Thursday, December 22, 2011

EARLY WARNING - Travellers Beware

EARLY WARNING – Travellers Beware

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – December 2011

It’s holiday time again and sadly the scamsters are always devising ways of parting you from your hard earned cash or belongings.

Here are some tips that I found on the internet, to keep you safe:

“While we have pinpointed the countries where these crimes seem to pop up most frequently, any one of them could happen just about anywhere.

1. Fool’s Gold: France
If you’re walking the streets of Paris and someone appears to have found a gold ring at your feet, congratulate them and keep on walking. The ring is a plant and the person who pretends to have found it will use just about any sob story to get you to buy it off them.

2. Monkey Business: Bali, Indonesia
Proving that thieves don’t always come in human form, the monkeys at Bali’s Uluwatu Temple are notorious for swiping from tourists everything from sunglasses to cameras and then running off into nearby bushes. Seconds later, their conniving trainer, dressed as a temple official, appears to report that if given a few rapiah to buy bananas, he can coerce the monkeys into giving back the booty.

3. Automatic Theft Machine: Trinidad and Tobago
Using x-ray film, thieves in Trinidad construct a pocket that slips into the card slot of an ATM, holding it hostage. A helpful and observant bystander then miraculously appears to suggest that typing in a PIN backwards will release the card. Unfortunately, when the bystander later retrieves the pocket, the victim’s money will be released as well.

4. Postcards from the Edge: Italy
Kids outside the Stazione Termini have been known to thrust pen and postcard into the hands of tourists and ask for help writing a letter “home”. Then they dictate a story of poverty and hunger so disturbing that said tourist is often guilted into handing over some cash.

5. At Your Service: United States of America
The bottom line with this scam is that room service charges should always go on the credit card the hotel already has on file. If the waiter or waitress who delivers your food demands cash or a card, the egg on your plate is soon going to end up on your face.
6. A Crappy thing to Do: Argentina
Should someone on the streets of Buenos Aries try to wipe non-existent bird droppings from the back of your shirt, chances are that’s not all they’re wiping off you. Teams working in pairs use this technique to rob distracted and disgusted victims. An even messier French version of this trick includes real mustard.

7. Customer Surprise: Bali
Another in the seemingly endless array of ATM scams, this one involves a false “Customer Service” phone number posted on a card-swallowing machine. When the victim calls it, he or she is asked for the card’s PIN number, hotel and contact information, and assured the card will be returned soon after.

8. The Exchange Game: Zimbabwe
Street scammers here offer tourists incredible exchange rates provided that the transaction takes place in a secluded café. At the café, the money is counted out on top of the table, but rolled up into a rubber band under it; the explanation being that police may be watching. Needless to say, the tourists later discover a large discrepancy between the amount counted and the amount given.

9. Front Desk Phonies: United States of America
In this simple but highly destructive scam, sleepy unsuspecting hotel guests are awakened by a very early morning or very late night call from the front desk asking for credit card information. It’s not until much later when they realize that ‘front desk’ was actually a front for something else.

10. Funny Money: China
Although efforts are being made to solve this problem, the Chinese money supply has a significant amount of fake currency in circulation with much of it ending up in the hands of clueless tourists. Short of carrying around a counterfeit detector, the best way to avoid this is to refuse 50’s or 100’s altogether, or accept them only from banks.”

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a pleasant holiday – take care, travel safely and I will ‘see’ you all in the New Year.

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

HR - All About the Polygraph (and other such Tests)

All about the Polygraph (and other such Tests)

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC , October 2011

The reality of the matter, if you own your own business, is that you have staff. The reality of the matter if you have staff and if you trade here in South Africa, is that you will experience theft and/or fraud in the workplace. That’s just the way that it is.

What is really important however, is how we deal with it, whether it is from an employer or employee perspective!

On a personal level, I have no problem undergoing a polygraph test or any other type of security test for that matter because – well because I have nothing to hide, so I have no fear about what the results may show.

“But what about people’s rights?” I hear everyone shouting!

Let’s be honest, these days the criminals probably have more rights than their victims and sadly often the innocent get caught up in the mess and that is not something that is unique to South Africa.

Here’s the thing though – both the employer and the employee have rights and not dealing with these rights in a fair and responsible manner is what often gets us into trouble.

The employer who has suffered the loss, be it theft or fraud, has the right to investigate by whatever means he or she has available to them. That loss may result in the closure of the business or the loss of jobs for the other employees. It may have caused the company to come into disrepute and caused the loss of clients or income and sadly this is not something that the employees think of when they cause mischief. Usually it is all about their greed and what they can get away with.

So what is the correct procedure? Well first of all the employee needs to agree, in writing, to having the test performed.

For me, it is a pretty simple and fair requirement and so that my clients don’t have to get everybody’s signature every time something goes pear-shaped, I have a clause in the letter of appointment that says that the employer “reserves the right” to have these various tests done when and if necessary and by the employee signing said contract, they have given written authority to the employer.

Be fair though, even if you do have the written authority of the staff member to run one of these tests, make sure that the person who is conducting the test is properly registered. Actually, if they are not registered psychologists any result that they come to would be considered ‘unscientific, unethical and illegal’ as per the 1986 Industrial Courts finding between Mahlangu v CIM Delatk. Obviously questions need to be pre-set prior to the test taking place, so that questions are not specifically tailored to the staff member in question. This really means that tests need to be run fairly, without bias and certainly without any kind of hidden agenda.

Remember of course that from a legal point of view, the results of a polygraph test only indicate some sort of deception and this of course means that the employer then needs to continue on with the investigation. It does not conclusively prove guilt and you cannot just fire or dismiss someone because they failed their test as the test is known to be not 100% accurate.

Also remember that even though the staff member has signed saying that they agree to the test you cannot actually force them to take one and you cannot dismiss them for refusing to take the test – the charge would have to be amended to ‘breach of contract’.

If the staff member refuses to sign giving authority to the employer to undergo the test a charge of ‘ breach of duty of good faith’ can be brought. In these circumstances it is also a good idea to ‘show’ that there are ‘special circumstances that exist that oblige an employee to assist management in the investigation of an offence’. This will greatly assist your cause.

Clearly however, it is really important to distinguish between all the charges and which one relates to what because if you just charge with say . . dishonesty and the staff member just refused to subject themselves to the test, you are going to end up putting your hand in your wallet . . . . . again!

As usual though, if you are not 100% sure of what you are doing make sure that you seek the services of an experienced Labour Consultant.

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CPA - Consumer Complaint Procedure - Part3

CPA – Consumer Complaint Procedure – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC- October 2011

Following on from last time, as promised here is some additional contact information.

Please note that the telephone/fax/cell numbers were correct at the time the original information was received by myself, however I cannot guarantee that it is still correct or that information has not changed in the interim. Should the information be incorrect please check your telephone directory or contact 1023 to obtain the correct numbers.

Government Bodies
Consumer Commission 086 184 3384

Public Protector Tel: 012 366 7000
Fax: 012 262 3473
Toll Free: 0800 011 2040

Department of Trade & Industry Tel: 012 394 9500
Call Share: 012 663 5693

Tribunal Tel: 012 663 5615
Fax: 012 663 5693

Provincial Sonsumer Protection Offices
Gauteng Tel: 011 355 8006
Fax: 011 355 8019

Western Cape Tel: 080 000 7081
Fax: 021 483 5872

Eastern Cape Tel: 040 609 3050
Fax: 040 609 3201

Free State Tel: 051 400 4852
Fax: 051 400 9610

Kwazulu Natal Tel: 031 310 5300
Fax: 031 310 5416

Limpopo Tel: 015 293 8300
Fax: 015 291 1336
Northwest Tel: 018 387 7872
Fax: 018 392 5660

Northern Cape Tel: 053 839 4000
Fax: 053 831 3669

Consumer NGO’s
South African National Consumer Union Tel: 012 428 7122
Fax: 086 672 8585

National Consumer Forum Tel: 012 428 7071
Fax: 012 428 7284/5019

National Black Consumer Union Tel: 011 982 2585

Industry Bodies
Advertising Tel: 011 781 2006
Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) Fax: 011 781 1616

Auctions Tel: 082 555 3458
S A Institution of Auctioneers

Banking Tel: 011 838 0035
Obudsman for Banking Services Share call: 086 080 0900

Banking Tel: 011 645 6700
Banking Association Fax: 011 645 6800

Competition Commission Tel: 012 394 3200

Dental Ombudsman Tel: 086 011 3334

S A Dental Association Tel: 011 484 5288

Direct Marketing Association Tel: 011 781 8019
Fax: 086 626 0758

Direct Selling Association Tel: 011 726 5300
Fax 011 482 2000

Electrical Contractors Association SA Tel: 011 392 0000
Fax: 011 974 9402

National Electricity Regulator Tel: 012 401 4600
Fax: 012 401 4700

Escom Call Centres
Central Region: Braamfontein Tel: 086 003 7566
Eastern Region: Westville Tel: 086 020 4560
Southern Region: East London Tel: 086 014 0014
Tel: 043 702 5270
North Eastern Region: Witbank Tel: 086 000 1414
Tel: 013 693 5000
North Western Region: Bloemfontein Tel: 086 003 7566
Northern Region Tel 086 010 0304
Western Region: Cape Town Tel: 021 915 3203

Estate Agency Affairs Board Tel: 011 731 5600
Fax: 011 880 9725
Fax: 011 880 9831

Franchise Association SA Tel: 011 615 0359
Fax: 011 615 3679

Furniture Traders Association Tel: 011 789 6770
Fax: 086 656 8872

Kitchen Specialists Association
Gauteng and Cape Town Tel: 086 010 9290
Kwazulu Natal Tel: 086 550 56296

National Home Builders Registration Council Tel: 011 317 0010
Fax: 011 317 0141

Housing Consumer Protection Trust Tel: 011 333 8501
Fax 011 333 1050

Hospital Complaints Tel: 011 478 0156
The Hospital Association SA Fax: 011 478 0410

Council of Medical Schemes Tel: 012 431 0500
Fax: 012 431 0608

South African Medical Association Tel: 012 481 2000
Fax: 012 481 2100

South African Pharmacy Council Tel: 012 319 8500
Fax: 012 321 1492

South African Optometric Association Tel: 011 805 4517
Fax: 011 805 3882

Health Professional Council of SA Tel: 012 338 9300
Fax: 012 328 5120

Law Society of SA Tel: 012 366 8800
Fax: 012 362 0969

Motor Industry Ombudsman Tel: 012 841 2945
Fax: 012 841 2842

Timeshare Institute of SA Tel: 021 914 9693

Retailers Association Tel: 011 726 5300

S A Bureau of Standards Tel: 012 428 7911
Tel: 012 428 6006
Fax: 012 344 1568

S A Tourism Tel: 011 895 3001
Cell: 083 123 6789

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

Monday, October 24, 2011

MOTIVATION - Just Take the First Step

MOTIVATION – Just Take the First Step

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – October 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr said “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Ironically, I had to give a speech the other day around the theme of liberty and chose the topic “Freedom from Fear”.

You see, as children we are fearless – well certainly we were when I was a child, growing up. I remember hearing the scary stories around the table or the campfire – you know the ones I am talking about. The ones that make you giggle and squirm deliciously whilst you try and show the grown ups (or grups as I called them then), just how brave you were.

To be honest, I never really heard the ‘traditional’ Grim’s Fairy tales because I preferred to sit at the cook’s fire at the staff quarters on the farm, and there I heard the traditional African stories - stories of a different kind. I heard tales of the tokalosh and skelms that hunted stealthly at night on unsuspecting prey. I heard tales of witchdoctors who were shape shifters and magic muti spells or ‘juju’ and I along with the other children would squeal with delight as we listened intently at this strange and mystifying folklore. The tales and stories being handed down from generation to generation. We would giggle behind our hands and try and make ourselves as tiny and as little as possible so as to be a very small target for the magic that was sure to come out of the darkness and we shivered in delicious anticipation and our toes curled in terror and we peered into the night to see if we would be the first to see which shape the witchdoctor had become.

Were we terrified – oh absolutely! But we were also fearless and brave! Our ancestors demanded it and we were willing to face the test and be recognized.

Slowly but surely as time passed, our fearlessness, our confidence in ourselves and our abilities, have been stripped away from us. Slowly but surely, the fear that most adults carry with them as part of their baggage, was shared with or indoctrinated into us. You know the ones . . . . the ‘don’t climb up there, you’ll fall” or “Don’t do that you’ll get hurt!”

And you know what? They were absolutely right . . . we did get hurt!

We lost our fearlessness and we replaced it with fear. We lost our self confidence and we replaced it with insecurities. We lost our trust - trust in ourselves and who we are – and we replaced it with self doubt – how terribly sad is that!

For many of us, this meant the end of our risk taking days. We could no longer be Captain Kirk going beyond time to exotic galaxy’s. We could no longer be Captain Hook sailing off to unmapped lands to face untold dangers. We could no longer be Zorro or Tonto or General Custer or Huckleberry Finn or even Tom Sawyer, going on wild and carefree and fearless adventures . . . and how incredibly sad is that?

As Entrepreneurs however we have once again become fearless. We have taken that first step into the unknown and unchartered territories. We have faced uncaring bank managers and unsupportive spouses and nagging children and hungry pets – oh yes! My cat bites me when I have been out of the house too long!

We have struggled to make sense of the numbers and battled with business plans or marketing or branding or the logistics and HR and hell . . . even government red tape and legislation, much of which many of us had never even heard of, much less had to contend with. We have faced our most ardent critics and judges – ourselves – and we have prevailed. We have once again found our fearless selves – even if it is only for a few moments at a time.

Fortunately for me, I never entirely lost the ‘wild child’ that I was and many of my friends will attest to that. I can often be fearless, but I long for the days when it was the natural order of things – when my toes curled in terror and I shivered in delicious anticipation of seeing the frightening apparition taking the form of the witchdoctor as he appeared out of the swirling mists and the darkness.

And so I challenge you to let go of the fear and to find your own freedom from that fear.

Take that step, irrespective of how scared and frightened you are – take that first step, you’ll find the next one will be so much easier.

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

Friday, October 14, 2011

EARLY WARNING: Department of Labour Warns Employers of "S A Legal Act" Scam

EARLY WARNING – Department of Labour Warns Employers of “S A Legal Act” Scam
Good day all – I received this through the S A Labour Guide Newsletters. Please take note



Media Release Issued By Department of Labour

The Department of Labour is warning business to be wary of people from a company called SA Legal Act claiming to be subcontractors of the department who are selling copies of the country’s labour legislation.
It has since come to the attention of the department that there are people who have already visited company premises around Pretoria/Tshwane area presenting themselves as subcontractors of the Department of Labour and selling copies of Labour Legislation.

“It is alleged that the person(s) from SA Legal Act rocked up in one company insisting that the company buys the documents for display before the Labour Inspectors come for inspection,” said Labour Department Deputy Director-General Inspection & Enforcement (IES) Siyanda Nxawe.

The peddlers of ‘so called’ labour legislation sell copies relating to Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Employment Equity, Occupational Health, Skills Development Amendment Act, Law of Dismissal, Construction Regulation, Sector Determination, Code of Good Practice on the employment of people with Disabilities and the New Tobacco.

“Members of the public, employers and organizations are warned of this scam where people also pose as Labour Inspectors and sell them pieces of legislation. The Department of Labour does not sell legislation information and services of the Department are provided at no cost to workers, employers and general public,” Nxawe said.

The Department also wishes to warn companies and public never to deposit money into bank accounts of scammers. It is also not true that the above mentioned legislation(s) were valid for three years. SA Legal Act is selling the various pieces of legislation in the form of posters and charts, of which a copy sells for amounts of between R280 and R310.

The charts and copies of the Labour Acts can be bought from the Government Printers at marginal rates than those quoted by SA Legal Act or can be downloaded from the website of the Department of Labour at
The Government Printers have offices is Pretoria, telephone number (012) 334 4508/4509/4510, and they also have offices in Cape Town, telephone number (021) 465 7531.

Issued by Mr. Page Boikanyo
Departmental spokesperson
Department of Labour

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BLOGGING TIPS: Stealing Content & Idea

BLOGGING TIPS – Stealing Content & Ideas

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC September 2011

I was asked the other day whether I had ever ‘stolen ideas and/or content”? To be quite honest I was gob smacked! Now I can see you all shaking your heads and wondering if I have lost all of my marbles!

Here’s the thing, more often than not, (probably around 99.9999% of the time), something that I have heard or something that I have seen or something that I have read about, has sparked an idea for an article, in my mind.

Logic must tell you that it would be impossible for me to actually experience every single thing that I write about. Of course that does not mean that I cannot write about the lesson that needs to be learnt or in fact learn the lesson from someone else myself.

Look, let’s be honest here – I am not saying that you should plagiarize anyone’s work or not give an author credit for something that they have written. That for me, goes without saying. Words that you use that were written by someone else should be correctly credited. That’s not only a legal issue, but for me it is also a moral one.

What I am saying though, is that words, or pictures often spark another idea or are often the basis of another idea that will usually end up as an article. Pretty much like the question that was asked that has now become this article.

This is often one way that allows ideas to be shown in perhaps a different context or from another viewpoint.

The fact of the matter is that I have several websites that I visit on a daily basis and several newsletters that I get on one feed or another and I also subscribe to several magazines and am constantly reading books that pertain to business or biographies and even non-fiction. The fact of the matter is that all of this reading makes something ‘click’ and somewhere, something has made me think and that thought has resulted in an article being written.

So whilst I don’t condone or promote ‘theft’ of someone else’s work or that an article that someone else wrote be attributed to yourself, I do feel that we all get ideas from somewhere and even when we do ‘research’ we are still using other people’s work to validate what we are doing.

Think about it for a minute – and then go and write your own article!

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WORKSHOP : JOHANNESBURG : A Basic Practical Guide to Starting a Business

A Basic Practical Guide To Starting A Business – 9 November 2011
Hosted by Sisibukula, Viljoen Consulting, German Chamber and Business Engage (formerly WIF).

Getting started in the right direction will ensure a smooth transition from 'wannabe' to business owner and will allow you to focus on what you are good at - you know, getting that product and/or service to market. Ensuring that you have everything in place and working correctly, will ensure maximum productivity with minimum effort and will always affect your bottom line.

Getting your processes and procedures in place will ensure that your business is built on a strong infrastructure that usually translates into a sustainable business.

The workshop deals with the everyday issues that arise when starting a new business. It saves time and energy as well as money. Time in that you don’t have to spend time in queue’s trying to get the correct documentation, or doing research on the Internet or anywhere else for that matter, trying to find out what you have to do and where you have to go in order to do it.

A Basic Practical Guide To Starting A Business is broken up into the following main titles below and starts off with the difference between a Sole Proprietor, a small company (formerly Close Corporation) and a Company and how to register each of these entities.

- Accounting Records & General
- Banking Accounts
- Receipts and Banking
- Cheque Payments and/or Internet Payments
- Invoices
- Credit Notes
- Bank Reconciliations
- Petty Cash
- Control of Numbered Stationery
- Computerised Accounting
- Staff & HR Issues
- Security/Safety
- Money Laundering
- Filing
- Stock Control

No prior knowledge of Starting A Business is necessary for this highly effective but simple to understand workshop that promises to equip you with powerful tools to register and manage your business on a practical level.

About the Facilitator – Nikki Viljoen
Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who has her own company called Viljoen Consulting.

Nikki has in excess of 30 years experience in this field both from a banking perspective as well as from a Corporate perspective.

Having seen a huge gap in the SMME market, Nikki started Viljoen Consulting to assist SMME’s to become compliant and to establish controls and processes and to implement structure into the smaller companies to give them greater stability, and to encourage sustainability.

Nikki’s business blog or was recently internationally rated at 8.9 out of a possible 10. This places Nikki 5th in the world in her category. With her blog Nikki shares useful Business and Personal tips with anyone who cares to read it.

Date: Wednesday 9th November 2011

Price: R950.00 per delegate (includes breakfast/lunch/refreshments and course material)

Venue: German Chamber
47 Oxford Road
Forrest Town

Time: 08.30 to 3.30/4.00 pm. (Registration from 08.00 onwards). Please allow additional travelling time to combat traffic.

RSVP: no later than Monday 7th November 2011 . Space is limited therefore bookings will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Please contact:-

German Chamber delegates please contact Shaan Padayachy on 011 486 2775 or

Business Engage ( formerly Women in Finance) delegates please contact Colleen Larsen on or 084-353-9865.

Everyone else please contact Nikki Viljoen on or 083 702 8849 for booking details.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BUSINESS TIPS - Company Operations Manual

BUSINESS TIPS – Company Operations Manual

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – September 2011

Every company should have an Operations Manual. Okay, this is so important that I am going to have to say it again – irrespective of whether you have one employee, or one hundred employees or one hundred thousand employees – every company should have an Operations Manual.

An Operations Manual is the “how to” guide. It is a ‘living’ document that evidences and outlines every process in your business and it should have various sections (as outlined below). It should be checked and reviewed at the very least, annually to ensure that it is up to date and in line with legislation. Obviously, the size of the business will determine how big or long the manual is and obviously depending on the sector that the company is in, there may or may not be sections that are applicable. For example, if you are in a services type industry (say a financial advisor), you may not have any stock and therefore would not have any need for stock control. Remember always to try and keep it as simple as possible.

The sections that you may require are (but not limited to):-

1. Introduction
a. This should include a brief history of the company – how and why it was started and also the purpose of the manual.
b. The company’s business objectives and mission/vision statement should be included here.
c. A list of the products and/or services provided should be featured here.

2. Organogram
a. Once you get to 3 or 4 departments, this should be split into two. The first one should show just the departments and where they report into. For example HR should report into Operations, Accounts into the Financial Director and so on. The second organogram should include the names of the individuals who head up the departments as well as the name of the individuals that report into them – so in this case Jane Doe and Joe Public who are clerks in the accounts department report into Suzie Stressed out who is the Accounts Manager and she reports into Philip Pedantic who is the Financial Director and so on.
b. The function of each department should also be outlined as well as which department supports which activity and so on.
c. The job descriptions for each particular job (not person) should be filed here too. For example Jane may be the receptionist as well as a debtors clerk and the warehouse data capturer. This of course means that Jane should have 3 different job descriptions.
d. Don’t forget to include the details of the company, such as (but not limited to) address of branch offices and contact details for key personnel.

3. General Information
This section would be the general type information for the staff and would include things like, but not limited to:-
a. General attitude towards clients, suppliers, colleagues and management.
b. How to deal with customer/supplier/colleague/management queries, complaints or visitors
c. Housekeeping – such as personal hygiene and dress code
d. Do’s and don’ts. Examples of this is “do be at work 15 minutes before you are due to start working” or “don’t partake of illegal substances and/or alcohol whilst on duty” and so on.

4. HR and Administration thereof
This section is self explanatory and would deal with some of the below mentioned sub sections:
a. Hiring practices – who authorizes new employees, what are the job spec requirements, what the interview process is, what forms/templates need to be completed including SARS, Department of Labour, Workmen’s Compensation etc. Legislation registration requirements etc. Letters/contracts of employment to be issued etc.
b. When and how employees are paid, including full time or permanent employees and/or casual (one day) employees.
c. Frequency of salary reviews and/or bonus requirements as well as advancement opportunities.
d. Benefits paid by the company (if any), staff contributions and payroll deductions. These also need to be carefully explained so that the staff understand them properly.
e. Disciplinary policy and procedures, including letters of warning and/or notice to attend a disciplinary and/or letter of reprimand and don’t forget the Certificate of Service.
f. Hours of Operation including Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Family Responsibility Leave, Unpaid Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave and Study Leave – where applicable.
g. Attendance requirements as well as overtime and holidays and remuneration pertaining to these issues.
h. Labour Laws - Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Labour Relations Act and “Best Practices”
i. Any other policies and procedures such as (but not limited to) Smoking requirements, Sexual Harassment or Alcohol and Substance Abuse etc.,

5. Products and Services
This section is also self explanatory but should include:-
a. Your sales procedure and credit authorization requirements.
b. Customer relations and complaints process.

6. Operational Procedures
These should include a departmental flow chart and authorization process for each department and for each process. It would also include detailed ‘step-by-step’ procedures such as ‘once the sale has been completed and signed the order goes to administration where it is checked and data captured and then to the warehouse for the goods to be ‘picked and packed’ then the stock goes to dispatch where the stock is released to the driver and the invoice is produced and then…’ etc. A copy of each document and/or template used should be included with the procedure.

7. Administration
This should include the following (but not be limited to):-
a. Departmental administrative procedures and authorization requirements that would also indicate responsibility and accountability.
b. Templates for each requirement, for example Petty Cash Reconciliation.
c. Procedures on how to complete each template and the purpose of such document.
d. The document flowchart as well as due dates and deadlines.

8. Safety and Security
This would include (but not be limited to) safety issues around the premises, the personnel, company assets and information so issues around:-
a. Safety of the premises (in-house or outsourced), security cards/access cards etc. Access to safes and/or restricted areas
b. Safety of the staff, compliance with OHSA (Occupational Health & Safety Act), including safety gear etc.
c. Managing the importance of the safety of the employee as well as the company.
d. Protection of company assets and the requirements around that
e. Safety around company confidential information as well as client information etc.
f. Key and password control.
g. Incident reports

9. Emergencies
a. How to deal with accidents, staff, visitor and client accidents as well as company vehicle accidents.
b. What to do in case of fire or theft or hold ups or car jacking and all the telephone details that pertain to these.
c. What to do in case of power failure or burst water pipes, or gas leaks.
d. Incident reports

10. Maintenance & Repairs
Procurement policies pertaining to these service providers as well as their contact details.
a. Procedures pertaining to authorization of these service providers as well as authorization for the repair.
b. Authorization and control of after hour access to premises
c. Key controls
d. Refuse removal
e. Handling of equipment
f. Procedures around damage and/or loss to property and/or premises
g. Incident reports.
11. Legal
a. Legislation around local and national requirements and rules and regulations that are industry specific.
b. The ‘how to’ and ‘who with’ handling of regulatory agencies and/or municipalities.
c. Inspections that have taken place and the reports that were issued.
d. Record keeping requirements.
e. Maintaining of ethical standards
f. Green and carbon footprint issues.

Quite a lengthy but comprehensive list, I am sure that you will agree – but a very necessary one at the end of the day. This will evidence that you have a policy of full transparency and that you have nothing to hide.

Your employees will also have an understanding of what is and what isn’t acceptable and also know what the consequences of their actions will be.

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

Monday, September 12, 2011

MOTIVATION - Believe Your Dream

MOTIVATION – Believe Your Dream

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – September 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt said “The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams”.

Having recently watched “The Mountain Within” and read the book with the same title, by Herta Von Stiegel (, the issue around our dreams and hopes and goals and aspirations has once again hit home – hard!

In retrospect, I find that I am guilty of not dreaming enough! Strange as that may sound, the fact of the matter is that I have become too caught up in the day to day struggle of getting things done, of juggling the balls and ensuring that they all remain in the air. The fact of the matter is that realistically, I need to schedule some time in my diary – some quiet time to think, to dream and to engage with that part inside of me that allows thoughts and dreams to become reality.

Growing up on a huge farm in the then Rhodesia, “Dream time” was something that I did on a daily basis and it was done naturally and without any conscious thought to how important it is in everyone’s life.

Dreams of visiting Russia as I read books on the colourful character, that was Rasputin and the deep love between Nicolas and Alexandra, or the man of action that was Peter the Great and all the loves of Catherine the Great, turned into reality when I visited Russia in 2001. I can still remember the grown ups (or grups as I called them as a child) laughing at me and mocking me when I vocalized my intention of visiting Russia day. You see, this was the early 60’s and of course on-one visited communist countries then. I remember the sting of their laughter and my own 5 year old resolution – I would visit Russia one day!

I also remember standing at the canal, outside the Cathedral of the Resurrection in St. Petersburg, right at the spot where they tried unsuccessfully to drown Rasputin. My thoughts this time, full of emotion – full of pleasure, at the realization of the fact, that this particular dream had never died. This dream, had stood the test of time and had endured some 40 odd years to become a reality.

I cannot begin to tell you all the thoughts that went through my mind. I was exhilarated and humbled at the same time. Excited, sad, awed and also proud. One thing that I do remember though, is the thought that played itself over and over again in my mind (and I am sure that I even said the words out loud at some point too), “I told you I would come to Russia one day!”

And that’s exactly how it should be – that’s how it can be – our dreams turning into reality – our dreams becoming our future.

So, I don’t know about you, but I now have my diary at hand and I will book the time and hopefully I will be able to return to that childhood time, when ‘dream time’ was a natural thing and where I will once again be in charge of the future that I will take part in and that will become my reality.

What about you? Do you “dream” enough?

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

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Mountain Within - By Herta Von Stiegel

I first met Herta in July 2009 when she was our guest speaker at a Women In Finance Hot Tables Dinner and I was blown away by this 50+ year old tiny, soft spoken woman, who had climbed Mount Kilamanjaro and lead a team of 28 other climbers, some of who were mentally and physically disabled. She showed us the trailer of the documentary and went through some of the leadership lessons that were highlighted in the trailor. I was humbled.

I next met Herta in Botswana when Colleen and myself went to do a 3 day training session to the Women In Finance branch in Gaberone and it was there that I learned that she was internationally renound and recognised in the finance world and that her Company Ariya Capital, whose head office is in London, had a branch office in Gaberone, clearly the drums of Africa were now firmly entrenched in her blood - here's a bit more about what it is all about.

Since then, every time that Herta comes our to SA, I try and have a short visit with her - I find her inspirational, motivational and always full of information.

Herta is also on the governing body of the Committee of 200, which is an international women's organization. "Members are leading women executives from for profit public and private companies, are the key decision makers and are directly responsible for the success of their company or business unit's bottom line. Our members have demonstrated a track record of success and accomplishments and are committed to giving forward to future businesswomen" Actually, they have to be directly responsible for funds in excess of $250 million.

Herta and 19 of her C200 colleagues were out here in SA during the course of the last two weeks, where they interviewed and chose several woman candidates for bursaries and they will also mentor these ladies - a rare and magnificient opportunity. Herta also lauched the full movie of The Mountain Within and launched her book of the same title at a huge gathering at Monte Casino Il Grande theatre on Tuesday evening.

Women in Finance co-ordinated the whole C200 time here in SA,from UCT to GIBBS, the interviews and the launch of movie and books in Cape Town and Johannesburg and it was wonderful as a committee member of WIF, to have the opportunity of being part of this. Of course I got to spend some time with Herta (even if it was only about 15mins or so) and I have a signed copy of the book, which I have been unable to put down.

Some of the information on the back of the book "In July 2008, international business executive Herta Von Stiegel led a group of disabled people to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity. The story was captured in the award winning documentary The Mountain Within - and now the expedition has inspired this remarkable work, which blends the gripping tale with powerful leadership lessons and conversations with many of the world's most influential business leaders: Kay Unger, Sung-Joo Kim, Dr Joachim Faber, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, Marsha Serlin, Dr Karl (Charly) and Lisa Kleissner, Martha (Marty) Wikstrom, Sam Chisholm, Minister Mohamed Lotfi Mansour, Karin Forseke, President and Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Christie Hefner, Abeyya Ai-Qatami, Hon. Al Gore and David Blood, Dr Mohamed "Mo" Ibrahim. Life may be full of obstacles, but it is the mountain within that most often needs to be conquered. No matter your challenges or where you are on your climb to the top, this unique work helps you become a resilient leader capable of guiding your team to achieve even the most challenging goal." Here is a trailer of the film.

I am about 3/4 of the way through the book already, and because I know the story and seen the movie, the reading is going very quickly. I do know that I will read it a second time at a more gentle pace, as there is so much to learn from the lessons. It is a great read and I strongly recommend everyone to go and get yourselves a copy.

Monday, September 05, 2011

MOTIVATION - Making the Decision

MOTIVATION – Making the Decision

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – September 2011

Harvey Mackay says “People begin to become successful the minute they decide to be.”

Yes – actually it is that simple! I think that for most of us, certainly for me, this is true. We have been conditioned to believe that being successful is hard work, and I suppose that to some degree there is a certain amount of work that needs to be done, but for me – the mindset is what is most important.

We’ve all heard, and I am sure even uttered the words on occasion “It can’t be that easy!” When things just seem to slot in, or fall into place – that lucrative deal that you have signed just as the previous one was ending, or even more unusual, robots turning green just as you are about to apply the brakes – all way to work or home!

I have learnt over the years that it is actually that easy. When my mindset is right and I am going in the right direction – things just seems to fall into place. When I am totally committed to what it is that I am doing, my plans are in place and I am mentally geared up – things seem to be very easy.

It’s when I am not sure, or hesitant, when I haven’t done as much research as I probably should have or I am not completely sure of what it is that I am doing that I tend to second guess myself.

When I second guess myself is when the doubts start creeping in – you know which ones I mean, not only the ones that I am prepared to vocalize and get out onto the table, but also those that I very seldom admit to - even to myself – those that I grapple with and do battle with in the dead of the night.

By the time it gets to that point, I know on every level that I am ‘dead’ in the water and that there is no way that whatever it is that I am doing, is going to be successful. You see, I have on some level decided that I cannot do it! That is the decision that has been made and therefore that is the decision that will be successful.

So here’s the bottom line – if it is success that you are looking for then clearly that is the decision that needs to be made.

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

Thursday, September 01, 2011

CPA - Consumer Complaint Procedure - Part 2

CPA – Consumer Complaint Procedure – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC- September 2011

Following on from last time, let’s have a look at some more of the “how to” around the raising of a complaint, process. We have covered the different types of complaints as well as a broad outline of the process of the complaint. Now let’s have a look at ‘where to complain’.

Part of the ‘intent’ of the CPA is to promote ‘consumer activism’ and this is done by getting consumer groups to lodge complaints on behalf of the consumers. These various groups obviously need to be properly accredited (because they would need to be properly trained) and they would therefore also be able to give proper support to, or advice as well as educate consumers about what they are protected against and also the role that consumers need to take on, to make the CPA successful. These consumer groups would also be responsible for publications on the subject, as well as do the research and they would then be tasked with “alternative dispute resolution through mediation or conciliation.”

As a result of this and in compliance with the ACT, the National Consumer Commission was established. This body is responsible to investigate consumer complaints, pretty much like the National Consumer Tribunal was established by the National Credit Act, to investigate the violations and transgressors of the ACT.

Currently there are several ways to lay the complaint. These are, (but not limited to):-
1. The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) – customer contact center: 0861 843 384

2. The DTI office of Consumer Protection (OCP): 012 394 1439/1558/1076

3. E-mail: Please be advised however, that this particular e-mail address is protected from spam and you will need to have Java Script enabled on your computer in order to view it.

4. Website: The DTI website address is

5. National Consumer Tribunal (NCT): (012) 663 5615 or Again, please be advised that this e-mail address is also protected from spam and you will need to have your Java Script enabled in order to view it.

Next time we will have a look at some more useful contact information.

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WORKSHOP : JOHANNESBURG : How to Complete a Tender Document

Workshop: (Jhb) How to Complete a Tender Document – 14th September 2011
Brought to you by Viljoen Consulting, Sisibukula, WIF, Randburg Chamber and the German Chamber
Accessing and completing tenders remains a mysterious area for most small businesses. Learn how to complete and submit a tender so that you can participate in a lucrative sector of business in South Africa. Using the practical skills that you will learn and understand in this powerful one day workshop, you will be able to make the system work for you to ensure that you apply for the opportunities that are best suited for you. Understand the pitfalls and how to avoid them by understanding your rights as well as your obligations. Get the right contracts in place and negotiate the best deal for yourself.

This workshop covers:
Entering into agreements
Changing Mindsets
Other issues in the Tender Process
Legal issues
Practical Examples

Malcolm Larsen
Malcolm is a Quantity Surveyor by profession. Malcolm has over 25 years worth of experience in submitting proposals for Tenders, contracts and project management of projects up to a value of R250 million. Malcolm is currently engaged as a Small Business and Personal Contract Specialist. Malcolm was also previously a “Fellow of the Institute of Directors”.
Join Sisibukula at this essential day long workshop:
Date: Wednesday 14th September 2011
Venue: German Chamber
47 Oxford Road
Forest Town

Cost: R950.00 (includes breakfast/lunch/refreshments and course material, inclusive of VAT)

Time: 08.30 to 3.30/4.00 pm. (Registration from 08.00 onwards). Please allow additional travelling time to combat traffic.

RSVP: no later than Monday 12th September 2011 . Space is limited therefore bookings will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Please contact:-

German Chamber delegates please contact Shaan Padayachy at or 011 486 2775

Women in Finance delegates please contact Colleen Larsen at or 084-353-9865.

Everyone else please contact Nikki Viljoen on or 083 702 8849 for booking details.

Friday, August 12, 2011

HR - Some Strange Interview Questions


Some Strange Interview Questions

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC , August 2011

It was with great amusement that I read (and I must say absolutely enjoyed) an article that I received from “Job search clinic on behalf of Gerard Le Roux”, entitled “3 dumb questions & a Bruce Lee quote.”

I was more than amused to find one of the questions that I always ask on there, although I am somewhat confused as to why it was classed as a dumb question. Quite frankly, I don’t see it as such, but perhaps I should let you in on it – the question of course is “Why should we hire you instead of the other candidate?”

Oh come now – how could that possibly be a dumb question? I guess it would have to do something with the ‘intent’ behind the question.

You see for me, it’s about what you, as the candidate, think that you can give me, or do, or be that is better than or bigger than what you think that the other candidates can give me, or do, or be. It’s about how you see yourself, whether you are different or the same as others.

In terms of this particular article though, if you as the candidate even attempted to answer the question, you would immediately be disqualified because . . . wait for it . . . because you would be ‘trying to answer without the facts. How can you possibly compare yourself with people you’ve never met and know nothing about?”

Now that for me is just being difficult and trying to trip people up or be ‘clever’ at someone else’s expense.

The other two questions in the article are really strange – the first one being “If you were a shoe, what kind would you be?” and the second one being “Tell me about a time when you . . . ? I guess for the first question, if you were intent on being in the fashion industry or it was a job to do with say colour it may have some kind of meaning and for the second question, I suppose if you were doing something that required instant use of your imagination it might have some sort of meaning, but for the average ‘Joe Public’ I can’t imagine what the right answer would be. I think if I had ever been asked a question like that, as an Internal Auditor, I might have decided that that particular company was more than a little strange and whilst I do have a number of eccentric friends, working for an eccentric company would be altogether a novel idea.

So why am I telling you about these questions? I promise it is not just to raise a smile, but also to let you know to expect the unexpected as well as the sometimes bizarre. They may very well just be checking to see if you have a good sense of humour, nothing more.

On the other hand however, they may be checking to see how you handle difficult situations or situations ‘out of the norm’ or even how you solve or find solutions to things outside of your comfort zone. So don’t be flippant when you respond.

Oh yes – and the Bruce Lee quote was “The successful warrior is the average person with laser like focus.”

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

Thursday, August 04, 2011

CPA - Consumer Complaint Procedure - Part 1

CPA – Consumer Complaint Procedure – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC- August 2011

Much has been written and said about the new CPA (Consumer Protection Act) that was recently introduced to South Africa. Many have seen it in a positive light (and I am included in these), but many have seen it in a negative light. Regardless of how you choose to see it, the very real and harsh reality of the matter is that it will affect you and have impact on your life, one way or another.

Let’s face it, we have all, at one time or another had a bad shopping experience and have felt frustrated and abused or even bullied by a supplier – I know I have, but now you can actually do something about it.

Let’s go through the process together.

Firstly there are three different types of solutions to your consumer complaint. They are:-
Class Actions;
Damages; and
Discriminations (remember though that discrimination complaints can be brought to, both the Equality Court or the National Consumer Commission, who will in turn refer it to the Equality Court).

Now, let’s go through the process one step at a time.

The first thing that you need to do if you have a complaint about a product or service is to approach the service provider. Obviously if you can resolve the problem at this level, between the two of you, this would be first prize. Remember to document everything as this will obviously assist.

There are of course, some suppliers who will not be willing to play their part in the dispute negotiation and so at this point, you would need to refer the matter to the DRA (Dispute Resolution Agent), who will attempt to resolve the matter in a fair and impartial manner, through an ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) process. Remember, the more information that you give them, particularly documented, the easier it will be for them to prove or disprove the situation.

From there, so called ‘minor matters’ will go to a provincial office, where the dispute will be forwarded onto the Provincial Consumer Courts.

At this point, it will become the responsibility of the Commissioner and/or the Tribunal to resolve the matter.

At this level, each complaint will be thoroughly investigated by the National Consumer Commission, who will in turn refer cases to the Consumer Tribunal.

The buck stops with the Consumer Tribunal who have the authority to decide whether the Consumer Act has been contravened or not. They can and will, order changes in the practice of ‘how things happen’ in the supplier’s business or they could also make the supplier pay a fine or even implement a process in the supplier’s business to ensure that things happen differently next time.

As you can see, this is quite an onerous, complex process – so don’t be thinking that it will take all of five minutes.

The bottom line of course is that finally we, as consumers have a voice that we can make heard. Conversely, if we are service providers who don’t do things properly, our clients too, have a voice that can now be heard.

As usual though it is a process that has to be followed correctly, so again, please understand that it will not happen overnight and if you are a ‘knee jerk’ type of individual like I am, you will have to wait patiently while the wheels of justice turn.

You also have to understand that the CPA is not something that is unique to South Africa, it has been introduced in several countries across the globe, so it’s not the S A Government out to get you.

Next time we will continue with the process.

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

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

BUSINESS TIPS - Some More Common Mistakes - Part 2

BUSINESS TIPS – Some More Common Mistakes – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – August 2011

Let’s be honest here, we all have good days and bad – we’re human after all and sometimes that’s just the way things are. Of course that does not mean that we just sit back and do nothing! What it does mean though is that we have to work extra hard at getting ourselves re-motivated. Our lives and our businesses depend on it!

Instead of beating yourself up when you are feeling low though, try doing something different. Do something that you absolutely love, or at the very least, do something that will take you out of the normal routine – go and watch a movie or take yourself ‘out for tea’ or ‘out for a meal’, or go for a massage, but take yourself away from your day to day drudge and troubles – chances are that when you come back you will be in an altogether different frame of mind and you can then get back onto the treadmill – ready to face whatever may come your way.

You need to understand that you will have to exercise great patience and tenacity when you have you own business. It is more than likely that you will need to speak with someone whom you can brainstorm with and/or bounce ideas off or who can (and will) challenge you and keep you motivated and going in the right direction. We all need a little help every now and then and having a mentor is usually a good thing – remember to ‘pay it forward’ though and help or mentor someone else too.

Keeping your emotions in check is also something that you will need to do, especially when you are making decisions that will have a huge impact on your business.

Decisions, of course, need to be made only after careful consideration, after a good deal of research and even more clear headed soul searching, in order for them it have the greatest beneficial impact. Decisions made ‘on the fly’ or without any kind of deliberation could have serious negative financial implications, which could bring about the demise of your business. So always think things through first.

A business needs to grow and that is a good thing – it’s a natural thing and it evidences that the product and/or service that you are offering is of value and that there is a demand for it.

Here’s the thing though that you need to be aware of and plan for. When you grow, your will need more money to facilitate the expansion. Ensure that your growth is measured and gradual and that you don’t grow too quickly as that will take more finance away from the day to day running and working capital of the business, which in turn would impact hugely on the cash flow and therefore the well being of the company.

Whatever you decide to do and however you decide to do it, remember why you started the business in the first place and remember to have fun!

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

Monday, August 01, 2011

MOTIVATION - Victory Over Oneself

MOTIVATION – Victory Over Oneself

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – August 2011

Lao Tzu says “He who gains a victory over other men is strong; but he who gains a victory over himself is all powerful.”

There have been several programs on TV over the last few months that have been about bullying and they were all somehow focused on the victim. Let’s take one of them as an example – I think it was one of the Private Practice shows a couple of weeks ago. There was this young chap (let’s call him Eric) around 14 who had lost his father at the age of 8 (or so) and now it was just him and his mum. His dad had gotten him interested in Japanese comic strips and it was something that he continued on his own. The kids at school really didn’t ‘get it’ and he became the butt of their jokes and because he didn’t react in any way, pretty soon the ‘jokes’ became violent and he was being taunted and beaten up on a regular basis.

Eric’s mum’s way of dealing with this was to take her son out of harm’s way and the result was that over a period of 2 years, Eric changed schools 8 times. Not a good situation, I am sure you will agree. As Eric moved from school to school, he became more and more the ‘butt’ of the bullies and not having any time to form any of his own roots and find friends who had similar interests, meant that he was on his own more of the time and being on his own, made him more susceptible to being the prey of bullies, and so the cycle continued.

Eric eventually started making up ‘pains’ and fevers to get out of school and his mother eventually took him off to see a doctor. The doctor (let’s call him Phil) happened to be a child psychologist and when Phil examined Eric for his so called ‘stomach ache’ the truth came out. Phil told Eric that he needed to ‘stand up’ for himself and that bullies, when confronted, would usually back down and he would then be left alone. Good advice, I am sure you will agree – but this is a TV program, so of course it didn’t work like that.

Eric, in an attempt to ‘stand up’ for himself, took a knife to school and of course he was busted by one of the teachers. Mother dearest was furious with Dr. Phil, because this was of course all of his fault, and would not allow Eric to see the doctor again and of course to ensure a good dose of drama, Eric attempted to commit suicide.

As he regained consciousness Eric spoke to Phil and explained how he felt that he could not meet anyone who he could connect with at school because his mum kept moving him and Phil explained that the first step would be to ‘stand up’ to his mother. Eric’s mum, of course only wanted to keep her son safe and again wanted him to move to another school.

Eric, eventually stepped up to the plate and convinced his mother that this was something he had to do for himself, he had to overcome his own fears and he had to face his tormentors, without showing them any fear, and he had to find ‘the others’ like himself – he could no longer run and he could only do this if she left him in the same school.

The message for me, was very clear – there is a very wrong and a very right way to gain victory over your enemies, but in order for that to happen you have to gain victory over yourself and (as in this case) it meant Eric facing his own fears and gaining control over them.

Gaining a measure of control over myself, my fears and insecurities was one of the biggest steps forward that I took and for what it’s worth, it made my (at that point) self esteem soar. I felt as though I had conquered the world and that made me feel and react differently and that made other people see me in a totally different light altogether.

So the next time you feel tiny and insignificant in the face of the world, remember to gain control of your fears, of yourself and that victory will carry you through any kind of adversity.

You will be all powerful because you will be victorious over your biggest enemy – yourself!

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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

BUSINESS TIPS - Some More Common Mistakes - Part 1

BUSINESS TIPS – Some More Common Mistakes - Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2011

I had the opportunity to speak with one of my client’s this week, whose eyes became like saucers when I expanded on things that she could introduce and do within her business that she hadn’t even thought about. A bit sad that, because she had the idea, the basic idea – but she was so caught up in that basic idea that she couldn’t see the wood for trees – there were several different additional dimensions that she could also go to, but hadn’t. She was being restrained by herself. Don’t be scared to dream big!

One of the other things that I often see small business owners and entrepreneurs doing wrong, including myself, is the old 80:20 rule. It’s not new, it’s not difficult and it certainly is one of the most basic rules that we should all know and yet I for one, often struggle with it badly. I think that one of the reasons for this is that I am so ‘caught’ up in the moment that I don’t see it coming or that I am in the middle of it and it’s only when I am just about strangled to death by it, that I see what’s happening and then take the necessary steps to stop it and usually by that time, it has already caused the damage and I have to start again.

Let me step back for a moment and explain what I mean.

When 80% of your sales or your income, is generated from 20% of your customers – your natural instinct is to spend the greater amount of your time with those particular customers. The problem with this of course, is that because you are getting most of your income from these customers you are often coerced into giving them bigger discounts or freebies and that means that your margins are cut. The bottom line is that you may be getting the lion’s share of the turnover from them, but you are also getting the least profitability from them. There is also the very real danger that should you lose, even one of these customers, you have lost a very big piece of your income and that is never a good thing.

Balancing the 80% with the 20% is a very delicate thing and if you get it right your business with soar to incredible heights, but getting it wrong could also lead to your downfall. It is something that needs to be kept in sight at all times.

Linking to the 80%/20% spilt is customer service. If your 80% clients are running you ragged with all of their demands, and believe me some of those bigger clients can have a very lopsided view of what their money buys from you, chances are that you may very well have both little time and/or energy left for your smaller clients and their perception then is that they are not getting good customer service from you.

I don’t care if I go into a shop every single day or once a year – I want good service. If that is how I think, then surely my clients are entitled to the same. Giving consistently good service to ALL of your clients will result in loyalty. Loyalty in a client means that not only will they come back time and time again, they will also recommend you to all of their friends and word of mouth referrals are the best kind of marketing you can have. Believe me too though, when I tell you it is also the worst type of marketing you can have, if you have upset a client. Remember that ‘bad’ news also travels faster than ‘good’ news does and it has a bigger impact. So be sure to give consistently good service to your clients.

This of course, does not mean that you have to become a doormat for nasty and bad clients – those you should just get rid of anyway. Give value for money and good service and you’ll always have business coming your way.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BLOGGING TIPS - Learn Something New

BLOGGING TIPS – Learn Something New

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2011

I must admit that there have been occasions when I have sat here in my office, word document in front of me, ready for me to just put something on it and nothing comes to mind. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times, that that clean white block looks back at me, mocking me, bullying me, daring me, in fact doing everything nasty and horrible that you can think of to me. The one thing that it never, ever does is inspire me! That has to come from somewhere else and that somewhere else, for me is usually something that I have seen, read or listened to, but now have an opinion about and as I have often said, I usually have an opinion about most things.

Sometimes when I am writing an article on a particular topic, it feels like a chore – something that I was really on fire about, just a few weeks ago has become a chore, a pain in the rear end! That’s when I really do procrastinate – trying to squirm myself out of writing the article with ‘I don’t feel like it or I want to xyz now, or my own particular favorite one – I’ll just go and make myself a cup of tea and I’ll write it as soon as I get back. Needless to say, when I come back or rather if I come back, there is always something else that I need to do first. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

What I have realized lately is that the reason that I am not inspired to write that particular article on that particular subject, is usually because I’ve gone off the boil. I mean how many times can you say the same thing in a different way and sometimes people just don’t get it. Now that’s not my fault, although to be honest it can be quite frustrating for me.

So how do I get back ‘on the boil’? How do I get my ‘mojo’ back? Well I can either look though all of my material that I have gathered over the years, and believe me there is a lot of it – but the idea of getting some 20 odd boxes of notes and cuttings down out of the top corners of the cupboards is about as exciting and spark creating as watching paint dry (yet I still collect stuff all the time). The quickest and least painful thing for me is to put the old headphones on, crank up the music (I am currently listening to Duffy singing “Distant Dreamer” as I type this) and go on an electronic journey on the subject that I am wanting to write about. I always find something that I never knew on the subject, or something that I can now look at from a completely different aspect and my spark is once again ignited, my mojo returns and the blank word page, suddenly fills up really quickly – just as it should.

Personally, I don’t think that we will ever know all that there is to know about a particular subject. I think that we often become over confident about it. That’s the danger! So when you’re stuck, learn something new about the subject that you want to write about or about anything really. Learning something new never hurt anybody and it can be a lot of fun!

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

MOTIVATION - Lack of . . . .

MOTIVATION – Lack of . . .

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2011

Ken Hakuta says “Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.”

Well I am not sure if “Lack of money” is not an obstacle – ask anyone who doesn’t have any (and I’m not talking about ‘having enough’ here) and I am sure that they will see it as a huge challenge! I do get what he is trying to say though – it is about not having any money and having no idea about where/how you are going to get some or make some – now that is the biggest obstacle for sure!

For me, I guess, it still is all about having the dream and making the right choices in order to turn that dream into a reality and that is the biggest obstacle. Taking something that you are really passionate about, that is fun for you to do and then turning it into a money spinner – now that is the greatest challenge for me.

You see, whilst I am doing what I love, the last thing on my mind is money. I’m just enjoying the experience, loving every single minute of it. Think for a moment about an artist – drawing and painting is something that they have to do in order to fulfill themselves – their most basic needs. I doubt very much that they can stop the flow of their artistic endeavours, no matter how hard you tried. As they work on their canvasses or drawing books, all of their senses come alive as they watch the lines on the page or the strokes of the brush, turn whatever the picture they have in their heads into something that everybody can see – the beauty of art. I guarantee you, that whilst they are reveling in the beauty of what they are busy creating, the last thing on their minds is money – it’s perhaps thinking about what to add to get that colour just right, or how to shade that section in order to highlight the focus of this limb. No, it’s got nothing to do with money at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say, that many artists are so emotionally attached to some of their paintings and drawings that it is almost physically impossible for them to sell their work – for them it is the same as selling one of their children.

Yet that is exactly that is what they have to do, in order to make the money for them to then purchase the supplies in order for them to once again use their talents, their passion and to make their ideas and their dreams into a reality and so the cycle continues.

Sometimes, I really do think that it may be easier to just work at a job that is completely mindless, but that pays a good wage, that I don’t have to be emotionally invested in – you know the one – the ‘other people’s idea/passion’ one. Fortunately it always comes to me as a fleeting thought, because then I think about it carefully and I know and understand that they days that I worked in Corporate are over. The days that I worked making other people’s ideas and dream a reality are over. The days that I worked and in so doing, fanned the flames of someone else’s passion, are over.

These days I find my own ideas, I work with my own passion, with love and the same kind of amazement that artists have when they look at the beauty of the painting or the drawing that they have just completed and they think “Wow – did I do that?”

Does money have a place in there – absolutely! I have to make the money in order to be able to indulge myself in doing the things that I love. As difficult as the lesson was, has been and continues to be, I do understand that I have to think about money and ‘sell’ the ideas.

Using my passion and love for what I do is immensely rewarding on so many different levels and one of them is being able to pay the bills too.

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

Friday, July 22, 2011

HR - Failure to Disclose - Part 2


Failure to Disclose – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC , July 2011

So now, as promised, the not so nice ending for the employer – let’s bring in the protagonists. Michelle is the owner of a busy day Spa. Men and women come to spend an entire day, or even just an hour or two, being pampered and spoilt. The Spa offers several different types of massages as well as the usual facials and what have you. Michelle has had several requests from some of her regular ladies for a male masseuse and she had decided that that would be quite a draw card. So she goes about getting the right person for the job.

Michelle also has all the proper procedures in place and she is also careful to ensure that all the right questions are asked, one of them is “Do you have a criminal record” and her applicant George responds with a resounding “No, I don’t.” George is the successful applicant and he is hired and starts work immediately.

From the very beginning, George is very popular with the ladies (and even a few of Michelle’s gay male clients) and the novelty of having a male masseuse is quite a draw card. Business is great and Michelle is pleased with her decision.

A couple of months down the road, Michelle gets a new client (let’s call her Mary). Mary is a model and is clearly a difficult customer who makes a lot of demands – very loudly. Mary is also very careful to let everybody know who she is and who she knows. Mary wants everything done her way, done now and is very ‘public’ about what happens, when it happens and if it happens. Michelle stresses out every time Mary arrives as she disrupts the quiet and peaceful tranquillity of the Spa and it takes several hours, after she has left, for everybody to calm down and for peace and quiet to be restored.

On her 3rd or 4th visit Mary decides that she is going to try the male masseuse and despite the fact that George is fully booked for the day, Mary makes such a scene about it, that one of the regular clients decides to forego her scheduled and booked treatment with George and ‘give up’ her spot for the sake of peace and quiet. A very grateful Michelle promises, not only a replacement appointment, but also another at no cost.

Mary goes into George’s massage room and all hell breaks loose. Mary starts screaming as though she is being attached and a very traumatised and distraught George hastily departs the massage room. Mary comes out screaming like a banshee because ‘George is the pervert who tried to sexually abuse her’ at the previous spa that she used to go to and now he has ‘followed’ her here to Michelle’s Spa. Mary describes in great glorious detail what George is ‘allegedly’ did to her and states that she brought charges against George and that the ‘law’ has taken its course.

Michelle is obviously outraged as she did ask if George has a criminal record and George had replied that he did not. In her anger, frustration and obvious embarrassment, Michelle set about calling for a disciplinary hearing and George was dismissed for non-disclosure. George goes off the CCMA and Michelle loses the case.

Here’s the thing, in this country ‘a person is deemed innocent until proven guilty’ and since the court case, having been postponed several times because Mary’s lawyers just did not bother to pitch up, was eventually dismissed for ‘lack of evidence’, George was not charged or found guilty of anything, therefore when he stated that he did not have a ‘criminal record’ he was telling the truth. Michelle was ordered to pay all sorts of damages as well as all of George’s legal fees. Worse than that, Michelle still contends with Mary and all of her ‘loud’ snide comments about being subjected to a massage by a criminal.

As you can see from this story, if Michelle had used the services of a proper HR consultant, this probably would have been resolved without the huge legal costs incurred, because of her lack of understanding of the law.

My advice to Michelle would have been to get hold of a reputable HR specialist who had a good grounding in IR (Industrial Relations) and also to ‘fire’ Mary as a client!

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

EARLY WARNING - Intimidation

EARLY WARNING - Intimidation

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – July 2011

Once again, I have received this mail from a colleague and once again, in my opinion it is better to be forewarned than dead!

“URGENT WARNING - JHB Roads - And other areas - New intimidation methods

Hi Ladies / Gents

Please be very careful when travelling alone. A woman had been pushed off the road on Saturday at 10:00 on Parkland drive Esther Park road. A white
taxi full of men followed her for about 5 minutes and then moved in next
to her car and slowly pushed her towards the pavement. They kept on until
a couple of other cars started to drive around her, and then left.

This morning another lady stopped at a traffic light on Jan Smuts Avenue
Kempton Park. A taxi stopped next to her and five guys jumped out of the
taxi. One banged on the roof of her car, two tried to open the front
doors, a third jumped onto the bonnet of her car and a fourth stood in
front of her car. She got such a fright that she pulled away knocking the
chap in front of her down and crossed the red robot. It seems that this is
a new type of intimidation, victimizing mainly women drivers.

Please be very careful when driving on your own. This is the 11th case
we've heard of since last week. A single woman travelling from Boksburg
stopped at a robot and was pulled from her car and raped repeatedly by 4
men in a taxi and another 2 at the Modderfontein intersection.

Please pass this on - not only to females - but to everyone - be alert.

Men: please forward this to all the ladies you know.

They found another way to hijack u by bumping you softly and as u get out
the car to see what had happened they hijack you.”

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BLOGGING TIPS - Full Time Blogging

BLOGGING TIPS – Full Time Blogging

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2011

Someone asked me the other day if I had ever considered writing – blogs, articles, whatever - full time. My knee jerk reaction was to burst out laughing and reply “No, not for me thank you”. That was the end of that particular discussion. Much later though, I did think about it . . . . carefully . . . and I must admit, that although I do love to write, writing full time, meeting daily deadlines and doing research on stuff that I am perhaps not that interested in, will be the quickest way to put me off writing forever! So my knee-jerk reaction was not so far off the mark after all.

Here’s the thing though – just because writing full time is not for me – doesn’t mean that it can’t be for you. There are probably a few other things that you need to think about before you make that decision though, such as (but not limited to):

Do you really love to write? I mean really, really love it! Is it something that you think about all the time? Do the stories and words just run around in your head and continuously spill out as you frantically try and get them written down? Do they make ‘little tornadoes’ in your mind until you can think of nothing else, but getting them written down and then as soon as they are written, is your mind instantaneously filled up with the next story or more words? Whenever you go somewhere, as you look around you, are the words describing the experience or what you are looking at, forming in your mind and demanding to be written? If I was asking myself these questions and I had to reply “no” to any one of them – I would seriously re-think whether I was meant to be writing full time. You have to have the passion, if you don’t, you will end up hating to write.

Are you leaving your current job? Ok, so this one is a biggie! For me this is a big question – you see, I am passionate about what I do. My business has been going since 2003 and each day put’s me that much closer to my goal – the one that the dream was started and built on. My business is how I make my bread and butter and would I be prepared to either “dump” the whole thing or put everything on hold whilst I write full time? I think not! Even if I were to decide to go the writing full time route, it would need to start slowly as it is not something that I have been trained to do – better to start off, say blogging part time and see how that goes. My advice on this one would be caution – a lot of caution!

Learning and research. Talking about not being trained to write for a living, are you prepared to learn? I know that many people pay ‘lip service’ to the whole idea of ‘learning new stuff until the day we die’, but the reality is that many folk don’t want to be ‘learning’ new stuff every day. I know that from my own experience, every time I write a new blog or an article ,that I have to do the research and in so doing, I learn something new. So, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just about my opinion, it’s also about the facts and to get to the facts, you have to do the research – are you willing to spend that kind of time. If not, then I seriously suggest that you don’t go into writing full time.

Collaboration. Here’s another thing that many people pay ‘lip service’ to. Many ideas are born out of ‘brain storming’ or people discussing issues or people sharing experiences. Are you one of those kinds of people or is ‘your stuff’ exactly that – ‘Your stuff’? Often writing an article is a very personal or even intimate thing that is torn from you. It can be painful or even embarrassing – would you be able to share then? Perhaps I should also ask – COULD you part with it then? I know from my own experience that there are some stories that I had to write down, that is often how I have dealt with some of the issues from my past, but that doesn’t mean that I am willing to part with them or share them, but what about if you are being paid to write that particular story – how would you feel about parting with it then?

Endurance and patience. Just like any other enterprise, you have to endure and be patient. Chances are that you are not going to be earning huge amounts of money from stuff that you have written, five minutes after you have written it and before the ink is properly dry on the page. I have often heard journalists talking about how badly they are paid and how they write for the ‘love of it’. That writing is not a job, it’s a ‘calling’ or even a ‘responsibility’. The reality is that like any other job or business endeavor, it takes time. Again from my own experience, I have been writing my blogs now for a good 5 years and I am only now starting to reap the rewards. Has it been worth it – absolutely! Without a doubt!

Could I do it full time – absolutely not! The question here of course actually isn’t about whether I could write full time or not – the question is, can you?
Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BUSINESS TIPS - BEE Certificates

BUSINESS TIPS – BEE Certificates

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2011

Year before last I decided that it was time for me to get myself BBE compliant, despite the fact that in terms of the law I am ‘exempt’ as my annual turnover is less than R5 million per annum. It was one of those “practice what you preach” type moments for me. I found a small business owner who was able to issue the certificate, on receipt of a letter from my
Accountant verifying the fact that my turnover was indeed lower than the minimum requirement and the whole thing cost me R500.00, which I found to be quite reasonable at the time.

Towards the end of last year, just when my certificate was about to expire, I won a contract. One of their requirements was that I have a BEE certificate, despite the fact that they were in possession of my annual financial reports which clearly evidenced that my annual turnover was below the R5 million requirement so I contacted the company who had previously issued my certificate. I am sure that you can just imagine my horror when I was advised that the cost had gone up to R1500.00. Needless to say I did not use them to issue my new certificate and neither will I be sending them any new business in the future!

After doing some research and asking questions on the Business Master forum, I was pointed in the direction of the DTI. The web address to go to is .

The site is very easy to navigate and the response is really quick. Within 24 hours I received an e-mail confirming that I was indeed exempt. Trouble was though, that this was not sufficient for my new clients. So R285.00 and another 24 hours later, I was registered on the DTI site and since this is the equivalent to having a certificate – all was well in my business world. Remember though that the certificate needs to be re-issued on an annual basis.

I am still somewhat at a loss however, to understand the reasoning behind the fact that despite the fact that the company concerned had a copy of my year-end financial statements, (for 3 years mind you) that evidenced that I was below the required minimum and that the law states that I am a ‘preferred supplier’ because I am ‘exempt’, I still had to provide a certificate to certify that I am exempt and therefore a preferred supplier. It’s kind of stating the obvious, but making me pay for it!

Still, there you have it! Instead of paying exorbitant prices to unscrupulous money grabbing individuals, the DTI have an affordable solution to the requirement.

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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

EARLY WARNING - South African Telecoms Ripoff

EARLY WARNING – South African Telecoms Ripoff

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – July 2011

Whilst trawling on the internet the other day, I came across this article written by Charles Ash and I must admit to thinking “Finally, someone other than me thinks that we are being ripped off”. It was written some time ago, but is still valid (in my opinion) and so I have copied the complete article here for all to read.

The great South African telecommunications RIPOFF!!

Charles Ash, founder of and marketing manager of has had it with telecoms and SMS ripoffs. He cautions that this information could put BILLIONS of Rands back into the South African economy!
At times like these, I feel like curling up in the corner of the shower and scrubbing my skin for hours until it turns bright red. I feel dirty, used, abused, cheated...betrayed.
I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps the high crime rate in South Africa is having an adverse effect on our corporations as some of the prices we pay for telecommunication services in this country are criminal...nothing more than daylight robbery.
Much is written about South Africa's unacceptably high instance of rape and rightfully so...but what about the lesser mentioned, government sanctioned "economic rape" of our citizens? "Economic rape", the kind practised with sickening impunity by so many corporates in South Africa is showing no signs of fact, it's spreading.
The petrol price rises, prices across the board rise...the petrol price drops...prices stay fixed. Price fixing scandals abound, the poor suffer while the corporates get off with a feeble slap on the wrist.
Something is deeply wrong with the conduct and insensitivity of corporates in this country. "Economic rape" is such a harsh term, but in the context and manner in which criminally exorbitant prices are thrust on the battered, unsuspecting, undeserving South African public, the term is particularly apt.
What makes the proliferation of high prices in the telecommunications sector so disturbing is the fact that it flies in the face of government's espoused pro-poor policies. Year after year, under the auspices of the loathsome and repugnant Ivy Matsepe Casaburri (Minister of Communications) and Lyndall Shope-Mafole (Director-General Dept of Communications), government has ensured that the poor and struggling middle classes in South Africa remain thoroughly disenfranchised and excluded from the new digital economy.
While most progressive developing nations in Asia, South America and even North Africa enthusiastically embrace the emancipative potential and power of telecommunications as a social leveler, South Africans continue to labour under the burden of ridiculously high prices, governmental indifference, shoddy service and hollow gestures of pricing relief.
I've often thought about what might influence government telecommunication policy makers to conjure up such disastrous policies, then in spite of the outcry and the reliable reports which consistently highlight the abject failure of these policies, government sticks doggedly to its guns, insisting on riding roughshod over the poor rather than backtrack and make the necessary course adjustments.
When the telecommunications industry needed decisive, visionary ended up getting misguided ministerial directives. But what influences or informs government's stubborn adherence to its patently disastrous telecommunications policies? I've considered this question for some time and contrary to popular, reductionist opinion, I think it goes far deeper than government merely maintaining the status quo in order to cash-in handsomely through its equity in Telkom and Vodacom.
After witnessing the Obama election and realising how effectively Obama was able to re-engineer public sentiment through astute usage of the internet and new media, it dawned on me that lethargic governments around the world should rightfully fear the Internet.
Unlike the SABC, the internet cannot be censored, it cannot be co-opted or coerced into presenting a sanitised, one-sided view which serves your narrow interests. The Internet is a place where ideas spread like wildfire, minds get infected with idea viruses and information is shared at the speed of light.
It stands to reason then that lethargic governments would at the very least try their utmost to prevent the mass proliferation of this technological beast for as long as possible while they consolidate their stranglehold on the masses, prey on the ill-informed, mould the malleable and ingratiate themselves to the vulnerable.
Knowledge is power, so when you're denied access to the most powerful information repository in the history of mankind, it makes you a weak and easy target. You don't have the means to properly interrogate the facts or expose yourself to alternate, dissident're just what the politicians fodder. Well, that's my theory anyway.
On the issue of telecoms pricing, there are four areas of profiteering in the telecommunications sector which I would like to speak out on lest my silence on these matters make me complicit in their continuation.
1. SMS for Mobile Content aka "SMS RIPOFF to $%#&@ and get RIPPED OFF"
There's not much in this world that riles me more than seeing adverts on TV for SMS "SMS FAIL to &%*#$" and get a picture sent to your phone or even more disturbingly, SMS LOVE...or SMS TONE. The cost of these text messages are in the region of R5 each; some are R10, some are even R30 and worse still, most are subscription based. With most new phones sporting high resolution screens; gigs of storage space; sound systems like ghetto blasters from the 80's/early 90's and 3G/HSDPA connectivity capabilities, it's no surprise that service providers are lining up to put these feature to full use. What makes the mobile content industry so particularly reprehensible is that it preys on the poor and the poorly informed.

For starters, your phone needs to be WAP enabled in order to download mobile content. Now, if your phone is WAP enabled and you're still paying for mobile content, then you need to have your head checked. Simply bookmark on your phone's browser, visit Uncle Google, type "Free Mobile Content" and BOOYAKASHA!! All the free mobile content your salivating phone can eat. Alternately, you could visit a personal favourite of mine ( and access vast repositories of free mobile content from games to pictures to tunes. DISCLAIMER - I have no responsibility whatsoever...particularly if some of the content you access is copyrighted or adult in nature.
Not happy with that? Or your phone's browser is not giving you the sublime experience you'd like, simply head over to and install Opera Mini on your phone. Opera Mini is a phone browser that actively customises websites on the fly in order that they can fit on your phone's screen, effectively allowing you to visit just about any website on the Internet. This way, if you're feeling particularly amorous and romantic, save yourself the R5/love poem you're currently expected to pay and head over to Google...type "SMS love poems" and VOILA ROMEO...all the love poems your phone can ingest...FREE!!
This segment would not be complete without a simple calculation to illustrate what most average Joes' and Joelenes' might not be aware of. Considering that all network operators except Virgin (ie. Vodacom, Cell C, MTN) all charge a staggering R2/MB of data, when you SMS I-AM-A-FOOL to &%$*# and instantly shed R10 for the displeasure of gaining access to that ostensibly hilarious 4MB video clip you're after, keep in mind that @ R2/MB, the download will cost you a further R2 x 4MB = R8. The total cost of this exercise in subliminal corporate fleecing is R10 + R8 = R18...guess they hid that in the nanoscopic fine-print right? Mobile content probably only makes sense if everybody has a Blackberry as you get unlimited data access with these bad boys.
To add insult to injury, the network providers are now all in on the great social ripoff currently underway. By accessing content services from the network provider's lacklustre mobile portals, like; Juiced or Vodafonelive, the data charges (the R2/MB) are waived (something to do with walled-garden services yadda-yadda). Now, if I was a mobile content service provider, I'd be suing the pants off of the networks for such brazen anti-competitive practises...but that's another story... Anti-competitiveness IS the name of the game in South Africa.

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