Saturday, June 30, 2007


I know that this piece is hugely out of date and that the bill has been long since passed and all the hype around it over and done with. I have put here for a specific reason though - my 'friend' Zuma!
The man does clearly not know what the hell he believes in or what he stands for! It is as if he will bend in whichever direction to get what he wants. Here he wants the "pink" vote - someone obviously has told him just how many 'gays' have the vote and he is now trying to 'make nice' for these votes, and if he gets them, then what - the man wouldn't know the truth if his life depended on it.
God help us if he is ever elected to lead this country!
Zuma gives same-sex Bill the nod
October 23 2006 at 10:31AM
By Angela Quintal
Less than a month after apologising to gays and lesbians for his homophobic statements, ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma gave the thumbs up to a controversial Bill recognising same-sex marriages. In an interview broadcast on BBC World on Sunday, he said: "With regard to the people who want to marry, I don't think one can be judgmental." We have a constitution that guides us and we have to abide by it; no matter at times what other kinds of views people have."
'A disgrace to the nation and to God'Referring to the Civil Union Bill, he said it was being piloted in parliament because of 2005's Constitutional Court ruling recognising same-sex marriages.Zuma stressed that people had the right to express their views, but these should "not hurt or undermine other people in terms of their constitutional rights".

The ANC deputy president said his comments at a Heritage Day event had been misinterpreted, but that he had apologised unconditionally for hurting gay people. The Sowetan newspaper quoted him as saying at the time that same-sex marriages were "a disgrace to the nation and to God". Zuma was also reported as saying that "when I was growing up, an ungqingili (a gay) would not have stood in front of me. I would knock him out." Last week the National House of Traditional Leaders submitted its comments against the bill to parliament and called for an amendment to the constitution to protect the traditional form of marriage as a union between a woman and a man.

'They tend to create a situation of point-scoring'
In the interview, Zuma also defended the government's stance on HIV and Aids. He said its programme had been recognised by the World Health Organisation as one of the most advanced in the world. "You may say probably we have not done enough, but it is not correct to say we are doing nothing." Zuma again said that the problem in South Africa was the people tended to politicise the issue of HIV and Aids. "They tend to create a situation of point-scoring that creates the impression that we are not doing enough. We are doing quite a lot. "Zuma stuck to the line that he was not campaigning to be the next leader of the ANC, repeating that this was not the culture of the party. He attributed perceptions that he had presidential ambitions to the media. "I am not looking for any leadership... It will be the ANC that will decide."But he said "he had never refused a task of my organisation", making clear that if elected President Thabo Mbeki's successor he would not say no.
In a blow to those in the alliance who believe Zuma would be more amenable to leftist economic policies should he become President, he said that when it came to the economy he was guided by ANC policy."You cannot separate Zuma from the ANC's policy on the economy."This is likely to be a blow to people such as Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi, who in a recent interview said there was no such thing as a free lunch for Zuma. Zuma also said he was no Robert Sobukwe or Bantu Holomisa, implying he would never lead a breakaway to form his own political party. Sobukwe led a faction that broke from the ANC in 1958, forming the PAC, while Holomisa formed his own party, the United Democratic Movement, after he was expelled from the ANC in 1996.
Zuma said he would remain in the ANC even if the person elected to succeed Mbeki in 2007 was someone other than himself. "I know the prophets of doom have always predicted that the ANC will one day break... (because) of the problems in the alliance. The ANC will never break."Zuma stuck to his guns that the question of his presidential ambitions was all a media creation. Asked directly whether he might leave the ANC and form his own party, Zuma replied: "How can I? That is not me. In the ANC, even if there were different names (for president), once... the membership has spoken even if you have a different view, you become part of it. That is how we have maintained unity."On whether Afrikaners were Africans, Zuma stated emphatically that they were "definitely Africans". "We are a unique country. They are certainly Africans in the full sense of the word. Everybody in South Africa feels at home. We have a constitution that protects every grouping and it promotes culture. There's no culture that is looked down upon."
Poor bloody things! It seems like such a waste and it also gives an insight into the the kind of draught that the Australians faced this year. I hope they can come up with some solution that is not too drastic.
Even the camels are going thirsty
March 14 2007 at 10:59AM
Sydney - Australia's worst drought in a century is driving even wild camels crazy with thirst and hundreds of thousands will have to be eradicated, researchers said on Wednesday. The desperate animals would need to be culled on a huge scale or exported for slaughter to prevent increasing damage to the environment and infrastructure, the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre said. "An estimated one million feral camels whose numbers double every eight years compete with native animals and livestock, threaten native plants, wreck fences, bores and tanks and invade Aboriginal sites," said the centre's Glen Edwards." Camels have been an emerging problem over the last decade or so, but the latest drought has focused camels' attention on certain parts of the landscape and brought them more into contact with people and their activities," he said.
Camels "mad with thirst" had recently rampaged through the Western Desert community of Warakurna, damaging toilets, taps and air conditioners in a frenzied search for water. Feral camel experts from around Australia are due to meet in the western city of Perth on Thursday as part of a project to develop a national plan to control the humped beasts. "We're talking about hundreds of thousands of camels that need to be removed from the system," Edwards told AFP. While some could be exported live to markets in the Middle East, Russia and parts of Europe for human consumption, or turned into pet meat, culling would be unavoidable, he said. "Provided culling is done by people who are professional and well-trained, it is deemed to be probably the most humane way of managing camels - a quick death," Edwards said. "In some respects it is better to do that than to muster the animals up, put them on a truck and cart them 1 000km to an export port. "Edwards said the preferred method of culling would be to shoot the animals from helicopters."It is an enormous task but it may well be a task that does need to be undertaken.
We do have people with the skills who can do that sort of management at that scale," he said. Camels were introduced into Australia as pack animals for the vast outback in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but were released into the wild as rail and road travel became more widespread. The country has wrestled for years with other imported animals which have run wild and created problems for indigenous wildlife, plants and farmers. The department of the environment says animals of "significant concern" include feral camels, horses, donkeys, pigs, European wild rabbits, European red foxes, cats, goats and cane toads. - Sapa-AFP
Wow, and I thought our smoking laws were a bit tough! As an 'ex' smoker, I must say that I am deeply grateful to the government for imposing the laws that they have, it has made my ability to breathe a lot easier to say the least. Having said that, I also understand that smokers have the right to choose to smoke . . . or not and I am not sure if I would be very understanding, if my right to take a 'smoke' break was suddenly taken away from me.

I know several companies in South Africa use the 'tea' breaks as allocated 'smoke' breaks and this seems to work quite well, but I also have a problem with these, especially in the huge shopping malls. Shopping is smoke free shops is an absolute pleasure, I must say, but walking out of the mall can become an absolute nightmare.

My main shopping mall is Cresta and I usually park in the undercover roof parking next to the post office. Coming out of either of the entrances from the parking into the mall there is absolutely disgusting. You walk out of this smoke free environment into these billows of cigarette smoke (especially in the winter when it is cold or in the summer when it is raining). Mall staff congregate as close to the door as possible and smoke in huddles. The smoke billows into the entrances/exits of the mall and unsuspecting patrons are required to walk through this mess. This is also true of all the other entrances and exits to the mall, not only the Cresta one, but all of the other malls around the country. The entrances and/or exits become huge astrays.

It seems that non-smokers are required to get their daily dose of cigarette smoke whether they want to or not!

Bosses plan to stub out smoke breaks
22 June 2007 at 11h00

More than a third of employers plan to axe cigarette breaks when the smoking ban comes into force in England next month. It was already known that the new laws would bring an end to "smoking rooms" in the workplace, with staff having to go outside to light up. But bosses will use the ban as an opportunity to stop smokers from taking cigarette breaks at all.

A survey of more than 250 firms revealed that 36 percent planned to stop smoking breaks entirely when the ban becomes law on July 1. Business and trade union leaders called such moves "excessive". UK Trade Union Council's Brendan Barber said: "If going outside isn't an option, hardened nicotine addicts may be tempted to smoke in secret on company premises. "Under the ban, anyone caught smoking in enclosed public places faces a £50 (about R710) on-the-spot fine. or being summonsed to court.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007



1. If you have staff that have unlimited access to your offices, it is a good idea to limit the keys to the premises, to perhaps one or two. In this way you can control who is in the office and when. This can be done not only by the number of keys issued but also by a password (providing of course that you have an alarm).

2. If you have an alarm this should be controlled by means of passwords, and the passwords themselves should be controlled. Make sure that they are changed on a regular basis. If possible, every person should have their own password.

3. The alarm itself should be tested on a regular, irregular basis to ensure that it is working properly and to check that the response time is within reasonable time parameters.

4. Are there adequate fire extinguishers in place, and have your staff (and yourself) been trained on how to use these effectively. Do regular fire drills take place and are these documented? This is a legal requirement.

5. Is there a first aid kit on the premises and it is checked regularly to ensure that it has the minimum current requirements? Again this is a legal requirement.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007




Craig Harrison says that the reason that Networking may not be working for you is because of the basic 9 mistakes that Networker’s make. I will be going through these over the next few weeks and let’s see if this is what is holding you back.

To get to know a bit more about Craig Harrison, please visit his website on

The sixth mistake he says is “Leakage. Is there an inconsistency between what you say what you do? Your card may say one thing about you, your clothing suggests something else and the language and vocabulary you use further confounds strangers in getting a fix on who you are, what you’re about and your skill level. Strive to send consistent messages verbally, non-verbally and in your materials and correspondence. When everything works together the sum is greater than the parts.”

Whilst I agree that this may have some bearing on whether you are a good networker or not – my biggest grip in this area is that of pre-judgement.

Personally, I don’t really care what your card says, how you dress or what you look like, I am going to hook up with you to find out more about you, what you do and most importantly, who you know!

Too many times, I have watched people pre-judge someone only to discover (often when it is far too late) that they person that they dismissed ‘out of hand’ is someone that they really should have hooked up with.

One of my biggest clients today, is a chap that I met in a bar. He was dirty and smelly, his t-shirt was torn and dirty and his shorts hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine in a very long time. We got to talking and I discovered he had just gotten back from a fishing trip and was having an ice cold beer before going home to off load the boat etc. He actually owns 4 different businesses, several boats, a ‘holiday/weekend’ home on the Vaal and his own helicopter. When he travels nationally, he ‘charters’ a plane as he hates having to ‘wait’ or be dependent on airlines. Sounds like someone you would like to do business with, doesn’t it?

So my advice to you on this one is, don’t worry too much what it says on the business card, or what the person looks like. Talk to them and find out who they are and who they know!

Monday, June 25, 2007


Habit of success

What you do consistently and repeatedly grows stronger. And that provides you with nearly unlimited opportunity. Success is not a secret that is hidden from you. Success is a habit that is readily available to you.
Life is made up of moment after moment. Point all those moments in the same direction, and truly magnificent achievements will come about.
There are very few things of value that you can create instantly. Yet when you expand your horizon to a few weeks or months, the possibilities for achievement increase dramatically.
The hours and the days will pass whether you make use of them or not. Choose to focus your energy in a specific direction, again and again, and put the power of time to work for you.
Keep your thoughts, your words and your actions pointed in the direction you would most like to go. Develop the habit of success, and with it you can create whatever you choose.
-- Ralph Marston


And the funnies today - enjoy! I guess if you have an itch, you need to scratch it, irrpespective of your age!

Finally, something good about being old...
March 16 2007 at 11:56AM

Berlin - A brothel in Germany hopes to capitalise on the growing number of retirees by offering them a 50 percent discount for sex in the afternoon.The "Pascha" in the western city of Cologne has introduced reduced rates for sex sessions for clients aged 66 and above - provided they can prove they are old enough. "All clients need to do is show us some proof of age," said a spokesperson for the brothel's managing director Armin Lobscheid. "A 'normal session' costs ?50 (about R500) with us - and we're now paying 50 percent of that for these older guests." "We don't earn as much money, but we're establishing ourselves across a broader range of age groups," he added.

After testing the water with reductions for senior citizens once a week, the Pascha decided earlier this month to offer 50 percent off sex services between midday and 5pm every day."There's been plenty of demand and people have certainly been taking advantage of the offer," the spokesperson said. "Older folks are more active than you think."The brothel's website is keen to stress this point."Life begins at 66!" it says in an advert for its "senior citizens afternoon" next to a picture of a motorcycle rider.


You think! Logic must tell you that corruption and bribery will have a negative impact on Investment. Think about - would you want to invest your hard earned moola in something that may just dissapear before your very eyes, much like an evening with David Copperfield. I think not!

Corruption and bribery needs to be dealt with immediately and to the fullest extent of the law, and this would also pertain to the privaledged few, like Jackie Selebi and Tony Yengeni, who both walked away without even a slap on the wrist!

Corruption in SA may impact on investment
December 08 2006 at 06:31AM
By Wendy Jasson Da Costa

A damning report of corruption and bribery in South Africa released by Transparency International (TI) on Thursday could have a negative impact on potential investment and even the 2010 World Cup. This is according to Ayesha Kajee, who serves on the organisation's board in South Africa. The Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer is the only worldwide public opinion survey on perceptions and experience of corruption. This year, about 59 000 people in 62 countries were polled, of which 1 000 were South Africans.
'Vulnerable to corrupt practices'Kajee said many South Africans believed that key sectors in government and business were "vulnerable to corrupt practices" and that some even indulged in corruption. "(Government) should be working faster when allegations of corruption surface against important offices and institutions," said Kajee.

She said this was important because perceptions of corruption broke down morale, as was the case in the police because of the allegations against Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi. Kajee said by looking at the report, overseas businesses would probably do "candid" risk analyses before deciding about a country. Also, crime and corruption could negatively affect the number of visitors during the World Cup. Political parties and the police topped the list, being perceived as equally corrupt by South Africans. Parliament and the judiciary also fared poorly. On the effectiveness of the government in combating corruption, 34 percent of South African respondents believed the government was ineffective, 25 percent said it was effective, 13 percent very effective, 13 percent said government did not fight it at all, 12 percent believed government encouraged it and three percent did not know.


Sorry about no blog over the weekend folks - I have been bitten by the flu bug and am not feeling very well at all!

Good Grief! I am so happy that they have lost their jobs, their guns and their allowances - that's the least that should have happened, although I don't believe that that should be all that happens!

In my opinion they should not only be had up for child pornography, but also drug related charges an rape!

This is absolutely unacceptable behaviour!

Metro cops fired over orgy allegations
Johannesburg, South Africa
17 February 2007 07:24

Two metro police officers who allegedly used a cellphone to film an orgy with a 16-year-old Eldorado Park schoolgirl have been fired, the early edition of the Saturday Star said on Friday. Director of operations David Thembe said Vaughn Dooms (22) and Kester de Vos (24) were dismissed on Wednesday for bringing the City of Johannesburg into disrepute. The two were arrested in May 2006 for allegedly contravening the Films and Publication Act by making child pornography. They were accused of filming themselves with a cellphone having a drunken orgy with an Eldorado Park teenager who was allegedly drugged and conned into taking part. The footage was distributed on the internet and made its way to girl's school."These officers were trusted in law enforcement and we condemn their behaviour ...
They've lost their salaries, benefits, uniforms, badge and guns. They are police officers no more," said Thembe. He said the inquiry had been under way since September last year and blamed "due process" for the time taken to dismiss the men. Dooms told the paper on Friday that he would miss his job as a police officer. The men are expectd to appear again next Friday in the Protea Magistrate's Court in Soweto. - Sapa

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Oh WOW! This takes 'big brother is watching you' to a whole different level!

Can 'clever cameras' keep tabs on crooks?
February 26 2007 at 01:31AM
By Stephen Manning
College Park, Maryland -

The next time you walk by a shop window, take a glance at your reflection. How much do you swing your arms? Is the weight of your bag causing you to hunch over? Do you still have a bit of that 1970s disco strut left? Look around - you might not be the only one watching. The never-blinking surveillance cameras, rapidly becoming a part of daily life in public and even private places, may be sizing you up as well. And they may soon get a lot smarter. Researchers and security companies are developing cameras that not only watch the world but also interpret what they see. Soon, some cameras may be able to find unattended bags at airports, guess your height or analyse the way you walk to see if you are hiding something.

Potentially prevent crime before it occurs
Most of the cameras widely used today are used as forensic tools to identify crooks after-the-fact. (Think grainy video on local TV news of convenience store robberies gone wrong.) But the latest breed, known as "intelligent video," could transform cameras from passive observers to eyes with brains, able to detect suspicious behaviour and potentially prevent crime before it occurs. Surveillance cameras are common in many cities, monitoring tough street corners to deter crime, watching over sensitive government buildings and even catching speeders. Cameras are on public buses and in train stations, building lobbies, schools and stores. Most feed video to central control rooms, where they are monitored by security staff. The innovations could mean fewer people would be needed to watch what they record, and make it easier to install more in public places and private homes. "Law enforcement people in this country are realising they can use video surveillance to be in a lot of places at one time," said Roy Bordes, who runs an Orlando, Florida-based security consulting company. He also is a council vice president with ASIS International, a Washington-based organisation for security officials.
The advancements have already been put to work. For example, cameras in Chicago and Washington can detect gunshots and alert police. Baltimore installed cameras that can play a recorded message and snap pictures of graffiti sprayers or illegal dumpers. In the commercial market, the gaming industry uses camera systems that can detect facial features, according to Bordes. Casinos use their vast banks of security cameras to hunt cheating gamblers who have been flagged before.
In London, one of the largest users of surveillance, cameras provided key photos of the men who bombed the underground system in July 2005 and four more who failed in a second attempt just days later. But the cameras were only able to help with the investigation, not prevent the attacks. Companies that make the latest cameras say the systems, if used broadly, could make video surveillance much more powerful. Cameras could monitor airports and ports, help secure homes and watch over vast borders to catch people crossing illegally. Intelligent surveillance uses computer algorithms to interpret what a camera records. The system can be programmed to look for particular things, like an unattended bag or people walking somewhere they don't belong. "If you think of the camera as your eye, we are using computer programs as your brain," said Patty Gillespie, branch chief for image processing at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland. Today, the military funds much of the smart-surveillance research.
At the University of Maryland, engineering professor Rama Chellappa and a team of graduate students have worked on systems that can identify a person's unique gait or analyse the way someone walks to determine if they are a threat. A camera trained to look for people on a watch list, for example, could combine their unique walk with facial-recognition tools to make an identification. A person carrying a heavy load under a jacket would walk differently than someone unencumbered - which could help identify a person hiding a weapon. The system could even estimate someone's height.
With two cameras and a laptop computer set up in a conference room, Chellappa and a team of graduate students recently demonstrated how intelligent surveillance works. A student walked into the middle of the room, dropped a laptop case, then walked away. On the laptop screen, a green box popped up around him as he moved into view, then a second focused on the case when it was dropped. After a few seconds, the box around the case went red, signalling an alert. In another video, a car pulled into a parking lot and the driver got out, a box springing up around him. It moved with the driver as he went from car to car, looking in the windows instead of heading into the building. In both cases, the camera knew what was normal - the layout of the room with the suspicious bag and the location of the office door and parking spots in the parking lot. Alerts were triggered when the unknown bag was added and when the driver didn't go directly into the building after parking his car.
Similar technology is currently in use by Marines in Iraq and by the subway system in Barcelona, according to ObjectVideo, a Reston, Virginia, firm that makes surveillance software. ObjectVideo uses a "tripwire system" that allows users to set up virtual perimeters that are monitored by the cameras. If someone crosses that perimeter, the system picks it up, sends out an alert, and security staff can determine if there is a threat. Company spokesperson Edward Troha predicts the technology, currently designed primarily to protect borders, ports and other infrastructure, could be adapted to help prevent retail theft or guard private homes.
The Jacksonville Port Authority uses ObjectVideo software as part of its security measures to watch the perimeter of the Florida port that handles 8,7-million tons of cargo and thousands of cruise ship passengers each year. The surveillance system sends real-time video from anywhere at the port of possible intruders to patrol cars.Still, industry officials say the technology needs to improve before it can be widely used. There are liability issues, such as if someone is wrongly tagged as a threat at an airport and misses a flight, said Bordes. Troha warns humans are still essential to intelligent video, to tell, for example, if a person in a restricted area is a danger or just lost.And the cameras can only see so much - they can't stop some threats, like a bomber with explosives in a backpack. They can't see what you are wearing under your jacket - yet."That is an eventual goal, but we're not there yet," said Chellappa. - Sapa-AP

Wednesday, June 20, 2007



The objective here is to ascertain if the HR issues within the company are compliant with legislation.

1. Have all the staff been issued with Letters of Appointment? This is a legal requirement and you could find yourself in hot water with the Department of Labour (which can also carry huge fines) if your staff (and therefore yourself) are not properly covered by means of a contract. Should you require a copy of a contact that you can use or adapt to your own needs and requirements, one can be supplied at a cost

2. It is also a legal requirement to issue your staff with a copy of their job descriptions, in writing. The easiest way to do this is to get the staff member to write down exactly what it is that they do on a daily basis. This should be done over a period of say 3 months. These notes can then be used to document what their requirements are. To take this one step further, these notes can then also be used to compile policies and procedures pertaining to the various tasks that are performed. A copy of the job description should be included in the staff file.

3. Staff increases should be based, without prejudice on the work performance. This work performance should be monitored and this can be done by means of a staff appraisal. If this procedure is performed on a regular basis, it is easy to define the problem areas that need attention and to address problems before they cause destruction. Should you require a copy of a performance appraisal form together with the scoring card, one can be supplied at a cost. It is a good idea for the appraisal to be done at least once a year, but I would suggest that once a quarter is more realistic and problems will be highlighted sooner rather than later.

4. It is a legal requirement to have a disciplinary procedure in place. There are certain criteria and procedures that need to be followed if you don’t want to get in trouble with the Department of Labour and end up wasting huge amounts of money and time at the CCMA. Should you require a disciplinary procedure that has been accepted by the Department of Labour, please contact me as one can be supplied at a cost. Please follow the procedure step by step and you will stay within the boundaries of the law

5. It is a legal requirement for staff to sign the attendance register on a daily basis. This also prevents disputes regarding attendance, sick leave etc. Hours must be worked out correctly and documented. An attendance register can either be purchased from your local stationary store or alternatively you can design your own.

6. If staff members are not at work for whatever reason, the necessary forms should be completed. These are Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Family Responsibility - Compassionate Leave and Unpaid Leave. It is a legal requirement for these forms to be completed, signed and maintained. Should you require copies of the abovementioned forms they can be supplied at a cost.

7. Obviously, it is in your own best interests to check on these on a regular basis. Always be aware of what is going on in your business – that way you can stay on top of things. Whenever you check things initial that you have checked it and date it. This will not only remind you when last you checked it, but also evidences to all and sundry that you are checking – this in itself, will act as a deterrent for anyone wanting to commit fraud. If you require copies of these schedule, they can be supplied at a cost.

8. PAYE, UIF and SDL needs to be paid over to SARS timeously – failure to do so will result in penalties, plus interest, plus SARS will flag you – anything to do with SARS means it is a good idea to keep a low profile! Pay it on time and avoid the hassle.

9. It is a legal requirement to have the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, prominently displayed so that your staff can see it. Make sure that they know where it is and make sure that they read it. Make sure that you read it to. That way hopefully, you will also understand what your workers rights are and prevent problems from occurring. Remember prevention is always better than cure.

10. Staff Resignations. There are often instances where staff resign, rather than facing a disciplinary hearing or the consequences thereof. In these instances beware! Many staff members resign and then when they find that they cannot find alternative employment (or worse still if they just want to get as much money out of you as they possibly can) they will then lodge a case against you at the CCMA, citing “Constructive Dismissal” as the reason. This can be an immensely costly exercise. To protect yourself, get the staff member to sign a “Memorandum of Agreement”. Make sure that you read the memorandum to the staff member, in the presence of a witness and get everyone to sign. I agree it is a pain in the butt, but it will save you huge amounts of money and even more wasted time. A copy of this can be made available at a cost.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007




Craig Harrison says that the reason that Networking may not be working for you is because of the basic 9 mistakes that Networker’s make. I will be going through these over the next few weeks and let’s see if this is what is holding you back.

To get to know a bit more about Craig Harrison, please visit his website on

The fifth mistake he says is “Unfocused conversation. Networking is a chance to demonstrate focus, drive and confidence. Aimless rambling is pointless and suggests you’re not a focused professional. Showcase your communication skills by expressing yourself succinctly and ask precise questions.”

This is also one of my greatest pet hates! The only way that I can describe this to you is by telling you an actual story. Obviously I cannot use names as that would not be the right thing to do.

There is a young chap, let’s call him John, who faithfully comes to as many meetings as he possibly can. He is passionate about what he does, he is passionate about networking meetings and he really does see the value in them. What can possibly be the problem, you may ask – well it’s like this – I have no idea what it is that he does!

I have been seeing him at networking functions now for the better part of almost two years, he is still doing the same thing (I think – there is no way to tell) and I still have no idea about what he does. I have tried meeting him on a one on one so that he can explain it to me in greater detail and I was more confused than ever!

You see, when he gets up to tell his story, it changes all the time and it hops about. It is so bad that I am not even sure if it is a product or a service and I am not alone in this, as everyone that I have spoken to is as confused as I am!

Sadder than that even, is the fact that he knows that I do not understand what he does and instead of trying to assist me to ‘get the point’ he is amused by my confusion. So amused, in fact, that his latest introduction of himself, starts off by him telling everyone that he will try and keep it short so that they will not be as confused as what I am. How bizarre!

Perhaps a good way to deal with this is to set down points of what it is that you are trying to sell (product or service – let’s get that right from the beginning) and from there what the advantages are and the value adds.

Confusing the very people you need to assist you with contacts and referrals is just the way to go about things. People need to understand what it is that you do in order to hook you up with the right people.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Today's quote comes from Ralph Marston.


Everything in your life has an influence and an interaction with everything else. Make an improvement in one area of your life, and many other areas will benefit.
Everything in your world is interconnected. Create value in one place, and that value casts its light in additional places as well.
Your positive thoughts and actions often have immediate and direct results. They also have indirect results that can continue far beyond the obvious.
A small kindness offered to just one person can end up benefiting countless others. The love you give will always, in ways that you may never even realize, come back to you.
Success and fulfilment do not occur in isolation. You'll receive no great benefit from being positive about only a few things if you take a negative approach in other areas.
Instead, focus all your awareness and intention in a positive, fulfilling direction. Then, all the many connections will organize in such a way as to move you quickly forward."
Much like networking don't you think? If you go to a networking meeting merely to get - chances are you won't. The more you give, the more you get and believe me make way for the tidal wave of work that will come your way.
Hope you all have a truly awesome week!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I find this very funny indeed, although I am sure that I would have lost my sense of humour had it happened to me!

I am also at a complete loss as to why the department of Home Affairs is running at 68.5 capacity. Forgive me for asking the question, as it seems to be quite silly, but haven't we got an unemployment problem. As far as I know there are over 1 million people out of work, so why are any of the Government Departments having a staffing problem?

It seems like a no-brainer to me!

On the other hand, my reaction would be one of - well you prove that I am not a woman and then go from there. What does her birth certificate say for goodness sake and furthermore what difference does it make. She is the person that she says that she is, surely that should be sufficient!

ID bungle: Prove to us you're a woman
April 13 2007 at 12:36PM
By Sharlene Packree

The last thing Thabisa Lwabi expected when she applied for a new identity document (ID) is that she would be asked to verify whether she was a man or a woman. The gender mystery began two weeks ago when she went to the offices of the Department of Home Affairs in Durban to collect her document. "I was so relieved to be getting my ID," she said.
"It is so difficult these days without one. You always get asked so many questions." But the young mother's relief was short-lived. When she went to her bank to use her saving facility, she was asked to produce her ID.

At last I have one, she thought, no more questions. However, the look on the teller's face told her that something was very wrong. "The man behind the counter was looking at me in a very funny way," she said. While the picture of her was correct, the information was wrong. Instead of her name, it contained the name of a man. Unable to conclude her business, she was advised to go back to Home Affairs and sort out the problem. Easier said than done. According to Home Affairs, a doctor would have to examine her and declare her to be a woman and not a man. Lwabi would then bring the proof back to Home Affairs, who would then be able to rectify the mistake."I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was so shocked. Where must I get the money to go to the doctor?" she asked, humiliated at the prospect of verifying her gender. "They can surely see by my shape that I am a female. I am a mother and have given birth. How can this sort of thing happen? I feel so embarrassed to go to a doctor. What would they think of such a request?"
Home affairs officials, when contacted about Lwabi's gender mix-up, said that they would look into the case. Meanwhile, the question on Lwabi's mind is who is the young man mentioned in her ID and does he have her personal information in his ID? "I wonder if he has been asked to prove whether he is a woman or a man," said Lwabi. In other media reports it was revealed that the provincial department was plagued with fraud, corruption, mismanagement and inadequacy of staff members, particularly among managerial staff. There were only 567 Home Affairs staff in the province, serving more than nine million people. The department is operating with 68.5 percent of their posts vacant, an issue they said they wanted to resolve by the end of the year.


If you have been watching the news recently, you will know that Zuma's efforts with Mauritius failed and his prosecution were granted access to the information that Zuma has tried so desperately to hide away. As the noose around his neck tightens every so slowly but ever so definitly, Zuma will continue to lash out at everybody and everything in an attempt to move the spotlight from himself onto someone else.

My, what interesting times we live in - I can't wait to see what happens next!

Pressuring selectively
04 April 2007 11:59

The man in the print shop where journalists were making copies of the latest judgement in the Jacob Zuma legal marathon, probably spoke for many middle-class South Africans when he asked why Zuma is so desperate to stop investigators getting access to those documents in Mauritius. “What has he got to hide? To me that suggests he’s guilty.”
The uncomfortable answer is that guilt, for Zuma, is a relative concept. Zuma is getting his lawyers to raise every technical obstacle they can, not only because he wants to stay out of jail, not only because he still harbours political ambition, but also because he believes the apparatus of the state has been abused to target some individuals and pass over others who may be “more guilty”. Zuma has not made this point very well -- for a number of reasons.
One: getting around the playground morality of “two wrongs don’t make a right” requires communication skills that Zuma doesn’t seem to have access to.
Two: Zuma’s supporters have arguably also attempted to use state institutions to fight their battles, lending a hollow ring to some of his protestations.
Three: our law insulates the decisions to investigate and prosecute from all but the most expensive legal oversight; and information about why certain matters are not pursued or prosecuted is almost impossible to come by.
Four: to properly make the point that others are more guilty requires, firstly, an admission of guilt and, secondly, a comprehensive pointing of fingers that would commit the cardinal sin of bringing the ANC into massive disrepute.
Such a strategy requires the approach of a political suicide bomber -- a role currently ruled out by Zuma’s ambition and egotism. But just because Zuma is a poor spokesman for his cause does not mean we should ignore it. The ANC’s internal battles have, over the past 10 years, developed some characteristics that threaten hard-won democratic principles: notably, the use of the legal and security apparatus to intimidate or neutralise opponents and to insulate allies -- often coupled with attempts to manipulate the media in the course of such battles. The current travails of former transport minister Mac Maharaj offer a case in point. He is currently attempting to fend off an attempt by Scorpions Gauteng boss Gerrie Nel to get the Swiss authorities to grant access to a bank account held in his wife Zarina’s name. This case is interesting, because it raises direct questions about why the National Prosecuting Authority pursues certain matters and not other, similar, cases.
According to City Press, two amounts, totalling about $211 000 (about R1,53-million), were deposited into Zarina’s account by a company controlled by Schabir Shaik in 1996 and 1997, around the time when Shaik was bidding for contracts with the department of transport. Maharaj clearly has some questions to answer, though he is also accusing the state of using unconstitutional means to ask them. The pursuit of this case is in stark contrast to the fact that Nel appears to have abandoned pursuit of a similar request to Swiss banking authorities over a much larger sum of R100-million that state-owned arms company Denel paid out in “advance commissions” in a 1996-bid to secure a huge contract with the notoriously corrupt Saudi regime.The probe into the payment was launched by the old Office for Serious Offences, which indicated it suspected that a portion of the commission could have flowed back to the ANC or to figures like late defence minister Joe Modise or Yusuf Surtee, who played a role in lobbying the Saudis, but denied receiving any money.
The Swiss complied with the request for access to the Swiss accounts through which the money flowed, but before investigators received the information, the Saudi agent who had represented Denel launched a Pretoria High Court bid to stop the process. Nel, who had taken over the case, delivered a stout preliminary defence. Then, by mutual consent, the case was removed from the role. That was two years ago. Attempts to get an explanation from Nel have been unsuccessful so far, but Maharaj might be forgiven for believing that the decision to abandon the case might have to do with the fact that Surtee has a relationship with both the presidency and the ANC that is far more complicated than his own.
Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy’s recent application for legal assistance from the British authorities in relation to the Zuma investigation, offers similar opportunities for contrasting diligence with foot-dragging. In this case, the Pretoria High Court allowed McCarthy’s well-founded bid to seek access to London accounts relating to payments to Jurgen Kogl, another businessman who claims to have lent Zuma money. In his affidavit, McCarthy stated that the National Prosecuting Authority confirmed the principle of reciprocity: “It is well known that South Africa has acceded to requests for mutual legal assistance in the past, including from the United Kingdom, and I confirm that it will do so in the future.” Such a declaration sits ill with the tardy and evasive response endured by the UK Serious Fraud Office in their quest for help in investigating other, less politically convenient allegations of arms deal corruption., which reach the top echelons of the ruling party. Zuma’s legal battles mount. The state recently paid out R8-million towards Jacob Zuma’s defence against fraud and corruption charges. The bills -- and the battles -- are far from over.
Zuma and French arms company Thint are set to appeal this week’s Durban High Court ruling granting permission for investigators to request documents from Mauritius. If the appeal is unsuccessful, another court battle in Mauritius is inevitable.The Mauritian authorities gave an earlier undertaking to Thint to seek permission first from their high court before handing over the documents.
The consolidated appeals over the various search and seizure operations carried out against Zuma and his associates are set down in Bloemfontein for the middle of this year.
Depending on whether the raids are ruled legal, the NPA is expected to reinstate criminal charges against Zuma -- and Zuma is expected to reinstate his bid to have the case thrown out.


Whichever way you look at it the whole issue stinks! Whether Majali asked for the money or it was paid into his account, the whole transaction stinks like the rotting flesh of corruption! Why is Majali only coming forward now - surely if he did not like what was said in the first place he should have spoken up? What has happened since then that has made his perception suddenly do a 180 and now it is not kosher?

Me thinks all the parties concerned should be independently investigated and the results made public!

ANC funder spills the beans
May 06 2007 at 11:15AM
Controversial ANC funder Sandi Majali has threatened to "spill the beans" about how R11-million of public money ended up in the coffers of the ANC ahead of the 2004 elections and the role played state oil company PetroSA in the dodgy transaction, the Sunday Times reported. For the first time since the Oilgate scandal broke two years ago, Majali, speaking through his lawyer Barry Aaron, has revealed the role of state oil company PetroSA in the transaction and bluntly stated that Majali has kept quiet in order to protect powerful political figures. Aaron said that contrary to Imvume and PetroSA's previous assertions, Majali's Imvume group had never asked for the R15- million "advance" that was irregularly paid into its account.

He refuted PertroSA's contention that Imvume was cash-strapped and had asked for the money to pay bonuses for staff. Instead, he said, it was PetroSA that offered to make the payment into Mvume's account. Majali's Imvume group made the donation to the ANC within four days of receiving the payment from PetroSA, the Sunday Times reported. In 2005 Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana found PetroSA's decision to pay an "advance" to Imvume was "lawful, well-founded and properly considered". After a public outcry, PetroSA launched an attempt to recover the money from Imvume. PetroSA and Imvume entered into settlement negotiations. In August 2004, Imvume made what PetroSA has called a "good intent" payment of R1-million and was supposed to pay back the money in R500 000 a month instalments. Imvume has since paid back R10- million, but more than R8-million, including interest, remains outstanding. When Imvume defaulted on payment in 2006, PetroSA sought a default judgment would have resulted in Imvume's liquidation. The judgement was granted in March. In April, Majali successfully applied to the Johannesburg High Court for an order to set aside a default judgment. Inexplicably, PetroSA was not in court to defend the matter.
According to Aaron, Majali will lodge a court action in two weeks to recoup the R10-million he has already paid to PetroSA, the Sunday Times report said. PetroSA's CEO Sipho Mkhize said he looked forward to meeting Majali in court. He insisted that Imvume had requested the advance and that Majali had signed for it. "So that is how we treat it. He signed and he agreed to it. I think there is nothing I can say about it. It is obvious we will meet in court. I would be happy if he spills the beans as well so that we all know. Maybe there is something we did not know." - Sapa

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Generally speaking, I am not one to deny anyone the right to work for their money - however, the car guards for me have become an irritation on the pimple of the arse of mankind! I am sick to death of people, who have probably never driven a car in their lives, much less have a valid licence, explaining to me how to park my car, and then how to reverse same said car, and then charging me for the priviledge!

I am in serious need of a respite from car guards looking in disgust at the R2.00 that I have given them and muttering under their breath about said coin - on one occasion, I requested the offending coin back, and he gleefully gave it back obviously thinking that he was going to get a bigger, more shining coin to replace it. I put the offending coin back in my pocket, it was useful later in the day when purchasing my bread and milk for the day.

My absolute worst is the car guard "looking after my car" in 'paid' parking facilities! How crazy is that - I must pay for insurance for my car in case it gets stolen, I must pay for the use of the parking and then I am expected to pay for the car guard to watch my car as well! Or how about the parking facility, where you pay to park the car, there is also a car guard and then the chap operating the boom, watches me walk to my car, switch the alarm off, put the key into the ignition and open the door to get in and then when I get to the boom, after I have put my prepaid card into the slot, insists that I turn the ignition off, remove the key from the starter and show it to him, so that he can ensure that I have not stolen the car! That for me was the final straw - I guess I don't have to really tell anyone what I told him to do with his boom! I refused to comply, and requested to speak the the security manager and he used the little bit of power that he thought he had and refused to open the boom or call anyone- I refused to move, switched off the car and started reading my book. Pretty soon, there was a long trail of people wanting to get out of the car park and in absolute frustration, he started letting them out of the "entrance" boom - without making them stop and remove their keys! Eventually about 20 minutes a very frustrated and red in the face man arrived to see what the commotion was - after telling him in no uncertain terms what I thought of the situation, I was allowed to leave.

So you see, car guards for me at the moment are an absolute irritation. No sympathy here from me at all!

Security authority swoops on car guards

Tumi Makgetla Johannesburg, South Africa
04 April 2007 12:19

Nine Zimbabwean car guards were sent to South African deportation facility Lindela on Tuesday and another three were arrested in a swoop on an illegal car-guarding business in Johannesburg by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira). Twenty businesses have come under Psira's scrutiny over the past 40 days as it targets unregistered car-guarding businesses in Gauteng. The operation has been carried out jointly with the South African Police Service and the Department of Home Affairs.
The high proportion of immigrants arrested on Tuesday throws into the spotlight immigrants' uneasy relationship with the private security industry. According to Lawyers for Human Rights, in the early 2000s, the private security industry reportedly employed 20% of South Africa's economically active refugees, yet a recent high court ruling upheld Psira's right to exclude recognised refugees from private security operations. A refugee can apply to become a security officer, but Psira evaluates these applications on a case-by-case basis, requiring applicants to prove that they have no criminal record, explained Stefan Badenhorst, who manages Psira's law-enforcement division. Unable to find jobs in the formal security industry, immigrants can more easily find a foothold in the less regulated segments of security, such as car guarding.
A 2003 study of 53 car guards along two main roads in Cape Town found that two-thirds of the guards were foreigners and 35 of them were self-reported refugees or asylum seekers, according to researcher Johnny Steinberg. Nearly 50% were from the Democratic Republic of Congo, with fewer numbers of guards from the Congo, Angola and Cameroon. Forty percent of the foreigners and none of the South Africans had tertiary degrees. Only 3% of the foreigners had only primary education or less, compared with almost half of the South African car guards.
Other studies suggested that the Congolese were also more punctual arriving at work than other groups of guards were, leading Steinberg to write: "The image conjured is both tragic and strangely out of joint: a group of middle-class people bringing their earnest middle-class values of hard work and careful financial planning to the task of guarding cars."
Illegal immigrants
The Department of Home Affairs has been involved in Psira's crackdown on illegal car-guarding companies because its investigations revealed that many businesses employ illegal immigrants, said Badenhorst. He explained that the investigations were part of the normal work Psira does to identify the many illegal security companies that are not registered as service providers with the authority. Psira can fine unregistered companies up to R10 000 or withdraw or suspend their registration for hiring illegal immigrants. If convicted on criminal charges, illegal security providers can face five years' imprisonment for a first offence and 10 years for a second offence. Clients are liable for up to 24 months' imprisonment for not verifying whether their security provider is legal, said Badenhorst, but this rarely happens unless a client fails to terminate a contract after being warned by Psira.
South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union sector coordinator Jackson Simon said the union brought the problem of illegal immigrants in the security industry to Psira's attention during last year's security-guard strike. He said that companies do not comply with labour legislation when employing foreigners, such as the sectoral determination on minimum wages. Some car-guard companies are formal businesses and well organised, especially at shopping centres, said Badenhorst, yet there are also many who operate on a more informal basis. These companies tend not to have formal contracts with their employees, meaning that guards are not protected by labour legislation. He said that car guards typically earn between R50 and R200 a day, compared with the minimum R1 600 per month earned by a grade-E guard

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


J. d. Back-ups

23. In this technological age, where disks are corrupted and there are power surges that affect our work and viruses that destroy all that we have worked for, it is imperative to have adequate back up facilities. Remember this is to keep your own work safe. If you are on your own, it is a good idea to diarize that the back-ups are done regularly, so that you don’t forget. If you have more than one staff member, it might be an idea to have a formal back- up procedure that is followed, and that appears on your checklist to ensure that it is done correctly and regularly.

24. It is also a good idea to have multiple copies or versions of the back-up maintained. They should be located in different places, leave one at the bank, one in the office and one at home, all in a safe place of course (and a safe place that you can remember!)

25. Your back-up files should be tested on a regular basis to ensure that the disks are not corrupt – it is no good having hundreds of back-up tapes and/or disks and none of them work properly. Disks are particularly prone to being corrupt as they are affected by such things as the weather and so on.

26. If your IT guy has to remove your hard drive for whatever reason, make sure that your confidential information has been removed – this will ensure that your confidentiality is safe and secure.

27. Your software must be legal. This is a legal requirement and failure to adhere to this could result in huge fines and prosecution. Don’t borrow a friend’s disk to load something onto your computer – make sure that you buy your own.

28. It is of the utmost importance that you load (and obviously therefore pay for) an anti virus program. It is in your own best interests to ensure that your computer is not affected with viruses. It is also in your own best interests to ensure that this software is updated on a regular basis (I would say at least once a week) and that you software is scanned on an even more regular basis (I would say at least once a day), particularly if you are downloading e-mails and using the internet on a daily basis.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007




Craig Harrison says that the reason that Networking may not be working for you is because of the basic 9 mistakes that Networker’s make. I will be going through these over the next few weeks and let’s see if this is what is holding you back.

To get to know a bit more about Craig Harrison, please visit his website on

The fourth mistake he says is “Spiel too long. Networking is not speechmaking. You have a finite window of opportunity to introduce yourself and glean a few details about the person you’re talking to. You can’t recite your resume, tell your life story or otherwise drone on. Keep it short and sweet!”

Sitting at a networking meeting last night, my mind wandered to the pile of work that is sitting on my desk, my 17 year old cat that seems hell bent on starving himself to death, my 7 year old nephew in Australia that I need to buy a birthday present for and even what I was going to have for dinner! Why you may ask – well the person who was telling everyone who they are and what it is that they are doing/selling was going on and on and on.

Unfortunately I have sat through this spiel on more than one occasion and it seems to be memorised word for word. It never changes or varies and there have been occasions when I have repeated it word for word as he has gone through it. Nowadays, I usually use his speech time for a comfort break, but last night I really didn’t need one, so my mind went on ‘walk about’!

Sad this, because the service/product that he sells is really worthwhile and he could sell so many more of them, if he just didn’t go on so much.

I wonder what I’ll do next week, when I again sit in a networking meeting and have to listen to the monologue all over again!

Monday, June 11, 2007


The quote today comes from Dr Renate Volpe of HIRS.

Dr Volpe says "In order to maintain your confidence levels always speak to yourself in a positive respectful and affirming manner."

How many times, when we give ourselves the talk, you know THAT TALK, we beat ourselves up instead of motivating ourselves. I know I do it from time to time! Since reading some of Renate's cards however, this one included, I am reminded of how sensitive our sub-conscious and psyche is - how many times do we affirm what our parents and/or teachers and/or peers have said to us over the years. Things like "don't be an idiot Nikki!" or "oh for goodness sake, do you really think that is the way to go!" etc.
Clearly we need to turn things around. How do we expect others to look up to us or respect us, or even buy into what we are doing, if we ourselves don't?
I heard Jeremy Mansfield on the radio the other day and he was talking about a related subject - the negativity that we have here in South Africa. According to Jeremy, if only we removed the "but" from every sentence, we would be taking a huge amount of negativity out of our lives and in doing so, we would be sending out more of the positives that we all need.
I am one of the first people to say 'look for the opportunity in every problem', yet I still seem to beat myself up! Going forward, I am going to be more aware of what I say to myself, and what I want to be hearing more of is "Come on Nikki, of course you can do it!" or "today's the day that we win the prize!".
So how about it everybody, let's turn the whole thing upside down and inside out and the wrong way around! Let's take the "but" out of every sentence and let's talk to ourselves as if we are giving a motivational and/or affirmation workshop!
Have a great week.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Enjoy the funnies today!
A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her faithful, elderly poodle named Cuddles, along for the company. One day the old poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long, Cuddles discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old poodle thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in deep doo-doo now!" Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap the old poodle exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?" Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. "Whew!", says the leopard, "That was close! That old poodle nearly had me!" Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So off he goes, but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up. The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard. The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine! Now, the old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?", but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says... "Where's that d@# n monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard! Moral of this story.... Don't mess with old f@rts...age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery! Bullsh # t and brilliance only come with age and experience. If you don't send this to five "old" friends right away there will be five fewer people laughing in the world. I am in no way insinuating that any of you are old, some are just more youthfully challenged. You did notice the size of the print, didn't you


So where is the FAIS compliance officers, why did they not see that something was not right? Where is the FBS compliance - why did they not see that something was not right?

We complain and bitch all the time about the 'red tape' that everyone has to be subjected to - where was it here!

Seems like some of the rules only apply to some of the people, some of the time!

Fidentia: what took so long?

Tumi Makgetla: COMMENT

04 March 2007 11:59

You would expect the man at the helm of a company responsible for the disappearance of hundreds of millions of rands of other people’s money at least to be a great fraudster. But in the case of the Mineworkers Provident Fund’s missing millions, J Arthur Brown may have just had a good eye for a weak system.
The experience of South African pension funds has too often been that they are veritable orchards of low-hanging fruit. Unfortunately, someone let Mr Brown through the farm gate. Brown cannot claim all of the credit, because he could not have run Fidentia single-handedly. But he certainly played a leading role as CEO of Fidentia Holdings and a director of Living Hands Trust, where the Mineworkers Pension Fund (MWPF) invested R800-million. According to the Financial Services Board (FSB), about R700-million of the R1,2-billion in the Living Hands Trust has gone missing, and in its report, the FSB accuses “Fidentia Group/Brown” of “misappropriating” this money. Brown, on the other hand, assures us that the money is safely in a private equity portfolio and asserts that the FSB is attacking his business for criticising the regulator. Perhaps Brown’s claims will prove true. Or not. But one thing is certain: Living Hands was secretive about its trust management and raised suspicions among its clients long before the FSB stepped in.
In 2004, the year that Fidentia began to manage the mineworkers’ trust, beneficiaries began complaining that payments had gone awry. In 2005, the frequency and scope of these problems led the MWPF board to halt further payments to Living Hands pending the results of an investigation. To successfully defraud a scheme, it is not enough to cook the books. One also needs a silver tongue. It didn’t work this way at Fidentia. When confronted by a lawyer representing the MWPF, who demanded information about the money, Brown reportedly opted for a goon squad and adopted an arrogant attitude, refusing to reveal what he was up to with their cash.
If the alarm bells about Fidentia had only been tinkling faintly until this point, they should have started to peal loudly. Why didn’t they? Why did the MWPF ignore legal advice and leave about R800-million in the clutches of the opaque Mr Brown? Why did it instead spend a year investigating the fund? Why didn’t the regulator act sooner? In some ways, it is an old story. Pension funds create tremendous potential for corruption and mismanagement. Today, for example, Alexander Forbes and dozens of company executives stand accused of systematically looting pension fund surpluses.
The pension fund trustee system in general is hardly foolproof. Trustees of union funds, few of whom are full time and many of whom work for free, may lack the time and training to monitor funds adequately. In a Deloitte and Touche survey on retirement fund governance, two-fifths of the trustees interviewed spent 10% or less of their time on fund-related matters. But where trustees lack knowledge, experts do not necessarily support better decision-making. The MWPF board wanted to base its decision about moving money from the trust on the outcome of a KPMG investigation. KPMG reported that it could not obtain access to critical information. Yet several MWPF parties who received KPMG’s report believe that it failed to interrogate fully why Living Hands might want to restrict information.
Opportunities for corrupt behaviour exist whether or not they are exploited. In this context, whistle-blowers need better protection. MWPF trustee Collyn Manzana repeatedly called for the board to remove mineworkers’ money from Living Hands. The provident fund’s principal officer, Frans Mahlangu, also tried to blow the whistle. Both have been pushed out of their positions by the board. The most basic lesson emerging from the rubble of Fidentia is that South Africa needs to strengthen financial regulation — particularly when it comes to protecting the public and, in this case, the funds of retirees. As the government gears up for a compulsory pension scheme, there must be better oversight of workers’ money. At the moment, our retirement funds seem to be easy pickings.

Friday, June 08, 2007


How does the story go? Oh yes, I remember - there's no such thing as bad publicity! Isn't this exactly what Zuma is doing. Getting his name out there - plots to assassinate, they then are found to be a hoax, which will make him look like a persecuted man. Our sympathies will be for the man who is being hounded (a really good piece of manipulation) by the press and persecuted by the public!

Please wake up South Africa - this is not the kind of man that we want to lead this great country of ours, or even any one of the political parties - he is definitely only in it for himself. Then of course there is the matter of sleeping with family friends, who are of the same age as his daughters - who then takes a shower in case he get infected with AIDS. What an idiot!

Recently he turned to God and got himself elected as a priest - what absolute nonsense!

He has charges of corruption pending and the country is paying for his legal fees, up to the tune of R8 000 000 and counting and now we have a report that there is a "mysterious report seeking to discredit him". What absolute BS!

Quite frankly, he doesn't need any help from anyone to discredit him - he is doing a marvelous job all by himself. We as South Africans, just need to see this!

The great Zuma funding mystery

Mail & Guardian Online reporter and Sapa Johannesburg, South Africa

27 May 2007 09:30

African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Zuma has said through his lawyer that he is aware of a mysterious report seeking to discredit him, and he hopes law-enforcement agencies will take appropriate action. The Sunday Independent said that an explosive "top secret" report, titled Special Browse 'Mole' Consolidated Report, alleges that Zuma was bankrolled by Libyan and Angolan leaders to topple President Thabo Mbeki. Zuma is campaigning to replace Mbeki as ANC president at the party's decisive national conference in December.
Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils has denied that the report was the work of his agencies, including the National Intelligence Agency, the Independent said. Kasrils warned that "sinister elements" might try to exploit the current political climate in South Africa. The Weekender newspaper on Saturday said the leaked report does not bear the stamp of any South African intelligence or security agency, and focuses on Zuma's political ambitions. The document claims to report on a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) investigation of Zuma. The report was sent to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on May 7 by anonymous fax and posted to the federation's offices. Cosatu has asked the NPA to investigate the document's origins, the Weekender said.
Scorpions boss Vusi Pikoli said the matter will be investigated properly. The Sunday Times reported that while Kasrils had known that the report was being widely circulated, he had not seen it until last week. City Press said intelligence officers it had spoken to believed the report could have been produced by angry rightwingers with links to foreign intelligence agencies.Zuma's lawyer Mike Hulley said: "We believe the appropriate thing would be to allow law-enforcement agencies the time and space to do their investigations. Mr Zuma will issue a statement thereafter."
Warning to party
This week, police investigators said the claim of an assassination plot against Zuma is a hoax and they were considering prosecuting senior members of Zuma's inner circle in connection with it. Senior members of the South African Police Service crime intelligence unit told the Mail & Guardian they believe the plot claim may have been engineered to enhance Zuma's public profile and force the state to beef up the already tight security around him. The home of Zuma's confidant Elias Khumalo was raided on Friday as police seized evidence linked to the alleged assassination plot, City Press reported on Sunday. A laptop and various other items were seized at Khumalo's home in the presence of his lawyers. Sources told City Press that Khumalo was part of a core group of people known to be close to Zuma. They allegedly took part in an amateurish plot claiming that a former member of the South African National Defence Force was paid R1-million in a failed plan to assassinate Zuma.
Last week, City Press revealed how Reverend April Peete Mbambo was flown to Durban, where he was allegedly identified by the supposed assassin, Ben Wyland Coetzee, as the person behind the hoax. Coetzee, a beach vagrant, is reportedly cooperating with the police and has given them an extensive affidavit outlining how the hoax was put together. Earlier this week, Mbambo and Durban attorney Barnabas Xulu, who was identified in the M&G as an acquaintance of Khumalo, denied their involvement in the hoax.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Isn't that a good idea! Especially if they worked on fixing roads and cleaning up the sidewalks on major intersections and even keeping parks and the river banks clean. Why should we be paying for that to be done, when the prisoners can do it for far less. It would open up additional funds for the municipalities to do other urgent work.

Well done DA, a very constructive request!

DA calls for hard labour for criminals

Midrand, South Africa

06 May 2007 11:35

Hard labour should be reintroduced as a mandatory sentence for murderers, rapists and armed and violent robbers, the Democratic Alliance's (DA) federal congress urged on Sunday. It accepted a resolution condemning rampant crime that was "undermining the fundamentals of our democracy". Proposing the motion, DA KwaZulu-Natal member of the provincial legislature Radley Keys said criminals no longer merely wanted to rob and steal, but also wanted to make their victims suffer. Respect for the right to life and property had to be restored, he said.
Seconder Sandy Bidasi said hard labour would not only be a deterrent for criminals, but would also mean they could contribute to the costs of their upkeep in prison, and to the victims' fund proposed by the DA. A Gauteng delegate, Geoffrey Ridyard, said that in Botswana hard labour was common and most of the country's prisons were virtually empty. "Make no mistake, crime is low in Botswana because of this," he said. "Please bring back compulsory hard labour."
In another security-related motion, the congress called on the government to implement an effective policing policy in all rural areas, and to stop closing down commandos until sector policing units were in place. Proposing that motion, the party's safety and security spokesperson Diane Kohler-Barnard said it was completely unacceptable that farmers, who fed the nation and had irreplaceable skills, should be left unprotected and exposed in the face of increasing farm attacks. She said if the government was not going to keep the commandos, it should re-create them in another form under the umbrella of the South African Police Services (SAPS). Shutting them down and not putting anything in their place was a recipe for disaster.
The congress also called for a complete review of the whole management structure of the SAPS, including the way appointments were made. Speaking on this motion, Kohler-Barnard said the party needed to bring "long term pressure" on Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula to address the shortages of skills, experience and equipment in the SAPS, to implement merit-based promotion, and zero tolerance for corruption and misuse of police resources. The DA had to object to any attempt to absorb municipal police forces in the SAPS, and refuse to allow further centralisation of the SAPS. - Sapa

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


J.c. Security Over Data Access

20. If you are not the only person in your organization, it is imperative for you to have sufficient and effective security against unauthorized access to your programs and data files. It is not necessary for your staff and/or “outsiders” to be able to look at your books and your personal and sensitive information. This can be controlled by means of a password. Just remember that it must be a password that you are not likely to forget as forgetting it will mean that you, too, do not have access to the files and that can present a whole different set of problems all on it’s own. If your books are being done by a bookkeeper/accountant, it might be an idea to ask them about the security that they have on their systems. Your business is your business and has nothing to do with anyone else; therefore no-one else should have access to it without your knowledge and permission.

21. The computer programmers should also not have access to your live data files. So if programmers are doing work on your computer (this is highly unlikely in a small or medium size business, but may well be the case in larger firms), access to your live files should be restricted. This can also be controlled by means of a password.

22. If you have several staff members and access thereto is controlled by means of passwords, the following controls should be implemented:

a. A formal password standard. Staff should be made aware that they should not use passwords such as nicknames, dates of birth, and so on. It is also recommended that passwords be made up of both alpha and numerical digits. This makes it more difficult to break into. A decision should be made as to who (in terms of designation rather than people themselves) has access to what. For example, it is not necessary for an employee in personnel to have access to the banking and financial files. The requirements for each job specification should be documented and staff profiles be set up accordingly.

b. Passwords should be changed on a regular basis – at least once a quarter. In some of the larger companies the computer system can be set to force a password change every so many days. This is crucial in financial institutions where security is very high, but in the normal day to day activities of small businesses, it is not so crucial. However, it is still recommended that the passwords be changed from time to time.

c. Passwords should not be displayed on terminals or reports and appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that this does not occur. It obviously invalidates the whole concept of having a password.

d. In the larger companies, the password works very similarly, to say, a pin number on a bank card. If you enter the pin number incorrectly three times (or however many the bank deems reasonable) then it disables that card from being used again. Similarly, if the password is entered incorrectly after, three tries – the whole profile of the person, is disabled. Again, this is not necessary in a small to medium business, but works very effectively in the larger companies, where stricter measures of control are necessary.

e. Again, in the larger companies, where security is necessary, most terminals and the relevant programs can be set to deactivate after a specific period of inactivity. This also assists in deterring illegal usage of your programs. In the smaller businesses, this would be overkill and are really not necessary.

f. In extreme cases, where there has to be a very high level of security, it may be necessary to introduce dual passwords – this is where two people hold parts of a single password. For example, in order to open up a safe that contains diamonds, or large amounts of cash or even in the financial world, where large international financial transactions are taking place, it may be necessary for one person to hold, say, the first 6 digits of a code and the second person to hold the last 6 digits of a code. In this manner the responsibility of the transaction is held equally by both parties. Again, this would not be necessary for the small business or unit owner – it is a good idea however, to let people know what is available out there.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007




Craig Harrison says that the reason that Networking may not be working for you is because of the basic 9 mistakes that Networker’s make. I will be going through these over the next few weeks and let’s see if this is what is holding you back.

To get to know a bit more about Craig Harrison, please visit his website on

The third mistake he says is “Monotonal Delivery. If you can’t convey your qualifications, passion and employability in 30 seconds you may not get 30 minutes in an interview. Use vocal variety, intonation and enthusiasm to speak confidentially about yourself.”

Sometimes my greatest challenge at a Networking function is staying focused. So many times my mind has wandered and I find myself thinking about what my next appointment is and mentally reminding myself what has to be done before I leave for the appointment and what I have to remember to take with me and so on. Once I realize what is happening, I have to drag my thoughts back to the moment and try and re-focus on what is happening on the day.

This is generally due to the person(s) who are speaking at the time – it often sounds like they are so bored with themselves and what they do. It sounds like they would much rather be doing something else. It sounds like a well rehearsed speech that they have given several hundred times that day and quite frankly it sounds like they really feel that they shouldn’t have to be saying all of this again!

You’re passionate about what you do right? So let everyone know that! Let the passion come out into your voice, into your body language. Remind yourself before you get up to speak, what your objectives are and why you are there in the first place. Make people excited for you, about you and with you. This is after all your life, so put some life into it!

To get to know a bit more about Craig Harrison, please visit his website on

Monday, June 04, 2007


Todays quote comes from Kofi Annan - Secretary General of the United Nations.

“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for.”

How many of us drag ourselves from one day to the next, not really knowing what we are doing to ourselves - being stuck in dead end jobs that we despise and hate? Not only do we not know what we are doing, we have no idea of who we are and what it is that we stand for!
I recently chatted to a lady (who will remain nameless at this point), who is in her 50's and who has still not found her passion, what it is that she wants to do and has no idea even of how to find it or look for it. To make matters worse in my own mind, at this point in life she is quite content to just cruise along, looking after her children and her husband. I was struct at the sadness that I saw inside of her, as she said these words - it was her choice, but one can argue as to whether it was a good choice or not.
Be aware of who you are. Make sure you know what it is that you want to do and make sure that you have a plan on how you are going to achieve what it is that you want to do. Make sure you check your plan from time to time to see that you are going in the right direction. Above all, make sure that you don't end up in someone else's shadow.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Enjoy the Sunday funnies!


You have two cows.
You make biltong...


You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
You are surprised when the cow drops dead.


You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
They get stolen, so you blame the previous regime' and steal someone else's cows and shoot the owner.


A farmer has two cows.
You take over his farm, eat both cows and wait for the international community to supply more.


You have two cows.
You re-design them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon and market them World-Wide.


You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.


You have two cows.
Both are mad.


You have two cows.
You pray to them for food.


You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You break for lunch.


You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 12 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.


You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you.
You charge others for storing them


You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported the numbers.


You have two cows.
The one on the left is kinda cute...


Trust Winnie to make a mess! This is supposed to be a democratic society. In fact the world looks to South Africa as the democratic leader of Africa and yet here we have a problem with Winnie, who wants to control everything. Where are the people now, who are always up in arms with everything racist - or is the truth of the matter that it is fine for a Black person to be racist against a White person? Surely Winnie should be taken to task over these comments!

Winnie blasts ‘MDC’ protesters

Yolandi Groenewald

26 April 2007 07:44

The ANC’s stormy Winnie Madikizela-Mandela infuriated the rural women who protested outside the World Congress of Rural Women in Durban this week by telling them “not to behave like the MDC in Zimbabwe”. According to Fatiema Shabodien, a protest leader from the Western Cape NGO Women on Farms, Madikizela-Mandela also told the women that their backers, or “colonial masters”, were only interested in embarrassing the South African government and that they were being used. The former ANC Women’s League president arrived with a bevy of body-guards in a black S-Class Mercedes-Benz which moved through the police barricade and drew up beside the 600 women, who were singing and waving placards in protest against their alleged exclusion from the conference. The bodyguards formed a circle around Madikizela-Mandela and the protest leaders as she tried to read the situation. “Why are rural women protesting in front of their own conference?” she asked. “They should be in it.” She promised to take up the matter with Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana, who was attending the conference. Shortly afterwards, an unknown delegate, identified as a traditional leader, invited nine provincial leaders from the demonstrators to hold talks with Madikizela-Mandela and Cabinet ministers including Xingwana and Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica, inside the conference hall. But Shabodien said their hopes had been dashed. “It was extremely patronising,” she said. “If we took a minister on, we were told to show respect. This is our government, but we were told if we were truly rural women, we would know to respect our elders.”

Madikizela-Mandela had dressed down the leaders for allegedly embarrassing the authorities. “They tried to force us to discredit the rural women’s organisations officially represented at the meeting,” added Shabodien. After the encounter, 50 of the protesters were allowed to register for the conference. Dressed in green, the mainly African women sang socialist songs while waving banners from their 14 different organisations, all linked to the left-wing social movement. In scenes reminiscent of anti-apartheid protests, they chanted amandla ngawethu (power is ours) and ululated when their leaders addressed them. They cannot have escaped the notice of the 2 000 delegates from across the world. The protesters had some support from the police. “They are the mothers of the world,” said one officer who held a riot-control shield. “The organisers made a balls-up, we now have to patrol them instead of fighting crime.” Shabodien said the organisations had followed all official channels in seeking representation at the conference, including nominating their representatives and registering on-line, to no avail. “The meeting would have been a great opportunity for different rural women to discuss their different needs, network and build a stronger rural women groups base,” said Shabodien. “But, instead, it became a farce, because the government was too scared of us so-called radical voices.”

The director general of agriculture, Masiphula Mbongwa, and the director general of land affairs, Glen Thomas, hotly denied that the women had been sidelined. “The congress has been so popular that it was overbooked due to the importance of discussions that affects rural communities,” they said in a statement, adding that they decided to hold a parallel congress to accommodate those who could not fit into the international convention centre. “Civil society is a part of the Congress of Rural Women,” the statement said. “The congress is an international congress that deals with matters pertaining to women across the globe. This means that it is not only concerned with South African issues.”

Friday, June 01, 2007


Oh dear! Here we go again! Eskom or Eishkom as it has become known, cannot produce clean, safe electricity and it is now the fault of the minority who can afford it and therefore use it, for the chances of catastrphic weather patterns. It will become encumbant upon that minority to dig down deep into their pockets once again, to change over to gas or solar energy, whilst Eishkom, will continue to produce dirty, unsafe electricity of the cash strapped magority. I guess that too will become the fault of the minority one way or another!

A dirty energy cauldron

Kevin Dawie

08 February 2007 11:59

Energy provision in South Africa is in a cauldron. Internationally, 2 500 of the world’s leading climate scientists have found in a United Nations study that climate change is being fuelled by carbon emissions and that drastic cuts are necessary to reduce the chances of catastrophic weather patterns. Meanwhile, back home, a major study into energy usage by cities finds that if current policies continue, energy usage in South Africa is likely to double over the next 20 years.
The State of Energy in SA Cities report by Sustainable Energy Africa warns that South Africa’s disproportionately large contribution to global warming is likely to come under international scrutiny and pressure. At the same time a confidential report released by the department of public enterprises finds numerous shortcomings in electricity provision, including inadequate efforts to encourage energy savings. “There are a number of measures that can be introduced in the short term to alleviate the problems currently being experienced,” says the report.
It says media campaigns should be instituted requesting customers to reduce thermostat levels, improve insulation and install energy-efficient lighting, motors and fridges. These should include encouraging people to switch off freezers, fridges and geysers during peak periods and to switch to gas for cooking purposes. Critics are also arguing that government is continuing its policy of attracting high-energy use industries while planning the expansion of more dirty, coal-based energy sources.
Writing in this issue of the M&G Business, the WWF’s Peet du Plooy argues that the Coega project will consume 3% of the country’s electricity, yet create only 1 000 jobs. While coal-based power stations cost R30-billion to develop, a solar­powered water-heating industry can create 120 000 jobs. Using Eskom’s own figures Du Plooy points out that new electricity provision costs R10 a kilowatt. Saving the same amount of electricity costs R3 or less.
The previously confidential public enterprises report finds numerous shortcomings in electricity provision, including a lack of transparency, and little focus on short and medium-term supply security. “Steps could be taken now to improve the short-term position,” the report says. It reviews electricity provision in a number of countries, finding that in all of these markets there is significant information in the public domain concerning security of supply and reserve margin. “In contrast, in South Africa almost all of Eskom’s documents on security supply and reserve margin are either unpublished or deemed to be confidential.”
The report says it is vital that plans over energy provision have the widest possible exposure “to enable alternative options to be considered. Eskom does not have a monopoly on good ideas.” It also criticises the fact that the industry uses two separate overall planning systems — one run by the national energy regulator, the other by Eskom. Currently there is a lack of agreement between Eskom and the regulator about the assumed level of economic growth the industry is preparing to meet. The report says there is a lack of coordination with municipalities over supply requirements. The authors also say the monitoring of the reserve margin is inadequate and inconsistent. Electricity provision currently takes place without an explicit energy security standard. Eskom is also criticised for not including weather forecasting in its planning. The State of Energy in SA Cities report says South African metros exhibit per capita carbon emissions levels of an average 6,5 tons, “close to that of a city such as London, even though its GDP is far lower. “This is due to the high carbon-emissions levels of ‘dirty’ South African coal, or energy intensive development and availability of cheap electricity, which has failed to encourage efficiency in industry, business and high-income households.”
Carbon emissions rise significantly in South Africa’s industrial towns, notably in Richards Bay and Saldanha Bay, and in the Vaal Triangle. The report says 16% of households do not have access to clean, safe, affordable energy and that 25% of South Africans live in “energy poverty”. It says transport fuels contribute as much as half of all the energy used in our cities. “Rapid and ongoing motori­sation of our cities exacerbates local health problems and contributes significantly to climate change.” Nearly 40% of South Africa’s city resi­dents commute by foot, not because this is a lifestyle choice, but because they cannot afford transport. “These walkers are twice as likely to die through a motor-vehicle accident than the driver of the vehicle themselves.”
“A small minority of wealthy households consume substantial amounts of energy, contributing to local and global pollution,” it adds. The report says that energy conservation measures can lead to a reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by between 15% and 20% over the next 20 years. Interventions to reduce the use of fossil fuels include shifting from private to public transport, introducing stepped tariffs to make heavy electricity users pay more and encouraging energy efficiency such as using solar water heaters and better insulation. This could be achieved through awareness campaigns and by-laws. “Local government is tasked with local economic development,” says the report. “Developing a local economy that draws on local resources, including sunlight, wind and efficient design, to generate energy provides an exciting development opportunity barely explored. This would also improve local energy security, reducing city reliance on centralised energy supplies.” The world’s scientists gave their starkest warning yet that a failure to cut greenhouse-gas emissions will bring devastating climate change within a few decades, The Guardian reported last Saturday. “Average temperatures could increase by as much as 6,4°C by the end of the century if emissions continue to rise, with a rise of 4°C most likely, according to the final report of an expert panel set up by the UN to study the problem.”