Tuesday, July 31, 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 www.craigspeaks.com.

The ninth and final mistake that Networker’s make, according to Craig is “Disrespect the Tao of Networking. Networker’s who are obsequious to those they believe can help them, yet rude to those they believe can’t help them, disrespect networking. I’ve had networker’s disparage the last person they met whilst in conversation with me. I was afraid to let them go for fear of what they would next say about me! That’s the antithetical to the spirit of networking. One networker took my card and in front of me, wrote the letter A on it, and boasted he was “putting me in his A list.” Let’s just say he was clearly the biggest A I met that night!”

I recently experienced someone who disrespected me and my time and quite frankly I am still peeved about the whole incident. This person, let’s call him George, was happy to set up an appointment with me and I sat with him for an hour, listening carefully to what he did and what his target market was and then put together a list of people out of my data base that I felt could help him or even, in some cases who he could pitch his product to. It took another hour to sit down and mail him with the names and contact details of all these referrals and copy them on the mail, telling them who he was and what it was that he did – so that they knew he would be contacting them. I call this a warm lead.

A few months later George and I met at another networking meeting. After the meeting he, another fellow and I sat having a drink and discussing how networking was ‘working’ for us, when George asked me if I had any additional folk that I could recommend him to. I again made a list of people and a few days later repeated the exercise of mailing him and the people that I was recommending him to.

Imagine, my disgust when several months later George and I hooked up, again at a networking event. George had had a few too many glasses of red wine and was clearly not in control of all of his faculties as he smilingly told me that he had not bothered to contact a single person that I had referred him to. I was absolutely astonished, and he ‘sort of realising’ his mistake, actually asked me to re-send all the information and contact details that I had so painstakingly already sent to him.

This for me was the highest form of disrespect to me as an individual. George had not only wasted my time, but in not contacting anyone, he had basically told me that my contacts and referrals were not worth the paper that they were written on.

You see, George had a mindset that he himself couldn’t get past. George had decided in his own mind that I was not worthy because he could not sell me anything and therefore there was no-one that I knew who could possibly be worthy of his product.

The worst of it is that George believes that he is a networker of note!

Needless to say, George will never get a name or a telephone number out of me again, let alone the time of day.

Understand that although the individual with whom you meet, may not be able or need whatever widget that you are selling or whatever service that you are selling, they have, without a shadow of a doubt, someone in their own database that will need that widget or that service.

Don’t be quick to judge someone. You have no idea who they are and more importantly, you have no idea who they know.


This is yesterdays post:

The author of the quote for the week is David Molapo.

"If you’re not growing – you’re dying"

What a powerful statement and how incredibly true! Think about the life of a child. Your mother carries you for nine months - pretty exhausting I might add, and then as she gives birth and thinks 'ok now I can rest for a few moments' so the child starts wailing to be fed, or watered, or changed. Once they settle into a routine, she thinks, 'ok now I'll rest.' Sorry for you, because then start the teething and then the usual childrens ailments and before you know it the baby is crawling, and then walking and getting into all sorts of mischief. Then come the terrible twos with the temper tantrums and then before you know it the child is off to school - 'ok, now I'll rest" thinks the exhausted mother.

Not yet, because there's homework and projects, and the taxi service to and from soccer and rugby and dancing and sleepovers and.......

Then comes highschool and boyfriends or girlfriends and ......

Now consider for a moment - what would have happened to the child if as it was born, in fell asleep and that is the way it changed. Not only would the child have probably 'died' if not physically certainly in some or other sense of the word, but for all her wanting to 'rest' the mother would have been beside herself as the child was not 'growing' in any sense of the word.

That growth should never stop - from school to University and into the big wonderful world, that abounds with opportunity. Our thirst for knowledge and experiance should never abate. If it does we will surely shrivel up and die.

Don't let anyone or anything stifle your natural curiosity - it is there for a reason. Strive to learn, to understand and then to put that skill to use as you go forward and learn some more.

Here's hoping that you have a 'curiosity' filled week!

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Well, this one sure had me "jogging on the inside"! What a wonderful story.
The middle wife to all the parents and parents to be....

By an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own Second-grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater. She holds up a snapshot of an infant. "This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.

First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord."

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

"Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, oh, oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. "She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh! Now the kid's doing this hysterical duck walk, holding her back and groaning. "My Dad called the
middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man."

"They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this." Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall. "And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!" This kid has her legs
spread and with her little hands are mimicking water flowing away. It was too much!

"Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push, and breathe, breathe.' "They started counting, but never even got past ten." "Then, all of sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff, they all said was from Mom's play-centre, so there must be a lot of stuff inside

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest.

Ever since then, if it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another Erica comes along.

Life is meant to be lived . . . enjoy!

Laughing helps. It's like jogging on the inside.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Oh my goodness! A job well done - which job would that be I wonder. The bringing of an enconomy to it's needs. The starving of people. The dictatorship. The beating of people who think any different to what he does. His absolute madness.

I wonder how much he and his team of thugs would love Mugabe if they we living under his rule. It's very easy to talk the talk, when your stomach is full and you are warm and cared for - it's quite another thing to walk that talk.

This aside, my concern is that is out of the mouth of Mbalula who is the President of the ANC Youth League - this is what we have to look forward to in the future. This is an aspiring young man, who will one day have aspirations of leading this country. God Help Us!

We love Mugabe - ANCYL
October 30 2006 at 11:11AM
By Moshoeshoe Monare

Amid economic hardships and human sufferings in Zimbabwe, ANC Youth League president Fikile Mbalula says he loves President Robert Mugabe for a job well done. He said this to hundreds of the league supporters at a rally in Klerksdorp, North West when introducing the youth leader of Zanu-PF, Richard Bvukumbwe. "You must go back and tell Mugabe that we love what he is doing for the people of Zimbabwe. He is doing a good work. You must tell him that we love him. We love him for redistributing the wealth and land to the people," Mbalula said at the celebration rally of the league's 62nd anniversary.

Bvukumbwe also thanked the audience for support they were giving to the people of Zimbabwe. He was one of the youth leaders from the SADC region who were hosted by the league for a political seminar at the ANC's headquarters. Bvukumbwe received tumultuous applause. Mbalula reiterated the league's support for ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma and slammed what he termed media-made leaders. "We don't want people who come to the ANC to fatten their stomachs... We don't want people who come to the ANC to nurture their careers. "We must ensure that we are not an organisation of people and leaders who are elected by newspapers," Mbalula said. He dismissed cynics who said Zuma was on a campaign trail ahead of the ANC's congress next year, saying that was a "figment of their hallucination".
But Zuma sounded like someone on a campaigning mission on Sunday, telling supporters that the ANC Youth League must determine the succession in the ANC because they had in the past influenced the process to ensure that President Thabo Mbeki becomes president of the ruling party and the country. He also questioned those who admonished the league for publicly endorsing him as Mbeki's successor.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I know that this case is quite old and if memory serves me correctly, Goniwe got off 'scott free', as do so many other men who have been up on sexual harrassment charges. They are very difficult to prove you see and then of course there is the fact that the victim is portrayed like some sort of monster!

Much like rape victims feel like they are being 'raped' as second time in court - victims of sexual harrassment go through the same kind of trauma all over again.

The point of this post however is the statement that was made of "How can you say no to your chief whip as if I am an ordinary man?" What is it with men who think that because they are in a position of power, that that gives them the God given right to do as they please? And I am not just talking about Sexual Harrassment here either. Look at Zuma who was up on rape charges, who also seemed to think that he can take what he wants, without any thought of the consequences, and in his case there weren't any - he got off and the South African taxpayer paid the bill for that one too. Or how about Robert McBride, who is up on drunken driving and defeating the ends of justice?

Perhaps I should state very clearly what I am trying to say. Despite the fact that you are in positions of power, or high up the corporate/government ladder - you are still AN ORDINARY MAN.

Goniwe facing sexual harassment claims
November 12 2006 at 09:10AM

Top African National Congress (ANC) leaders will meet on Monday to discuss the fate of Mbulelo Goniwe, who has been accused of sexually harassing a 21-year-old administration assistant, the early edition of the Sunday Times said on Saturday.Goniwe, the ANC's parliamentary chief whip, is alleged to have asked the woman to have sex with him after she had helped serve dinner to guests at his home on October 25. When she refused, he allegedly told her: "I thought you were a real Xhosa girl. How can you say no to your chief whip as if I am an ordinary man?" The woman told the Sunday Times that she had reported the incident to a senior party official and had since received threatening phone calls demanding she drop her complaint.

Chairman of the parliamentary caucus Vytjie Mentor confirmed that Goniwe had been accused of sexual harassment and that the woman had also reported the incident to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete.According to the Sunday Times, the party's secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe is expected on Monday to raise the issue to ANC leaders for their "urgent consideration." - Sapa

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I agree, it's up to women to sort this out - if we had to wait for the men to get it right - it would take hundreds of years!

Women must keep the peace - Machel
February 08 2007 at 07:14AM

Graça Machel says women should get greater acknowledgement when it comes to world peacekeeping initiatives. She was speaking at the opening session of a UN strategy workshop in Pretoria on Wednesday. Representatives of more than 20 countries that have sent troops to conflict zones are attending the workshop, which runs until Friday. The workshop is exploring gender issues and ways to increase the participation of women in this field. Hosted by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, it was organised by the government, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes.

'South Africa is the largest contributor of female troops to UN peacekeeping operations'
Machel, wife of former president Nelson Mandela and an activist for women and children's rights, said women and children were still the main victims of conflict, and that it was appalling that there were no structures in place to cater for the rights of women and children. Rachel Mayanja, the special adviser of the UN secretary-general on gender issues and the advancement of women, said national women's organisations needed to work with ministries, civil society and the UN to remove existing barriers and increase women's participation in peacekeeping missions .

South Africa is the largest contributor of female troops to UN peacekeeping operations. As of December 31, it was also one of the top 20 troop contributors to UN peacekeeping missions, with a total of 1090 military personnel deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea and Ethiopia and Sudan. - Sholain Govender

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Yay! I am up to date again!

Ok, so perhaps I have lost the plot - but isn't a school about giving an education to children? How does this now become "the end results are absolutely nothing"? If the school is not performing, perhaps they should be looking at the principal and/or the staff. Children need to be excited about learning, motivated to do well and assisted, if conditions at the home front are not as they perhaps should be. Close them down indeed - what will happen to those children. Oh never mind, they will just take to the streets, where they will learn 'how to' increase crime and perhaps even become another statistic!

Gauteng facing school closure shock
January 07 2007 at 04:03PM

The Gauteng department of education has threatened to close down 200 badly performing schools, the SABC reported. Spokesperson for the department Panyaza Lesufi said the department has given principals until the end of January to present plans to turn their schools around. However, he says Education MEC Angie Motshekga was convinced that the only solution was to close the schools down." They are part of what Education Minister calls non-functional schools. "So in Gauteng we have given them until January 30 to tell us what they will do to turn around the situation," he said. "But the MEC has reached a stage where she believes that these schools are just absorbing money and resources of the state, but the end results are absolutely nothing."

Lesufi also said the department could not justify the amount of money invested in those schools. "If we compare the output that we receive, we believe we have no choice but to close down the schools." - Sapa


This is the post that would have been done on 24th July.

What a statement to make when there is such internal politics and power struggles going on with the ANC itself.

My take on this is that the very thing that put them together in the first place, being the fact that they united, despite all the different tribes, kings and the rest - to take on the evil that was apartheid, is now no longer there, and this will be the undoing of the them.

Mbeki: ANC must remain true to its roots
Cape Town, South Africa
22 June 2007 02:23

The African National Congress's (ANC) national policy conference in Gauteng next week should remain loyal to principle and continuity, but also respond to changing circumstances, President Thabo Mbeki said on Friday. The four-day conference, which starts on Wednesday, will assess the party's major policy positions and make recommendations to be finalised at the party's national conference in December."Itself a gathering made up of delegates from all our branches and other organs of our movement, the policy conference provides the democratic space for our membership as a whole to help determine the vision and tasks of our movement," Mbeki said in his weekly online newsletter."It therefore helps to reaffirm and entrench the democratic nature of the ANC, which ... contributes to the deepening of the critically important culture of democracy in our country," he said.
Assuming the ANC was re-elected in 2009, it was clear that the recommendations of the policy conference would have a significant impact on South Africa's evolution in the period up to 2012 -- the centenary of the ANC. "The policy conference will have to ensure, as I am certain it will, that it approaches its work with all due seriousness and elaborates the policy proposals that will help us to achieve the outcomes indicated by our national executive committee as we celebrated the 95th anniversary of our movement earlier this year. In this regard, it must draw inspiration from a long history of policy formulation that has been an integral part of the work and functioning of our movement from its very foundation."
One of the unbroken threads since then was a continuous process of policy formation, which had enabled the ANC to evolve through many historical periods. "The governments we have formed since the victory of the democratic revolution, mandated by the people, have faithfully respected the longstanding tradition of our movement, always to respect its democratically evolved policy positions. We say this with no fear of contradiction, and can prove it in great detail."
The policy conference would carry with it a tradition of loyalty to principle, continuity in policy making, unwavering strategic focus and considered tactical flexibility to respond to changing circumstances. It would also understand that the policies it recommended to the national conference were worth nothing if they did not advance the objective of ensuring "that the ANC that turns 100 years old on January 8 2012 truly lives up to the noble ideals on which it was founded", Mbeki said. -- Sapa


This is the post for 23rd July.

People's behaviour doesn't change because their 'mindsets' don't change. I guess it is the old story of 'It can't happen to me!' and believe me it will.
I spoke to a recently divorced friend, in her mid 30's who was dating like there was no tomorrow, in a desperate attempt to 'find the right someone'. When I posed the question, she gave me a filthy sideways look and said - 'people my age are not at risk!' I was both stunned and shocked! Here was a well educated, well informed upper middle class individual who had access to as many statistics that there are available (her ex sister in law is a trauma nurse) and she had blinkered herself to this degree. My next question to her of course was 'so who decides exactly which age is safe' - needless to say I am still waiting for the answer from her on that one.
Perhaps it should be obilgatory for everyone to spend a day at one of the HIV AIDS facilities to see, first hand, the actual effects that HIV has, not only on the individual but on the comunity as a whole!

'Fight moral decay to save SA from HIV'
June 29 2000 at 09:07PM
By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

There are many challenges facing society and South Africans seem afraid to deal with them, said deputy governor of the Reserve Bank Gill Marcus.Speaking at the 93rd birthday of the Guild Cottage, a treatment centre for abused children in Johannesburg, on Wednesday, Marcus said one of the main challenges is rebuilding the culture of respect. Part of the problem was that "we are a society that's been abused - and we were divided in every possible way. The only way to rebuild our society is (by) rebuilding our people". She urged South Africans to make a meaningful contribution towards rebuilding our moral fibre and fighting HIV/Aids.

Aids posed a serious threat to the country as more and more young people died of the disease."If South Africa was in a war where we would lose 20 percent of our young people, would we not do something?" Marcus asked. And she warned educational programmes on HIV/Aids were not working "because people don't alter their behaviour".


Here's your funnies for the day for 22nd July

Oh man, I played the game once and 'political incorrectness' aside, chuckled as I punched every taxi driver available. And guess what, it did make me feel a whole lot better. Having said that however - it was just once and I quite frankly don't have the time and/or the inclination to play again.

I understand from subsequent articles in various newspapers, that the game caused quite a stir on many different levels - pity it doesn't improve the driving ability of our very notorious 'taxi drivers' though.

As far as humour is concerned, I think everyone should actually just get over themselves, surely it is better to play the game and get over the frustration caused by the constant traffic jams and bad drivers, than getting out of your car and actually becoming a 'road rage statistic'!

It's better to laugh at ourselves than to hurt each other!

How to take on a taxi driver...
Sheena Adams April 23 2007 at 07:13AM

If you're South African and drive your own car, there's a good chance you have fantasised about inflicting pain on a taxi driver. Maybe you've dreamt about popping the tyres of the rusty old taxi that speeds past you in the yellow lane and cuts in front of you just as the robot turns red? Or maybe you've entertained thoughts of a more violent nature, beating up the next taxi driver who dares to stop in front of you in peak-hour traffic and idly load and offload his passengers? If so, there's a cure for you. An enterprising online advertising agency has devised the perfect solution for those drivers who may be a punch away from a road rage incident.

iLogic has created an online computer game called taxi wars, which allows you to select various instruments of abuse with which to terrorise a stationary taxi driver. Click on the red vuvuzela tool and you can shock the rather sedate-looking taxi driver until his hair stands to attention like an afro. Choose a big white fist and, after three solid left hooks, your abused taxi driver has a blue eye. Three more punches and he can be knocked out. A screwdriver allows you to slash his tyres and a golf club let's you smash his windows. There is also a can of spray-paint on hand with which you can decorate the pristine taxi with whatever squiggles you choose.
iLogic says the game allows you to take out your repressed road rage on a taxi "as many times as you want, in several creative ways". iLogic director Yoav Tchelet says in a media release: "It presses buttons that we all, in the wild everyday world of South African traffic, wouldn't for a second consider acting on for real but absolutely dream of being able to." He says they don't necessarily condone the content, but believed they had to do something "controversial and memorable" to stand out as an advertising company. Thomas Masase, spokesperson for the Gauteng Taxi Council, failed to see the humour - or the point. "I just don't understand it," he said.


This is the post that would have been done on 21st July.

Whilst I absolutely agree that, once identified, the hot spots should have more of a police presence - I also agree with the police that motorists make it easier for would be criminals to do the smash and grab thing by leaving valuables on the seats in full view of any one who cares to look into the car.

Come on people, it's a no brainer! Don't leave stuff on the seats - put it under the seats or into the boots.

Drivers on edge as smash-and-grabs increase

Graeme Hosken
November 20 2006 at 04:57AM

Police are not doing enough to protect motorists from crime, say Tshwane residents angry at an increase in hijackings and smash-and-grab incidents at city intersections. Tshwane Metro Police this week provided the Pretoria News with detailed information on hotspots and danger zones when it came to hijackings, armed robberies and smash-and-grab attacks. According to the Metro Police, there are more than 20 dangerous intersections in Pretoria with entire streets in and around the city being declared potential "no go" areas by law enforcement authorities. Metro Police have set up a team of policemen equipped with assault rifles and high-powered cars who patrol Pretoria's highways on a 24-hour basis.

'Every day is a driving hell'
But motorists complain that other than putting up boards warning of hijackers the police are not doing enough. "Every day is a driving hell," said Sarah de Villiers, who has been a victim of a hijacking and four smash-and-grab attacks at the Atterbury/N1 intersection in the past nine months. She said she was puzzled by the fact that there were no police visible at the intersection."I understand that people must be constantly aware of dangerous intersections, but surely at a known hotspot there should be police visibility, especially at peak hours," she said. De Villiers said what she found even more puzzling were the "Be Aware For Your Own Safety" boards. "Why don't the police tell us exactly what we are meant to be aware of? What exactly are we meant to be on the look out for?" she asked.
David Ngcobo of Mamelodi said he had lost count of the number of times he had been a victim of smash-and-grab attackers along Hans Strijdom Drive. "Where are the police? What exactly are they doing?" he asked. "They should be visible on the roads," he said.
Thomas Saunders of Centurion said he feared for his children's lives every time he took them to school."It is madness. The police have to do something to put an end to these attacks at city intersections once and for all. They should stop telling motorists that it is up to them and actually do something about making this city a safe place to live and work in," he said.
Some of the worst affected highways, main roads and streets include the N1, N4, Ben Schoeman, Botha Avenue, the R55 and Simon Vermooten - declared "danger zones" by the Metro Police. On the N1 between the John Vorster and Lynnwood Road off-ramps there are five hijacking and smash-and-grab hotspots, while on the N4 between Watermeyer Road and Simon Vermooten off-ramps there are three hijacking, armed robbery and smash-and-grab danger zones. Other hotspot intersections are in the suburbs of Garsfontein, Hatfield, Sunnyside, Silverton, Wonderboompoort and Brooklyn. In Garsfontein, the hotspot intersections are Lynnwood and Hans Strijdom and Delfi and Garsfontein while in Sunnyside the dangerous corners are all intersections in Walker and Duncan streets and Nelson Mandela Drive. In Brooklyn, the dangerous intersections can be found along the entire length of Hilda and Burnett streets and all of the traffic lights at the Atterbury off and on-ramps. On the Ben Schoeman Highway the Jean Avenue intersection has been flagged as a danger zone along with the corners of Cantonments and Botha avenues, University and Lynnwood roads and Beyers Naude Drive and Paul Kruger Street.
Ronald Mashakeng, a commander in the Tshwane Metro Police, who confirmed the establishment of a specialised highway patrol unit, said police worked closely with community policing forums, e-Blockwatch, the SAPS and other law enforcement bodies when it came to policing intersections. Police spokesperson Inspector Anton Breedt could not say how many hotspot intersections there were in Pretoria. He said he could not provide details of dangerous intersections "as they are constantly changing as crime in the city shifts". Breedt urged motorists to be constantly vigilant and to approach intersections with "the necessary caution, especially those which are badly lit and are surrounded by dense bushes". Motorists created opportunities for attacks by leaving valuables on their front seats.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


This is the post that should have been done on 20th July

Wow, what a powerful and piece and one that has made me think . . hard! So why are all of these speeches done in English? What motivated a Xhosa speaking man, to deliver his speech in English? Was it for the benefit of the people? If this article is to be taken at face value, then I guess the answer would be a resounding NO. We have 11 official languages for goodness sake and the English and Afrikaan speaking people of this country are very clearly in the minority - so why are the speaches that are so important for the average Joe (I beg your pardon, perhaps that should be Shipo) be in a language that he does not understand? Could it perhaps be, because the minority (being the English and Afrikaans) in this country are the ones that have the where-with-all to turn this incredible country from one that was bound by the ropes of apartheid to the democracy that we all enjoy now? Could it be that the people from abroad who are expected (with bated breath) to invest their hard earned moola in our new democracy? Or perhaps, is it because we want he rest of the world (most of whom can understand at least a smattering of English) to know where we have come from and in which direction it is that we would like to go?

Oh hell! I don't know - what are the views on this out there?

Lost in translation
Nhlanhla Thwala
18 April 2007 10:59

Unlike Madiba, Martin Luther King’s famous speeches were understood by his audience
"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” so said Martin Luther King in his famous “I have a Dream Speech”. As Freedom Day approaches, we may also be moved to repeat Martin Luther’s words. For indeed we are free at last: apartheid is dead and buried. We are all protected by a model Constitution and a Bill of Rights. We have a litany of commissions and boards to safeguard our freedoms and rights encompassing gender, the youth, languages, human rights, et cetera. What more could we ask for?
Much as we have a lot to be thankful for, the present circumstances do not move me to scream “Free at last! Free at last!” But, dear reader, fear not. I will not complain about the usual suspects like crime, corruption, Zimbabwe, BEE, racism, and my favourite, the changing of place names. I will also not harp about the politicians: Thabo Mbeki or Jacob Zuma or Zwelinzima Vavi or Tony Leon or even George W Bush. I will instead engage you about something very basic, namely language and how freedom is mediated by the language you speak in contemporary South Africa.
When Martin Luther King spoke to America on August 28 1963, anyone and everyone who cared to listen could hear and understand what he said. The English language is understood by virtually all Americans. That is not so in this land. There are millions of South Africans who do not know what Nelson Mandela said in his famous 1964 treason trial speech now titled “I am prepared to die”. And even more do not know what he said when he made his famous “balcony speech” on his release from prison in 1990. There are millions still who do not know what Mbeki said in his famous “I am an African” speech in 1996. To anyone who speaks the English language, these iconic speeches have come to define the very essence of being South African. But these speeches are unknown to millions of South Africans who do not speak or understand English. It is not just these speeches which are not known to them. All the structures that underpin our democracy remain obscure and inaccessible to the non-English language speaker. We live in a country where what you know is a function of the language that you speak and read. And your ability to comprehend the freedoms that you have, and your ability to participate in the democracy is determined by language.
Without the English language, you know very little about your freedoms. And your ability to participate in the democracy is highly circumscribed. Take the Constitution as a starting point. Whereas there are translations of the Constitution in all the official languages, I have yet to meet anyone who understands the translated versions in the African languages on their own. I tried to read the isiZulu and siSwati ones and have failed dismally. The translations only make sense when read in conjunction with the English versions because they are translated literally. Only God knows what those who do not speak English make of the Constitution. I am sure of this fact: the translated versions are a poor substitute for the real thing in English. Take also the matter of political discourse outside the election campaign cycle. In general, the political discourse at national level takes place almost entirely in English (and maybe in Afrikaans) -- from policies to the Bills that are passed by Parliament. The non-English speaker is placed at a serious disadvantage as far as participating in the democracy is concerned. How can you really engage with the political process when you do not know what is being debated? The non-English speaker is always at the mercy of the ad hoc translator. But as we all know, translation is a delicate undertaking under the best circumstances. It is capable of introducing noise in the communication channel which seriously distorts the message. And in the hands of a novice, it can cause serious damage, much like in the comedy Going Up! As noted above, the democracy we enjoy is supported by a range of commissions and boards. And hypothetically, these structures are accessible to all citizens. But the amazing thing is that all these structures communicate with the citizens almost entirely in English. Do yourself a favour and check their websites. All but a handful of the web pages are in English only. Maybe the reason is that they assume the web is read by English- speaking people; I do not know.
As I see things, the policy of providing public communication in English is detrimental to the rights of non-English speaking citizens. It may be argued by these organisations that they do provide communication in the language of one’s choice if requested to. But that misses the point. By placing the information that the general public needs behind the barrier of a request, they impede communication. Besides, why should citizens have to request the information when we all know that millions of them need it in their languages to start with? Would it not make sense to provide all the information in different languages on the web page? Finally, consider another vital element in a democracy -- the media. In any free society, the media is a vital platform for information-sharing and debate. But more than simply being a platform, the media also shapes opinion and the “political reality”. Since the media is a powerful tool for influencing political developments, those who access it and make their views known through it have power. And the inverse is also true; those who cannot access the media for any reason are powerless -- the spectators in a game they should be playing. So, language plays a critical role in the making of the powerful and the powerless. The speaker of the English language has numerous media platforms to play with -- ranging from radio (both public and commercial), TV stations, print media and electronic media. The Afrikaans speaker, though not as fortunate as the English speaker, has a range of radio and print media platforms. Pity the speaker of Venda, Tsonga, Sepedi, and other African languages. They have only a handful of media outlets to tap into.
These are whatever the SABC provides in the form of radio and the handful of television slots plus an insignificant print media. Overall, there is no powerful media outside of English (and Afrikaans). And as a result, the speakers of African languages are rendered powerless because they are unable to tap into the most powerful media -- the English media. While we should celebrate all the achievements that have been made in terms of legislation and structures to entrench freedom in the last 13 years, we are a long way from achieving the true meaning of freedom. The inequalities that language creates render millions among us unfree. Their world is devoid of the iconic speeches that we take for granted. They are also not in a position to read and internalise the rights that the Constitution guarantees. Further, they are unable to engage in the political discourse both at the level of creating policies and laws and as well as engaging with the structures that are entrusted with safeguarding our freedoms. And since the powerful media is not in their language, they are denied the opportunity to influence or create the “political reality” which the media shape. The dream is therefore deferred. Nhlanhla Thwala is the acting director of the Wits Language School. He writes in his personal capacity

Monday, July 23, 2007


This is the post that should have been done on 19th July.

My, my, my - I can't say that I am surprised! Having watched "derailed" on TV last night and seeing how this poor man was roped and scammed into paying out money that was supposed to be for his daughter - I was amazed at how easily people get into impossible situations and then how easily they dig themselves further and further into the mess! What a mess.

The first time they ask for money is when the light bulb should go on, and when the coffee should start perculating furiously. This is the time to make public whatever it is that you are hiding and come clean - the mess is a lot easier to clean up at this stage and will also leave you without the guilt and bankrupt!

Corruption trial rocks Mpumalanga
April 29 2007 at 11:27AM
By Walter Ka Nkosi and Justin Arenstein

Advocate Stanley Soko, Mpumalanga's former director-general, allegedly forced government contractors to meet in car parks and dark streets to pay him massive bribes, the Nelspruit regional court heard this week. Soko allegedly forced executives from a fledgling public relations company, Rainbow Kwanda Communications, to hand over R700 000 at a string of such meetings in Pretoria after threatening to have them arrested for corruption if they did not "show gratitude and help me out". Kedibone Mashamaite, the Rainbow Kwanda director, told the court that Vusi Mona, a former City Press editor, had helped intimidate him into paying "hush money" to Soko to keep Scorpions investigators off his back.

Mona was a secret shareholder in Rainbow Kwanda and had allegedly used his extensive political contacts while still editor to help the start-up company secure a lucrative R30 million Mpumalanga government public relations contract. Soko and Ernest Khosa, the Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation (Meec) chief executive, then promptly arranged for the government to pay Mashamaite R3,6-million before he had done any work. "The very next day they started making their demands [for bribes]," Mashamaite testified. "It started with Soko saying he had a problem and that he needed R12 000. I [reluctantly] paid in cash, but then he said he still had problems and needed R25 000." Eventually, Mona summoned me to a meeting at Khosa's house, where Khosa and Soko each demanded a R1 million bribe for having approved the tender? I was shocked, because, if I paid the money, I would not have enough left to do the job. "When Mashamaite insisted that he did not have the cash flow to make such large payments, Soko allegedly demanded R100 000 per month." I did not have this kind of money, so had to raise as much as I could elsewhere. When I went to pay, my jacket pockets were so heavy with the cash that I myself felt heavy," said Mashamaite.
Khosa allegedly made similar demands, though his bribes were reportedly paid into a network of "front" bank accounts. When the cash drain started threatening Rainbow Kwanda's survival, Mashamaite refused to co-operate any further." I was then summoned to Pretoria for interrogation by the Scorpions. Cornwell Tshavhungwa [then the deputy director of the National Prosecuting Authority] interviewed me about the contract and the irregular R3,6-million payment. At the end of the interview, he said I should think of ways to help him in the investigation," said Mashamaite. "Shortly afterwards, Khosa phoned me to say that Tshavhungwa would halt the investigation if I paid him R350 000. I was only too glad to do so and gave Khosa the money." With all three officials now allegedly milking Rainbow Kwanda, Mashamaite said the company was crippled and that he realised that what was happening was wrong. "When I heard Tshavhungwa now wanted another R3-million to keep quiet [I] finally said no," he told the court.
Mona was not in court but Soko and Khosa listened to Mashamaite intently. The two men have been fired from their government jobs and charged with corruption, fraud and contravention of both the Public Service Management Act and the Organised Crime Act. They pleaded not guilty this week. Mona was fired from City Press for allegedly failing to disclose his business interests and failing to manage conflicts of interest. Tshavhungwa has meanwhile been jailed for a web of other abuses linked to the Meec and Khosa. Mashamaite will continue testifying when the trial continues on June 13. Soko and Khosa were released on bail of R20 000 and R50 000 respectively. The scandal contributed to the downfall of Ndaweni Mahlangu, the former Mpumalanga premier, and is expected to claim further casualties within the provincial government. - African Eye News Service


This the is the post that should have been done on 18th July.

I am not so sure about if they earn more they would be more pleasant! I don't think so. My take on this, is that they don't give a shit in the first place. It means more work and they would rather do as little as possible for as long as possible. Helping someone in need has nothing to do with whether you get paid at all. This is, unfortunately what has happened with people who have very little common sense being put into a position of power - no pen but no forms, no water, no bed!


My night of hell at Jo’burg Gen
Matthew Krouse
30 May 2007 11:59

My best friend is sick. Well, he was, but he is recovering. When he was really down he called me and said he was tired, could hardly walk, was throwing up and thirsty as hell. After a week of battling the odds, he did a superhuman thing: got out of bed and walked from his room in Joubert Park to the Park Station Medical and Dental Centre in Braamfontein. There, for a couple of hundred rand he was diagnosed with diabetes and placed on a drip. He lay there for a day. Once he felt strong enough to walk a few feet, he called me. I dashed over and was party to a pep talk he was given by a doctor who told him that, since he is now diabetic, he should chill for a couple of days and not go to work before returning to the station for further treatment. He was given some pills. As for his dietary requirements, he was told he should keep away from sugar and bread. When we left the Park Station clinic he could hardly walk. I took him home to my quiet apartment in Houghton so he could rest away from the inner-city hustle and bustle. By 9.30pm that night, a Thursday, my friend was vomiting uncontrollably, was falling in and out of consciousness, and was delirious. My friend does not have medical aid so I drove him -- shivering and barely conscious -- in the dead of night, to Johannesburg General Hospital. I swung into the parking lot outside the emergency ward where a dishevelled hospital porter and I dumped him into a wheelchair. I was sent to park my car on the top of Hospital Hill while my friend was pushed inside. When I arrived in the emergency ward lobby my friend was barely conscious, slumped in his wheelchair. I was handed a form and told that, once completed, he could proceed to treatment. It was after 10pm. He needed a doctor and I needed a pen. I walked from official to official, from nurse to nurse, and nobody would loan me a pen. I begged, pleaded -- it seemed that everyone had a pen yet no one was writing. I headed back to my semi-conscious friend. At his side was a nurse. I told her my predicament, begged for a doctor. “No,” she replied, “no completed form, no treatment.” My friend murmured, he was begging for water. I asked the nurse. She pointed to an empty cooler -- no water, no form, no doctor.
Ignoring her protestation I dashed into the treatment section of the emergency ward. Inside there are curtained-off examination beds; on one there was a wailing child, her mother at her side. An elderly woman doctor (who it seems styles herself after the minister of health) was ambling about. I appealed to her, but received the same response: no pens available, no water available and no completed form meant no treatment would be forthcoming. In the corner I spotted a filthy basin with a pink soap dispenser at which the staff wash their hands. On the wall was a paper cup dispenser. I filled a cup with water and dashed back to my friend. Still in his wheelchair, he had been placed to one side. He was in an uncomfortable slump. The nurse stepped forward. I requested a bed. I received the same response: no completed form meant no treatment would be forthcoming; on this basis he could least of all expect a bed. I took one last shot at finding a pen. The nurses became nasty. Eventually I just grabbed. I started to fill in the form on a desk in an open office to one side of the emergency lobby. The curious nurse who had been hovering over my friend, yet not doing much to help, now proceeded to assist me with the form. My friend has a long, complicated surname and when she saw this, she said disapprovingly, “Oh, he is Shangaan.” ‘Fuck you,” I said, “he is human.”I now headed for the seated queue of people apparently waiting to submit their forms to a row of clerks seated behind a row of glass-fronted hatches.
There were about 50 people in the queue. When I got to the end of the queue an elderly woman said, “we are not here for the doctor, you are at the front”. I realised then that these people were probably homeless people who slept in the hospital foyer every night. Two-and-a-half hours after arriving at the hospital, a doctor attended to my friend. In total, between 11pm and 1am that week night I saw only three people needing emergency attention. This is quite contrary to the picture we have of a stressed-out emergency ward of high-powered medical practitioners using high-tech equipment. Over three hours after arriving at the hospital, my semi-comatose friend made it to the inner sanctum of the hospital where, it seems, mostly male medical students, hair gelled in the latest David Beckham hairstyles, and wearing expensive sneakers, work with a lethargic force of nasty nurses. The young doctor in charge that night kept repeating one melodic mantra: “We have no beds, we have no beds.” When he entered the examination room, upon seeing a “cool-looking dude” -- my friend -- rather inappropriately he said: “Hey my man, wassup?”
My friend spent an uncomfortable night on an examination bed. Once the doctor had him stabilised I was told that there were no blankets. It was almost 2am. It was cold. So, in the dead of night, I drove to my flat where I tore my Woolworths queen-sized blanket off my own bed. I drove back to the hospital and ran to the ward. When I arrived, blanket trailing on the ground, the nurses had a good laugh at my expense. How outrageous to see a white man doing something for a black man in need. I’ve also had to supply my friend with three meals a day. For many, this night trip to the general hospital will be the last journey they take. How sad that the system doesn’t allow for an iota of dignity. Next week nurses may be on strike. My friend says that throughout his hospital experience they have been nasty and impatient. Hopefully, if they earn a little better they will, in turn, give a little better.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


This is the post that was supposed to happen on 17th July 2007

Well, well, well - this remains to be seen. A woman in the White House! Well why the hell not? She can't be as bad as some of the men that have been there!

Billie Jean King to support Clinton campaign
March 29 2007 at 03:10AM
By Beth Fouhy

New York - Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has secured the endorsement of Billie Jean King, the tennis star who made history in 1973 when she defeated Bobby Riggs in the famed "Battle of the Sexes" match. "What I learned when I first met Hillary, and what I know now, is that she is qualified to lead this country," King, 63, said in statement. "As a young woman, mother, advocate, first lady and senator she has continually shown us she is passionate about improving family issues, health care, equal pay and the challenges that people all across this nation face on a daily basis."

King's support will be part of the campaign's "Women for Hillary" effort aimed at attracting female voters. The King endorsement came amid several high-profile events to show women's support for Clinton, who is hoping to make history as the first female US president. NOW, the National Organisation for Women, also was announcing its endorsement of Clinton. Democrat Geraldine Ferraro, who in 1984 was the first female vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, sent an email to help raise money on Clinton's behalf. "It's been 23 years since I was the first woman on a major party presidential slate, and I remember what it was like breaking that barrier - including the barrage of attacks at the hands of the Republicans," Ferraro wrote. "Now Hillary is poised to break the biggest glass ceiling of them all. This time, when we elect the best, most qualified candidate for president, for the first time we'll be putting a woman in the White House." - Sapa-AP


This is the post for Monday 16th July
I have no idea who wrote this, and it was sent to me by one of my friends. It is very true and straight to the point and I think a worth while read.
Perhaps it is time for all of us to have a 'New Beginning'!
New Beginnings

...Beginning today...I will no longer worry about yesterday. It is in the past and the past will never change. Only I can change by choosing to do so.

...Beginning today...I will no longer worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will always be there, Waiting for me to make the most of it. But I cannot make the most of tomorrow Without first making the most of today.

...Beginning today...I will look in the mirror and I will see A person worthy of my respect and care. This capable person looking back at me Is someone I enjoy spending time with And someone I would like to get to know better.

...Beginning today...I will cherish each moment of my life. I value this gift bestowed upon me, this life that I only have one chance to live, And I will unselfishly share this gift freely. I will use this gift to enhance the lives of others.

...Beginning today...I will take a moment to step off the beaten path And to revel in the mysteries I encounter. I will face challenges place before me With courage and determination. I will overcome the obstacles that may hinder My quest for growth and self-improvement.

...Beginning today...I will take life one day at a time, One step at a time. Discouragement will not be allowed to taint My positive self-image, my desire to succeed Or my capacity to love.

...Beginning today...I walk with renewed faith in human kindness. Regardless of what has gone before. I believe there is hope For a brighter and better future.
...Beginning today...I will open my mind and my heart. I will welcome new experiences. I will meet new people

Saturday, July 21, 2007


This is the funnies for Sunday 15th July.

Oh man I can just see it! A condom with our 'Rainbow Nation' flag on it - will give new meaning to the phrase "I did it for my country"!

Designer condoms come in all shapes and sizes
November 08 2006 at 02:34AM

Moscow - A Russian doctor has started a booming business in custom-made condoms. Moscow urologist Dr Petr Pomozov started making condoms to order after a number of patients complained they had problems finding ones that fit snugly. And the money started pouring in when Dr Pomozov, who sells his condoms privately to individuals, came up with the idea of offering special motifs and pictures on the condoms. He said: "Lots of people come to me asking for my designer condoms. They want something that is not only the perfect size for them but also a bit individual. "People ask for condoms with bears drawn on them, or Mickey Mouse on them, or elephants." Some patriotic people ask for them with Kalashnikov guns drawn on them while there are others who want something romantic like Venetian gondolas. We do it all for them." - Ananova.com


This is the post that should have been done on 14th July

Sad as this may be, the fact of the matter is that it is very difficult to see people from other countries get jobs, when you can't get one because of issues like Affirmative Action and the like. We are importing skills from all over the world, while a huge, skilled chunk of our pale males battle to find work.

Something is clearly not right with this picture!

Rise in xenophobia tarnishes SA's image
Abhik Kumar Chanda Johannesburg, South Africa
28 January 2007 10:27

Xenophobia is on the rise in South Africa where foreigners are increasingly being blamed for spiralling crime and growing unemployment, thereby damaging the country's credentials overseas. Africa's largest economy started welcoming foreigners of all hues after the demise of apartheid in 1994 but the public mood is turning hostile. There has even been a shift in the attitude of the government of Africa's youngest democracy, which is tightening immigration laws, the head of the South African Human Rights Commission said. "Xenophobia is definitely increasing," Jody Kollapen told Agence France-Presse. "In the post 1994-era there was a massive inflow from all parts of Africa. Xenophobia started manifesting itself but excluded those who came from Europe due to the classic apartheid stereotyping, which saw whites as people who bring in skills, money and investment and the others as threats.
"In the late 1990s, some immigrants were killed on a train by South Africans. Of late, hate attacks have tended to target Zimbabweans and Somalis. South Africa's new government welcomed nationals from countries such as Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe and Zambia as they had backed the now-ruling African National Congress during its long struggle against white minority rule. But that is changing."There is increasingly a feeling that while we appreciate what they had done, we cannot remain eternally obliged," Kollapen said, adding that the high unemployment rate -- officially put at about 25% but estimated at 42% by others -- exacerbated the situation.
South Africa's alarming crime rate -- one of the world's highest -- is blamed by many on foreigners. "The common myth is that Nigerians are into drugs and prostitution, Zimbabweans are responsible for cash heists while Mozambicans stage housebreaks," he said. "There is no statistical proof of this. Official records show that only 3% of South Africa's prison population comprise non-nationals." Although there are no official figures, between three million and 6,5-million foreigners live illegally in South Africa, according to various estimates. Nigerian-born Enyinna Nkem-Abonta, currently a ruling party MP, felt the bite during a heated parliamentary debate when he was in the opposition after a serving minister asked him why he had "run away" from his own country. Nkem-Abonta, a French-trained economist, also said he did not get a senior job at a parastatal firm because of his Nigerian roots. But he does not blame South Africans, as "suddenly they see millions and millions of people coming in illegally". "If the pie was expanding, people wouldn't care too much.
The government has to educate them that immigrants are productive. "South Africa lacks trained teachers, engineers, doctors and information technology specialists and is seeking to attract skills from overseas. But the work-permit procedures are messy and often complicated for nationals of certain countries. We have South African ministers coming and saying they want our professionals [but] they make visa procedures tighter for our people. If this goes on, it will be tit-for-tat," an Asian diplomat said. Côte d'Ivoire national Etienne Gaba is enraged at being the butt of threats, intimidation and insults. "South Africans forget that it is their population of foreign descent that catapulted this country to being the continent's superpower." "Foreigners bring in money and create businesses and jobs. What do we get in return? Being called amakwerekwere," a pejorative word for foreigner, he said. Muneer, a Bangladeshi restaurateur in Johannesburg suburb, echoes him."I saw a business opportunity where no South African saw one. I set up this place and I employ 34 people, including some locals. And yet they accuse me of kicking them in the stomach," he said. -- AFP

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This is the post that should have been done on 13 th July 2007

Whilst the tragedy of the situation is plainly apparent and I really feel for the parents, the reality of the situation is as follows:

If there is water around - children can drown! End of story!

If there is no pool fence or if the pool fence is in a state of 'disrepair' - children will get in and they will drown.

It's a no brainer people and when will you learn the consequences!

Baby drowns in townhouse pool
March 31 2007 at 09:04AM

A three-year-old girl drowned in a townhouse complex pool in western Johannesburg on Friday afternoon, Netcare 911 paramedics said. She was found floating in the pool around 3pm at the Shingwedzi Lodge townhouse complex in Theunis street, Weltevreden Park, said spokesperson Nick Dollman on Saturday.

"As with all drownings it is unclear how the tragedy occurred, but it is alleged that the child may have been missing for 10 to 20 minutes before being found. "She was pulled from the water and help was summoned. Firefighters and paramedics tried for 40 minutes to resuscitate her, but to no avail. Although there was a fence around the pool, Dollman said it was in bad repair. There was also no net covering the pool.

The child's mother was attended to by a Netcare 911 trauma councillor on the scene. - Sapa


So this is the blog that should have been posted on 12 July 2007.

Wow, talk about impacting on the skills shortage that we are already experiencing at them moment - how bad is it going to be in the future.

Part of this, I am sure is to do with the restrictions that Government put on students once they have qualified because of the current skill shortages in various sectors at the moment. If I was studiying to become a doctor for example, I wouldn't want to go and live and work in some obscure rural spot in the middle of nowhere! Perhaps instead of forcing people to do things they should turn it around and encourage people to go where ever. There are always people who will take up the challenge if the price is right!

Seventy thousand pupils unaccounted for
David Macfarlane
Johannesburg, South Africa
06 January 2007 06:00

Large numbers of children are disappearing from the school system before they have a chance to write matric -- and the government still has little idea of why this is happening. Last year, 528 525 pupils wrote matric -- the largest number in five years. But tracking this cohort back to its grade-nine class in 2003 tells a troubling story. In that year, 880 631 grade-nine pupils enrolled in public schools, but 350 000 of them did not go on to write matric last year. Of those 350 000, about 280 000 remained in the education system, says Firoz Patel, Deputy Director General of Education. Some will have failed a year before reaching matric; others moved from public schools to private institutions; and yet more entered further education and training (FET) colleges at some point after grade nine.
But Patel said that this leaves about 70 000 of the 2003 grade nines unaccounted for. In the absence of comprehensive studies on why this is happening, reasons remain speculative, Patel said. However, he pointed to a quantitative study based on household surveys about the impact of education on the population. The study, which was commissioned by the education department last year, showed that dropout rates among 16- to 18-year-olds were highest in the Western Cape and Gauteng. The study speculates that financial reasons might play a part here, because these two provinces have higher average school fees than other provinces. Patel also said that because grade nine is the last year of legally compulsory education, "we can't compel learners to remain: after grade nine it's a personal choice".
Poverty must be the major reason for the high drop-out rates, said Jon Lewis, research officer at the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu). "There is a sense of huge demoralisation -- that people just give up on education," he said. "It is also possible that school principals still persist in forcing borderline pupils out at grade 11 to keep up their matric pass rates. But we don't know, and Sadtu has been asking the government for studies on the problem since 2000. "Boys especially are probably dropping out into gangs, said Jonathan Jansen, dean of education at the University of Pretoria. "There is such economic desperation that youngsters feel they have to go out and earn, even if illegally." Alternatives to school, such as adult education and FET colleges, do need to be strengthened, Patel said. "And we are preparing to look into the reasons for dropouts from the system, probably early this year."


Firstly my apologies for no blogs for a whole week. There was a death in the family and quite frankly I am still reeling from all the emotion.

Now back to the business at hand. Whilst I understand the need to feel that something must be done about the amount of alcohol abuse that goes on here, isn't this also just one more way for the selected few to 'control' the masses.

In a country where poverty is the norm for most of it's inhabitants, one of the ways in which people deal with the harsh reality of what their situation is, is to drink. Righly or wrong - that's the reality of the situation - take away the one pleasure that they have in life and you will problably be sitting with millions of people needing to be hospitalized for insanity or worse.

And then of course it's the question of - ok so now they control the amount of alchol that I consume, what's next - the amount of food that I eat, or the amount of sex that I engage in and where to from there!

I'm not too sure that I think that this is such a good idea! Do you?

From bottle to bottle and dust to dust
Jocelyn Newmarch
02 April 2007 11:59

Alcohol abuse can be linked to South Africa’s three biggest killers — crime and violence, HIV/Aids and, to a lesser extent, road accidents.

Alcohol abuse costs South Africa in the region of R10-billion a year, or 1% of GDP, but the excise tax on alcohol collects only about R7-billion. This leaves the country with a shortfall of about R4,5-billion in costs to health services, the criminal justice system, and, of course, human lives.
Tax on tobacco and alcohol is often lumped together in the national budget as “sin taxes”. But although the links between alcohol, crime and road accidents are well documented and well known, the level of excise tax on alcohol, at 18% of the retail price, is far below that of tobacco, at 37% of the price.
Crime and violence, HIV/Aids, and to a lesser extent, road accidents are usually counted as three of South Africa’s biggest killers. Research shows that alcohol abuse is linked to all three, including HIV/Aids, as the intoxicated consumer is more likely to indulge in risky behaviour such as unsafe sex and sex with multiple partners. One strategy would be to increase the liability of restaurants, bars and pubs serving alcohol. The Western Cape is considering implementing a “last drink survey”. “Following an incident involving violence or drunk driving, the police should determine where the person obtained their last drink,” according to that province’s draft strategy on alcohol abuse reduction. This would allow police to identify problem liquor outlets and the outlet involved could be held civilly liable for damages.
South Africa could also look into a higher tax on alcohol, according to Charles Parry, a researcher for the Medical Research Council and Stellenbosch University.Direct and indirect costs of alcohol abuse include the costs of substance abuse treatment, increased use of emergency services due to alcohol-related trauma, increased use of mental health services due to alcohol-related psychiatric problems and the cost of medical services due to alcohol-related medical complications. The criminal justice system incurs costs as it houses and rehabilitates offenders and sets aside court time. There are also costs to the victims of crime and losses due to theft, according to an article co-authored by Parry, Bronwyn Myers and Michael Thiede. There is an economic cost too. Alcohol misuse contributes to lower productivity, increased absenteeism and tardiness, high employee turnover and work-related accidents, according to research cited by the article.
While cost-to-economy studies have not yet been conducted in South Africa, international experience shows that the annual cost of alcohol misuse is between 0,5% to 1,9% of GDP for developed countries. For 2003, the year the article was published, this would translate to R8,7-billion per year, “an amount almost twice that received in excise duties on alcoholic beverages in 2000/01”, says the article. This figure would have grown substantially since then in line with GDP growth and may be an under-estimate. Economist Rejane Woodroffe of Metropolitan Asset Management argues that the cost of alcohol for developing countries is even higher. The primary justification for the tax would be to correct the external costs associated with alcohol consumption and to fund programmes aimed at reducing the social burden of misuse.
Recent increases in alcohol excise taxes have been in line with inflation, except for wine, cider and alcoholic fruit beverages, which saw higher increases. Before 1994/95, excise taxes for most alcoholic beverages had actually decreased over time, as did the proportion of revenue over time. In 2003, the price of beer was lower in real terms than it was 16 years ago. The total tax burden (excise tax plus value-added tax) for malt beer, spirits and natural wine in South Africa is below the international average. While we tax beer at 33%, the international average is 37%. Wine is taxed at 23% locally, but 33% internationally. Spirits are taxed locally at 43%, but 54% internationally, according to the article. While some consumers may reduce their alcohol intake, others may simply switch to cheaper alcohol products or products with higher alcohol content.
Decreased alcohol consumption would hit the national beverage industry, thus reducing corporate tax revenue and possibly increasing unemployment, says the article. Smuggling and illicit brewing would increase. Parry and his co-authors don’t suggest that the tax be increased to international levels, because of the large market for home-brewed alcohol and the tendency to trade down in difficult times, but say that there is scope to increase taxes to recoup costs. But SABMiller spokesperson Michael Farr said SAB carried a disproportionate share of the liquor excise tax burden for several years, contributing 60% of excise tax revenues for the industry. Parry’s work suggests that strategies dealing with the context in which alcohol is marketed, distributed and consumed in society are likely to have a bigger impact than interventions that target only the alcohol consumer or the alcohol content of drinks.
An article co-authored by Parry and Sarah Dewing in 2006 describes a number of these strategies. Restricting the hours and days of sale for liquor outlets and restricting outlet density have been effective overseas. But because around 80% to 90% of outlets in South Africa are unlicensed, this strategy would have to be accompanied by “innovative efforts to draw the many unregulated outlets into the regulated market”. Parry and Dewing say that existing unlicensed outlets would need to be encouraged to become licensed and to move out of residential areas into business nodes. “Thereafter development incentives to upgrade facilities could be given to those outlets serving alcohol in a responsible manner. The intention is that this would lead to less responsible retail outlets going out of business. Outlets near schools should also be opposed,” they say. The researchers’ position on this strategy is also supported by SABMiller.
“It is estimated that 70% of outlets currently operate outside of the law. This number will return to levels of approximately 82% should the recent temporary licences awarded in the Eastern Cape and the permits awarded in Gauteng not be converted into permanent licenses … Licensing would result in the sustaining of hundreds of thousands of formal jobs in the economy, improving South Africa’s formal employment figures considerably,” Farr said. Licensed outlets, unlike illegal outlets, can buy directly from suppliers, become purchase points for shebeens in their vicinity, and no longer run the risk of police raids and stock confiscation, he said. Government would also receive tax revenue from these outlets and there would be scope for more effective policing. Currently, there is little incentive for shebeeners to legalise as the fees are prohibitive, the process is intensely bureaucratic, tax would need to be paid and there is the potential for extortion by corrupt officials.
Licensed outlets also seek to prevent additional licences being granted, he said. But Farr said that SABMiller and the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use, which it partly funds, supported “focused campaigns and programmes, which target ‘at risk’ groups”. Combined with the need for education is the necessity of greater policing of drunk drivers and a functioning 24-hour public transport system, he said. While tackling South Africa’s high incidence of alcohol abuse would appear to be a no-brainer, the political will to do so at a national level seems lacking. Perhaps other challenges — such as crime and HIV/Aids — have been seen as more pressing in a culture where drinking is often seen as normal and even expected.
SABMiller, the dominant alcohol company, is one of our leading and most well-respected companies; any move to limit binge drinking would be likely to impact on their profits. The liquor industry commands considerable power as a potential lobby group, being a major foreign exchange earner and employer. So it seems the legacy of South Africa’s infamous dop system, instituted by farmers who paid their workers in cheap alcohol, still endures at a national level.
Discourage free or heavily discounted drinks.
Restrictions on alcohol in certain public places, such as a Western Cape ban on beach drinking.
Restrictions on advertising and product placement.
Warning labels for products.
Restrictions on size of beer, wine and spirits containers, with banning of papsakke (five-litre plastic containers of cheap wine) and sachets containing spirits. Only 340ml containers of beer, representing one standard drink, could be permitted. This could help drinkers keep track of their consumption and could help people drink less. Many consumers drink beer in a quart or 750ml bottles and think of the 750ml size as being one standard drink, when it in fact comprises 2,2 standard drinks.Restrictions could be placed on the alcohol content of beer products, with a limit of 5,5% absolute alcohol.
Inclusion of the number of standard drinks on the label.
Using safer materials, including alternatives to glass bottles for beer. This could reduce incidents of injury by beer bottles. Licensed premises with a high risk for violence could dispense alcohol in plastic glasses and bottles only.
Prohibition or restriction of products with clear appeal to youth.
Random breath-testing of drivers to be increased.
Novice drivers could be restricted from having any alcohol for three years after receiving a licence.
Mandatory treatment for repeat drunk driving offenders.

Wednesday, July 11, 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 www.craigspeaks.com.

The eighth mistake, Craig says is “Slinging slang. Many networker’s profess to have excellent communication skills yet use slang or mispronounce big words when little words would have been better. Beware the use of contractions, excessive acronyms and name-dropping too. Don’t tell us what you’re gonna do! I would like to hear what you are going to do instead.”

This is also one of my favourites and I must say I am often hugely amused when people used words that they don’t know how to pronounce and then given time once I have worked out what they were trying to say, I have lost most of what they did say.

The one that springs to mind right now is the chap that said ‘a certain’ instead of ascertain! Obviously the mean of ‘a certain’ is completely different to ascertain and the result of that was that what he was saying made no sense at all. By the time I had figured out that he had meant to say ‘ascertain’, I had lost the rest of his speech, what he was trying to say and what he did. Make no mistake, I had also lost the will to try and do any kind of networking or business with him as well.

I know that we live in the ‘new’ South Africa and that there are 11 official languages out there – 10 of whom I have no idea how to communicate in, and yes I am often amazed that the fact that many people here can speak four or five of those languages, clearly I am not one of them. The bottom line is that most business is conducted in English and if you cannot speak English so that it can be understood, by the people who do speak, you will have a very difficult time and you will miss out on opportunities that will be snapped up by others.

Make sure that the words that you do want to use, are pronounced clearly and in the manner in which they are supposed to be pronounced. Practice what you want to say in your delivery speech and if need be get someone who is fluent in English, to listen to your delivery and make corrections where needed.

Most of all, have fun! Having your own business should not be all stress and serious. Remember why you went into business for yourself in the first place. It’s an intergral part of your life and you should be enjoying it to the hilt.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Mark Corke of Suitegum is a Business Broker. We, as SMME's are usually at fault with respect to our businesses, as we work for the business rather than allowing the business to work for us.
Most of my memories of Mark, are of him telling us how to get our businesses ready for sale and making sure that that they stay that way, so that in the case of any emergency, like the demise of the owner of the business etc, everything is ready.
Then of course comes the real 'whammy'! We are all so caught up in our own little eccentricities that we often become quite paranoid - especially when it comes to compliance - It's the government/SARS/my competition/etc that are out to get me and make my life difficult! Sound familier? Perhaps a mindset change is in order! Here are the facts:
1. "Getting your 'house' in order and compliant will add to the value of your business."
2. "Getting your books up to date and ensuring that you are having a good relationship with SARS (your VAT is up to date, your PAYE, UIF & SDL are also up to date and your semi annual and annual tax returns are up to date), will add to the value of your business."
3. "Getting your HR issues up to date with regards to Letters of appointment, Job Descriptions are up to date as well as all of the leave requirements etc, will increase the value of your business."
4. "Having all your legislative requirements up to date (such as your Basic Conditions of employment, Employment Equity & Occupational Health and Safety Act posters up etc) will add to the value of your business"
5. "Having all of your processes and controls documented and ensuring that your staff are well trained in them, will add value to your business."
All the above, and any other requirements that I have failed to mention, will not only increase the value of your business, but it also shows that you are serious about what you do and that you are serious about business.
Here is what Mark has to say:

Most businesses don't sell for anything close to the value they should, and frankly...

Particularly when the owner isn't around to defend the value.
If you were to sell your business today, would you get true value for it? And if you were not around, would your loved ones be able to sell it for what it's worth? Do you really think they could? Do you even know what the real value of your business is? The simple truth is that businesses are often sold unprepared under unforeseen circumstances.

The unfortunate answers to these questions lie in the fact that most business owners never consider preparing their businesses for sale before a purchaser asks them to supply the financial statements, management accounts and VAT returns. No sooner are these supplied, than the prospective purchaser asks about the customer mix and debtor analysis. Another challenge all together…

Prepare your business for sale!

You can learn to prepare your business for sale so that at the drop of a hat you are ready to sell for 209% more than you believe it is worth today. An impossibly silly claim? Not at all!
Businesses that are properly prepared for sale, well in advance of the event, and then kept prepared through a simple maintenance program, always sell for higher values, in quicker, cleaner deals, than if the business had not been prepared properly, or at all.

So why don't we prepare our businesses for sale?
Most sellers simply don't know where to begin. They know they need to present a profit figure, and they know that VAT returns will be used to prove the turnover. They hastily sketch out some cash flow forecasts based on improving “this” and implementing “that”. They are scared that their staff will up and go if they discover the business is for sale. They don't want their suppliers and customers to find out.

Any of this sound familiar to you? Do you fit the bill?

And so you do nothing until the buyer is sitting in the office asking awkward questions. At that point, of course, it becomes a bit of a mess, as the bookkeeper is called in, sworn to secrecy, and has all the pressure transferred to his shoulders. By the next morning even the cleaners and drivers know there is something afoot.

If I can show you how to pre-empt this entire debacle, and add value to your business, would you be interested in “Preparing your business for sale”? Well, of course you would.

You will be empowered to prepare a complete prospectus on your business, to be easily updated every month in less than an hour.

You will learn exactly how to add value to your business so that both you and your buyer benfit from the improvements.

You will be able to identify the elements in your business that savvy buyers are after, and show those elements to your best advantage.

You will gain....
oh never mind; I promise you that you will get so much value that you won't ever want to take me up on my money back guarantee... but I'll offer it anyway (It's all in my full offer on my website).

I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked to sell a business in a hurry.
“I will take any reasonable offer.”
“I don't know how to run my wife's business, and I don't have the time.”
“I'm getting divorced, and my wife wants the business.”
“We've had enough, and we're going to emigrate. I need my money by December.”
"My husband has had an accident. He says I must sell his business because it is going out of business. "

Why condemn yourself to this unhappiness?
There is an easy solution, you know. What's more, it is so easy if you are already running your business in a slightly better than basic fashion. By following our techniques, nobody need ever know that your business is being sold, or in fact that you have prepared your business for sale, if this is an issue for you.

Great news for business owners who think their businesses will never be sold:
Not only will your business be sold, but you will use the proceeds from that sale to improve your life and leapfrog your dreams to a higher level.

Join me for a few hours of good advice and solid pointers as to how you will create a life raft of opportunity in your business, ready to be launched at short notice.

All businesses should be in a constant state of readiness for sale. We live and work in an uncertain environment with new challenges being thrown our way constantly.

Do not be caught unaware.
Do not be caught investing most of your life’s time in a business to keep the wolves from the door today, and to provide for your future tomorrow, when you have no idea of what a buyer would be looking for in a business today.

Do not be caught flat footed when circumstances such as illness or death dictate that you have to sell at short notice.

Wouldn’t that be sad?

So to take the first step towards preparing your business for sale, go here.
Mark Corke
If you are serious about your business, please check out Mark's website on www.suitegum.co.za.


Todays words of wisdom come from Naguib Mabius who is an author. Naquib says:

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.

How many times do we feel so intimidated, by whatever - that we don't even get to ask the question? The problem with is that usually, someone has asked "Are there any questions?" and having asked the question and not received any replies - it is assumed that everyone is now happy and not confused! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! All that that means is that someone was too scared, nervous, embarrassed etc to ask the question.

So then it come to the performing of the task and very few get it right, because no-one asked the question and now they really do look like twits!

The moral of the story is quite clear - there is only one stupid question. . . . and that is the one that you DO NOT ASK!

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Good morning bloggers, I hope you had a fantastic week. Here's today's funnies - enjoy!

Romantic Aussie love poem

Of course I love ya darling
You're a bloody top notch bird
And when I say you're gorgeous
I mean every single word
So ya bum is on the big side
I don't mind a bit of flab
It means that when I'm ready
There's somethin there to grab
So your belly isn't flat no more
I tell ya, I don't care
So long as when I cuddle ya
I can get my arms round there
No sheila who is your age
Has nice round perky breasts
They just gave in to gravity
But I know ya did ya best
I'm tellin ya the truth now
I never tell ya lies
I think its very sexy
That you've got dimples on ya thighs
I swear on me nanna's grave now
The moment that we met
I thought u was as good as
I was ever gonna get
No matter wot u look like
I'll always love ya dear
Now shut up while the footy's on
And fetch another beer.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


On the one hand, I am really glad to see that Education is seeing an increase in Government spending - on the other hand I am concerned about exactly who is going to get that money. Is it the teachers that really deserve it or the ones that we saw, behaving disgracefully as they toyi-toyied in the recent strikes.
Who are the people that we want teaching our children, the future leaders of our world called South Africa - I'm not so sure, that we have the right people, people who are passionate about what they do.
Don't get me wrong, I certainly do feel that teachers should be properly rewarded for the work that they do, but having said that - the recent strikes showed me that the 'teachers' that we do have in place (and I am talking generically now - there are many teachers out there who are passionate about what they do and did not participate, of that I am very sure), are not of the calibre that I would trust to bring out the best in the children.
After their shocking behaviour, I wonder how they expect us and the children to ever respect them again.
It makes me think! What about you?
Education will still get the lion's share
February 22, 2007
By Michael Hamlyn
Cape Town - Education is still the largest category of government spending, and over the next three years Trevor Manuel will continue to grow it by adding another R6 billion to hire additional teachers, teaching assistants and support staff, and to improve teachers' pay. This is in addition to the R2.1 billion already promised in the medium-term budget policy statement. "The many people who submitted suggestions to the Tips for Trevor campaign will be pleased to hear this," Manuel told parliament. He said that R700 million will be set aside for bursaries to encourage young people to enter the teaching profession. "This should benefit about 13 000 teachers over the next three years," he added. The no-fee schools are targeted to reach 40 percent of all pupils in this year.The department also receives a further R850 million to boost its adult basic education and training programmes, and R81 million goes to prepare examinations based on the new curriculum for grades 11 and 12. R87 million will be used to improve the appraisal and development of teacher performance.

A further R5.3 billion will go on more pay for health workers, and an increase in the numbers of staff. "We are budgeting to increase the number of health workers by about 30 000 over the next five years," Manuel explained. He also told the national assembly that the previous budget framework made provision for the treatment and care of about quarter of a million people who were ill with HIV/Aids."We are likely to reach that figure in the next few months," he said. "Health receives a further R12.7 billion for this programme, currently being delivered through 272 sites, allowing for a doubling of the uptake over three years." The hospital revitalisation programme receives another R1 billion, taking the total spend on that programme to R6.8 billion over the next three years. In addition, another R1 billion will be spent to upgrade tertiary services, in particular diagnostic equipment.