Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Good morning bloggers! Wednesday is upon us again! Herewith the next instalment of the workshop.
For the record I am going away on holiday tomorrow until the 1st of March, so there will be no postings during that period. I promise to catch up once I get back though.
A.6. Staffing

As your business grows you will need to employ staff, unless of course you want to work yourself to death for a minimum amount of money. Expansion is a natural thing – don’t be scared of it. Again – do the research! Decide what exactly it is that you want the person to do. Write it down – do estimates of how long it is actually going to take that person to do the job. Many times, in a moment of frustration we decide that we need someone to help us and then once we get them full day, every month we find that what we really needed them to do only takes them 3 hours a day. Maybe you require a mornings only or afternoons only or 3 days a week or whatever, person. Remember once you’ve got them you can’t simply get rid of them because suddenly you don’t have enough work for them – being dragged to the CCMA for unfair dismissal is no fun, and is very time consuming and can be very expensive. So make sure firstly, that you actually need the person and then secondly, exactly what that person is going to do.

When interviewing, make sure that the prospective employee knows exactly what the requirements are – it’s no good getting a bookkeeper, when what you require is a cleaning person! Be aware, there’s no such thing as a “bad” CV. I’ve yet to see one. CV’s are there to promote the talents and capabilities of the person who is trying to get the job. Therefore you need to make allowances for the fact that they going to over - sell themselves on their strengths and under - sell themselves on their weaknesses. Trust your gut feeling – you need to listen to your inner self. Your own intuition will often tell you more than any spoken or written word. Make sure that you get more than one reference and then make the call. Have a list of questions ready, listen carefully to what the person is telling you (or not) when you ask the question. Sometimes what people don’t tell you is just as important as what they do say. Always ask if they would re-hire the prospective employee again if the chance was there.

It is a legal requirement to have all your employees’ details. Make sure that you have a copy of their ID. It is an offence to hire someone who does not have a valid work permit and who is an illegal immigrant and the fine can be in excess of R65 000, so make sure that everything is as it should be.

Make sure that you open a file for each staff member. This should contain their personal details, their CV and references. Personal details should include things like next of kin contact details etc. Your annual appraisal should be filed here as well as any Doctors certificates and leave application forms. In fact anything to do with that particular employee should be kept in there. Remember that this is sensitive and confidential information and it should therefore be locked away and kept safe.

Your employees should have their duties clearly defined, so that they know exactly what it is that they are supposed to be doing. There must always be consistency. Many times what starts out as a favour (please just do xyz for me because I don’t have the time to do it… sound familiar?), then becomes part of the job and the responsibility of the employee so be sure to write down everything that needs to be done. If the staff member’s job description changes in any way, this should be noted (and acknowledged) in writing to avoid problems down the line.

It is a legal requirement that staff is allocated a certain number of day’s annual leave during the course of the year. For those companies that close in December, this is not a problem as everyone takes leave at the same time, but for those companies that do not close over the December period, this must be monitored. It is not a good idea to pay out staff for their leave. Apart from the fact that they lose a lot of the money to the Receiver and the fact that people do need to take a break from time to time, there is also the problem of fraud. If one of your employees is committing fraud of any kind, it is much less likely to be noticed if they are always on the job and are at hand to sort out any problems as and when they are brought to someone’s attention. If the staff member’s duties are to be allocated to someone else, make sure that there is a proper handover. For example: If Jane is handling all the petty cash and she is going on leave and Billy is taking over this responsibility, make sure that the petty cash is counted and balanced by both of them, make sure that Billy signs in receipt of the funds and the slips and that he is properly aware of the correct procedures. In this way there can be no confusion down the line of whose responsibility the petty cash was at what time. This will alleviate many problems that can and do arise, especially when money is involved.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007



I have been asked several times, over the last two years or so a question that has caused me great pain in my personal capacity.

The question is : “How do you find your passion?”.

For those of you who know me, you know that my passion is possibly one of my greatest strengths. I have been doing what I do best for in excess of 30 years now, and I have no idea and cannot even begin to think of what it would be like to do something else! So living my passion as it were, is something that is natural to me, and whilst I can understand to some extent that many people do work or operate in a field that they are not passionate about, due to financial constraints, lack of education and/or opportunity (or whatever other reason there may be), I still find it terribly difficult to understand how they could not know what their passion is. My question in return is always “How do you go through life, without a passion”. On some level, I understand that I am very fortunate to be able to do the work that I am passionate about, but then I guess I also believe that to some extent, you make your own “luck” and that you are drawn in some inextricable way to what you are best suited for. For me that was a ‘no brainer’ for others it appears that it is something that they haven’t even thought about.

My answer to the question posed above, is usually “Well if you had to win the Lotto and money was no longer an issue, what would you do for a living?” For me the answer is very easy as I would continue to do exactly what I do now – there is no question about it! For some the answer has been a ‘blank stare’ which leads me to believe that they don’t even dare to dream, let alone have any dreams. Again this is very sad and difficult for me to understand. What do you have in life, if you have no dream? In my opinion – you merely exist! For others the answer is “Well, I would never have to work again, so I would do nothing”. Again for me this is a very confusing answer – I could never do ‘nothing’ and even going on holiday and leaving my laptop behind, poses quite a challenge for me.

So how do people find their passions – perhaps you all can assist me with this one?

You see, without your passion, you cannot brand yourself properly and until you are in the branding process, networking effectively just doesn’t happen!

Pause for a moment and ponder, how would I refer someone who had no ambition and/or branding and/or passion – in short someone who has no idea who he/she is and what they do – to someone who may need a service and/or a widget? What kind of work and/or service would that person give.

In referring someone (let’s call her Jane) to perform say a bookkeeping function to someone else (let’s call him Mike), what I am doing in reality is telling Mike that Jane is a good bookkeeper and that she reliable and that she will take pride in her work and will work diligently on his books and will not steal from him. I am giving Jane my credibility and endorsement. I am adding value to the service I supply in my own personal capacity, to Mike. Because I am passionate about what I do, I am diligent in what I do and my deliverables are of a high standard. That is the only measure that Mike has, so he will automatically assume that because I have referred Jane, the standard of Jane’s work will be the same as mine.

Now the next question of course, would have to be – “Is the standard of Jane’s work as high as mine”. The reality of this is that, it would be highly unlikely that it is. Why? Well because Jane does not really enjoy what she is doing, she is not going to give it her full attention and/or focus, which means that the work will probably be half hearted and mistakes would probably be frequent.

What does that do to my credibility? Will Mike take a referral from me again or will he wonder if I am going to send him someone who is of no use to him as he has to double check everything that she produces? I doubt it! Where is my ‘value add’ now – pretty much down the toilet!

So quite clearly, in my opinion, the first thing that you have to know before you even start to think about networking successfully, is what your PASSION is.

I will continue this saga next week. Remember if you would like a copy of Helen Nicholson’s book “Networking: The Unwritten Rule of Business you need to know”, please mail her on

Monday, February 19, 2007


Good morning all bloggers. I have no idea where today's motivational words come from, but I suspect that it came from an e-mail that someone sent to me.

I am of the opinion, that people are really scared of change of any kind, they shrink from it, recoil from it , hide from it and then at the death they are dragged kicking and screaming into whatever change there is taking place!

Whilst I always thought that I embraced change and was always the first in the queue, I am reminded about my "fear" of computers and/or technology. Having been born almost a half century ago, I have been privaledged to see so many changes.

When I went to school we wrote with wooden pens that had an ink nib on the end and we dunked the pen into ink pots that were imbedded into the wooden desks, nowadays we have so many choices as to our writing materials. Strangely enough, I still faithfully use my Schaeffer Fountain pen that I have had for 30 years now. I also have a "newer model" Perilli Fountain pen that I use when I am auditing - the only problem is that I battle to get the green fountain pen ink! So much for availability

There were no such things as calculators and/or adding machines, everything was calculated on paper or in our heads - today kids take their calculators into exams with them, you can imbed all manner of formula into a spreadsheet, then just add numbers and the computers calculate everything for you! Or how about your cellphone that can turn itself into a calculator - how's that for progress?

Talking about phones, I grew up on a farm, where we had a party line! When the phone rang you had to count the number of short rings and long rings to ascertain which farm the call was for. In order to make a call, you had to firstly, pick up the phone to 'hear' if anyone was on it and then crank the handle several times to get hold of the exchange so that they could give you a line. Nowadays of course we all carry our cell phones with us (all except Trevor Nel of course, but that is another story for another day), and we can choose our ring tone!

When I got to College we were all so impressed at the shiny new 'electric' typewriter that we had. There was only one in the class and it was always a first come first serve as to who got to use the bloody thing - the rest of us got to use the old 'bang down on the keys' one that could develop your muscles far better than any work out at the gym.

Then I started working in the bank and lo and behold we had computers, they were huge, mammoth things that we sat behind dwarfed by their shear size. They clanked and gargled and month end was a night mare. I remember we had to shut the door to the office so that everyone else in the open plan office could actually hear each other speak. There was no fax machine and certainly no e-mail and we used the telex machine to communicate via the various banks. to indicate that the message was "authentic" we had a series of numbers that had to be calculated together - for example Monday was 3 + being the 19th was 52 + February meant that it was 16 + the amount that was being transferred was say R25 000, so that would be equal to 62. You added up all the amounts 3 +52 +16 + 62 = 133 and that was the "authenticated" reference number. The access to the "list of numbers" was dual controlled so it had to be removed from the vault by two signature holders - a junior and a senior and the calculation was done together and verified together and then had to be locked up again immediately - can you imagine having to go through this rigmarol every time you want to send an e-mail.

Getting back to my original statement, for the longest time now, I have been pertified of the new technology that comes flying at us on a daily basis. Some of it is so confusing and the new language that has been 'penned' in order to meet it's requirements was a quagmire for me. The result was that I just shrank from it all. A couple of months ago, I decided that being a shrinking violet with respect to my computer, the internet and the technology out there was not doing me any good and in typical Viljoen fashion, I jumped right in, the water's fine!

I now, as you know, have my own blog and share a business blog with Trevor Nel, called I am still no IT guru, but I try and understand and even learn one new thing everyday to make my life easier - because well isn't that what it's all about? Change is supposed to enhance your life, to make things easier - yet it is we ourselves who by shrinking from change make our own lives more difficult.



Food for thought

With change comes the responsibility of knowledge sharing

Life is an expression of the mind
You are a creator of your own universe
You are free to will whatever state of being you desire through the use of your words and thoughts

Quality of life is brought about by your thinking quality
Thoughts produce actions. Look at what you are thinking

Realise that the one thing that you have absolute control over is your attitude
See the affect that your attitude has, on the others around you.

Your words carry with them a chain reaction
If your thinking is in order then your words flow directly from the heart

If you want to change your life. You must change your thinking
Reason creates an atmosphere of understanding which leads to caring.

Choose your words with care.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Hope you all enjoy the Sunday funnies today, although for the life of me, I cannot understand how Manto's stance on HIV is not amoungst them. If it wasn't so sad, it would be hilariously funny!



December 31 2006 at 02:10PM

By Erik KirschbaumBerlin -
From the Turkish Airline workers who sacrificed a camel at Istanbul airport to celebrate a job well done to the German who invented snug spray-on condoms, the world was full of offbeat news in 2006.
While "Miss Israel" Yael Nezri was exempted from carrying her assault rifle in the Israeli army because it bruised her beauty queen legs, "Mr Switzerland" Renzo Blumenthal lured lonely women who hate football to his country for the World Cup.
Careless thieves once again made headlines round the world.
A burglar in Germany left behind a vital clue - his finger tip. We usually find finger prints but it's not every day that the thieves leave the original there too," a police spokesperson said. It took only a few hours to track down the thief.
A Jordanian salesman was arrested for trying to fleece a money exchanger with a fake ID card bearing a Brad Pitt picture.
In Vienna, burglars fled after finding eight severed human heads. A dentist had stored the mummified heads for research.
Village leaders in India ordered 150 men to dip their hands in boiling oil to prove their innocence after food was stolen.
An Australian man stopped for drunk driving threatened police with a live snake he picked up off the road.
In Cologne, a plastic surgeon cheated out of payment by two women using fake names gave "Wanted" pictures of their enlarged breasts to police. "It's probably the most unusual 'wanted' poster police ever had," wrote top-selling Bild newspaper, which helpfully published life-size pictures of the boosted breasts.
There were tragic moments too. In Hanoi, a Vietnamese man famous on a national TV programme for his ability to resist electric shocks was electrocuted while fixing a generator.
In Rio de Janeiro, a Brazilian man died when he tried to open a rocket-propelled grenade with a sledgehammer.
The political year began with a bang when US Vice-President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a friend on a quail hunt.
In Hungary, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany sparked rioting by admitting he lied to win a general election.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie pretended to slap a cheeky teenager for a photograph but was questioned by police after child protection officers reported her.
In Bangkok, Thai coup leaders banned go-go girls from dancing near tanks and posing for photos with soldiers because they were distracting the troops.
Random acts of bad judgment in 2006 included:
The Philadelphia man who pulled a gun on his seven-year-old son's American football coach to demand more playing time; and
In Koblenz, Germany, a woman who was caught driving her dead mother across country to save on mortuary transport costs.
Two women working at the German Labour Office got into trouble for writing emails at work moaning about their dull sex lives - and sending the exchange to thousands of co-workers.
A pilot of Air Canada's Jazz subsidiary got locked out of the cockpit after stepping out to go to the washroom.
Three doctors in India were caught by a TV camera agreeing to amputate healthy limbs of beggars who wanted more sympathy.
Love had its strange moments too. Two prisoners in an Ivory Coast jail got married after falling in love through the peephole in an iron prison door.
All in all, a pretty odd year, wouldn't you say?

Saturday, February 17, 2007


My goodness, these certainly are points to ponder. Like most people who own their own businesses, I a very "goal orientated" and again like most people who own their own businesses, those goals can and have changed on a daily basis.
The below advise to put the goals into some sort of order of priority is something that, quite frankly I have never done. The way that I find easier to do this type of thing is to have a 10 year, 5 year and then 1 year plan, and at this time I am referring specifically to the work arena.
Looking forward into my life and into the future for me, makes what I do and how I achieve those goals very important. So I take the most difficult of all and ask the question - what would would I like to be doing in 10 years time. Where would I like to be in terms of my business and what would I have liked to achieve. For me these are the 3 most important questions and they are listed seperately, with all the bits and pieces going on in rows beneath them.
Once that is complete, I tend to break it down and so here comes the 5 year plan. Looking at the 10 year plan, many of them are automatically achievable if certain of the other goals are met and brought to fruition, those do not get transferred to the 5 year list, but remain on the 10 year list. Again what is on the list is broken down into easier to achieve "bite size portions".
Again, once that is complete, I break things down and out of this the 1 year plan is born. As with the 10 year plan, many of the points on the 5 year plan are automatically achievable if certain goals are met and brought to fruition, those do not get trasnferred to the 1 year list but remain on the 5 year list.
I now have a list that is 'doable', even if it is somewhat daunting! Now for me, here comes the challenge. There may still be goals that are automatically achievable if other goals are met - these are split out from the others and listed to one side. The remainer of goals are then taken one at a time and what needs to be done to achieve each one is listed as a sub-heading under the goal to be achieved. These are then given a 'due date' by which they are to be completed - those due dates are diarized, and also put down into my year planner so that they can be seen at a glance. By checking my year planner on a weekly basis the task can be planned out into daily expectations and what I like to call "mini targets".
I now have a workable solution to something that at the beginning of the excercise, was a hugely daunting, frightning and quite frankly an over whelming task.
On a daily basis, use your diary, or a journal to record what you have done and what you have achieved or have not achieved and why. Apart from documenting your life, you are also cleansing your mind and settling emotions!
So what am I saying here . . . . Well basically it is this - If you want to be a success in life and/or in business, you have to have a plan! Issues need to be put into perspective. You need to achieve your goals, one little step at a time - remember the statement (I forget now who wrote it, but it is very true) that the greatest of journey's begin with a single step. Note it says step - not leap, or sprint or anything else that you may want to conjure up in your mind's eye.
At the end of the year, take your lists and look at what you have achieved. Now is also not the time to beat yourself up over what hasn't been achieved! I have no doubt that you have done this sufficiently during the course of the year. Remember daily goals have changed to accomodate ever changing needs and there are goals that have been achieved that were not even recorded or considered. Because of the changes there are also many goals that are now obsolete, so they now no longer feature.
Adjust your goals for the coming year. Take time out - I mean quality time with yourself, turnaround and have a look at where you were 12 months ago, what you have achieved and the journey that you have walked. Pat yourself on the back and give yourself credit for what you have done! Too often we are too busy bashing our own selves on the head because of what we haven't done, instead of congratulating ourselves and patting ourselves on the back for what we have achieved . . . more often than not with more tasks that had not been on the list than what were.
And remember . . . focus on the goal that is in front of you - don't gaze into the future and try and complete the 10 year plan in the 1 year space.
Tessa Silberbauer

08 January 2007 at 14h00

By now the party is well and truly over, hopefully the clean-up and hangovers are done, and we are facing the reality of 2007 with all its hopes and fears. Somehow, as the silly season party continues and the champagne and buzz takes effect, we become over-optimistic about all sorts of things.
The New Year feels, naturally, like the perfect opportunity to start over and change all those niggles, it gives us the chance to actually get what we want. But the truth is that there are only 52 weeks in a year. One of them is over already, and somehow time does seem to shrink as soon as we're looking back, instead of ahead.
It is very easy to end the holiday and immediately get back into the routine of normal work, without much thought to how quickly (or whether) we're going to where we want to be. While living by routine allows us to get things done without much thought to what should happen next, the downside is that we don't think about what should happen next.
Too much of a good thing is hazardous, even energy-saving devices like habit and routine are sometimes harmful. This is the first obstacle to settting goals for the year.
The next is choosing the goal you want. When we're faced with the question, "What do you want?" it is often very difficult to formulate an answer. The reason for this is that we are creatures of desire. We all want a lot of things.
Some of these ideas are wishes, others are needs, and there are dreams as well, dreams that are more or less achievable. But when we try to answer the question, "what do you want?" all of these come to mind: the urgent, the important, the trivial, and the work, love and home lives. And they all come to mind all at once.
To get any kind of meaningful and workable answer, we have to change the question. A goal implies a change of some sort, so we first specify that we are talking about change. This has already narrowed the frame of reference. Rather try to shape your question like the examples below:- What do I want to change in my work?

- What do I want to remain the same?
- Are there any behaviours that I am not happy with?
- How can I improve my home life?
- How can I contribute to my personal relationships?
- How do I want December 2007 to feel like?I
t is often helpful to add "negative point-of-view" questions, such as, "What is really damaging my health?" or, "What is stressing me most?"
Choose the right questions in order to be able to choose your goals. And once that have answered the questions, you can then ask yourself what needs to be done to change, eliminate or counteract the problem, and these actions then become your goals.
The final step in deciding your goals is to prioritise them. One of the reasons why we often fall short of our dreams is because life gets in the way and this tends to distract us. So look at the actions you have chosen and decide the following:

What non-negotiable for anything but a life-or-death situation?

What needs to be completed before you can even think of looking at something else?

What would be very nice to have, but will not affect your stress or satisfaction levels enough to make them worth the effort?
Very often, the answers we find are entirely dependant on the questions we ask. There are so many ways to frame even a simple question, and each change affects the perspective from where you start looking for the answers.

Tessa Silberbauer is a Johannesburg-based life management trainer.
For corporate or individual consulting or training, you can contact her on 083-310-0955 or

Friday, February 16, 2007


Oh, I don't know - we seem to be taking 1 step forward and then 2 steps back. My main concern is the age that a child is allowed to make adult decisions. Children of 12, 14, 16 and even 18 are still, in my humble opinion - just that - children! How can they be allowed to be making decisions that could alter the course of their lives, when they are still children. I also do not believe that adults can be making these types of decisions for children either - these are decisions that the children themselves will have to live with for the rest of their lives, and should therefore be made by them - when they are old enough to know what the consequences of those decisions are.
I understand that it is part of tradition and religion and all those other good things that people seem to feel the need to encompass into their lives, but hey - surely they can become symbolic rather than a physical occurance until such time as the child reaches adulthood.
Remember, once done, they cannot be undone and the child then lives with the reality of the whole experiance for the rest of their lives!
December 24 2005 at 11:56AM

By Christina Gallagher

After six months of vigorous protest and deep cultural debate, a landmark decision has finally outlawed virginity testing and male circumcision under the age of 16 - paving the way for a controversial national law to go into effect.
Last week the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) gave the nod to the first section of the Children's Bill. It was agreed that virginity testing was permitted for girls - but only those over the age of 16, and only provided they have proper counselling, that the results are not publicised and that the girl's body is not marked.
Male circumcision was also forbidden - unless the boy is 16 years or older and receives counselling, or is for religious or medical purposes. In other words, anyone who performs a virginity test or a circumcision on a child under the age of 16 once the bill is law could face the full might of the justice system.
The relevance of both practices in a modern society has been aggressively debated. Earlier this year, when the Children's Bill was passed by the National Assembly, virginity testing was banned, while male circumcision was not. The decision to ban virginity testing raised concern from the National House of Traditional Leaders, which deemed it a violation of cultural rights.
At the time, spokesperson Sibusiso Nkosi said: "At the end of the day, we want to see a bill that is there to promote our traditions and identity as African people. "After the NCOP amended the National Assembly's decisions, Nkosi said this week: "The fact that virginity testing has not been totally banned is appreciated."But he added: "When it comes to circumcision, religious rights are getting more recognition than cultural rights.
We should be treated equally before the law. "One of the key issues raised against virginity testing was the fact that the results of tests were publicised in communities, making girls feel ostracised if they did not "pass".
This is why the revised version specifies that the results may not be made public. Megan Briede, the national programme manager for Child Welfare South Africa, said girls who go through the test sometimes receive a mark on their foreheads declaring that they are virgins. She said this was information obtained from NCOP public hearings held in October. "(We see this as) advertising a child for rape because sleeping with a virgin is still believed (by some) to cure Aids.
This mark makes the child more vulnerable. "Nkosi said he was not aware of any cultural groups placing marks on foreheads declaring a child a virgin. He referred to a similar practice that is now banned in Swaziland, but said it meant that the girl was abstaining from sex, not that she was necessarily a virgin. He also said the National House of Traditional Leaders agreed with not publicising the results of virginity tests. "We don't expect people to brag about their results - but if a person wants to go public, it's their right."But, he said:
"The age is the problem. Children can buy condoms and contraception at 12 years old but they can only consent to virginity testing at 16. There is no balance. "Under the new bill, a child can consent to medical treatment, including HIV testing and the purchase of contraceptives, at 12 years of age.
Previously, under the Child Care Act, it had been 14. The new amendments are not without some loopholes. Take, for example, the fact that having sex with a child aged 15 or younger is considered statutory rape, but that a 12-year-old is deemed "mature enough" to purchase condoms in order to practise safe sex. Briede said her organisation had requested that the age of consent to medical treatment remain at 14, which is the current age set under the Child Care Act. "It now sends kids a contradictory message," she added.
Another concern is that, at 14 years old, children can now consent to surgical procedures, including abortion, but the new bill allows that a girl can consent to giving up her baby for adoption only at 18, whereas previously, a 16-year-old could make that decision. "Both of these decisions are life-altering. It looks like the bill values one option over another," said Briede.
The Children's Bill modernises the Child Care Act of 1983 and amends a section of the Bill of Rights that refers to children. It is divided into two sections - section 75 and section 76. Section 75 focuses on provisions for children while section 76 will concentrate on Child Welfare services. Section 76 will be presented before parliament next year.
Once both bills are signed by President Thabo Mbeki - as is expected, in the new year - these will be incorporated in a revised Child Care Act.The new featuresOther systems put in place to protect children, and ratified by the Children's Bill, include:

The establishment of a National Child Protection Register, which will allow all employers to check whether their employees are suitable to work with children.
It will bar anyone who has been found guilty of an offence against children to work in an environment that involves children.

The establishment of a Register of Adoptable Children and Prospective Adoptive Parents, which is a first for SA and will aid social workers in matching children and adoptive parents, bringing permanency in children's lives.

Improving the care of children living within child-headed households by allowing children to remain with their siblings under the care of an adult designated by the court. This means that the bill seeks to protect these vulnerable children from being burdened with adult responsibilities.

The Children's Bill does not make special reference to the sex of the child who is a victim of a sexual offence. This issue will be addressed in the Sexual Offences Bill, which is set to be a major issue for various child welfare organisations to tackle next year. The amendments to the Sexual Offences Bill were drafted in 1996, but thy have slipped off parliament's agenda without explanation.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on December 24, 2005


Good grief! Well I guess no-one may walk into the studio in Auckland Park and start shooting, probably because at the time of the interview Mbeki's bodyguards were all there, but there are reported incidents of residents having an afternoon with friends and being attacked in their own gardens in broad daylight!

What about the fact that Mbeki's own home was compromised by a burgler - I guess if a robber and/or armed attacker can get in there - with all the safety measures that one would assume is around the President of the country, then said robber and/or attacker could get in anywhere.

Is it really possible that Mbeki is not aware of what is going on around him, can his head be so far buried in the sand that he cannot see what is happening.

Perhaps Mbeki is using the same policy that he does on what is happening in Zimbabwe - you know the one? It's the one that goes along the lines of "Let's wait and see what happens!"


Crime: Experts say Mbeki is out of touch
Johannesburg, South Africa

17 Jan 2007 07:17

Crime experts and victims have accused President Thabo Mbeki of being out of touch with reality with his denial that crime was out of hand, Beeld reported on Wednesday. A senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, Johan Burger, said Mbeki's statement showed he was not clued up about the experiences of ordinary people.
In 1998, 25% of respondents said in a poll they did not feel safe going out after dark in their own areas. "In a similar poll in 2004, that figure had jumped to 58% of people who felt unsafe," said Burger.
Mbeki said in a TV interview on Monday it was just a perception that crime was out of control. Most South Africans would agree, he told interviewer Tim Modise. "It's not as if someone will walk here to the TV studio in Auckland Park and get shot," said Mbeki. "That doesn't happen and it won't happen.
Nobody can prove that the majority of the country's 40 million to 50 million citizens think that crime is spinning out of control." Hisham Bhamjee, chairperson of the Brixton community policing forum, comprising Auckland Park, Melville, Rossmore, Mayfair and Crosby, said he advised the area's 55 000 residents to be on the alert and to take precautions. "Personally, I would not walk along Kingsway or Henley road [which flank the SABC building in Auckland Park] at night," said Bhamjee.
Crime figures for the greater Brixton area for 2005 and 2006 show 20 people were murdered, 527 armed robberies with aggravated circumstances were committed, and there were about 680 assaults.
Former Springbok rugby wing Gerrie Germishuys, who was recently attacked at his home in Northcliff, Johannesburg, said: "If the government's armed bodyguards were taken away from them, they would realise how unsafe the country has become." Burger said there were some positive indicators that crime was levelling off, but it had to be appreciated that this was from an extremely high level [of crime].
"If crime is not out of control, it is under control. And, it may be a bit early to say that," he said. "One should not be duped by positive tendencies, because it does not make one any safer." - Sapa

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Good morning bloggers - being Wednesday here is the next instalment of the workshop. If you need any of the phycial forms such as VAT registration and or checklists, please contact me for the relevant copies. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.



A5. Accounting

It is in your own best interests, if you are not a bookkeeper or an Accountant, to have one or the other or both, to do the books for your business. Not everyone can handle the figures and if you don’t know what you are doing, be assured – you will mess up and when you mess up it is going to cost you money. So be proactive on this one – get the services of a qualified bookkeeper, or if you have an idea of what you are doing, then just get an Accountant. Make sure that he/she is an accredited Accountant and that they come from a reputable company. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GIVE THEM SIGNING POWERS ON YOUR ACCOUNTS!!!!!! If you obtained the Accountant’s name from the yellow pages or somewhere similar, get references and phone all of them. Do the research. If you would like someone who comes recommended please feel free to use our Accountants. You can get the name and number from me.

Your books should be balanced and written up on a monthly basis. How else can you keep control of what your income and expenses are! Make sure that the records are kept neat and tidy and that they are legible. You are not going to remember what you wrote down 6 months from now – take that extra time, it is worth it in the long run. Put everything in files. I would suggest that everything pertaining to income (invoices sent out etc) be put into one file. Your expenses should also be filed, but a little differently – all you constants, such as telephone bills, rentals, etc should go into individual files and the rest can go into one file in alphabetical numerical order. When you are starting out, the constant bills can be filed in one file, but in their individual sections and then moved as they accumulate and as you grow. Petty cash should be kept separately but together with their reconciliations. A check list should be made for things that need to be paid monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi annually and annually – in this way bills will not be forgotten, will be paid timeously and will not attract penalties and interest.

If you are going to do the bookkeeping yourself, or even if you hire someone to do them for you, it is recommended that you get a good, simple but reasonable, in terms of cost, software package to assist you and make life much easier. I would suggest something like ‘Turbo Cash”, which is one of the most simplest systems around, but it is also one of the most effective as it encompasses everything and also allows your business to grow. Again do the research – it is in your own best interests at the end of the day to be comfortable with what you are doing. The more complicated it is the less likely you’ll want to work with it, so KEEP IT SIMPLE!!!!

Even if you have a bookkeeper and/or Accountant, remember that at the end of the day, you are responsible for what does or doesn’t happen in your business. Make sure that the VAT is paid across every second month. Make sure that you haven’t spent the money – if you are inclined to be a bit of a spendthrift, remove the temptation – transfer the money into an interest bearing account or even into your bond account. Make the money work for you – why must you always work for the money!

In the instances where your business is a business unit or a franchisee, make sure that the Head Office has copies of your VAT, UIF, SDL, RCS and PAYE for their record purposes. Even though your unit is owned by you, it is still a part of the bigger picture and this information may be required by the Receiver or by Auditors.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007



By Nikki Viljoen

Networking is a daily part of my life, in fact I could not imagine how my life would be if I were not able to ‘network’! I am a ‘natural’ networker and it is at times excruciatingly difficult for me to understand that this is not the case with many people! How they ‘manage’ is beyond me, which is probably why I keep threatening to write a book which I will entitle ‘The Reluctant Entrepreneur!’ Most people burst into nervous laughter when I make this statement, I suspect because they never know what next to expect from me, but to illustrate my meaning, I would like to relate the following true story:

During the latter half of 2005, I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop that included Nadia Bilchik as the main speaker.

For those of you who can remember that far back, Nadia used to be an M-net Anchor Lady during the 1980’s and 90’s. My favourite memory of Nadia was her character in the “Crunchie” ad’s although she also appeared in several South African movies over the years.

The story goes (and this came from Nadia herself) that Nadia has always been a ‘people’s person’ who chatted easily with everyone with no thought of race, colour, social standing or gender. A real networker! Nadia made friends where ever she went. During this time one of the people that Nadia always touched base with was the Security chap at M-net. What possible reason would she have for doing that, you may wonder, read on and find out!

During 1997, Nadia’s husband was to be relocated to Atlanta Georgia, in America and Nadia’s little world fell apart! Her whole support group of family and friends, that she had built up over the years were here in sunny South Africa and now she would have to move to an unknown part of the world, where she knew no-one! Not only that, but being a ‘big fish in a little pond’, Nadia would be moving somewhere, where she was not known at all! Imagine if you will, her distress. Where would she work and how would she get into the kind of work that she was used to?

Nadia told anyone who cared to listen of her dilemma, including the security guard.

The security guard (let’s call him George), unbeknown to Nadia, had been on some or other course, with security guards from all over the world. Don’t ask what the course was …… I have no idea! Anyway, I digress – George had, during the course of his course, met a security guard from . . . . you’ve guessed it, Atlanta Georgia (let’s call this chap Mike) and not only was Mike from Atlanta Georgia, he also worked at the CNN studios there! The rest as they say is history!

What happened was, that George contacted his buddy Mike and told him all about Nadia back here in South Africa. Mike promised to help. George got Nadia to do a video tape of herself in glorious technicolour and when Nadia got to Atlanta, Mike handed said tape to the people who count at the Studio’s there. Nadia landed herself a fat job and now has her own slot on CNN, all because Nadia was a friendly, natural Networker!

Powerful stuff wouldn’t you say – who would have thought!

Now because I have discovered that not everyone knows how to network, I have decided that I will be giving out some useful tips on the blog on a Tuesday – Tuesday will become “Networking Tips day”. So you can either log into my blog every Tuesday or alternatively, you could get the book!

I recently had the privilege of meeting Helen Nicholson, the Guru of Networking. Helen has written a book entitled “Networking: The Unwritten Rule of Business you need to know”. Although I consider myself a ‘natural networker’, meeting Helen in person the other day for a chat and then reading her book, without pause, showed me that I too have a lot to learn!

I have my own signed copy of the book and strongly suggest that you get your own copy. For those of you who would like a copy of Helen’s book, please e-mail your request to her on

Have a look at the to see what Trevor Nel and I have to say on the subject.

Until next week – happy networking!


Monday, February 12, 2007


A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a R100-00 note in the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this R100-00 note. Hands started going up.
He said, "I am going to give this R100-00 to one of you but first, let me do this. He proceeded to crumple theR100-00 note up.
He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. Well, he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.
My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value.
It was still worth R100-00. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.
We feel as though we are worthless.
But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you.
The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or whom we know, but by WHO WE ARE.
Who we are, in business is also really important! Our credibility, our sincerity and the way in which we do business and/or how we handle our deliverables, will often be the deciding factor between whether we get the business or not.
Make sure that you always do what you say you will, even if it takes a while, make sure that you keep your word. Be fair, be open and above all be honest! These are attributes that are sadly lacking in the world of business today and I know, for me, it is always refreshing to be dealing with someone whose word I can trust.
Here's hoping that you all have a fantabulous week.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Best "Out of the Office" Autoreplies

Good morning bloggers, I hope you enjoy the Sunday Smile today.


The Best "Out-Of-Office" E-Mail Auto-Replies :

1: I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position.

2: I'm not really out of the office. I'm just ignoring you.

3: You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.

4: Sorry to have missed you but I am at the doctors having my brain removed so that I may be promoted to management

5: I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails you send me until I return from vacation on 4/18. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

6: Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

7: The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and try sending again.' (The beauty of this is that when you return, you can see how many in-duh-viduals did this over and over).

8: Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queueing system.You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.

9: Hi. I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.

10: Hi! I'm busy negotiating the salary for my new job. Don't bother to leave me any messages.

11: I've run away to join a different circus. AND, FINALLY, THIS ONE TAKES THE CAKE :

12: I will be out of the office for the next 2 weeks for medical reasons. When I return, please refer to me as 'Loretta' instead of 'Steve'.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Oh my, what exciting times we live in! I can't wait to see what happens! On a personal level I would back either Cyril Ramaposa or Tokyo Sexwale as I believe that they would run the country in the same sort of manner in which they run their businesses - successfully and profitably. However having said that - time will tell! One thing that has not been discussed in the article is the different "tribal" relations - Zuma is a Zulu, hence the stong support from KwaZulu Natal - but how will that help him in Gauteng for example where Zulu's are not nearly as much revered?

During the Apartheid struggle, all the native nations came together as one to defeat the oppression, but will this alliance be maintained now that the 'common enemy' has been dealt with and is no longer a threat? Time will tell!

As I said in the beginning - My these are exciting times that we live in and I can't wait to see what happens next!



How the next president will be chosen
Zukile Majova and Mbuyisi Mgibisa

06 November 2006 01:59

What if the conference happened tomorrow? Surprisingly, ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma would not be a shoo-in. While his election machinery is already in motion he would not secure victory and would probably have to enter party coalitions and bargain hard using the patronage at his disposal.
The ability to dispense positions across the state is a formidable weapon in the hands of the front-runner candidate and, ironically, was bequeathed to Zuma by Mbeki, who has centralised the power to elect executive mayors, the premiers and the Cabinet in the ANC presidency. Zuma could use this to great effect to secure his own victory at the 2007 conference. Our investigation of the power play in ANC regions and provinces indicates that Zuma is battling to win over traditional Mbeki supporters. Zuma is not up against Mbeki, as the succession race is sometimes portrayed. In fact, he is up against an unnamed candidate whom Mbeki is yet to anoint; and he is also up against a compromise candidate, such as Kgalema Motlanthe, who could emerge to maintain unity in the party.
Such a compromise candidate would need the endorsement of both men to succeed. By our calculations, Zuma already has control of KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State and has diluted support in traditional Mbeki strongholds such as the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. But he has been rejected in North West and is battling to launch a full campaign in Gauteng, the Western Cape and Northern Cape.
Zuma hopes to make inroads in possible hung provinces such as the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, to force a stalemate at the conference, in which case provinces such as the Western Cape and Northern Cape could play a vital power-broking role. The Youth League has staked its future on support for Zuma, defending him through all his tribulations. It has insisted that Zuma is the natural successor to Mbeki, as ANC tradition provides for the deputy automatically to become president.
The Women’s League, however, is a different proposition altogether, as it took a highly critical stance during his rape trial. Despite his acquittal, the women took a dim view of some of the statements he made under cross examination. An Mbeki candidate, or an incumbent such as Motlanthe, is expected to enjoy support in North West and can also count on the vote of power-broking provinces (Western Cape and Northern Cape), which have a combined membership of 54 700, according to the latest audit of ANC membership.
From Durban to PolokwaneIn 1994, at the ANC’s Durban conference, Mbeki first displayed his talent for ruthless politicking. He elbowed aside unionist Cyril Ramaphosa to claim the mantle of deputy president and effective successor to the uhuru president, Nelson Mandela. Mbeki’s prospects improved immensely after SACP secretary general Chris Hani was assassinated by right-wing killers in 1993.
The two had been rivals for many years and Hani was being punted by the likes of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, at the time an influential figure, and had the blessing of South African Communist Party stalwart Joe Slovo.
Polokwane could see a complete change of the ANC guard. Mbeki began to sculpt the party in his image at the 1997 conference in Mafikeng but was forced to compromise on Mosioua Lekota, who ran against Steve Tshwete (an Mbeki henchman) and beat him hands-down. Lekota is still the national chair of the party, but he has been neatly co-opted by Mbeki.
The 2002 Stellenbosch conference took place when Zuma was at his weakest (on its eve, the first corruption allegations against him were revealed) and Mbeki at his zenith. Zuma maintained the deputy presidency, though he showed no sign at the time of having an eye on the big prize.
In a top leadership structure dominated by the president’s men and women, Motlanthe was elected secretary general and supported by the left because he came out of the trade union movement. All top positions were uncontested, revealing the Mbeki culture of not encouraging open contestation. William Mervin Gumede, author of Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC, says “ANC conferences are now held at the same intervals as elections, and are largely stage-managed events.
Important decisions are taken well in advance and, though the election of office bearers is still ‘free and fair’, only the foolhardy stand against candidates pre-approved by the leadership. “Given the public nature of the nomination procedure delegates who support alternative candidates find themselves marked for ostracisation, marginalisation and exclusion from office. The party leadership frowns on any attempt to mobilise support to remove national or local officials."
The Polokwane conference is going to be a ruthless turning point and possibly be more tightly fought than any of the party’s previous post-ap artheid conferences. A national executive committee (NEC) member from KwaZulu-Natal said lobbying started a long time ago and horse-trading would continue to the very last minute.
“People have been talking to people and poaching trusted loyalists from the other camps, and this will intensify as the conference approaches.“At the moment it looks like the race between an Mbeki candidate and Zuma will go right to the end. “It’s clear that Zuma is running with it at the moment, but a lot can change between now and December 2007,” said the NEC member.
Eastern Cape: the mother of all provinces. A home base in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal or Gauteng is critical for any candidate going for the top job. These three provinces, in order, hold the highest number of votes at the conference. The mother of all ANC provinces, the Eastern Cape, held the trump card at the Stellenbosch conference in 2002, fielding 655 voting delegates -- almost double the 393 delegates from the second-placed KwaZulu-Natal. It is still likely to be the most powerful province, which explains why it is gripped by factionalism.
The KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee has publicly announced that Zuma will be its candidate, while the Eastern Cape and Gauteng have yet to indicate whom they will back. Control of the Eastern Cape is going to be tricky for both factions as the regions in the province are torn between Mbeki and Zuma.
The OR Tambo region in the former homeland capital of Mthatha is the country’s biggest region, with more than 25 000 affiliates, and, along with Chris Hani and Ukhahlamba, is drumming up support for Zuma. As recently as August, Zuma visited Mthatha, soon after which the region made a proposal for the limitation of the powers of the president to appoint premiers and mayors.
Mbeki has been criticised for abusing these powers to entrench patronage. The Nelson Mandela region in Port Elizabeth, the Amathole region in East London (the province’s second biggest region, with more than 17 000 members) and the Alfred Nzo and Cacadu regions have called for a third term for Mbeki. But the provincial executive committee wants a compromise candidate to run the party for one term to heal rifts.
The provincial mandate ahead of the 2007 conference depends largely on who, between Mbeki ally Stone Sizani and Zuma backer Mcebisi Jonas, wins the provincial chairmanship at the Eastern Cape conference on November 30.
KwaZulu-Natal. KwaZulu-Natal is a no-go area for the Mbeki faction. It is where Mbeki’s loudest campaigner, Premier S’bu Ndebele, has been pelted with stones by Zuma supporters.
Free State. The Free State has been a hotbed of anti-Mbeki sentiment for the past few years because the president has repeatedly overlooked provincial chairperson Ace Magashule for the position of premier. This will not easily translate into support for Zuma; a compromise candidate could possibly count on support there.
Hung provinces Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga are all split. Gauteng and North-West were the only two provinces that backed Mbeki at the National General Council last year when he first faced open rebellion from his ranks. Gauteng chair and Premier, Mbhazima Shilowa, is a strong supporter of the president and his position reflects the majority opinion. That attitude is also reflected by the SACP’s position in Gauteng, which is critical of the national SACP’s opposition to Mbeki. Zuma has addressed several gatherings in Limpopo, where his supporters believe he is popular. But ANC provincial chairperson Sello Moloto is a close Mbeki ally who has not associated himself with Zuma support activities organised in the province.
Our assessment is that Zuma will not enjoy an easy ride in these three provinces. Power brokers?
The Northern Cape ANC is led by John Block, who was removed from his post as provincial minister because of allegations of misuse of funds. Northern Cape is a difficult province to call. The Western Cape remains a difficult province for the Zuma camp and there are no immediate plans to take the Zuma campaign caravan to the province. The province is not necessarily divided along Zuma and Mbeki factions, but is split along ethnic lines -- one camp loyal to provincial chair and Premier, Ibrahim Rasool, and another loyal to provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha. Both are known to fly the Mbeki flag. Northern Cape and the Western Cape pack small punches at elective conferences, but they could emerge as power brokers.The road to the topThe process to nominate an ANC president and the party’s national leadership, the national executive committee (NEC), starts at ANC branches. The next president will be chosen by branches with the rest of the public having very little say.
It is in general branch meetings that ANC members, who have paid their fees and whose branches are in good standing with ANC constitutional requirements, begin the process by nominating candidates for all six official positions in the party, including NEC members. To be in good standing, branches should hold a meeting at least once in a year and have more than 100 paid-up members.
The six official positions of the ANC, elected separately at the conference through a secret ballot, are: president, deputy president, chairperson, secretary general, deputy secretary general and treasurer general.
Branches are supposed to discuss ANC leadership by observing guidelines contained in the discussion document Through the Eye of the Needle and then nominate leaders. The document provides that ANC leaders must be selfless and of high moral fibre (perhaps thereby providing an easy sifting mechanism). Once the branch has drawn up a candidate list, it takes it to the regional executive committee (REC), where the lists are consolidated and debated further to formulate a regional mandate. The process then goes to the provincial executive committee, which convenes a provincial general council -- constituted by all branches in good standing.
The list is debated further until a consensus is reached and then a provincial candidate list is formulated. After the list is finalised, the province then has an official position on the candidate of its choice. For the first time, in 2007 the ANC Women’s League and ANC Youth League will not only send voting delegates to the national conference, they will also be able to send in nominations for the national leadership.
A process similar to that of the mother body will be followed by both the women’s and youth wings. After receiving all the nominations from provinces and the leagues, the electoral commission, which is made up of long-standing senior members of the ANC, compiles a national consolidated list. This is distributed to branches before the conference.
People who were not nominated through the process can be nominated at the national conference from the floor, provided they are supported by at least 25% of the voting delegates present. -- Mbuyisi Mgibisa and Zukile Majova


How on earth can this not be an emotional response? Speak to anyone and everyone here, I guarantee you, you will not find at least one person who has not either been a victim of violent crime themselves - but who will know someone who has! That includes Thabo Mbeki himself! How could Richard Rice NOT think that people would become emotional? Good grief man - where is your heart!



SMS poll shows South Africans sick of crime
Johannesburg, South Africa

30 January 2007 01:45

A television SMS poll on crime in South Africa drew a record response with about 400 000 people saying it is spiralling out of control ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, a newspaper report said on Tuesday.
The poll was carried out by a popular television talk show after President Thabo Mbeki angered many by saying that most people in the country do not think that "crime is spinning out of control."
The Afrikaans-language Beeld newspaper said: "About 400 000 SMSs were received by early yesterday [Monday] evening ... the most ever to take part in an SMS survey. "The SMS originally read: "If you think crime in South Africa is out of control SMS 'yes' to 33588. "But as the message was passed around it gained tags such as "Please forward this to as many people as possible and prove Mbeki wrong!
Stand up to crime."South Africa has one of highest crime rates in the world, with 18 528 murders reported in the country of 46-million over the 2005'06 financial year, according to national crime statistics.
With violence and crime splashed in newspapers every day, the issue is an emotive one for South Africans, who are hoping it can be curbed before it hosts the World Cup in 2010. Beeld cited Richard Rice, an official from a company that conducts surveys, as saying the poll is not credible due to the emotional tags attached to it that may have prejudiced people.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


How very sad. This just brings home, once again, how selfish man actually is. We have destroyed the lives of so many of our animal friends, in our quest to conquer. whilst we seem to be aware of what it is that we are doing, we don't seem to do much about it but talk. How very sad!



Farewell to a goddess
Guardian reporters
It lived in the Yangtze river for millions of years and was revered by the Chinese as the “goddess” of the mighty river. But now scientists believe that the baiji, a white, freshwater dolphin, is extinct.
A painstaking six-week hunt on the Yangtze for any remaining signs of the baiji ended this month with the news scientists had been dreading: there don’t appear to be any remaining. “The baiji is functionally extinct. We might have missed one or two animals but it won’t survive in the wild,” said August Pfluger, a Swiss naturalist involved in the expedition. “We are all incredibly sad.”
Also known as the Chinese river dolphin, the baiji is the first large aquatic mammal to be declared extinct since the Caribbean monk seal was killed off by hunting and over-fishing half a century ago. The marine scientists from the foundation launched their hunt with some limited optimism six weeks ago, aware that the dolphin was in desperate peril but hopeful they would sight some of the pale, nearly blind creatures. But even halfway through the expedition the signs were looking gloomy.
The dolphin, which dates back 20-million years, has been pushed to extinction by the severe degradation of its habitat. Increasingly noisy shipping traffic on the Yangtze affected the dolphins’ sonar, while severe pollution and over-fishing diminished food supplies. The completion of the massive Three Gorges dam project upriver also did not help, worsening the decline of the smaller fish on which the baiji fed and shrinking the sand bars around which they once played.
Around 400 baiji were believed to be living in the Yangtze in the early 1980s, when China was just launching the free market reforms that have transformed its economy. The last fully-fledged search, in 1997, yielded 13 confirmed sightings, and a fisherman claimed to have seen a baiji in 2004.
The closest most modern Chinese people got to the creature was Qi Qi, a female baiji found in the river in 1980, who lived in an aquarium until her death in 2002. The chances of a miraculous return from presumed extinction seem extremely remote, given that the team of 30 scientists from five countries searched a 1 600km stretch of the Yangtze over the six weeks.
At least 20 to 25 baiji would now be needed to give the species a chance to survive, they say. The disappearance of the “goddess of the Yangtze” is a sobering reminder to the Chinese government about the extent to which the country’s economic transformation is affecting the environment. According to Pfluger, China’s agriculture ministry had hoped the baiji would end up being another giant panda, an animal brought back from the brink of extinction in a highly marketable effort that bolstered the country’s image.
Almost equally under threat is Yangtze finless porpoise, whose numbers have fallen to below 400, the expedition found. “The situation of the finless porpoise is just like that of the baiji 20 years ago,” the expedition group said in a statement. “Their numbers are declining at an alarming rate. If we do not act soon they will become a second baiji.”
-- © Guardian News & Media Ltd 2006

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Good morning bloggers! Being Wednesday it is the workshop post again this morning. Remember, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me, or in this case if you need any of the documentation, it is available at a fee.
A. 4. Archiving

It is a legal requirement that accounting records and balances be retained for at least five years from the date of the last entry therein. This is not only a legal requirement for businesses, but for you in your personal capacity as well. The Receiver has the right to ask you for any financial documentation going back five years and if you do not have the documentation they can fine you and charge you penalties and interest thereon. For example, this is the year 2007 and your income tax return has been submitted on time on an annual basis and you have received your rebate or paid your dues (whichever the case may be). Then you receive a notice in the post that your assessment for the year 2002 was re-calculated and your medical aid, expenses/fees need to be re-checked. Your assessment states that you claimed R20 000 worth of medical aid (you had some surgery that the medical aid did not cover) and they now want the proof thereof – however, you had a spring clean last year and you threw everything out. Well why not? You got back quite a nice rebate that year and so the Receiver must be finished with you – Yeah right! Now you can’t prove that you had those expenses, over and above you medical aid allowance and the Receiver disallows the rebate on the medical aid. This means that although you got back R5768.72 as a rebate, you now owe the Receiver R8326.24 and guess what – it has to be paid in the next 3 weeks! The burden of proof is on you. So please keep everything. It is your audit trail, it can save you lots of money if there is a query.

The frequency of your archiving will depend on the size of your business and the amount of paperwork, you generate. It’s best though, to file things firstly in date order, then in month order, then in year order. Most small to medium size businesses can get away with a years worth of work in a (printing paper) box. Mark the box clearly with, the year, and what the contents of the box are. For example “2003, 1. Cheque book stubs, 2. Bank Statements” and so on. If you take something out for whatever reason – remember to put it back exactly where you took it from. You don’t want to have to go through the whole box looking for a single little piece of paper that you’ve probably put back into the wrong year anyway!

A copy of archiving label for the boxes can be obtained from me directly, as well at the Archiving Retention periods.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Wow! That certainly does indicate that there is a pattern here. If this had been an ordinary member of Joe Public, the metro police would have been all over them like a rash and they would have been inside a cell, quicker than the tow trucks could have even arrived on the scene.

In retrospect, we now all know what has happened to Robert McBride, he is free as a bird. So much for keeping corruption at bay. The ANC only follow the laws that suit them and when it suits them and they themselves should be brought to task.


Drink, drive and walk free

Kwanele Sosibo

He was not disciplined by the African National Congress (ANC), but he voluntarily retired from his post to join the 2010 World Cup’s local organising committee as its head of security. Ekurhuleni metro police chief Robert McBride, who rolled his car last December while driving on the R511 near Centurion, faces the minor charge of reckless driving despite being described by several witnesses as being “blind drunk” at the scene of the accident.
Some witnesses also claimed that McBride’s colleagues, who were operating outside of their jurisdiction when they came to his rescue, threatened and assaulted bystanders and removed evidence from McBride’s car. His blood was not tested for alcohol content. McBride’s boss, Ekurhuleni mayor Duma Nkosi, defended his metro police chief just hours after the accident, even though police had only begun investigating the incident.
Nkosi also failed to confirm whether a breathalyser test had been conducted at the scene, and brazenly claimed that McBride was sober enough to drive, saying it was “unfortunate” that “some people took the view that he was drunk”. The ANC’s lack of disciplinary rigour in its handling of these cases is part of a pattern.
In 1999, ANC senior party adviser and Cape Metropolitan Council (CMC) executive committee member Mzukisi Gaba was convicted of driving under the influence and fined R12 000 or six months in jail. Although the council suspended him after the verdict, the ANC called for his suspension to be lifted immediately, remarking that he had “suffered enough”.
He was reappointed to the CMC in 1999. In December 2005, Eastern Cape ANC legislature member Mike Basopu was arrested for a second time that year on charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol. In both instances, the ANC turned a blind eye. Basopu was nabbed yet again this month for drunk driving. Although he appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court earlier this week, the case was withdrawn pending the result of a blood analysis.
He remains the portfolio chairperson for the provincial health committee. Earlier last year, North West ANC member of the legislature Ndleleni Duma received a standing ovation from his party in a show of moral support ahead of his court case on charges of drunken driving. After a protracted trial he was acquitted on a technicality, when the magistrate found that the route he was said to be driving on at the time of his arrest was not properly noted on the charge sheet.
Duma also pleaded guilty to a charge of theft of R51 000 and was fined R30 000 in the Travelgate scandal. He remains provincial minister for sports, arts and culture in North West.

Monday, February 05, 2007


The quote of the week comes from Shado Twala - businesswoman.

"Happiness is self love".

I remember first hearing Shado Twala on the radio - Metro FM it was, in the mid nineties. She has a very deep resonant voice, that is both smokie and saltry and I remember wondering what she would sound like if she sang. I imagined this beautiful jazzy or blues type voice and carries you, the listener down whatever road the tale of the song goes.
It was only years later that I discovered that Shado was not just a DJ on the radio, but also a very successful businesswoman.
During her tenure as DJ on the radio, she often spoke about matters of the heart, and the quote above is very typical of the type of thing that she used to say.
Whilst I agree with her sentiment, I cannot help but wonder how any business can be successful if there is no "happiness" in the heart of the business owner. How can a business be successful if the person owning it and/or running it, is not happy in what they do - let alone passionate about what it is that they do.
Then of course, there are the staff - the business owner usually leads by example and if you as the business owner is not happy and walks around like a grouch all day, chances are that your staff will follow your example.
I cannot even begin to understand how anyone could work in an environment about which they were not madly passionate about the work that they do - yet I understand that millions of people do that every single day of their lives, in an attempt to put food on the table. How sad!
So fall in love with your work, be passionate about what it is that you do and your attitude will become infectious.
Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Not sure who the Man is, who wrote this, but I would like to add a quote from Dr Maya Angelou - "Always believe a man the first time he tells you who he is!"

Have a wonderful Sunday and I trust that this will bring a smile to your face.



Advice to women...

1. If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away.
2. If he doesn't want you, nothing can make him stay.
3. Stop making excuses for a man and his behaviour.
4. Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.
5. Stop trying to change yourselves for a relationship that's not meant to be.
6. Slower is better.
7. Never live your life for a man before you find what makes you truly happy.
8. If a relationship ends because the man was not treating you as you deserve then heck no, you can't "be friends." A friend wouldn't mistreat a friend.
9. Don't settle. If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is.
10. Don't stay because you think "it will get better." You'll be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better.
11. The only person you can control in a relationship is you.
12. Avoid men who've got a bunch of children by a bunch of different women. He didn't marry them when he got them pregnant. Why would he treat you any differently?
13. Always have your own set of friends separate from his.
14. Maintain boundaries in how a guy treats you.
15. If something bothers you, speak up.
16. Never let a man know everything. He will use it against you later.
17. You cannot change a man's behaviour. Change comes from within.
18. Don't EVER make him feel he is more important than you are...even if he has more education or in a better job.
19. Do not make him into a quasi-god.
20. He is a man, nothing more nothing less.
21. Never let a man define who you are.
22. Oh Lord! If he cheated with you, he'll cheat on you.
23. A man will only treat you the way you ALLOW him to treat you.
24. All men are NOT dogs.
25. You should not be the one doing all the bending...compromise is a two-way street.
26. You need time to heal between relationships...there is nothing cute about with your issues before pursuing a new relationship.
27. You should never look for someone to COMPLETE you...a relationship consists of two WHOLE individuals...look for someone complimentary...not supplementary.
28. Dating is fun...even if he doesn't turn out to be Mr. Right.
29. Make him miss you sometimes...when a man always know where you are, and your always being readily available to him - he takes it for granted.
30. Don't fully commit to a man who doesn't give you everything that you need.
31. Keep him in your radar but get to know others.
32. Share this with other ladies..... You'll make someone SMILE, another RETHINK her choices and another woman PREPARE.
33. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them and an entire lifetime to forget them.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Oh well done department of health, although your huge increase in the amount of 5.2% comes far too late for the many pharmacies that had to close as a direct result of your dictatorial ways. What of them?

In a country where the entrepreneur is expected to grow the economy, it was very sad to see huge companies like Clicks and Dischem take over and corner the market. The little 'man on the street corner pharmacy' is now something of the past. Many people lost their livlihood and their staff are now unemployed, thank you to the department of health and their 'bright spark ideas'! Well done! I guess a few more unemployed in the grand scheme of things is not a big problem for you - yeah right!

Absolutely disgusting!

Jillian Green January 30 2007 at 05:02AM

Consumers will now pay more for their medicines when they visit their local pharmacies. This comes as the department of health announced a 5.2-percent increase in the price that pharmaceutical manufacturers will charge pharmacists for medicines. The increase means that consumers buying anything from birth control pills to bipolar disorder medication will be paying more for their medication.
The single exit price (SEP) increase is the first in three years. The SEP is the price at which manufacturers sell their products to pharmacists and the standard price from which pharmacists work out their dispensing fees. A total of 27 pharmaceutical manufacturers have been given the green light by the department to increase the prices of certain drugs in their stables. A full list of all the drugs affected by the increases is available on the department's website.

Muhammad Bodhania, the chairperson of the National Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, welcomed the increase in that it "provided some level of release" in the business. "We have not increased our prices for three years, while inflation has increased and the rand has weakened against the dollar. We have been absorbing a lot of the pressure," he said.
Bodhania said the association still had to "check whether the increase was adequate" but added that they had not received any complaints from their members as yet. In real terms, the manufacturers' price increase means a consumer who usually spent just over R70 on Marvelon tablets for the month can now expect to pay in the region of R75. This will apply if the pharmacy that supplies their drugs is using the department's dispensing fee model.
If the pharmacy is not using the department's model, consumers could find themselves digging deeper into their pockets. According to the department's new tiered dispensing fee structure, for medicines with SEPs of less than R75, pharmacists can charge a dispensing fee of 33 percent of the SEP plus R4; a dispensing fee of R25 plus six percent of the SEP for medicines with a SEP of between R75 and R250; a fee of R33 plus three percent of the SEP for medicines between R250 and R1 000; and an extra R50 plus 1,5 percent of the SEP when the SEP is more than
Dr Anban Pillay, the department's head of pharmaceutical planning, said the department was compelled to increase the pharmaceutical manufacturers' prices year-on-year, taking into account inflation and the rand-dollar exchange rate. "But this has not happened over the past three years," he said.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on January 30, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007


I am at a loss for words! I cannot for the life of me even begin to understand how anybody can drag another human being behind him on a quad bike, let alone a child. This is absolutely reprehensible! I understand that the man may have gotten a fright when his daughter started crying and over reacted, however having said that, it is my opinion that he lost total control and that is always an extremely dangerous situation to be in!

The next question, that begs to be asked of course is - why have the police not arrested the man? Again this seems to be a "lack of interest" on upholding the law. The police in recent months seem to have come under fire from every angle, yet there does not seem to be any visible attempt to rectify the situation. They just seem to carry on down their own little pathway.

I think we all need to take cognizance of what is happening around us and stand together as a nation, and in this way force the government to re-look at the crime situation and the reaction of the police and find some sort of solution that will benefit all concerned.



Graeme Hosken October 17 2006 at 04:41AM

A Pretoria boy was dragged kicking and screaming next to a quad bike for nearly 300m, allegedly by a tow-truck driver, in an attack which has sparked outrage in a local suburb. Adding to the furore is the fact that the man, said to have "wanted to teach the boys a lesson", has yet to be arrested. Tumi Rakomane, 11, was playing with his friends Lushaanh Holworthy, 12, and Alan Kola, 12, on Sunday near Kwaggasrand Shopping Centre when they came under attack. The three had been throwing stones in an open area opposite the centre in Inner Crescent when the daughter of the tow-truck driver, who cannot be named, screamed for her father.
It is believed that she may have been hit by a stone. Chasing the boys on his quad bike, the man cornered Lushaanh and Alan near the shopping complex. He allegedly began smacking and hitting them repeatedly in the face before tearing after Tumi, who tried to hide in a block of flats. Grabbing him by the neck and his shirt, the man apparently smacked Tumi in the face before zig-zagging over pavements and the street while holding him by his neck. Tumi, who was eventually rescued by an older friend, was visibly traumatised when he spoke to the Pretoria News on Monday, did not know what was happening.
"The man came racing out of his house on his bike and chased after us. I saw him hit and punch Lushaanh and Alan. "I tried to hide but he found me and dragged me down the stairs, kicking me in the back and stomach. "He kept on telling me he was going to teach me a lesson. He said he was going to hurt me and make me bleed," said Tumi.
Lushaanh and Alan, whose faces were swollen where they had been hit, said they were scared."We did not see the girl. We did not know what was happening. "The man really hurt us. He kept on hitting us even when we tried to say sorry. "He would not listen. We tried to say that we did not know why the girl was crying, but he kept on hitting and punching us," said Lushaanh.
A resident who witnessed the incident said the man had been like a "wild animal". "He was hitting and punching the children and dragged one of them like a rag doll. "It was insane. I have never seen anything like this," he said. Lushaanh's stepfather Enver Klow said he could not understand how a person could hit someone else's child. "Surely if you see a child being naughty you call their parents; you don't go and beat the kid," he said. Lushaanh's mother Imelda said she was furious that the man had not been arrested.
"The police have blatantly lied to me. First they told me that they had locked him up, but now they have turned around and said that he is still free. That means people can assault children left, right and centre and get away with it. "It is ridiculous and something needs to be done to stop child abuse like this, especially when police keep on saying that fighting child abuse is one of their top priorities," she said.
Police spokesperson Inspector Paul Ramaloko confirmed the attack, saying that a case of common assault had been opened. Ramaloko said no one had been arrested, "but investigations are continuing".

This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on October 17, 2006