targeting the state. These "dents", claimed SIU head Willie Hofmeyr, include the impending confiscation of 24 243 invalid driving licences.
Over and above these, 6 699 licences have been recommended for cancellation, with another 599 having already been cancelled. The licences are due to be confiscated for various reasons, including fraud and corruption, incomplete or no driver tests being conducted, or for reasons of non-compliance with the requirements of the National Road Traffic Act.

In addition, a total of 42 testing centres have been "ringed" as cesspits for fraud and are under investigation. Speaking in Pretoria, Hofmeyr said the SIU had been mandated by President Thabo Mbeki to investigate irregular issuing of licences, conversion of forged licences, registration of stolen vehicles on the national vehicle registration system, and the control and management of driving licence testing centres.
He said they had spent nearly two years searching almost a million driver files in an attempt to uncover suspected fraud. A total of 598 people, 38 of them officials, had been arrested and 350 people involved in the issuing of fraudulent licences had been convicted. Hofmeyr said the investigations had revealed that licences were being sold for anything from R500 to R2 600, adding that the probe had focused mainly on the conversion of foreign driving licences into South African credit card licences.
The SIU had appointed a special team of prosecutors who would be going after corrupt officials working in intricate syndicates, Hofmeyr said, adding that the Transport Department had assigned R16,8-million towards internal investigations. A total of 75 people were involved in the investigations.
Hofmeyr said that while, in monetary terms, the confiscation of licences did not have a huge value, "the assurance that the person driving next to you has a valid licence counts for something". Citing as an example, he said a Western Cape testing officer was being investigated for demanding sexual favours from three women. "One agreed to go on a date with him and was passed, but when she failed to turn up for the date, her records showed that she had failed. " In another case, the unit had discovered that nearly R330 000 had been paid into one examiner's bank account by driving schools.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on October 06, 2006


Finally - the voice of reason! Well reason in theory that would be. The problem lies not in the Setas and what they can do, but in the red tape in claiming funds to pay for the training that is required or needed. For many years the SMME market had to pay into the fund for all employees and to get or claim money out of the fund to train those employees took more time and energy than the money was worth. So instead of assisting the SMME market to grow all that it did was strangle the very growth that they were trying to promote! Talk about a catch 22. As usual it was the medium to big companies that benefited as if they were training hundreds and/or thousands of employees, the red tape would take the same amount of time and effort as it would to claim back for one person. Doesn't make any kind of sense does it? If memory serves me correctly, there was also a time, when the Setas were instructed to spend the money in the coffers as there was so much of it - that in itself should tell us all that there is a problem in the administrating of the funds. As usual in Africa, what was initially set up to assist became what could potentially be the death of a SMME.

29 November 2006 at 07h12
Underperforming Sector Training Authorities (Setas) should be identified and improved to maintain the Setas system to produce skills. Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said this on Tuesday after talks with the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa). "It would be wrong to abandon this enormous potential for training and go back, or to recreate something else," he said.

"We have to recognise that is the shape of training and give it a shot". The issue of training featured in the talks, including concerns around the dearth of artisans, such as pipe welders who had to be brought in from other countries to work at Sasol. "We are worried that the training system is not delivering people," Manuel said.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Oh this is beautiful! Clearly I am in the wrong job! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all could sit on our buns, on full pay! All you have to do is be dishonest in some form or another and how do you get rewarded . . . well you get to stay at home as a lady/gent of leisure and still you receive your full and and not only that. . . you also get full annual bonus'. What a great way to discipline someone - what a deterrant we have for people who commit crimes.

So the motto should be changed from " If you do the crime you must be prepared to do the time" to something like "If you do the crime you must be prepared to have a good time " - at the tax payers expense of course!

In my opinion, the person(s) resonsible for this should should be made to pay all this money back! What an absolute waste of taxpayers money.



Sibusiso Ngalwa

September 10 2006 at 09:59AM

While courts in KwaZulu-Natal struggle to cope with massive case backlogs due to staff shortages, the taxpayer has been paying eight suspended prosecutors sitting at home, some for as long as four years. The cost to the taxpayer is estimated at R3-million so far.

One such prosecutor is Ntombezinhle Mthuli, who was sacked three years ago for misconduct. She appealed against her dismissal - and has been awaiting the outcome ever since. For three years Mthuli, a senior public prosecutor, has been collecting a salary every month, and has even been paid an annual bonus - but has not been allowed to set foot in her office at the Durban magistrate's court. A senior public prosecutor earns from R300 000 to R318 000 a year.

I've been sitting and doing nothing and time is passing me by. My life has virtually come to a standstill as I cannot apply for another job while I'm on the NPA's (National Prosecuting Authority) payroll... It's frustrating. I appealed against my dismissal but nothing has happened. And I'm not the only one in this position," she said. Mthuli was fired by the NPA in 2004 for misconduct after dockets were found in her office at the Durban magistrates' court. She was suspended in July 2003.

And there are others drawing salaries for doing nothing; the NPA said seven other prosecutors in KwaZulu-Natal were on suspension with full pay, awaiting the outcome of their appeals or disciplinary processes. The oldest case dates back to 2002. The NPA said two prosecutors had been suspended in 2002 and 2003 for poor performance, and their cases were with Minister of Justice Brigitte Mabandla for a decision. Between 2003 and 2005, three others were suspended for "gross dishonesty" - two have taken their cases to arbitration, while the third has applied for retirement on medical grounds. This year, disciplinary action has been taken against three prosecutors - two have been sacked but have lodged appeals, and the third is awaiting a date for a disciplinary hearing. All are on full pay. National figures for suspended prosecutors were not available. Mthuli argued she had been suspended without being afforded the opportunity to give reasons why she should not be suspended. The 34-year-old mother of two criticised the NPA for double standards, saying a suspended prosecutor from Empangeni had been allowed to return to work because her appeal was taking too long. "I returned to work after 30 days (of suspension) as the law states one can do so if the appeal process is not resolved within that period. On my first day back I got a call from (NPA provincial head) Shamilla Batohi, ordering me to leave the building 'in the next two minutes'," she said. NPA spokesperson Makhosini Nkosi defended the delays, saying they were following processes in line with the country's labour laws. "If we have eight suspended prosecutors in the most populous province in the country, surely it shows that as an employer we don't have a problem," he said. Democratic Alliance spokesperson on Justice, Sheila Camerer, said she was shocked at the lack of efficiency. "The Justice Department should get their act together because this is a waste of taxpayers' money," she said.

This article was originally published on page 2 of Tribune on September 10, 2006


For those of you who read the blog every day, I apologise for the lateness of the Sunday funnies! They are brought to you today, compliments of Sharon H, of Lightwize who posted them on the Business Warrior Site (



1. Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often.

2. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.

3. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

4. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

5. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

6. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

8. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.

12. A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.

13. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.

14. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

15. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

16. A balanced diet is a beer in each hand.

17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.

18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

19. Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognise a mistake when you make it again.

22. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

23. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy fridge.

24. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.

25. It's not the jeans that make your bum look fat.

26. If you had to identify, in 1 word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, & never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings".

27. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness".

28. People who want to share their religious views with you never want you to share yours with them.

29. You should not confuse your career with your life.

30. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

31. Never lick a steak knife.

32. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

33. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we put the clocks back.

34. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

35. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.

36. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers and have a sense of humour 3

7. A person, who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

38. Your friends love you anyway.

39. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Well this is Africa! It wouldn't be Africa if there were no corruption allegations floating around somewhere on the continent. I suppose it is part of the whole "What's mine is mine and what's yours is also mine" mentality that we seem to have been inbred with here! Go get em!



October 23 2006 at 12:09PM

Lusaka - The wife of Zambia's embattled former president Frederick Chiluba has been summoned for questioning on Monday by the police anti-corruption unit, a family spokesperson said. Regina Chiluba is due to appear before a panel of investigators from the special taskforce on corruption together with her lawyers, said Emmanuel Mwamba. "They have summoned her to appear for questioning. The information we have is that they intend to arrest her for corruption," Mwamba said.Chiluba, who ruled Zambia for 10 years until 2001 when he retired, is accused of stealing millions of dollars in state funds together with several officials who served under him.
Chiluba's wife, whose assets have been seized by police, is also accused of having received a huge sum of state funds from Chiluba when she was his mistress during his tenure as head of state. Chiluba married Regina shortly after he left the presidency and divorced his wife of 33 years, Vera, who is now deputy environment minister in President Levy Mwanawasa's government. Mwamba said it was a difficult period for the former president, who is also facing charges of corruption and abuse of office while suffering from an acute cardiac condition. The anti-corruption taskforce has also summoned Chiluba's ally, Fautine Kabwe, to appear before its investigators on Wednesday.Kabwe, who is jointly charged with Chiluba in another case, is believed to have been the mastermind of the former president's finances through a private firm that he owned.
- Sapa-AFP
And about time too! My whole theory on this is that as a small business you cannot belong to too many networking groups. The more you network, the bigger your database, the more likelyhood you will get work. 100% of my business is sourced out of networking. My greatest challenge in all of this is to try and help people who are not natural networkers, to network. Other networking opportunities are Inner Circle ( and Business Warriors ( and Women In Finance ( and Small Business Hubb ( and Biz Builders ( and My Genius ( Go out there and network, network and then network some more.


Ntokozo Ndlovu

29 November 2006 at 07h19

One of the challenges currently facing small businesses is the question of how to grow and sustain the business. Biznetwork is aimed at supporting the growth of small businesses, by providing relevant information on issues that affect small businesses. It is an educational and networking business initiative which was started by First National Bank (FNB). "The aim of Biznetwork is to assist small enterprises to gear for growth and to develop into medium and even large enterprises," says Shaun Edmeston CEO of Biznetwork. "It allows companies to run a healthy operational business. "It is a portal packed with know-how and business tools, and chat forums that offer companies the opportunity to build business relationships and learn from other's experiences,"explains Edmeston. He says that Biznetwork conducts quarterly seminars throughout the year to address various challenges facing businesses ranging from the theoretical to practical aspects of sales, research, verbal and non-verbal communication, innovation, to financing the business.
"One of the challenges in sales is to understand the strengths of the people in your sales team and playing to those strengths," says Juliet Newton, managing director of Avocado Vision, who recently spoke in one of Biznetwork's seminar on sales. She explains that structuring sales forces is one of the most important attributes to make a business successful.

"Sales is not just about having people with outgoing personalities, it is their ability to build relationships that is important," said Newton. "There are a number of things to consider with the current economic situation of this country, there is a lot of spending in the market place, and the most important thing for any business is to understand where they stand with their customers," explains Edmeston. "South African companies need to learn more about setting service standards, as these are a huge factor in terms of differentiating businesses in the market place," he says.
Bizcommunity organises seminars around current issues facing small businesses, invite experts in that particular field and address the issues in question. Edmeston adds that there are a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities, people need to understand what has and what needs to be done to become an entrepreneur. "Having the right information and knowing what affects your business is fundamental in growing any business," he says. "We want to create an environment for small businesses to build sustainable business much further into the future, and to further assist the in decreasing unemployment rates, by growing businesses that will benefit the economy of the country," concludes Edmeston. Any business owners who need information and networking opportunities to grow their business can become members of Biznetwork.

For more information visit the site

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh boy - just leave it to the politicians to cock it up big time! In the meantime, how do they expect things to be ready by 2010 - my guess is that someone else will get the blame! Isn't that the usual way things go - never the people who mess it up always someone else's problem!

October 20 2006 at 10:26AM

By Anél Powell
Confusion in the City of Cape Towns planning department is holding up development and costing town planners thousands of rands in delays, say industry experts. "Nothing is coming out of the city's planning department and development is effectively grinding to a halt," said land surveyor Gavin Lloyd, who is also the national vice-president of the South African Geomatic Institute. "This will cost our clients thousands, if not millions, of rands in delays."
Mayoral committee member for planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said in June that "in a reversal of previous centralisation", 21 sub-councils would be allowed to make final decisions on planning and land use management of a "local nature". Matters with a city wide impact would be decided by the newly established Spatial Planning, Environment and Land Use Management Committees (Spelum).
This stripped planning officials of any authority to approve land use applications, including those that were submitted to council without objection. "It is absurd," said Ken Hodge, a land surveyor. "When it comes to planning the DA is a disaster. " Lloyd said changes in the delegation of authority to approve building and land use plans meant that no applications have been approved since October 1.
So frustrated are town planners and land surveyors, that they are considering holding a picket outside the Civic Centre next week. Lloyd said the DA led council decided in September that planning officials would no longer have delegated powers to approve building plans. Whereas in the past, only plans that were "controversial" or complicated would require council approval before being signed off, all applications for even "mundane" projects must now be approved by the relevant sub-council or Spelum. Nieuwoudt said in June: "Cape Town is a fast growing city and we acknowledge the need for responsible, consistent, yet speedy decision- making. " But Lloyd said: "We need this like we need a hole in the head. This could cause delays of between three and six months on all developments, which is mind blowing. "Lloyd said the politicians who made the decision to amend the delegation powers "did not fully understand the ramifications". He added that staff morale in the city's planning department had plummeted "through the floorboards".
Gisela Jespersen, DA councillor and chair of Spelum, admitted there was "a little bit of panic" but said Spelum was "dealing with the matter as quickly as we can". She added that no building plans had been frozen. The confusion arose, said Jespersen, from a misunderstanding by planning officials as to which of their powers had been changed. "Some think that they do have the power (to approve plans) while others say they do not. "DA councillor Brian Watkyns, chair of the planning and environment portfolio committee, said: "By and large the delegations are in place, but there are areas where some issues are not clear and do need some clarity. But if developers are getting the message that the officials have no delegated powers, they are getting the wrong message. "But Lloyd said the already scant staff were now being forced to compile detailed reports of every planning application for submission to council. "It's just insane."Hodge said: "Council is already two months behind with report writing. Now every application must get a report. It has turned the officials into report writers.
"Another professional land surveyor, who declined to be named, said: "We are heading for a huge problem where the whole system will just grind to a halt at a time when we need to get to a pace (of building) ahead of 2010."

This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on October 20, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


What this article highlights for me, above anything else, is the fact that even when we engage the services of someone we think is professional in the Industrial Relations/Human Capital Arena, we may just be pouring oil on the fire. It is obvious from this article (and from personal experiance) that the labour lawyers and attorneys who engage in this kind of 'war fare" are either acting from a place of ignorance or are deliberately going this route in order to squeeze evey penny that they can get, out of already cash strapped clients. Clearly more care needs to be taken when procuring the legal services of anyone.

06 October 2006 at 08h00

All individual labour disputes emanate from a time when the now-aggrieved individual was still an employee. This means that, prior to the termination, allegedly in an unlawful or unfair manner, the powers-that-be would have had an opportunity to ensure a lawful and/or fair termination.
Some eight years ago in Industrial Issued Columns in Workplace we looked at unnecessary mistakes by employers, and at the role of that egos and emotions play in these issues. Nothing has changed in the interim and I find I am by now at my wits' end on how to get sanity to prevail. Fortunes in legal costs can be saved and employers can manage their labour dispute risks more effectively.
War tactics are not the answer. Effective negotiations could, however, go a long way. Any skilled negotiator, having prepared an effective negotiation process, whether he or she represents either the employer or the aggrieved individual, will not allow him or herself to be sidetracked by a confrontational approach from the other party. I am often astounded by the confrontational "go-and-play-in-the-traffic" approach that is usually skilfully (or is it in a fool-hardy manner?) pursued by so many legal practitioners and employers when they should be negotiating a settlement.
This tactic, especially, when they are defending weak or mediocre cases, makes no sense at all. Being adept at provocative war tactics alone does not resolve individual labour law disputes. Negotiations, on the other hand, do resolve disputes! These experts in confrontational skills continuously use threats, legal technicalities, muscle flexing, demands, ultimatums and more threats of legal action.
These war tactics are usually contained in lengthy and costly legal letters, and their clients, of course, bear the costs. They generally work hard on their war tactics and the outcome is generally not an agreement, but a hardening of attitudes and a continuation of a vigorous pursuit of a legal solution. This is why, in so many cases, up to R100 000 in legal fees can be spent first merely to bring about a R50 000 settlement in the end. Positioning does play an important role in any negotiations. However, one should move beyond these conflict issues that form a barrier to the effective resolution of a dispute by, for example, agreeing to disagree and then focusing on the application of a problem-solving approach. Resolving individual labour disputes effectively through negotiation is not only about what you do but also how you do it.

A creative, innovative and problem-solving approach is needed to resolve the dispute. Negotiations are about power, about changing the position or stance of the other party. Threats and counter-threats, especially when the merits of your case are either weak or mediocre, don't resolve disputes, least of all individual labour disputes. In any event, a skilled labour law expert, when he or she is defending a strong case, is not going to be side-tracked by war tactics from the other side. What usually works very effectively is to prepare well and apply a problem-solving negotiation approach from the outset. Effective and skilled negotiators will rely on:- Effective and thorough preparation, focused on resolving the dispute and not creating more problems.
A sound tactical approach to the issues at hand. Using a problem-solving approach, even with substantive bargaining issues. Negotiations are often marred by the parties focusing on who erred most and who should take the blame, instead of agreeing to disagree and getting on with resolving the dispute. One has to ask oneself: are legal posturing and threats not something we should vigorously eliminate when looking for a solution to individual disputes?T he answer is obviously yes, but why then don't we put it into practice?
My parting message is this: To the employer - "put brains into gear before engaging the mouth!" (Get sound labour law advice and make sure you have the services of an effective negotiator on your side). And to the individual - when the rumours start, make sure you do the same in order to protect your rights. Then just wait for the employer's inevitable mistakes to happen!-
Pierre Marais is managing director of the Labour Law Group. Contact him on 011-679-5944 or via email: Back copies of articles can be obtained from Natasha at 011-679-5944.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Good Grief! In my naivete, I assumed that beastiality was something that happened only in the movies. How terrifying this must be for the animals concerned. I'm actually at a loss for words! My first thought was "first it was lock up your wive's, then it was lock up your wive's and children and now it has got to be lock up your wive's, your children and your animals!" What a sick and sad society we live in!



November 25 2006 at 10:39AM

By Tash Reddy
Experts have warned that the increasing number of South Africans indulging in bestiality will have disastrous affects on both human and animal populations. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is concerned that misconceptions, such as having sex with animals minimises the risk of getting Aids, were likely to result in more animals being sexually violated and medical authorities have warned that humans could contract even worse diseases than HIV and Aids from animals. SPCA spokesperson Christine Kuch said: "As much as it is by nature a hidden crime, many incidents are slowly coming to the forefront.
Now, more than ever, animals are being violated because a misconception exists that having sex with an animal minimises the risks of contracting HIV. "She mentioned that recently a three-month-old puppy had been "raped" and left at their offices in Sandton. Police are investigating but no one has been arrested. Prof Abdool Karim, an HIV and Aids expert from the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said there was concern about other more devastating infections which could be introduced and spread. "If people think they are solving the crisis by having sex with animals, they are desperately wrong and grossly misinformed. They are instead opening themselves up to even worse potential infections," said Karim.
According to Karim, the perpetrators were accurate in that they would not contract HIV, but the risk of contracting other infections was great. "Animals are unable to harbour the HIV virus, but if we look at the history of HIV, you will see the risks of contracting other diseases is a valid concern," he said. The human immuno deficiency virus started in the 1930s and came from the African green monkey. The virus, known as simian immuno deficiency virus, jumped across the species, but originally was adapted to grow in animals. "As a parasite it learned to live with its host instead of killing it, but when it transferred to humans, it couldn't adapt, and kills its host. Retro viruses, like feline immuno deficiency virus, contracted from animals, could have the same or worse impact," Karim said.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecutions Office said bestiality was a criminal offence as animals were protected by the Animal Protection Act and offenders could be fined up to R20 000 or a sentenced to a year in prison.

This article was originally published on page 5 of The Independent on Saturday on November 25, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

In my humble opinion, this is a subject that should have come out of the closet a long time ago. Much seems to be done about the "previously disadvantaged" here in South Africa, but very little done about the way women are treated and viewed in the workplace. In all fairness to the male specimens, women themselves are mainly to blame for this - women are reluctant to take their rightful place in society for fear of hurting the extremely fragile male ego! I say, get over yourselves and do what needs to be done.


Ntokozo Ndlovu

06 October 2006 at 08h00

The Centre for Learning and Teaching at Wits University is on an initiative to encourage the advancement and empowerment of women in academia. "If one takes a look at the structure and proportion of women at Wits, and in academic institutions, there are very few women in senior positions, even in boardrooms," says Professor Margaret Orr, director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching at Wits University, and co-author of the book Buttons and Breakfast.
Orr says that there is need to understand why women are not progressing in academia, and how they have not been touched by the developments of empowerment. "We need to remove the barriers that are keeping women back," she says.
The Wits University Wonder Woman project is an initiative specifically aimed at uplifting, and empowering women in the field of academia. The Wonder Woman project trains a group of 15 to 20 female academics on personal and professional levels. "Research shows that women are more involved in taking care of students, they do a lot of teaching, and a lot of the professional housework of the institution," Orr says.
She says men do a lot of research, and take high profile tasks, that enable promotion. The Wonder Woman project assists women to move away from taking up the "professional housework tasks of the institution", and to make assertive decisions on where they want to be in the institution and work towards that.
"The project equips women with life skills and values, negotiation skills, assertiveness, voice and presentation skills.

"It gives women the kind of skills they need to get to senior positions in academia, and in turn recognises the amount of power vested in women," says Orr. It allows them to understand what to do when they are intimidated or patronised, and how to present themselves favourably and confidently. It assists them in negotiating their worth, and in working towards getting assertive roles and high profile jobs.
In assisting women, and inspiring young women to get into academia, the Wonder Woman recently launched the book Buttons and Breakfast. It is dedicated to all working women of South Africa, and to bring men to understand the inspirational struggles of women in the work environment. Co-author of the book Orr says that the book came out of the Wonder Women project, and it is a narration of experiences of women in academia. "It is a platform where they tell how they have juggled motherhood, work, conflicts with male colleagues, and how they have learnt to manage their lives and rise to the top," she says. She says that the message is of survival, and how lives of women are incredibly rich, and how all can be done. "The buttons and the breakfast, the job and the family, but it cannot be done without hardships. "It's ok to sometimes feel overwhelmed with the amount of work and responsibilities, and it's ok to feel it's too hard, but the most important message the book sends out is that despite all the hardships, it is all possible," she says.
Buttons and Breakfasts can be purchased from Incredible Books.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's Sunday and time to de-stress, have a laugh and (if you're a women) imagine exactly when you will use one of these lines . . I know I did! Ha




1. Okay, okay! I take it back. Unfuck you.

2. You say I'm a bitch like it's a bad thing.

3. Well, this day was a total waste of make-up.

4. Well, aren't we a damn ray of sunshine?

5. Don't bother me, I'm living happily ever after.

6. Do I look like a people person?

7. This isn't an office. It's hell with fluorescent lighting.

8. I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.

9. Therapy is expensive. Popping bubble wrap is cheap. You choose.

10. Why don't you try practicing random acts of intelligence and senseless acts self-control?

11. I'm not crazy. I've just been in a very bad mood for 30 years.

12. Sarcasm is just one more service I offer.

13. Do they ever shut up on your planet?

14. I'm not your type. I'm not inflatable.

15. Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you haven't gone to sleep yet!

16. Back off!! You're standing in my aura.

17. Don't worry. I forgot your name too.

18. I work 45 hours a week to be this poor.

19. Not all men are annoying. Some are dead.

20. Wait...I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.

21. Chaos, panic and disorder ... my work here is done.

22. Ambivalent? Well, yes and no.

23. You look like shit. Is that the style now?

24. Earth is full. Go home.

25. Aw, did I step on your poor little itty bitty ego?

26. I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert.

27. A hard-on doesn't count as personal growth.

28. You are depriving some village of an idiot.

29. If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport.

30. Look in my eyes ... Do you see one ounce of gives-a-shit?

Saturday, December 09, 2006


This phenomena is something that irks me on a daily basis! When the petrol attendant, or the waitron or, mainly in the service provider industry, the person at the counter or till, actually asks a question and then because they don't listen to the answer properly does the wrong thing. The petrol attendant who puts in the wrong grade of petrol, the waitron who brings the incorrect order, the switchboard operator who puts you through to the wrong department or person! It's enough to drive me mad!

On the upside, and although it can be a pain in the rear end, this has also resulted in me taking minutes and/or notes everytime I am in any kind of discussion and/or meeting. Time after time, this practice has proved to be invaluable - especially when a disagreement arises on who said what and who was responsible for what etc.

Perhaps that is the way that we have to go now - writing everything down so that even if we are not listening properly, we have some sort of idea of what is going on in our own lives - makes the whole idea of the written word somewhat more important now, don't you think.


08 November 2006 at 11h00

By John Mullins
When you consider the way things are changing in the world you start to realise that people are becoming as bewildered as a bumble-bee in a bouquet of buttercups. Phew! OK, maybe that was a weak poetic effort, but people are subjected to so many demands for their attention that I honestly think we don't know which way to look any more.
The number of people that tell me they don't get a chancte to sit down and think is increasing all the time. Just when you think you have a moment, something or someone else grabs your attention. The problem is that you don't pay enough attention to take everything in. Whether you are sitting in a meeting or having a conversation, it seems that there is always something else that occupies your mind. Whatever it is, there is no doubt that people are losing their ability to remain focused.
The impact of this is that we become less effective - not only in our jobs but also in making decisions that could impact on our careers and our lives.
How many of you have at some point heard the phrase, "he was listening but he didn't hear me"? The meaning of this phrase can be found in the now common practice of selective hearing, or in the ever- popular "pretend to care" behaviour you see in the workplace.
This insincere and superficial attempt of people to show that they are listening is often coupled with statements such as, "I hear you," and "I understand what you are saying."
Maybe you're a little confused here. Surely if you say those things you must be listening, right?

Well, actually, wrong! You see, true listening skill, which is a lost art, demands much more than little reactive statements that can be more annoying than helpful.
In truth, the other person's mind is probably occupied with so much other junk that your thoughts and feelings are being processed with as much enthusiasm as an annual trip to the dentist.
It may be important to you, but on the surface you're just another tick on the "have to do" list.
So, how can you make sure that when you speak, others are listening? I think the answer lies on a number of levels. First, the time you choose to have a conversation about something as important as your career should be planned well in advance. Eliminate all the distractions. Also make sure that your audience is ready. Ask them if they are prepared to listen attentively and without interruption. It is also important to create the right space for respectful and sincere listening. Maintain eye contact with the other person. Take moments in the conversation to summarise your thoughts and feelings. Constantly ensure that there is common understanding. It is also important that you clarify with the other person whether you are looking for a solution or whether you are looking for a sympathetic ear. Whatever your need, remember that without the right motivation and the right environment, people may appear to be listening, but they are not hearing you.
This simple communication breakdown could be the seed that undermines your career growth. Why? Because you'll assume that other people understand you, when, in fact, they may have no clue about your true feelings. In that case you may want to give them an earful.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Oh dear! Sounds like a bit of the 'shenanigans' on the side of the ANC! Sounds like, what we used to call "unjust enrichment" in the banking arena! Sounds like perhaps the DP (and all the other opposition parties) should be looking into this - smacks of all kinds of questions that should be asked? Wonder who will be doing the asking, or in fact if any asking is going to be taking place at all!


November 10 2006 at 12:39PM

The African National Congress has set up a new business front to seek profit on its behalf, the Mail & Guardian reported on Friday.I t said the Johannesburg-based Chancellor House group of companies had acquired "empowerment" stakes in a wide range of businesses. More often than not, these opportunities had depended on the government's discretion - the award of state tenders, mineral rights and the like. The M&G said the activities of Chancellor House raised the spectre of government actions being shaped by party interests rather than the public interest.
Civil society groups had argued that there was an urgent need for the regulation of private party funding. South Africa was one of the few democracies with no such law.
Chancellor House had focused strongly on the minerals and energy sector. The government had awarded rights to strategically important manganese reserves to a consortium that included both Chancellor House and a Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg. Evidence that Chancellor House was set up as a business front for the ruling party, answerable to its treasurer general, Mendi Msimang, was compelling, said the newspaper.
A well-placed official, who wants to remain anonymous, said Msimang approached representatives of the department of minerals and energy as early as 2002 seeking opportunities. The official added: "You can speak to any senior ANC leader. There is no question, Chancellor is regarded as an ANC company - it is officially supposed to be an entity for ANC funding."
Approached for comment, Chancellor House Trust founder Magubane said: "Your assumption that it's a front for the ANC is a bit far-fetched." He then put the phone down. - Sapa


This was posted on the Business Warrior site ( by one of the members. Well it was just a question of time and when the fraud and scams started coming out of this avenue. Such a pity, for those of you who read my blog outside of South Africa, SARS is South African Revenue Services (same as the IRS in the States). Clearly this is someone inside SARS who has decided that they need to boost their own pockets! Shame on the banks for not investigating (or being very unwilling to investigate) this - how was the account opened? With everyone having to be FICA'd, and needing to supply a copy (or 100) of their ID's, how is it that they cannot see what is happening. So much for that! Once more the little guy, the one man business, who is supposed to grow the economy is not protected at all and in this instance, is not even given any hint of assistance!

Shame on you ABSA, shame on you!





I'm very ill!!!! I have just been "taken" by "SARS" for R10 000 (was supposed to be R40 000!)

I received a call from Tim at "SARS" to say that they had processed my VAT refund of R4000, but made a type error and paid in R40 000 by mistake, could I please refund the balance of the money. I said that I would do so, but to fax me the details which he did. I checked my bank account and the R40 000 was there and I then proceeded to make the "refund" to the bank account he stipulated (I could only do R10 000 at a time due to my EFT limit). He called again to ask if I had done so and to fax the proof of payment, which I did to the 086 number provided.

He called again this morning to ask if I'd done the transfer for today. I told him to stop hassling me as I was in a meeting and had two further ones today and would do the transfer in the afternoon. When I went into my bank account - the R40 000 was a RD cheque!!! I rushed to the bank (Absa) and nothing could be done as the transfer to his bank had already gone through.

The bank phoned his bank (Capitec) who told Absa that the account had been frozen, there had been other instances of the same fraud and I had to get a court order for them to investigate refunding me the money.

I've reported the matter to to police, where a detective informed me that the government had closed down all their fraud units and created one consolidated one of whom he was not sure, but would forward my docket for investigation.

Interesting notes:- Tim knew my name, my telephone number, the fact that I was awaiting a VAT refund (which actually is only R450!) I hadn't had a refund in a while!

Even though I set up the beneficiary on my account as South African Revenue Services (not SARS) - the transfer went through even though the name of the account did not match that of the account.

That R10 000 is CRUCIAL on my overdraft! It is the last of the last pennies - as many small business owners, I'm on my overdraft limit all the time!

I would like to know if anyone else has been caught in this manner and if they were expecting a VAT refund. I believe that these fraudsters are working with people in SARS! I'm going to ask SARS to investigate and going to try and find out if the Scorpions can investigate SARS as well.

If there are any responses, I would like to investigate the possibility of a class action against the banks/SARS or anyone else I can think of when I stop panicking!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Okay, the question that 'begs' to be asked right now is this - if France pioneered the technology in excess of 10 years ago, why on earth are we not using it? What's the hold up with the banks? They say that millions of rands are being spent on additional security - surely to goodness they should be spending the money on prevention rather than security! Perhaps there is something wrong with me but my take on this is that the technology exists out there to solve the problem, but instead of using money to solve it, they are throwing money at additional security, which then opens more doors to currumption and theft. In my opinion, the banks themselves are also part of the problem - how many times have you gone into the bank and have had to give them (or as in most cases they just help themselves) to a copy of your ID. I mean how many copies do they actually need! What do they do with all of those copies?

Come on banks - get with the program - if you are not part of the solution - you are the problem!



Bhavna Sookha
October 31 2006 at 12:12PM

Millions of rands are being spent on additional security measures by banks in an attempt to prevent crime at cash machines across the country. Card skimming is becoming a cause for concern, with statistics showing a dramatic increase over the past five years. The move to upgrade security comes after figures show that the amount of ATM fraud rose in the first six months of 2006 compared with the same period in 2005. According to Standard Bank, the skimming of cards now accounts for an even greater proportion of cash machine fraud in South Africa than conventional card swapping.

Phishing or identity theft is also on the increase. In a phishing attack, thieves pose as banks or other companies to gain customers' trust and then their personal data.

Security expert at Standard Bank Pat Pather said skimming involves attaching a small electronic device to the card entry slot of a cash machine to record a card's details without the cardholders knowledge. Criminals are then able to produce a fake card and use it to withdraw money from a cash machine. He said the rise in skimming coincided with a significant drop in Internet-based crimes, like hacking and phishing.

We've put a lot of systems in place to foil Internet crime, like two-factor authentication, but as banks close off one avenue, criminals will try another," he said.

"Card skimming is now the most frequently used method of ATM fraud being perpetrated around the globe. "We have identified the key areas being targeted by fraudsters and we are making significant investments to protect our customers' hard-earned cash

."He said part of the problem was the ease with which it was possible to copy the magnetic strips on the back of the cards. Pather stressed however that the majority of cash machine withdrawals were safe. SecurityHe said security would be upgraded around the banks' cash machines by increasing physical security, displaying warning posters, installing new anti-skimming devices and monitoring customers' accounts at identified hotspots. Pather also said the bank would soon be introducing new high-tech smart cards to ensure that this type of fraud did not continue. "The growing use of chip-only cards will ensure that copying chips is not possible because they are encrypted," he said.

"New chip-based cards aim to cut fraud by including smart chip, which can store more information that the usual magnetic strips and also by having users verify transactions by keying in a PIN rather than signing a receipt. " Pather said France pioneered the technology more than 10 years ago and as a result brought down fraud statistics by almost 80 percent. Standard Bank urges all customers who withdraw cash at ATM's to be vigilant and help reduce the chance of fraudsters getting a hold of their PIN details. Customers are also advised to keep an eye on their accounts so they can spot bogus transactions. What can customers do?

Always protect your secret PIN.

Don't write the number down.

Cover the keypad when entering your PIN.

Don't give the number out to anyone.

Know where the security cameras are located. While many ATM's have cameras, they won't be positioned to record the keypad.

Be wary of any offers of "help" with ATM transactions.

Be suspicious of a machine that has signage indicating the use of a specific machine.

Use a different machine if you feel uncomfortable about the ATM instructions.

Report anything suspicious or strange about the ATM machine to the bank.

Alert the bank immediately to any suspicious activity around an ATM.

Call your bank immediately if your card has been retained by the machine.

Be on the lookout for suspicious transactions on monthly statements.

This article was originally published on page 6 of Daily News on October 31, 2006