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Hobby-X showcases a wide variety of materials, equipment, supplies and ideas for an extensive range of creative crafts and hobbies.

Not only are there loads of wonderful new products to buy, but visitors can also participate in interactive areas, watch fascinating demos, book a trendy workshop and soak up the inspiration all around you.

Whether you’re into hobbies and crafts for pleasure, passion or profit, don’t miss Hobby-X. Discover it for yourself

Hobby-X Midrand

4 – 7 September 2014
Gallagher Estate, Midrand
Thu & Fri 10am – 5pm
Sat & Sun 9am – 5pm
Click for map

Hobby-X Cape Town

3 – 5 October 2014
CTICC, Cape Town

Hobby-X Jo’burg

5 – 8 March 2015
Coca-Cola Dome,
Northgate, Johannesburg
Click for map

Hobby-X Durban

28 – 30 August 2015
Expo Centre Durban

PACSA – The Professional Administrators’ Conference in South Africa is the premier event for all Secretaries, Personal Assistants and Office Managers to attend.  The event combines hard hitting, practical business sessions with life changing presentations on how to get ahead and be more successful in your profession and is topped by great networking opportunities and a LOT of fun with like-minded people.

This year, it is being hosted in Sun City and offers a line up of top trainers and celebrity speakers to provide delegates with the latest thinking in administrative support as well as key personal development tools.

Click here to book now:


Professional Administrators & Secretaries Conference in South Africa 2014

Price: Starting from R9, 450 Excluding VAT
Duration: 3 Days
Date: Venue:
26 – 28 October 2014 Sun City Conference Centre

To enquire further contact SASPA on T: 011 454 5505 or visit

Engen strengthens its brand leadership

Engen, South Africa’s popular fuel and retail convenience brand, has again strengthened  its brand leadership.

The company has won the Sunday Times Top Brands award for a record fourth time running, beating competitors including BP, Shell and Total in the petrol station category. After rising to joint first place with BP in 2010, Engen won the award outright in 2011 for the first time.


Service and products

Engen attributes its long reign at the top to continued investment in meeting customers’ needs. “We remain focused on providing a great forecourt and convenience service experience, and on developing products that are relevant to our customers,” says Joe Mahlo, General Manager, Engen Sales & Marketing.


Engen has delighted customers with a host of innovative convenience partnerships over the years, and pours significant investment into customer service training, with interventions including its annual Phambili Roadshow, Smile customer service programme and iPad-based distance learning programme, Engen Learn.


“We have worked very hard to deliver a unique “branded” customer experience and appealing convenience package,” says Mahlo.


Rising through the ranks

Tasneem Sulaiman-Bray, Engen’s General Manager: Corporate Affairs, says Engen’s sustained success shows the brand has pride of place in South African motorists’ hearts and minds.


“Not only do we lead the industry in share of market, but our brand continues to be recognised and trusted. We’re honoured by motorists’ continued endorsement of our hard work.”


No accident

Engen is no stranger to accolades having once again won the people’s most popular fuel brand in the 2014 Standard Bank People’s Wheels award amassing 27% of the votes in the “Most Popular Fuel Brand” category.   Engen was also the winner of this category in 2013 when it attained 26% of the votes.


Engen was  named SA’s leading oil company in the 2013 Top Company Reputation Index run by Mail & Guardian, and this year was once again named the ‘coolest petroleum brand’ for the fourth consecutive year in the Sunday Times Generation Next youth survey.


Mahlo says a Brand Tracker survey for the petroleum industry shows increasing awareness and usage of Engen brand.  “It is becoming increasingly important for service station brands to offer great service in times of economic hardship,” he says.


Winning strategy

Mahlo says Engen is optimistic about building momentum for the brand as recessionary pressures continue.




* Sunday Times Top Brands Awards is commissioned by Avusa Media and conducted by TNS Research Surveys


Free Vodacom data for educational sites

Vodacom has started zero-rating data used to access five South African educational websites approved by the Department of Education, according to the operator’s website.

The promotion will be available until March 2015, Vodacom said, and means that it will be possible to access the 5 sites without paying for the data used to browse them.

Wikipedia is not among the sites listed as zero-rated, despite a big push from the Wikimedia Foundation for operators to join its Wikipedia Zero initiative.

In it’s campaign, Wikimedia uses MTN as an example of an operator that’s come to the party in terms of providing school students with free access to Wikipedia.

Asked about its decision to exclude Wikipedia from the list of zero-rated sites, a Vodacom spokesperson told MyBroadband that this was the first part of a larger programme the company was putting together to support free access to educational resources.

“We are looking at the possibility of supplying free access to Wikipedia as part of that wider programme,” Vodacom said. “Our key overall concern is to provide access to resources relevant to the schools’ curriculum.”

Details of Vodacom’s larger free access to educational resources programme will be announced at a later date.

“Our overall drive in supporting education has involved equipping 40 ICT teacher training centres across the country and also equipping almost 900 schools with ICT resources,” Vodacom said.

Vodacom subscribers will be able to access the following sites for free until March 2015:

Vodacom Foundation:

Mindset Learn :

Everything Maths books:

Everything Science books:

Department of Basic Education:


‘Mobile’ is the current buzzword, but to really target this ‘new’ customer in the mobile workplace, we need to first know who and what exactly makes and defines that individual. has been doing some research…

In today’s US workforce, over 30%of employees no longer work in a traditional 9-to-5 office environment. A recent online study, entitled Mobile Worker Report, conducted by, a niche OP website targeting the mobile workforce found that today’s mobile worker represents a much larger and more diverse population than what the company’s President/CEO Douglas Nash calls ‘road warriors’. “Road warriors have been a part of today’s business workforce for a long time, dating back to travelling salesmen. They know how to work in multiple environments because it’s always been their job to figure it out,” he states.

These original road warriors were mainly men who worked in the sales departments of very large corporations. In this study, the majority of mobile workers were still men, but only 27% worked for large corporations and most – 52% – worked for themselves or small companies (fewer than 100 employees). Only 20% of them described themselves as being in ‘sales’ while 50% indicated that they were a business owner, consultant or ‘other’, indicating that mobile workers now come from a wide variety of companies and represent a diverse skill set.

Still strong office base

Historically, road warriors spent nearly 40 hours or more on the road and out of the mobile workers indicated they were on the road for that period of time. In fact, 57% spent between 10-40 hours out of a traditional office. In addition, when asked: “Why do youwork remotely”, only 28% indicated that their “job required it” and cited work/life/family balance and other obligations as the main reasons for working outside a traditional office. Lastly, mobile workers were found to be highly educated with 76% of them holding college and/or postgraduate degrees. Nash summarises: “Today’s mobile workers aren’t on the road as much, but they are working in multiple locations – home office, cafés, co-working spaces, their cars… Therefore, they are seeking to find products and services that empower them to work anywhere more effectively. It’s a matter of lifestyle/workstyle choice rather than job description.” Historically, large companies that employed road warriors bought the required mobile office supplies for their staff, but only 16% of today’s mobile workers rely on an employer to select and purchase supplies on their behalf. Instead, 35% claim purchases on expenses, with 45% buying their own mobile office supplies. More than half – 52% – stated they spent over $50 a month on office supplies. “We know that in today’s mobile workforce, the person buying OP and tech accessories is no longer in ‘purchasing’ or ‘admin’. It is

a person, a business consumer,” Nash says. “This fundamentally changes the way we need to sell and market these products.” What may be surprising in today’s technology-driven business environment is that mobile workers still use more traditional office supplies on a daily basis than tech tools. Almost all mobile workers (96%) use writing instruments daily, compared to 68% using wireless mice/keyboards or 16% using a stylus for tablets/smartphones.

Device protection

Because mobile workers are working and meeting in many different environments, device protection and power is essential. The survey found that 79% use protective cases and 76% use power adaptors on a daily basis. However, mobile workers, it seems, aren’t too concerned with the brand, style or design of traditional business supplies, with the exception of writing tools and bags – both often considered more personal purchases and status symbols. Only 15% of mobile workers favour a briefcase these days, with 48% preferring a messenger/tote bag, followed by a backpack (23%). Conversely, brand and style is important for technology tools that are in daily use such as power adaptors, headphones, wireless mice and protective cases. “These tech accessories say a lot about who a person is, so brand and style matter,” indicates Nash. All in all, when compared to the historical road warriors, today’s mobile workers represent a very diverse group of people, motivated by both business and personal reasons to work in non-traditional environments. Both technology advancements and evolving corporate cultures are the momentum beneath this growing trend and dramatic change in today’s workforce.

Chicago-based entrepreneur Douglas Nash founded in April 2013. The website targets the mobile workforce with over 3,000 mobile-oriented products.

Wondering how well things are going on the job and what your co-workers think? New apps remove the guessing game by allowing colleagues to anonymously rate each other.

Knozen, a free iPhone app, allows colleagues to rate each other on traits such as assertiveness, patience, analytical ability, friendliness and skepticism.

“Knowing more about yourself is a gift, and knowing more about how you’re perceiving others and where it’s different and where it’s the same can be really useful,” said Marc Cenedella, the founder and chief executive officer of New York-based Knozen.

The app, which operates via a work email address when at least seven colleagues in the same company are signed up, poses questions about which colleague is likely to exhibit a particular personality trait such as assertiveness or patience.

All the questions are positive, according to Cenedella, and aimed at assessing an employee’s personality.

“The important thing is there are no bad traits. Someone can be structured and organized, or they might be unstructured and open to new things. Both are good, and there’s no wrong answer in personality assessment,” he said.

The app plots each person’s results on a matrix showing personality traits on a scale of one to five. Users can also see the traits they are more prone to than others.

“When we say someone is patient it means that compared to everyone else they will be more likely to wait longer and not get snappy,” Cenedella explained.

He added that greater self-awareness can help people work better in teams by understanding their strengths and weaknesses better.

Another free app for iPhone, Good.Co, which is available worldwide, lets people take quizzes to assess their personality and to receive feedback from contacts in their Facebook and LinkedIn networks.

“Many times feedback we receive from others is more honest than what we’d say about ourselves,” said Samar Birwadker, chief executive officer of Good.Co, which is based in San Francisco.

The app uses positive questions and provides a score that measures the compatibility of employees with each other and with companies based on personality traits, attitudes and motivations.

“For individuals, self-awareness and self-discovery can help strengthen their career, but also improve other facets of their life as well, including interpersonal relationships,” Birwadker said.

Ryan Ackers, a recruitment adviser at the Dutch human resources consulting firm Randstad, said self-awareness on the job is crucial for career success, happiness and compatibility with co-workers. But he said some employees could perceive the feedback negatively.

“When a person is asked to share their opinion on another person, a popularity contest can result, and though many may get lots out of the apps, some may be offended and even hurt,” he said. “If they see themselves not getting rated the way they expect, it could create animosity and low morale.”


PIC website hacked

The website of government-owned Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC) – which has more than R1.6 trillion under its management – has been hacked.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), which picked up on the incident, said that a Moroccan based hacker succeeded in breaching the PIC’s online security systems early Sunday morning, disabling the website and potentially gaining unauthorized access to the organisation’s private information.

The party provided a screenshot of the hack, which states: “Hacked By J4r; Gov’s Attacker !Moroccan Haxor”.

Hacked by j4r

Google has also indexed the hack, showing the PIC’s search links with the same text.

PIC hack in Google

“The DA will write to the Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, requesting urgent clarification on what measures have been taken to protect the integrity of information held by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) following [the] cyber-attack,” said DA Shadow minister of finance, Dion George.

“This is a serious breach of the organisation’s cyber-security protocols and potentially compromises information on the investor’s operations and the private information of millions of South Africans.”

The PIC is a key driver for investment within the South African economy and is also responsible for managing funds acquired from public servants through the South African Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

The PIC’s top five clients include

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF);

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF);

The Associated Institutions Pension Fund (AIPF);

The Compensation Commissioner: Pension Fund (CCPF);

and the Compensation Commissioner Fund (CC).

The group did not return comment by the time of publication.

Rumours are rife that FNB is preparing to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in South Africa in partnership with mobile operator Cell C. The move seems likely given Cell C’s desire to offer MVNO services and FNB’s numerous existing plays in the mobile space.

MVNOs – where third parties use an existing mobile operator’s infrastructure to sell their own mobile products and services – have proven both popular and successful in Asia, Europe and the US, but to date have achieved little traction in the South African market because the country’s largest mobile operators (MTN and Vodacom) have been reluctant to offer MVNO facilities and because South Africa’s first MVNO, Virgin Mobile, has achieved limited success since it launched in 2006.

However Cell C, which has faced an uphill battle winning market share from South Africa’s two biggest networks, has indicated its willingness to provide MVNO services and has previously said it is always looking to create partnerships with high-profile brands.

Cell C currently provides the infrastructure for Virgin Mobile, and will be doing likewise for Mr Price’s planned mobile play, Mr Price Mobile (MRP Mobile), which was announced this week. That will bring South Africa’s MVNO tally to two, but there’s no reason to think Cell C isn’t actively pursuing other suitors.

Virgin Mobile in turn powers Red Bull Mobile, the energy-drink branded mobile services that are offered under a brand licensee agreement. Cell C is the only operator that’s demonstrated an appetite for MVNO arrangements, perhaps unsurprisingly given its desire to dilute the market dominance enjoyed by rivals Vodacom and MTN and its need to recoup on the massive infrastructure investments it is making to its network to allay criticisms about network quality.

It’s these complaints about quality of service that may prove the biggest obstacle to Cell C signing up additional MVNO players. Despite aggressively bringing down prices – particularly in the prepaid space – Cell C has been dogged by consumer complaints about dropped calls and lack of coverage, which have affected the operator’s ability to woo customers into porting to its network even with its compelling packages and pricing.

Cell C also has yet to launch next-generation 4G mobile data services commercially – something Vodacom and MTN have been investing in heavily and promoting aggressively. However, this may prove less of an impediment than imagined in instances where MVNOs target lower LSMs or where compelling value-added services are bundled with traditional offerings like call time and data.

Meanwhile, FNB – which holds its own telecommunications licence – has a long history of focusing on the mobile space. It’s been offering data and voice-over-IP (VOIP) services to its customers via its FNB Connect platform for years and it was the first bank in South Africa to launch transactional mobile-banking applications.

The bank has also become one of the biggest distributors of mobile devices in South Africa in recent years by offering customers reduced rates on devices and allowing them to pay off the devices over 24 months without interest and sells vast quantities of airtime and data via its banking applications and online banking portal.

Arguably the next logical step is for FNB to offer conventional voice and data services to its consumers directly – something an MVNO agreement with Cell C would enable. Doing so would allow FNB to provide end-to-end mobile services to its customers, from selling physical devices to supplying voice and data and, potentially, providing additional over-the-top services, in addition to its existing apps, from which all of the above could be managed.

Neither Cell C nor FNB were willing to comment on the market’s speculation, saying only that announcements about any new products or services are only made when they are ready to go to market. Nonetheless, Cell C appears to be looking for MVNO suitors, and FNB makes for an excellent match.

Source: Moneyweb


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