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