Monday, March 31, 2008



By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote or rather piece today comes from Ralph Marston, who says:

“Real success is not merely a matter of getting what you want. After all, a newborn infant with a loud cry can accomplish that.
Real success comes from fully being who you are. Real success comes from giving your own unique value to life.
The less you need, the more fulfilled and powerful and effective you are. As your peacefulness increases, so does your energy level.
Choose not to let the small things anger you, or annoy you, or distract you. And keep in mind that most things are small things.
Stop fretting so much about whether or not you're getting your way. Seek instead to relax your judgment, and to find the unique value that is in each moment.
You cannot ever fully control everything that happens, and in fact you would not want to do so. Enjoy true success by learning how to take whatever happens, and to make it work for the good of all concerned.”
Wow! Powerful words indeed and I read through them, I can see once again, that I really need to work on my anger around small issues and control issues. I seem to be getting angry all the time and it’s over things that I really should be walking away from – such a time waster – anger over silly things.

I think however, that it is important to examine ourselves from time to time to see where we are at that point in time. To try and find the root or cause of what it is that is making you react in the way that you are currently reacting.

For me at the moment, I am aware of the spurts of anger, and then usually get annoyed with myself for being angry at silly things! So it is really time to ascertain what is at the cause of the anger – a time for self examination – a time to deal with issues, so that I can move forward.

So, tell me – do you know what is impeding your advancement towards your own personal success?

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Good morning bloggers - here's hoping that you all have a fantastic day!

1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
2) When your Mum is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time ..
8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
9) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.

1) Raising teenagers is like nailing jelly to a tree.
2) Wrinkles don't hurt.
3) Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts.
4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.
5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.

1) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you're down there.
4) You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
5) It's frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
6) Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.
7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.

1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don't believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus.
4) You look like Santa Claus.

At age 4 success is . . . Not piddling in your pants.
At age 12 success is . . . Having friends.
At age 17 success is . . Having a drivers license.
At age 35 success is . . Having money.
At age 50 success is . . . Having money.
At age 70 success is . .. . Having a drivers license.
At age 75 success is . . . Having friends.
At age 80 success is . . . Not piddling in your pants.

Always remember to forget the troubles that pass your way; BUT NEVER forget the blessings that come each day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Well if it is happening in Cape Town, it is happening here in Jozi! It would also explain, why my complaint to have some homeless people, living in the ditch across the road from me, removed. It was only when I reported it to my ward counsellor that something was actaully done about it and then two days later they were back! sigh!

On-duty metro cops accused of slacking off
March 13 2007 at 12:24PM
By Norman Joseph

The SA Municipal Workers Union has called for the heads of some senior Metro Police officers to roll after traffic officers were seen at a golf club during working hours. A two-day investigation has revealed that several senior traffic officers regularly play golf at the Bellville Golf Club in Welgemoed after they have reported for duty, most of them at the Hillstar Traffic Depot in Ottery.
Last Thursday, in possession of a list of senior traffic officers and a document, a Cape Argus team went to the golf club. After a search on the course, the team spotted three of the named officers.

'A regular occurrence'
They are Senior Traffic Officer Eric Oosterwyk, Senior Traffic Officer Kelly Johnson and Senior Licensing Officer Sedick Rodrigues. All are based at Hillstar. In his response, Oosterwyk, who is assigned to doing duty on speed cameras across the southern suburbs, said: "We got permission. That's all I can say."Rodrigues said: "You must speak to the directors in Cape Town. That question you must ask them. And where did you get my cellphone number?"Johnson responded: "I'm not allowed to speak to you."The Cape Argus is in possession of a document which reveals that the 12 senior officers had received unauthorised "sports force orders".
The sports force order is a form that must be filled in when traffic officers wish to take part in a recreational activity. Filling out the form exempts them from duty on that particular day. But the three officers had booked in for duty and the word "present" was marked next to their names at Hillstar. According to sources, it was "a regular occurrence" that senior traffic officers played golf in work hours.
Photographer Ian Landsberg photographed them in the clubhouse before they played golf later in the day.The sources who pointed out the three officers could not identify the other nine senior traffic officers who were apparently also present at the venue. The Cape Argus team also found that the officers were travelling in an unmarked official traffic department vehicle. This was confirmed by the city head office. A senior Metro Police officer, who asked not to be named, said: "We did not give permission for any traffic officers to play golf during working hours. We also do not pay for traffic officers to play golf anywhere."
Approached for comment, the Metro Police spokesperson on traffic officers' issues, Director Kevin Maxwell, said: "We are not aware of this. We can't respond at this stage." In response, Samwu said that it appeared the Metro Police department's senior management team had sanctioned the officers playing golf in their working hours. Samwu spokesperson Kurt Ziervogel said that this was a misuse of council funds. "They are being paid for playing golf while they should be on duty. There is a shortage of traffic officers on the road and these senior traffic officers are allowed to play golf while they should be on duty."Those in senior management, who gave the permission, should be charged," he said. "One can see why there is no proper service delivery for communities. No work is being done while these senior officers play golf in their working hours. "It seems the city council and the Metro Police department are a law unto themselves. These officers must have got permission from senior management."
Mayor Helen Zille said: "I am shocked to hear the traffic officers were playing golf during their working hours. I welcome the Cape Argus expose."She said she would investigate any further information she received.

Friday, March 28, 2008





By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC - March 2008.

So here we are back with the dilemma that Mike finds himself in. A staff member who is AWOL, that cannot be contacted – too much work for one person, and the possibility of falling foul of the law if he just dismisses said employee and hires another one! Mike is pretty much between a rock and a hard place.

So here is what not to do:
· Don’t immediately take the employer off the books and record that they have dismissed themselves.
· Don’t immediately hold a disciplinary hearing in the employee’s absence and them fire them.

If George has not formally and clearly resigned, Mike cannot just assume that he has resigned. If there is no letter from George stating that he has resigned – well he hasn’t and if George hasn’t said “I hereby tender my resignation (or words to that effect”, packed up his worldly possessions and left, never to return again - then he hasn’t resigned. George has done neither of these, therefore he has not resigned and he is still legally employed by Mike.

What Mike needs to do now, is to send a telegram to George’s home address saying something like – “you have been absent without leave for the last 5 days, you have not contacted the office to advise the reason for your absence and I have been unable to contact you at all. This is a formal request for you to contact me on 083 702 8849 or 011 672 3456 or by 2nd April 2008. If by that date, I have not heard from you, I will have not option but to hold a disciplinary in absentia, for being Absent without Leave and if you are found guilty, you may be summarily dismissed.”

Mike of course, needs to give George a ‘reasonable’ amount of time to respond to the telegram, 3 working days is more than reasonable for the telegram to be delivered and for George to contact the office to explain his absence.

If George does respond, depending on the reason for his absence, a disciplinary should be held.

If George does not respond by the stipulated date, a disciplinary must be held and Mike is well within his rights to dismiss George at this time.

It must be noted however, that a full ‘audit/document trail’ must be kept. Should George crawl out of the woodwork at some point and decide to take Mike to the CCMA for unfair dismissal (or anything else that he might come up with), if Mike has a clear record of when he tried to contact George (telephone records are good), a copy of the telegram and the disciplinary records and don’t forget the attendance register to evidence that George did not come to work, and that Mike explored every opportunity to make contact with George – chances are that it will be thrown out of court.

It is always a good idea however, to get hold of a Labour Attorney to discuss the facts of the case and to make sure that steps that are taken are within the requirements of the law. It is also a good idea, if you need to go to a CCMA hearing, to get the sound legal opinion of a good Labour Attorney to assist you.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Thursday, March 27, 2008




By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Do you love your work? Are you passionate about what you do? Does it show? Can people see how you feel about what you do?

If you have answered “No” to any of the above – well quite frankly you are in trouble!

I understand that there are some folk out there who have not yet found their passion, and on a personal level, that is one of the saddest things. What is even sadder is that some people don’t know that they haven’t found their passion. A quick test for me is to answer the following question – honestly!

If you had to win the lotto – say 50 million rand – once you have had the holiday and bought the dream house and car, what would you do? For me it’s a ‘no brainer’ – I would continue to do exactly what it is that I do now. The only difference would be that it would not be financially driven. In other words it wouldn’t matter if payments were late, because I would obviously be financially stable, so I wouldn’t need to ‘chase’ money the way that I do now.

I am often told that my passion and joy of living is infectious! Well if I’m going to be ‘infectious’, I would rather it be with my love of life than any other strange lurgy. Actually I really don’t understand those around me that live in a perpetual state of ‘doom and gloom’. Seriously, what’s the point? Walking around with the world on your shoulders, being constantly sad or angry or both. Sounds like too much hard work to me.

Think about it seriously for one moment – would you rather do business with someone who is obviously in love with life and who has a positive attitude towards life or would you rather do business with someone who is forever predicting a future that has . . . well no future?

I know which one would attract my business!

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and she can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Oh good heavens! I guess in their defence it is a little like the mechanic who has a car that does not work properly and the hairdresser, whose hair could use a cut!

SA High Commission is embarrassing - Cosatu
December 08 2006 at 07:24PM

It was "embarrassing" that a British union had to picket the South African High Commission in London to demand basic union rights for its members, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Friday. Cosatu said it was "shocked and embarrassed for our country" to learn that the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G) had to picket South Africa House in Trafalgar Square in London on Thursday to demand basic union recognition for locally employed workers.
"The T&G has been one of the most faithful, consistent and reliable friends and supporters of the South African liberation movement for decades," said Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven.

Cosatu demanded full recognition of the T&G as the union representing the SA High Commission workers."Anything less would be a public, international disgrace for South Africa." - Sapa

Monday, March 24, 2008


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s article is based on a whole piece rather than just a one liner, by an unknown author – but what a piece of work it is!

“There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today?"
So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
"H-M-M," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today?"
So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
"Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail."
So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.
"YEA!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything.

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Live simply,

Love generously,

Care deeply,

Speak kindly.......

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.

It's about learning to dance in the rain.”

I have been engaged, in several conversations about being positive, of late. Some of these discussions have turned into extremely bitter arguments, some have ruined friendships, some have been taken in the spirit that they were intended and lifted spirits – all have had a profound affect on me in my personal capacity. They have left their mark and in short made
me more determined to see the good in life.

That’s not to say that I walk around with a blinkered view of what is happening around me, it just means that although I see the pain, the poverty, the crime and all the nasties that surround my life, I have made a conscious decision to see the good that has come out of these sometimes impossible situations.

Not only have I chosen to see the good, but I have also made a decision to make a difference where I can.

Don’t worry folks that does not mean that I will don flowing robes and headgear and become the next “Mother Theresa”, I am still “Nikki” and the Nikki that those who know me have grown to love – as far as that is concerned, things will remain the same, but I have chosen my attitude.

I challenge you all to look around you and see what is before you, really look and you too will see the good that has grown out of the bad! Choose to laugh with me, choose to see the view that I see, choose to make a difference in someone else’s life by merely changing your mindset about how you view your life.

Choose to have the right attitude!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Here's hoping that this brings a smile to your face on this beautiful Sunday morning.

Today is International Very Good Looking, Incredibly Smart Woman Day, so please send this message to someone you think fits this description.

Please do not send it back to me as I have already received it from a Very Good Looking Incredibly Smart Woman.

And remember this motto to live by:
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, double chocolate cheesecake in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Have a wonderful day

Friday, March 21, 2008





By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC - March 2008.

Most employers rely rather heavily on their employees to get the job done, not only in the Corporate world, but also in the world of the SMME. Unfortunately, it’s the SMME, who shoulder the biggest burden of ‘growing’ the economy and who have the greatest difficulty in ‘wading through the red tape’, who with ultimately foot the largest of all bills, when they try and dismiss AWOL staff without following the correct procedures! How sad is that?

Let’s face it, employers need their staff to be present at work in order for the deliverables to take place. In a Corporate environment, a staff member who doesn’t pitch for a day or two can become a minor irritant in the grand scheme of things simply because there is usually another person who can ‘step up to the plate’. Whilst this is not ideal in the long term, in the short term it is something that can possibly be lived with.

This however is not the case with a typical Small Business. Usually there is the Business owner (lets call him Mike) who is the CEO, MD, HR Manager, IT Manager, Sales Manager, Administration Manager, Operations Manager, Counselor and general dogs body, and then there is one staff member, who shall we say is the driver who delivers everything. Let’s call him George.

Let’s take a typical scenario – it’s been the Easter weekend. The Company is in a state of animated suspension, because being this time of the year there are 3 or more public holidays during the month, which means that productivity has to be increased for the other 19 or less working days in order to meet the targets set for the month. The Tuesday morning after 4 days off – George does not pitch for work, and not only does George not pitch, he does not phone in or get anyone to contact Mike.

Now what! Torn between wanting to throttle George, because there are 50 urgent deliveries to make, Mike still has to continue with his work, meetings, sales, meeting of targets and so on, Mike is also concerned about George’s well being. What if he has been in an accident – we all know what the roads are like over Easter and we all know what kind of condition the taxi’s are in as well. Mike calls George’s cell phone number and the call goes straight to voice mail. The home telephone number that Mike has for George, just rings. George’s girlfriend hasn’t heard from him for months and in fact want nothing to do with him at all! The cold reality of the situation is that Mike cannot get hold of George at all.

Mike decides to just get on with the job at hand and hopes that George will either call in or come back to work the next day.

The next day dawns bright and early and an exhausted Mike eagerly awaits the arrival of his driver – no George, no phone call, no nothing! Again Mike gets on with what needs to be done in order for his business to continue operating. Mike at this point is still torn, but more on the side of ‘What the hell is George playing at’!

The next day sees Mike dragging himself into the office. He is fit to drop because in order for his company to meet the targets, deliverables etc, Mike has had to work through the night and the strain is more than beginning to tell! Again he is faced with an impossible amount of deliveries, as well as all the appointments that he has made in order to promote and make his sales targets. Most of these appointments were really difficult to get and would be impossible to re-schedule, without him losing credibility – needless to say, if the deliveries are not made, he will also lose clients and his income will suffer, not to mention cash flow and all the other realities that come with owning you own business. Mike is now no longer even the slightest bit interested in finding out what George’s problem is – all he wants to do is get rid of him!

Sounds familiar – doesn’t it?

Well here’s not what to do – don’t just fire the guy! This action will sure as hell come back to bite you in the rear end and when I say bite you – it will take chunks out!

Let’s have a look at the facts – take the emotion out of the whole thing and just look at the facts.

On the one hand

· George is absent without leave and/or any kind of authority
· George has not contacted the office to let Mike know what (if any) the problem is.
· No-one has called in on George’s behalf.
· Mike has not been able to contact George in any way.
· Mike has no way of knowing when or indeed if, George is ever coming back and clearly Mike cannot cope on his own.

On the other hand
· The law necessitates that a disciplinary hearing needs to take place, in order for Mike to dismiss George, in a legally compliant manner.
· The law states that George is entitled to participate in a disciplinary brought against him because he has the right to know what the charges are against him, and he also has the right to defend himself.
· Mike cannot get George to a hearing because he cannot locate George.

The bottom line is that the very offence of being absent without leave is preventing Mike from disciplining George.

Next week we will have a look at how to resolve this dilemma.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or


Oh good heavens! What makes a person do these terrible things? What turns a man into a monster? Surely this is not the work of a 'normal' mind?

All I can say is thank goodness that he is off the streets and let's just hope that everyone involved ensures that it stays that way!

SA 'pensioner sex beast' jailed in Britain
Karyn Maughan
March 31 2007 at 12:28PM

Former Johannesburg Children's Home employee James Frazer skipped the country four years ago to avoid prison for his repeated molestation of a mentally disabled child. Now, after being caught and convicted on multiple counts of child rape and indecent assault that he committed in the United Kingdom almost 25 years ago, he has been sentenced to 12 years in a notorious British jail.
British national Frazer, 71, had successfully avoided justice for half a decade, but a chance encounter in a Sunderland street proved to be his undoing. A woman he had raped during the 1980s, when she was a teenager, recognised him as her abuser and went to the police.

Her sister would later tell the police that she too had been molested by Frazer. Dubbed the "pensioner sex beast" by local media, one of Frazer's victims claimed he ensured her silence by threatening that she would be "taken away" if she told anyone about what happened.
Sentencing Frazer on Thursday, Newcastle Crown Court Judge Beatrice Bolton told him: "You were convicted in South Africa of similar offences. You clearly at that time were something of a sexual predator. These are serious offences of repeated rape, and although you were a younger man when you committed them, those girls have had to deal with the consequences for many years."
Frazer is expected to serve out his sentence in Frankland Prison, where serial-killer doctor Harold Shipman committed suicide. South African authorities, who put out an international warrant for Frazer's arrest in August last year, have confirmed that they will bring him back to serve his 12-year sentence here - if he survives his UK jail term.
The extradition process would kick into effect once Frazer had served his sentence in the UK. Frazer was arrested in South Africa in May 1996, after he had worked at the Johannesburg Children's Home for five years, and charged with four cases of indecent assault and one of rape laid against him by four girls, who were between 12 and 18 years old at the time of their alleged abuse.
Frazer denied any wrongdoing, but was convicted by the Johannesburg regional court of the rape and indecent assault of one of the complainants in December 2001. Sentencing Frazer to an effective 12 years in jail, magistrate Jerry van Vuuren said Frazer knew that his victim came from "horrendous home circumstances and regarded him as her father". "Yet he took advantage of her to satisfy his cravings," Van Vuuren said, adding that the victim must have felt helpless when she was "abused in the very place that she was sent to for protection".
Frazer lodged an intention to appeal against the conviction and was granted bail. In March 2003 his appeal bid failed and, in circumstances that have yet to be explained, he flew back to the UK a month later.

This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on March 31, 2007




By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

One of the greatest rewards for me, from networking is that I get to build a reputation.

My reputation (and yours should be exactly the same) is of the utmost importance, not only on a personal level, but also from a Business perspective. You see your reputation is an integral part of your Branding. Word of mouth or referral is the quickest way in which to Brand yourself and believe it or not, perception is the quickest way to destroy it!

Some people say that your face is one of the biggest ways to build your reputation – by your face you are instantly recognizable. I am constantly amazed by the number of people who come up to me and greet me by name and I have no idea who they are. You see my face (and therefore my brand) is up on every profile that I am on, all over the web!

That in itself however, is not enough. Everything you say and/or do is part of your branding too, whether you like it or not. In short, YOU, the individual are your own brand both from a personal prospective and so too from a Business one.

During the course of this week I was paid a huge compliment by a very new client, who has just outsourced their payroll and Accounting. They mentioned to the Accountant, that they had just undergone a compliance and administration audit and that there was a great deal to be done. The individual who will be doing their books and payroll asked if by any chance the audit was done by “Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting” and when they confirmed that it was, this person apparently answered “ok that’s fine then, everything will be sorted out and resolved!”

Fabulous - don’t you agree? Now here comes the clanger! I have never, ever even heard of this individual or the Company!

That’s my reputation!

A lesson I learnt as a very young child, under the age of 8 years old actually, was from my father who said “You cannot be held responsible for the name that you bring into this world, because it is the name that I gave you – but the name that you take out of this world is the one that you make for yourself!”

These words have stood me in good stead all of my life, and clearly they have made a difference to me and the manner in which I have built my reputation. This is evident in the way that people view me – my reputation appears to precede me.

What about yours? Ask yourself – what is your reputation? What is your Brand and if you don’t like what you see or what you have answered, how are you going to change it and turn it around?

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and she can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


It's official! I am completely confused! Not always that difficult - to confuse me that is, but this confusion seems to be here to stay.

I understand that new roads need to be built, that new infrastructures need to be put in place to grow certain areas and what have you. However that said - why does it need to be done at the cost of maintaining the existing infrastucture.

We've seen it with Eskom, who have put electricity in a gazillion new homes, but they didn't service and/or maintain the exisiting generators or even put any plans in to build new sub-stations etc and now the whole bloody lot has fallen over - so now even the new homes now don't have electricity.

Then we are probably about to see it happening to the water facilities here in the country - again we got pipes into several/many/most areas where there was no running water previously. Again we did not maintain what we had in place to start off with and now the water, that has always been drinkable and that we prided ourselves in, is no longer so great for human consumption - presuming of course that the pipes can carry the water and have not burst.

Now, here we have a situation with the roads - it appears that we have built a huge number of new roads at the cost of the lack of maintenance to the existing ones! How short sighted is that! Listening to the news last night, the traffic report consisted mainly of robots that were not working (due to the power outages) and motorists being warned of large and dangerous pot holes on every second road and/or off ramp and/or highway! How bizarre is this!

On a more serious note, and even more bizarre - our infrastructure is falling down around us, no-one is being held accountable or responsible - everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else and all I am waiting for now is for this to be blamed on Apartheid, like everything else that goes wrong in this country.

Come on guys, we need to get it together - we want to be viewed as a 1st world country but that will never happen until we sort our shit out!

SA roads a hazard - experts
Helen Bamford
October 07 2006 at 10:10AM

South Africa's roads are in such a shocking state that some are becoming too dangerous to drive on. If nothing is done, within a few years South Africa could be on par with Kenya and Uganda, where road infrastructure has all but collapsed. The Automobile Association has received more than 1 000 complaints in the past six weeks about bad roads, some too dangerous to drive on at night. There are already close to 8-million vehicles on our roads, including trucks and buses. That figure is expected to leap to 12-million by 2010.
The Committee for Active Road Safety (Cars), made up of key organisations involved in road safety, said this week South Africa's road system was deteriorating at a rate that would soon have serious consequences for the economy.
This view was backed by Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry deputy director Colin Boyes, who said a strategic plan was needed to address the problem. Cars chairperson Ian Auret said: "The rate of deterioration is quite alarming and posing an increasingly serious threat to the economy and the safety of road users. "In certain areas, national highways have become so bad that using them at night has become completely inadvisable and there are increasing reports of motorists suffering serious damage to their vehicles and accidents when using these roads, even in daytime."
AA spokesperson Gary Ronald said in some cases the roads would have to be rebuilt from their foundations because they had been allowed to deteriorate beyond repair. Even for a relatively narrow road that could add up to R1-million a kilometre. Last year 14 000 people died on SA's roads, with road crashes costing the economy R43-billion. Ronald said road engineers worldwide usually accepted that the road environment could contribute 5 percent or less to a crash. "We believe that in South Africa that could be closer to 10 or 12 percent."
In the 1999/2000 financial year the AA had rated the road network according to a system of "good, bad or impassable" and found then that the government needed to spend in the region of R64-billion." The situation has got substantially worse and we now estimate that R200-billion or more is needed. "The Treasury had given some money towards infrastructure and maintenance for 2010 for major roads, but it was not enough. Ronald said minor routes also needed attention because they had been neglected over the past five years while the focus had been on providing roads in rural areas so communities there would have access to schools and clinics. Normal maintenance had not been done and there was now a five-year backlog, which would take more than a few years to catch up.
Ronald said one reason for the rapid deterioration of the roads was the amount of freight being carried. The good news was that Spoornet had indicated it intended reviving its ailing freight business division. Transnet CEO Maria Ramos recently said Spoornet intended doubling its freight business over the next five years. Spoornet hoped to target between 20 and 25 percent of the general freight market, compared to the current 10 percent. "If they could capture 10 to 20 percent of the freight market it would make a huge difference to the longevity of our roads. It would also contribute to safety on the roads and help with congestion in major cities."
Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Keith Brebnor said some members found it quicker to send their goods to China than to Durban by road. In Johannesburg a bigger concern than bad roads was congestion. "If we don't do something by 2010 we'll be gridlocked," he said. This week the national Transport Department released figures, saying has invested R2.8-billion in improving rail operations and infrastructure; R7.7-billion as part of the taxi recapitalisation programme, R2.3-billion in the bus industry and R3.8-billion in the public transport infrastructure in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on October 07, 2006

Monday, March 17, 2008


Good morning Bloggers

There were no articles submitted this weekend, I took it off - needed to rest after the last two incredibly hectic weeks.

Todays article comes from my brother's friend and colleague Miles Crisp. Miles used to work with my brother Tommy at Deloittes, but he has recently (and I mean in the last two months or so) gone out on his own. Miles has been reading my blog and sent this article to me.

"I Thought Africa Was Not For Sissies

Let me confess right at the outset that I am a terminal optimist. I have never been inclined to any other way of seeing the world, mainly because, as I see it, if even a tiny fraction of all of the things that people spend their time and energy worrying about ever came to pass, we would have got to the end of the world a long, long time ago.

It also strikes me that we are inclined to worry about the wrong things. George Bush launched an entire nation into a war based on the threat of terrorist strikes after the twin towers thing. Imagine if, instead, he were to have received the statistics of the number of Americans who died of obesity in the same year. (Do Americans require larger burial plots today than they did before? I know that they can now get bigger toilet seats.) The point is, USA public funding may have been much better spent fighting the Battle of the Bulge than fighting the Taliban – who now simply grow cocaine for a living. At least Americans can feel safe from Al Qaeda while they happily die from other things, possibly even more easily preventable. In fact, millions of them deliberately live in Los Angeles and San Francisco which are going to fall into the sea, so it also seems to me that they are not as risk averse as their President seems to think they are. They are even rebuilding New Orleans - as the Americans say, “Go figure.”It seems to me that very little is actually predictable, and the things that are, are quite boring anyway.

Back at home in South Africa we have had Polokwane. This was apparently a disaster because we witnessed a serious vote of no confidence in our president, and a vote for a man with a shower rose on his head. Dinner party and braaivleis conversation topics have now returned with a vengeance to talk of emigration, doom and gloom, and general dark pessimism. Optimists like me are drowned out by cries of “Open your eyes, and get into the real world! In fact….” I am told, “It will not help to open your eyes anyway because it is so dark after Eskom dropped all of the balls!”

The country has gone to dogs. Manto is still charge of hospitals and vegetable patches, Eskom has failed, matriculants can’t read or write, you cannot get a driver’s licence without paying a bribe and the police are being run by the mafia. Soon the Scorpions will be disbanded giving free rein to corrupt politicians. So Clever Trevor reassures us, and allocates even more money to the soon-to-be-disbanded Scorpions. (It seems that no-one told him to cut their budget. They can’t even get that right.) Have you seen the potholes on the road? The criminals are running the show. And then, as we quaff our fifth beer at the braai, and turn to watch the sun go down on one side, and the full moon come up on the other, some philosophical character says, “Another shit day in Africa!” and his best mate chimes in, on cue, “Ja man, Africa is not for sissies.”


I say, “Get a life!” I also say that it seems like Africa is now full of sissies.Where are the descendants of the warriors who defended El Alamein, and trudged behind the trek wagons? Where are the descendants of the 1820 Settlers who scratched a living from their patch with no water, no electricity, no petrol and no cell phones? And for my black brothers, where are all the descendants of those magnificent leaders, Kings Shaka and Moshesh?

Imagine explaining to Piet Retief, Cecil Rhodes or to Mzilikazi, “The country has really gone to the dogs now! There is no paint on the tar roads, and we had only twenty-two hours of electricity yesterday. Our tap water might become polluted sometime in the future, and my cell phone keeps dropping calls. I wiped out a tyre on my brand new BMW in a pothole last week, and I now have to have a reason to fire my staff. My flight to London was delayed by two hours last week because we had to change flights after the engine fell off, and my gardener bought his code 10 driver’s licence for R1000.”

Piet Retief would have pointed out that this all sounds much better that his last meeting with Dingaan, Mzilikazi would have pointed out that he walked from Durban to Bulawayo with all of his people and Cecil Rhodes would have pointed out that he still pays for bursaries today. It is extremely unlikely, by the way, that any of these three heroes were everything we remember them for. They all had serious blots on their copy books, corruption, bad debts, murder and other delightful activities that kept them very busy.

People ask me, “Are you going to stay in South Africa?” “Are you going to invest in South Africa?” “Are your kids going to stay in South Africa?” (Now here is a great one! I know people who have emigrated from SA with their whole families because their kids may leave the country one day!) “Will the Rand depreciate?” “Will I be able to get first world schooling for my kids, and first world health care for my family?”

I say, “I expect so.” “I hope so.” “I don’t know.” “Probably.” “Sure.” It is not about whether these things come to pass or not. It is about how you react to them. You could just as easily lose your health, either by accident or by disease. You could lose family members or close friends. Or they could lose their health. Your house could burn down after a Highveld lightning strike, or you could drive your car into a Putco bus.

I say, “We are here now. I am surrounded by family and friends who know me and trust me. I have been able to afford everything I could ever have wished for, and more. I have been able to help people who have not been so lucky. Every day I encounter passionate, smiling people, almost all less privileged than I am. I have been able to contribute to the livelihoods of dozens of people in one way or another, and every day I am reminded of how lucky I am. I have descended from some amazing people who survived all sorts of trials, none of whom had what I have.So don’t whine to me about Eskom, and Jacob Zuma, and the Scorpions, and the ANC, and the Rand and……

Rather go and do what you can to help yourself and the people around you.

And when we get together to braai, tell me that you are not a sissie, and that the sunset is just beautiful. Tell me who you helped today, and what you did to make your ancestors proud!”

Then you can add with real passion, “Another great day in Africa!”

Miles Crisp
"Enabling others to transform themselves"

Friday, March 14, 2008




By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC - March 2008.

Perhaps the best place to start would be to define ‘consistency’. My Concise Oxford Dictionary says:

“Compatible, not contradictory, constant to same principals.”

In the working environment it means, quite simply – that the employer treats all the employees in the same manner. That the expectations for work performance, work output, attitude, attention to detail, attendance (and any other measurable’s that you can think of) are the same for each of the employee’s irrespective of what their position, race, gender etc is. That people are all treated fairly and with respect, again irrespective of their position, race, gender etc is.

Let’s have a look at some of the area’s where this may be a problem.

1. In the instance where an employee is related to Management and/or they have a relationship other than a Business Relationship.

We’ve all had one of these I am sure – either ourselves or we’ve been on the receiving end. This is one of the reasons why it isn’t always such a good idea to work with family and/or friends or have an intimate relationship with someone in the workplace. The perception is always and will always be, by the rest of the staff, that they get preferential treatment. So you have to be extra careful to ensure that you don’t ‘play the favorite’! Make sure that everybody has a Letter of Employment and all the other relevant documentation that staff are required to have. Make sure that if the other staff have to say, sign the attendance register, so too does the family member/friend/lover.

2. Consequences

Should it be necessary to hold a disciplinary or a counseling or reprimand an employee (irrespective of who they are and/or their position in the Company), it must be done in the same manner and carry the same consequences as any previous instances. If there are no previous instances – be careful how the ‘new’ one is conducted as this will set a precedent for all future transgressions of this nature!

Here’s an example. When you hire an employee – if you check references for one, you must check references for all. If it is found, at a later stage, that the bookkeeper you hired because you were having a relationship with her at the time, was actually dismissed from her previous company for theft. Your relationship, in the meantime has come to an end and life at the office is uncomfortable and quite frankly it would be better for you if she just left. So you charge her with misconduct in that she “deliberately failed to disclose material information upon employment”. You hold your disciplinary, find her guilty and dismiss her – lovely – end of problem! Actually not hey – you see, if she goes to the CCMA you could come unstuck because of an “Unfair Dismissal because the Employer (yes that’s you) failed to apply discipline consistently.”

This is another reason why you should have documented policies and procedures on how you do things, like interviewing the staff member and checking of references or as it is more commonly known - a staff procurement policy.

At the very least, you may be forced to accept the staff member back at work or face huge monetary payouts. Not too good either way.

So the bottom line here is to be consistent in how you treat your staff. If you have a rule about anything it must apply to everyone, not just the person who happens to be irritating you at the moment.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Thursday, March 13, 2008




By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting

Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Benefits of networking include:
· An enhanced power base
· Broader access to resources
· Expanding your sphere of influence
· Supportive mentorship of peers
· Successful new business transactions and relationships.”

Let’s have a look at these individually.

An enhanced power base.

Every time you get a referral from someone, or someone new comes to a networking meeting, your own database increases. As you increase your data base, so your power base increases and your own personal ‘value add’ increases exponentially.

Broader access to resources.

Now this is a really important one – with the broader access to resources, comes a much bigger value add. One of my jokes that I tell at some of the networking events is that I pretty much have a contact for most requirements – that includes a brain surgeon! That has always brought out the chuckles and often nervous giggles. Last week I actually had to use that contact for a friend who has been in considerable pain for a very long time and who needed a reputable neuro-surgeon. Imagine for a moment, how she must feel right now?

Expanding your sphere of influence.

Man oh man! This is such a fabulous concept and so simplistic as well. Let me give you some more detail – I have a friend and colleague by the name of Mirriam Zwane. For those of you who don’t know her or of her, she is a multiple winner of the “Woman of the Year” award as well as numerous other accolades that she has picked up along the way. Mirriam often sends me a mail, or someone will call me and say ‘Mirriam has asked me to contact you”. I don’t question it, I don’t ask for motives or try and analyse why – I just set up a meeting at the soonest possible opportunity. You see every time Mirriam sends someone to me, its guaranteed work for me and/or the other individual irrespective of whether it comes from each other or from our databases. Mirriam for me, is a wonderful sphere of influence. Go on – google her and see what comes out – she is a woman amongst women!

The powerful thing here is that Mirriam is known for her integrity and her credibility and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that when she asks me to interact with someone, something very exciting is going to come out of that meeting. So I often sit in the first meeting and say “I have no idea why I am here – Mirriam sent me, so tell me how can I be of help?”

Wouldn’t you like a ‘sphere of influence like mine’ – I am pretty sure that you would!

Supportive mentorship of peers

I often hear people (especially in the SMME environment) say how lonely it is in business. This is often because they work on their own, often the only source of interaction is with their clients. Having a network of people and attending networking sessions allows for interaction with those people. It is good for the soul – you will find that the problems that you encounter are usually the same problems that they too encounter. The result of this of course is that you get to ‘brainstorm’ with like minded people and find practical solutions to the issues at hand.

Suddenly you are not so ‘lonely’ in business, you have a sounding board (well several really) and you have a multitude of expertise and experience available on tap.

Successful new business transactions and relationships

Don’t you just love meeting people? Don’t you just love talking to people? Oh about all sorts of things – and as the conversation meanders through business expectations and then through personal transactions and as you get to know that individual more and more, you get to learn more about their dreams, their hopes and their wishes and so in return to share your dreams and hopes and aspirations and they learn more about you as an individual and so a relationship is born. As that relationship grows, so too does your trust and commitment to that individual and as that grows, so too will the business referrals. You don’t have to become personally involved with the individual – you can just maintain a professional relationship and just as a good friendship is grown and maintained on solid honest foundations so too is a good business relationship. They both feed and nourish the soul.

So when are you off to your next networking event? Don’t you think you should start going, for your own sake and for the sake of your business?

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and she can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Oh my - how incredibly sad this is - for me it means that children have all but lost their innocence and when I think back to the incredible childhood that I had, growing up on a huge farm, it makes me want to grieve.

It seems that children no longer get to be children, but are forced into the reality of the adult world far to soon and long before they can cope.

It really is a huge shame!

Sex offence stats indict children
April 27 2007 at 11:14AM
By Bronwyn Gerretsen

More than 50 percent of all sexual offences committed in the country and reported to Childline are committed by children under 18, with the youngest abuser being just seven years old. Furthermore, according to statistics, at least 70 percent of all sexual crime victims are children younger than nine. And while this painted an already bleak picture, Linda Naidoo, Director of Childline KZN, said of further concern was the fact that the situation in KwaZulu-Natal was much worse than the national statistics showed.

'Rape appears to be just a part of life'
She said the reasons for this were that KwaZulu-Natal had the largest population of children, with 47 percent of its population made up of children, and the least resources. In a recent presentation at the Joint Oxfam HIV and Aids Programme Link and Learn Partner Platform 2007, Naidoo said 99,5 percent of offences committed against children, especially sexual offences, were committed by men, adding that the increasing number of male children committing sexual offences was of "great concern".

"Where do the answers lie?
If most crimes are perpetrated by men, then we need to ask why . . . who have boys and young men adopted as their role models?" she asked. According to Naidoo, the media "glamorised" violence and even sexual violence. Violence was identified with masculinity and problem-solving was identified with weapons and violence. She said empowerment of the "girl child" programmes generally tended to exclude boys. "This feeds into the continued exclusion and alienation of male children from the positive attention that they need. The focus has been on encouraging girl children to say 'no' in unequal power relationships, without placing the responsibility for dealing with violence where it belongs," she said.
Boys were also encouraged to play with toys such as guns, war games and knives, and were discouraged from showing emotions, often being told that the expression of "softer" feelings was "unmanly". Naidoo said Childline's research into the behaviour of young sexual offenders revealed that 88 percent of them had been exposed to pornography and 78 percent to domestic violence. All of them had experienced some form of emotional neglect or abuse. She said: "Offenders often do not see their own history of child abuse as abuse. They tend to cut themselves off emotionally from the pain they inflict on children, and their empathy for victims is thus very limited," she said.
Many also lacked basic social skills. One of the reasons for the sexual abuse of children was that masculinity was constructed around the manifestation of power through demonstrations of sexuality, aggression and violence. The high rate of violence and the rape of women and children in South Africa had been intimately linked to the prevalent culture of aggression and domination."Rape appears to be just a part of life. Forms of child sexual exploitation such as survival sex, which is defined as parents exploiting their own children for the family to survive, often involved children as young as six and seven and needs to be viewed within the context of poverty," Naidoo said.
In comparison with figures released by Interpol, South Africa has the highest rape statistics in the world - 117 cases per 100 000 of its population - and of the victims, 40 percent were children. Naidoo said South Africa had a very narrow definition of rape compared to many countries in the world, and added that when the new Sexual Offences Bill had been passed with an expanded definition of rape - including penetrative sexual offences on boys and men - the country's rape statistics would appear to be even higher.
This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on April 27, 2007

Monday, March 10, 2008


By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote today comes from William Arthur Ward, who says:-

“We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them."

More and more, as I look around me on a daily basis, and I see the challenges that we as South Africans have to face in order to live, to work, to be safe – I understand that choices have to be made in order for us to even meet the day.

Sure, there is a lot of negativity that is going around. People whining and whinging, wringing their hands and crying woe is me, but look around you – I mean really, really look and you will see many, who against all odds are making a good living.

Why is that do you think? Well because they have chosen to. They have made the right choices and instead of wasting their time and energy on the negative in the situation and “I can’t” mentality, they have turned it around in their lives and made it an “I can” situation.

We are our own biggest stumbling block, we can be our own mountains to climb or head up our own negative fan club, or we can get on with the business of living life. We can stand in front of the brick wall and cry because there is no doorway to go through or we can walk around it, climb up over it, tunnel under it or simply build our own doorway.

Please believe me, that once we have shown the way – the crying masses will try and follow, so why wait in line for someone else to do it for you?

I’m off to live my life – what are you doing with yours?

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Sunday, March 09, 2008


I hope you all enjoy your Sunday smile!

The Donkey

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal criedpiteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to becovered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first,the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. Hewas astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon,everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick togetting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up. Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.
2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happen.
3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less
Enough of that crap . . .The donkey later came back, and bit the shit out of the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.
MORAL FROM TODAY'S LESSON:When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.You have two and close this page, or pass this along to someone else to spread the fun. I know what I did!! :-)


My oh my, I don't know how you feel about this, bur for me - it feels as though all the mails he sent out ended up in my mail box! I am currently getting about 200 mails a day, of which about 150 are spam, and it feels like there is no end in site. Clearly these are people who have nothing better to do with their lives, who are not motivated to better themselves or their circumstances.

Aussie accused of Viagra spamming
13 September 2006 at 08h30

Sydney - Australian authorities said Wednesday they were investigating a man accused of sending out more than two billion spam emails - most of them touting Viagra.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it had searched a home after a tip-off from Dutch authorities.

"Preliminary analysis of the email messages contained in the spam campaign has identified that over two billion emails were sent," acting authority chair Lyn Maddock said.

"Analysis to date has identified that the messages in the spam campaign primarily promoted Viagra products," she said.

A year spamming
Bruce Matthews, manager of ACMA's anti-spam team, said the regulator was working with Dutch telecommunications authority OPTA, who had brought the case to the attention of Australian authorities.

Matthews said he could not comment further as investigations were still underway and would take some months.

OPTA's Danyel Molenaar said a raid on a small Dutch Internet service provider had revealed that an Australian was responsible for the flood of emails, the Australian Associated Press news agency reported Wednesday.

Molenaar said the man rented 35 servers from the Internet service provider to send spam out for at least a year.

"This operation probably sent out billions and billions of emails," he said.
To confirm Australian link

Although the emails appeared to have been sent from overseas, it was an offence under Australian law for an Australian to be involved, ACMA said.

The Australian authority said it was still analysing the information obtained from its raid, and had yet to determine whether there was an Australian link.

Fines for breaching Australia's Spam Act 2003 range up to $750,000 (about R5,5-million) a day for repeat corporate offenders, the authority said. - Sapa-AFP


Sorry for the Friday post only being done today - it has been a hectic week!



By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting February 2008.

The code also has a look at ‘when’ a person becomes as employee. This should be of particular interest to those among us who hire staff and then change our minds.

Let’s take this example – A person applies for a job (let’s call her Brenda). Brenda gets the job and her new boss (let’s call him Alan), is really on the ball and the result is that Brenda receives her letter/contract of employment even before her starting date. She resigns from her previous employer and is in the process of working her notice period in, when she gets a call from Alan to say – the job no longer exists for whatever reason, and he wants to cancel the employment contract.

Let me put it this way – this can and will put Alan in a problematic situation.

You see, it is not necessary for Brenda to have started working at the new job to be regarded as an employee, in terms of Labour Legislation. Section 26 of the code states clearly that “the definition of an employee” includes a person who has concluded a contract of employment to commence work at a future date.

Brenda could take Alan to the CCMA and/or the bargaining council for ‘unfair dismissal’.

There is also a process to distinguish the difference between an employee and an independent contractor.

Let’s explore the reality of this situation as I am sure that most ‘employers’ would be particularly interested in this.

We know for sure that even though a contract or letter of employment may state that a person is an independent contractor, this is not necessary so and will not necessarily make it so.

Section 27 of the code says that the courts follows a procedure called the “dominant impression” test, when they make this type of decision. These are:

1. All of the aspects of the contract and/or relationship between the employer and the person needs to be evaluated and a decision then made on the dominant impression formed during the course of that evaluation.
2. As an added precaution it is also noted that all the different factors do and would not carry the same weight. This is because there is no single criterion that will determine whether an employment relationship exists or not.
3. The true relationship between the employer and the person needs to be discovered, as the wording in the contract may not be a true reflection of this relationship. So the court would need to look at the reality of the relationship rather than just the contractual nature.

There are obviously many instances where the employer treats an individual as a contractor, when in fact they are an employee. One of the most common ones is:

Conversions – the employer claims that a person who was ‘previously’ employed has now become a contractor. If the person is still performing exactly the same or even similar work as they did when they were “employees”, chances are they are actually still employees.

So in closing, the employer needs to be aware of the differences between an employer and an independent contractor and of course make sure that they are within the scope of what the law requires.

It can be an extremely costly exercise, if an employer is taken to court or the CCMA, and it is discovered that they have not followed the law and are therefore in contravention of the Code.

Make sure that you know what it is that you want and then make sure that you follow the letter of the law – it is much easier (and cheaper in the long run) to start off in the correct manner than to try and sort it out afterwards.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I know this is way out of season, but it strikes me that none of these "L's" should only be brought out in December - they should be present all year long!

So pause for a moment - and another. Who have you loved today, what made you laugh and how much of life did you live to the full - today?

Do it: Love, laugh and live
Rinus le Roux
16 December 2006 at 11h20

I have just spoken to Theo, the editor of The Star Workplace, who told me that this is my final column for 2006. Let me therefore leave you with a powerful final thought. During the 42 years I've spent here on earth, I've used what I call the "Triple L" formula as a guideline to life and trust that you, too, will be able to use it with great success - especially in the month of December as the year comes to an end.
The first 'L' - Love more:
Make this the month where you commit yourself to love more in all areas of your life. Become more loving, give more love, see more love and accept more love. If all of us commit to this first 'L' and love more, we can get closer to experiencing the reason for our existence.
The emotion and act of love are the most powerful and healing gifts we have to offer each other - and they are free. So give love freely and accept it freely.
The second 'L' - Laugh more:
As you know, laughter is the music of the soul. One needs only to watch children playing to know that this is true. During December dedicate yourself to having fun. Loads of it!

Remember that it works both ways. Open your eyes to the joy, fun and laughter in life and contribute towards creating it for others.Help your friends, family and colleagues to experience the power of laughter.Enjoy life with a smile on your face and see life smiling back at you.
The third 'L' - Live more:
Life is for the living. Living more means experiencing the various dimensions of life. If you are inclined to work a lot with your head, become more physical - get out there and do things. If you live your life at a hectic pace take time to be with yourself and spend some alone time. In other words, do your best to experience the fullness of life.
94.7 Highveld Stereo has just started its initiative to make people's dreams come true (Christmas Wish). During the coming year, perhaps you and I can look for opportunities to do the same for others. By loving more, laughing more and living more we can also make some of our own dreams come true.Thank you for reading my column and for the constant feedback you send me. Until next year - God bless.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008




By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting

Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Never abuse your network. Be respectful and request permission where indicated.”

You have no idea just how important this is, if you want to stay in the networking game. Let me be a little more specific. The world is no longer a huge place. Each time new technology is written/developed/invented or however you would like to put it – the world shrinks a little more. In the old days a journey by ship took years, then we got aeroplanes and it took, at worst days or hours – now we can travel the world in seconds. Today I spoke to my Russian friend in Greece, my friend in Arizona in the States and my brother in Australia on SKYPE and because we all have camera’s we can all see one another as we talk, thousands and thousands of miles between us and yet we talk and we can see one another as if we are sitting next to each other – the world has become a very small place.

The world of the SMME has also become really small too, especially if you confine it to the country that you happen to be living and networking in – this means, and listen very, very carefully now – this means that if you abuse your network - within seconds many, many people will know about it and as much as referrals are your best form of obtaining business, they can also become your worst nightmare. The grapevine works in both directions and believe me when I tell you, that once your name is mud on that grapevine, you will be shut down faster than you can blink.

Here’s an example of what not to do: During the early part of last year, I met a fellow (lets call him George) at a networking event. Subsequent to that meeting, we had a one on one and I gave him a long list of referrals. People who would not only be interested in his product, but also people who were ‘connected’ who could also send him to other people who would be interested in his product.

Now those of you who know me, know that I don’t just give out a bunch of names and contact details – I send an e-mail to the person that I am referring you to and to the person who has been referred. I introduce the two on the mail and give a brief outline of what each one does. It is obviously time consuming, but it turns into a warm call and a referral and each party knows what to expect.

About four months later, I met George at another networking event and we ended up after the event having a drink together and again I gave him some more contacts (remember I had had six months to grow my data base and my circle of influence). Again I took the trouble to e-mail both parties and introduce them to each other.

About six months after that – I bumped into George at yet another networking event. At this one he was bemoaning the fact that he was not getting much work out of the networking events that he was going to. Perplexed (remember I had given him a huge bunch of referrals – people who would have had great value out of the product that he was selling), I asked him, which of my contacts had not ‘come to the party’? At this point, I was on the brink of phoning my contacts to ask them what the problem was as I was that sure that his product would assist them greatly.

He smiled very sweetly and said “Actually Nikki, I haven’t contacted any of them and actually it’s been such a long time since you sent the mails to me, could you send them again?” I’m sure you can just picture me standing there with my jaw hanging open!

Needless to say he never got those e-mails re-sent and in fact he will never get another one from me either! Apart from the fact that I very nearly sent him an invoice for 6 hours of work in which I wasted my time and the time of my contacts, who read the mails and then sat waiting to be contacted, this man will never, ever get any kind of referral from me! To make it even worse, I will tell everyone that I come across, not to give him referrals because he does absolutely nothing with them!

How rude! How disrespectful!

Remember, each time you get a referral – you will be getting work based on someone else’s credibility. If you mess with that person’s credibility – you also mess with yours!

Treat referrals as the “golden nuggets” that they are, or you may find yourself “nuggetless” and with no new “nuggets” in sight.

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and she can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


A huge, sometimes passionate debate raged on the Business Warrior ( site yesterday around this very subject. Tempers flared, people shouted at each other and in some instances, some very nasty things were said. Things that cannot be unsaid and have perhaps destroyed how some individuals are looked at - going forward.

I for one, am proud to be a part of the 'solution' in the country. I am not interested in the people who sit on the arses and do nothing but predict doom and gloom and would like the rest of us to wallow in the mud with them. For me their apathy is boring and their constant whining and whinging is just that - they deserve everything that comes their way.

Everywhere I look around me, I see opportunities in great abundance and my only regret is that I cannot get to all of them - I am human after all. Having said that I know that any of the opportunities that I miss are not lost forever, but are there for someone else to grab hold of and do something with. My hope is that someone will see them quickly, recognise them for what they are and then do something about them.

That is my wish for South Africa today - see the opportunity, grab it and do something with it NOW!

Find the positive in you
12 December 2006 at 06h00

At a traffic light 500m away from my very comfortable home, a man sits in a wheelchair with a dilapidated sign that reads: "Please help".
Just a few kilometres from there, on an offramp from the highway, a traffic sign reads: "Caution, high-risk hijack zone".
Further on down the road, newspaper headlines, yet again, issue dire warnings about the possibility of South Africa losing its right to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
This article is not about poverty, crime, sports or politics, but rather about how desensitised we have become to the world we live in. Rubble pollutes our parks, Aids is killing our children, corrupt leaders abuse their positions of power and we cope by desensitising ourselves to the point where we become content to drown in our own apathy.
Yet there are people like my friend Timothy Webster, who is very excited about what he is doing. He has recently launched a student project in Soweto. In relating this to me, his voice is so high pitched, he is almost screaming with excitement, telling me how optimistic he feels about Africa's future.

A couple of days later, I bump into Stephen Thomas, a man who feeds thousands of disadvantaged people and provides them with blankets and clothes he sources via donations from corporate organisations.
I then read about Taddy Blecher, founder and chief executive of Cida City Campus in Joburg, whose dream it is to provide quality tertiary education to those who cannot afford it and in the process, prepare the youth for a promising future.
I also know a young girl by the name of Thembi who arrives at my home twice a week. Her energy levels rival Eskom's output (when it works) and she is excited about life. Tomorrow holds a promise for her, and her infectious laughter and positive attitude impact the lives of everyone with whom she comes into contact. Thembi is a waitress and assistant at Bella's Baking, a local store.
All this makes me wonder how we can change this beautiful continent for the better. Unfortunately I cannot send Thembi on a roadshow to inspire you, but I can ask you to look for the Thembi in your heart and to follow her example. You may argue that positive people live in a fool's paradise and that the reality is crime, corruption and poverty.
But the question still remains: Do you think a negative mindset, a desensitised heart and no action will begin to solve our problems? I think not!What are the other options? You work it out for yourself!

Monday, March 03, 2008


The quote today comes from Jim Rohn, who says - “You don't get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.”

Oh, I do like this one! As a Consultant, who charges and gets paid by the hour, this is like manna from heaven for me. Not only does it make absolute sense to me it also takes into account my Intellectual Property (IP)! I can just see all the eyebrows shoot up – well it does, and they do.

Ok, let me try and explain this on paper. When I sit with a client, in a meeting and then charge him/her for that hour (or more), I am often looked at like I am crazy. Why? If you go to a doctor or a lawyer, you would expect to pay for that hour – why would my time be any different? So, I don’t have a whole bunch of letters behind my name to say that I am a doctor or a lawyer, so what right do I have to charge anyone for my time?

Well it’s like this – yes a doctor/lawyer has studied for x number of years to gain their knowledge, which they use in order to address whatever problem it is that you have. Well so have I – I have gained my knowledge through experience. For the last 30+ years, I have had on the job training – I have lived, slept, eaten and . . ok let’s not go there. Suffice it to say that I know exactly what I am doing, how to do it and when it needs to be done.

So when I sit in the client’s office, in a meeting, answering questions – I am giving that client the benefit of my 30+ years of business experience and like any doctor and/or lawyer who has studied, I deserve to be paid for the value that I have brought to that hour of discussion.

Take time to remember this, the next time you have a meeting with someone whose brain you are ‘picking’.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Morning bloggers - have fun and don't forget to smile!

Women's issues..

Pregnancy, Estrogen, and Women
PREGNANCY Q & A & more!
Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.
Q: I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.
Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.
Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.
A: So what's your question?
Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.
Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.
Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word "alimony" means anything to you.
Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.
Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.
Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college.
1. Everyone around you has an attitude problem.
2. You're adding chocolate chips to your cheese omelet
3. The dryer has shrunk every last pair of your jeans.
4. Your husband is suddenly agreeing to everything you say.
5. You're using your cellular phone to dial up every bumper sticker that says: "How's my driving-call 1- 800-".
6. Everyone's head looks like an invitation to batting practice.
7. Everyone seems to have just landed here from "outer space".
9. You're sure that everyone is scheming to drive you crazy.
10. The ibuprofen bottle is empty and you bought it yesterday..
10. Cats' facial expressions.
9. The need for the same style of shoes in different colors.
8. Why bean sprouts aren't just weeds.
7. Fat clothes.
6. Taking a car trip without trying to beat your best time.
5. The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, and eggshell.
4. Cutting your hair to make it grow.
3. Eyelash curlers.
2. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.
AND, the Number One Number One thing only women understand :
1. OTHER WOMEN__________________

Saturday, March 01, 2008


And so the debate continues! On a personal level, I consider myself "an African" - a very fair complexioned one, but an African none the less. I can trace my lineage back to the early days of Simon Van Der Stel and the early settlers - How could I be anything other than an African?

White SA struggles with African identity
Fran Blandy Johannesburg, South Africa
28 January 2007 07:28

Generations too late to be classified as Europeans, white South Africans are fighting for the right to be seen as African amid doubts about their loyalty, fuelled by a growing white diaspora. In the 13 years since the demise of the apartheid regime, which relegated black people to a second-class status, about 400 000 white people have voted with their feet and deserted the Rainbow Nation -- usually for Anglophone countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain.
But while hundreds of thousands have chosen to shake off their African heritage, the five million white people remaining in South Africa battle conceptions about the purity of their motives in the fight to be classified as African. Political analyst Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, who was a prominent figure in the anti-apartheid movement, refuses to fill out census forms in which he would have to identify himself as either African, White, Indian or coloured.
This is too reminiscent of the racial classifications of the old regime, he feels."There are some black people who would vehemently deny a white person should be an African," he told Agence France-Presse, adding he wants to rid the term of its deep ideological, philosophical content."I am African because I live on the African continent. Where would I go if I had to leave?" These days, many white South African women don African fashions and there are those who vow to stay in their beloved country, happily adopting the "Proudly South African" concept.
On the other end of the scale are those like the three members of civil rights group Afriforum, who feel legally entitled to be included in a black economic empowerment deal offered by their insurance company, which offers extra profit benefits to "Africans, coloureds and Indians"."It is about being treated as a first-class citizen in the country of your birth.
We have lived for centuries in South Africa and have grown to love this country," said Afriforum CEO Kallie Kriel. Afrikaners are descended from the Dutch settlers who arrived in South Africa in 1652, while the British arrived in the latter half of the 1700s.Bushmen had lived on the tip of the continent for thousands of years, and Bantu-speaking people lived there for hundreds of years before the settlers' arrival.
Racial conflict through the centuries saw white people exercising racial superiority over black people, and it is these centuries of advantage that empowerment policies hope to turn around.In a country that equates being African with colour, students who feel stripped of their identity have gone so far as to paint themselves black to press home the point they want to be seen as African."We do not believe that it is necessary to paint ourselves black in order to be Africans, but we still did it as government has, during the past few years, equated African identity to being black," university students wrote in a letter to President Thabo Mbeki in October.
Van Zyl Slabbert is disturbed by empowerment policies describing "black" as a generic term for Africans, Coloureds and Indians.Xolela Mangcu, a prominent academic who initiated a discussion on identity in South Africa, said some of the methods employed by whites were cynical."This should not, by both black and whites, be a process of trying to manipulate identities so you can get a piece of the action; it should be a process of real identification with the culture and history of the place," he said.
Van Zyl Slabbert argues he is African "because my president told me so".In his "I am an African" speech, delivered at the launch of the country's Constitution in 1996, then-deputy president Mbeki said: "The Constitution whose adoption we celebrate constitutes an unequivocal statement that we refuse to accept that our Africanness shall be defined by our race, colour, gender or historical origins."Mangcu feels white people are intrinsically African, although their experiences have differed from black Africans."Of course they are African, to the extent that this is their world, they have forefathers who go back hundreds of years here and that by itself is how normally people in other societies would define identities."However, he added: "The experience of being African has been vastly different between whites who oppressed and exploited people and blacks who were on receiving end of that." -- Sapa-AFP




By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting February 2008.

Now you have all the details of who an employee is, however human nature being what it is, both you and the person agree that although they fit into at least one of the categories, they are in fact – not an employee. Well the law makes provision for this too. Here are some examples of what you may think and what the law says!

You have a contract with a person that clearly states something along the lines of “this is not a contract of employment” or “this is an independent contractor contract” or “it is agreed by both parties that the person is not an employee” and any other variation on a theme that you may have that means this. Please take note – you cannot do this, well I suppose you can, however that said, it is meaningless because the Code says (and therefore the law says) in paragraph 16:

“a statement in a contract that the applicant is not an employee or is an independent contractor must not be taken as conclusive proof of the status of the applicant.” The code also says “The fact that an applicant satisfies the requirements of presumption by establishing that one of the listed factors is present in the relationship does not establish that the applicant is an employee”.

So as usual the law is as clear as mud!

However an employer can use whatever evidence that they have in order to show that the person is not an employee, despite the fact that they meet at least one of the requirements. If the employee cannot give any evidence proving that the person is not an employee then the person will be considered an employee and that is the end of that.

So be very clear about what you mean when you draw up the contracts.

Let’s have a look at what the Definition of an Employee is.

The Labour Relations Act gives us several definitions of an employee.

Section 78 has a definition that is ‘specifically for the purpose of excluding senior managerial employees from the definition of an employee’. It says:

“employee means any person who is employed in a workplace, except a senior managerial employee whose contract of employment or status confers the authority to do any of the following in the workplace:-
a. represents the employer in dealings with the workplace forum; or
b. determine policy and take decisions on behalf of the employer that may be in conflict with the representation of employees in the workplace.”

This means that a senior managerial person, who can make the abovementioned decisions is by definition – not an employee.

The definition of an Employee in Section 200A, however says:-

“a. any person, excluding an independent contractor, who works for another person or for the State and who receives, or is entitled to receive any remuneration and
c. any other person who in any manner assists in carrying on or conducting the business of an employer, and ‘employed’ and ‘employment’ have meanings corresponding to that of ‘employee’ – (This definition is also found in the BCEA, the EEA and the SDA.)

This means that the employer can show evidence that the person is an independent contractor who was contracted for particular task, even if that task has taken or will take longer than an average 40 hours over the last three months.

It would then be up to the Court and/or the Tribunal to decide if the person is then in fact an employee.

Next week will be the last one in this particular series and I will continue with when a person becomes an employee.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or