Source: MyBroadband

Telkom, the partly state-owned South African telecommunications company, is billing the national police service for two contracts that cover virtually the same work, five people familiar with the situation said.

The Pretoria-based company secured a contract to work on the service’s switching centers, which allow the South African Police Service to communicate with staff and stations across the country, and started work in mid 2016 using Netxcom ICT Solutions (Pty) Ltd. as a subcontractor, the people said, declining to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the press.

While Netxcom is continuing to do the work, Telkom has withheld some of the payments it owes to the subcontractor even though it has continued to receive money from the police, the people said. It is now in a legal dispute with Netxcom, which has sued to get the money it believes it is owed. Telkom said it did withhold some payments to subcontractors because of contractual “inadequacies” without naming Netxcom.

A few months after Netxcom started work, Telkom signed a separate R497-million ($34 million) contract, which will run for five years, with the police to do the same work on the same switching centers with a few minor additions. That agreement, which has been seen by Bloomberg, includes another subcontractor known as AppCentrix (Pty) Ltd. as a participant. It was not put through a competitive bidding process, as is mandatory for all government contracts over 1 million rand unless the requirement is waived by the National Treasury.

Treasury unaware
The Treasury says that it is unaware of the contract. The State Information Technology Agency, or SITA, which procures all of government’s information technology, was not consulted by the police on this contract as is also mandatory, the people said, declining to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Telkom spokeswoman Nomalungelo Faku cited confidentiality clauses when asked why a tender for the new contract had not been held. The police and SITA didn’t respond to queries. Netxcom and AppCentrix declined to comment.

“As a principle, Telkom does not withhold payment to its vendors,” Faku said by email, saying she was commenting on behalf of George Candiotes, Telkom’s executive for legal services. “However, during 2017 Telkom conducted a supplier review. Based on this certain actions were taken between Telkom and suppliers including the withholding of payments where certain inadequacies in the contractual arrangements were identified.”

Wasteful spending
Emails between senior officials of of Telkom’s BCX unit seen by Bloomberg said that the failure to pay Netxcom was souring Telkom’s relationship with the police and that Netxcom was still doing work for the police.

Telkom hasn’t answered questions on how the two contracts with the police differ.

The revelations come as Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over as president in February, is overseeing a drive to stem irregular and wasteful spending that’s led to the termination of boards of state companies.

Internal email communication, seen by Bloomberg, between Telkom staff including its chief executive officer, Sipho Maseko, and Candiotes corroborated what the people said about the non-payment of fees to NetXcom.

The South African Police Service “has not indicated any direct issues with the vendors or the work and we are receiving payment,” Candiotes said in an April email to Maseko. “Our view is that we are currently exposed in the instance where we cannot show why we cannot make payment, despite our contentions we have terminated the agreement.”

Telkom, which is 41% owned by the government, is trying to terminate the relationship with Netxcom in favor of its newer contract, the people said.

By Ann Crotty for Business Day

Shareholder activists are gunning for fashion retailer Truworths in a bid to force changes to its board and executive management, which, 24 years after the country’s first democratic elections, continues to be dominated by white men.

Transformation in the retail sector, which does not rely on government for licences or for business, has lagged sectors such as mining and financial services.

With two black women on its 11-member board, of which one was appointed in February, and only two women and no blacks among its 19 divisional directors, Truworths falls short of even the low levels of transformation in the retail sector. In the mining sector, 50% of directors must be black, of which 20% must be black women.

Shares in the retail sector have been hit by weak economic conditions, which have knocked consumer spending. The general retailers index is down 18.1% since the start of 2018, lagging the all share index, which has shed 12.27%. Truworths is down nearly 14%. This has added to calls for board and management changes.

Bishop Jo Seoka, chairman of Active Shareholder, which advises nongovernmental organisations how to vote their shares, said the Truworths board was dominated by white men who had been directors for a worryingly long time.

“They seem to treat these as lifetime appointments; it’s amazing that they don’t realise that this looks like the quintessential old boys’ club.”

‘Lack of transformation’

Active is voting against two of the five directors who are up for re-election at the retail group’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.

It is voting against former Truworths executive Tony Taylor (71), who is described as an independent nonexecutive director, although he has served on the board for 19 years. “His reappointment is opposed on the grounds of the lack of transformation, the lack of independence and the fact that younger directors are not being introduced,” said Active in its proxy statement.

It said it was also voting against recently appointed Hans Hawinkels because it believed it was not appropriate for the board to appoint another white man in his late 60s.

In his chairman’s statement, Hilton Saven, who has been on the board for 15 years and is deemed independent, described the Truworths board as “strong, well balanced and diverse in its composition, expertise and opinions.”

Chief operations officer David Pfaff said the board was unaware of shareholder concerns, and that the board would “like to engage with them.” He said the group was already close to its own target of 30% women and 30% black directors.

Shane Watkins, chief investment officer at All Weather Capital, said the “demographics of the board and of the executive management team is completely detached from the demographic of their core customer.”

Although All Weather Capital did not hold Truworths shares, Watkins said he would attend the annual general meeting to engage with the management about the lack of transformation. Analysts from All Weather Capital, whose executive chairman John Oliphant chairs the Code for Responsible Investing in SA, are represented at most annual general meetings as part of their strategy to champion governance and empowerment issues, he said.

Active is also voting against proposed fee increases for non- executive directors.

Average director fees have increased 210% since 2008, compared with an increase in profit before tax of 108% over the same period.

Directors’ fees have also increased at a much higher rate than employee wages.

By Michael Holder for BusinessGreen

Upcyclers turn old desks, chairs, and carpets into new office furniture, saving money and delivering environmental benefits.

Making sure products and materials can be used again – rather than going to waste – is good for for both businesses and the environment. That is the premise that underpins the concept of the “circular economy”, an emerging sector the government estimates could deliver £23-billionn a year of benefits to UK businesses if resources were used more efficiently.

For example, one third of our office furniture – 300 tonnes per day – ends up in landfill.

Firms such as Rype Office create sustainable furniture from items that would otherwise get thrown away and is employing ‘upcyclers’ across its growing business to help turn the circular economy vision into a reality.

Artist creates paintings, sculptures with fabric

In the hands of Benjamin Shine, a piece of tulle isn’t just for making fancy dresses and curtains.

Using nothing but an iron, the British artist turns the fabric into amazingly realistic paintings and sculptures.

Shine sculpts, presses and pleats the huge single piece of tulle, whose transparent qualities give the portrait more texture and depth. By layering in this way, the artist obtains different tones and shadows that enable him to realistically depict everything from objects to portraits.

How to sell: Paper perfect 

A simple guide to selling your customers the best paper for the job 

Paper comes in a vast array of colours, shapes and sizes, and it is very much a part of our everyday lives. To help your customers choose the best product for their purposes, you will need to understand what it is they want to do with it.

How paper is made

Paper is generally made from the fibres of wood, typically from pine trees. Trees are felled and delivered to a pulp mill in the form of logs, wood chips, waste paper or even paper pulp from other mills.

Making pulp
At the mill the logs are stripped of their bark. They are then either ground to fibres for mechanical wood pulp or processed to chips for chemical pulp. Recycled pulp is made using waste paper.
To grind wood into fibres, it is mixed with water and milled.
During a chemical pulping process, lignin, the natural “glue” that holds the wood fibres together, is dissolved. This frees up wood fibres. The resultant pulp is either sulphate or sulphite pulp, and the fibres are clean and undamaged. Paper made from chemical pulp is often called “wood-free” or “fine” paper.
Newspapers, cardboard boxes and magazines are de-inked as part of the recycled pulping process. This type of pulp is turned into things such as fluting (the middle layer of corrugated cardboard).

Whitening the pulp 
As a natural product, wood pulp is brown. It must therefore be bleached in order to make white paper. This is done with chlorine or chlorine compounds, as well as with oxygen or hydrogen peroxide. Chlorine-based processes have a larger environmental impact, and so chlorine free processes are used. 

Refining the pulp  
In order to give the pulp the exact properties for a particular type of paper, the bleach pulp has to be refined. This is done by passing the pulp through a system of rotating and stationary blades. This enhances the way the fibres mesh together, increasing their bonding properties and making them stronger papers.

The furnish
The mix, or furnish, consists of a blend of pulp. This blend is generally made up of differing proportions of hardwood and softwood, depending on the “recipe” for a particular type of paper.
At this stage, various chemicals are added depending on the particular specifications of the paper to be made. Chalk or clay may be added to enhance brightness and smoothness; dyes are added for shade control; optical brighteners are added for whiteness; and sizing agents are added to make the paper repel moisture.
All the components are dissolved in water and mixed with the pulps. Water is the most important component at this stage, and it takes approximately 100l of water to make 1kg of paper. This is then ready for conversion on the paper machine into a continuous sheet of paper.

The paper machine
This machine has three major components – the base sheet forming section, the press section and the drying section – and its primary function is to create a uniform web of paper.
The furnish is agitated to prevent the fibres from clumping. The furnish is rapidly de-watered, the fibres begin to bond and a mat is formed. From here, the furnish moves to the press section where it squeezed between a series of pressure rollers. From there, the paper moves to a drying section.
At this point the paper may have other elements, such as a surface coating with starch, added to it.
The paper is then wound into a large reel.

Calendering
Calendering is a finishing process used on paper. Sheets of paper are placed between metallic plates and passed through spring loaded rollers in a calendering machine. This is to smooth the paper out and enhance the gloss. The paper passes through up to 16 rolls which apply pressure and temperature to the coated paper surface. These rolls have different surfaces. Steel rolls and elastic rolls achieve the various glazing and surface treatments. This process is also used to achieve different textures.

Finishing  
At this point the paper is cut to the size required by the customer. The jumbo reels are transported to a finishing department, where they are dispatched for delivery as is or processed into specific paper sheet sizes on a sheeter. 

Characteristics of paper 

Texture
Paper is available in a range of textures, from very smooth to quite rough.
Smoothness is an important characteristic, especially if your customers are using paper to print on. The smoother the paper is, the sharper the printed image. Certain types of paper are optimised for different functions. For example, laser printer paper is optimised for use in laser printers. It improves printer performance, especially for colour and complex graphics. Inkjet printer paper ensures images print cleanly without bleeding.
Rough papers have greater texture, providing an interesting element to an art project or painting. Watercolour paper and handmade papers are very rough. 

Weight
The weight of the paper is also important. The higher the weight, the greater the thickness of the individual sheets of paper.  Weight, or grammage, is measured in grams per square metre (gsm). Most paper for use in printers ranges from 80gsm to 160gsm. Tracing paper is very thin (40gsm) while card stock is between 200gsm and 250gsm.
 

Performance
Paper performance is usually determined by how well the paper is suited for the task at hand. As with most things, the more expensive a paper is, the more likely it will be to be good quality.
With regards to cut sheet paper, printing sharpness is important. How clear will the print be? Will the ink smudge or blur? Sharpness is provided via a combination of paper finishes and weight.
Cut sheet paper with consistent, reliable performance helps reduce printer wear and tear. Paper dust (a result of using poor quality paper) can harm printers in the long run. 

Appearance 
The appearance of paper is also important. Papers with a low opacity will allow light to shine through. In general, that means ink will show through too. Multi-purpose paper is fairly translucent, while thinker papers tend to have a higher opacity. Thicker paper will be resistant to ink bleeding through.
Another aspect of appearance is whiteness. When it comes to cut sheet paper for a printer, whiter is better. The white the paper being printed on, the better colour and black and white copies will look.
Coloured papers should not leech colour.

Sustainability
Some types of paper come with a Forest Stewardship Council logo (FSC). This means that the timber used to produce the pulp was grown in a responsible manner and has been certified as such.  

Types of paper 

When selling paper to your customers, make sure to ascertain their needs. There are many different types of paper, and they are used for different applications. To determine which paper will be most suitable for your customer, ask them what they plan to do with it.

Continuous form paper
Continuous form paper is usually perforated at regular intervals and is joined together like an accordion. It is typically used by impact (dot matrix) printers.  It can be single ply or multi-ply, with carbon paper between the layers. The highest grade of continuous paper is similar to typing paper, with a fine perforation. The most common sizes are 241mm x 279mm and 381mm x 279mm.
Continuous form paper is commonly used by businesses that are required to give customers copies of invoices, such as mechanics and couriers.

Cut sheet paper
The standard, white paper that your customers buy in a ream and use in their inkjet and laser printers is called cut sheet paper. It ranges in size from A5 (148mm x 210mm) up to A0 (841mm x 1 189mm) in speciality printers. Variations are offered in thickness, smoothness or a combination thereof. Paper is often supplied by printer manufacturers to ensure the best colour reproductions.  Be sure to ask your customers what type of printer they use to ensure you sell them the correct paper.

Photograph paper
Customers who want to print their own photographs will require special photographic paper, which is coated with specially developed chemicals for a glossy finish. The chemicals also ensure there is no bleeding or smearing of ink. The paper itself can be thin sheets of plain paper or thick, multi-layered paper. Different types of photo paper have different thicknesses and textures. Some photo papers have the grain and weight of watercolour paper or art canvas. 

Thermal paper 
Thermal paper is a fine paper coated with a chemical that changes colour when exposed to heat. The paper, which comes in rolls, has a protective top-coating to prevent fading. Despite this, the paper is light sensitive and fades easily. This type of paper will usually be used by customers who print receipts, such as those with tills and credit card machines.

Security paper
Security paper is a type of paper that incorporates features that help to authenticate a document as original. This is done through the use of watermarks or invisible fibres.
This type of paper is used for identification documents such as passports; certificates; and government documents.

Paper for arts and crafts
In general, the paper used for arts and crafts is different from other papers in that it is brightly coloured or patterned, and has different texture.
Tissue paper – this is a type of very thin paper with a smooth surface.  It is available in a range of bright colours and is best suited to wrapping, packing or craft projects.
Tissue paper for crafts is usually sold in sheets. It is inexpensive but does tear easily.
Tracing paper – this is a very thin type of paper (around 40gsm) that is transparent enough to see through it onto the paper below. It is used in arts and crafts to trace and transfer patterns and images.
Crepe paper – this is another type of thin paper but it has a crinkled (creped) surface. This makes it slightly stronger than tissue paper and it can be stretched. Crepe paper is not colour-fast and will bleed if wet. It is used for craft projects and gift wrapping or table decorating.
Origami paper – this is a thin type of paper that is made with folding in mind. It is sold in squares and is often patterned on one side and plain on the other, although it can be found in solid colours or plain white. It is used for origami, scrap booking and card making. Origami paper is relatively expensive.
Construction paper – also known as sugar paper, this is a light- to medium-weight multipurpose paper with a slightly rough surface. It is available in a wide range of colours and is used in arts and crafts projects like papier mache, decoupage, printing, picture making and scrapbooking. It is especially popular with children as it is brightly coloured and relatively cheap.
Brown paper – this strong paper is ideal for wrapping, covering schoolbooks and making papier mache. It can be bought in sheets or rolls.
Parchment – also known as vellum, this is a thin but tough paper which a translucent quality. Parchment is ideal for crafts such as card making, stamping and embossing. It can be plain or patterned and is made from vegetable pulp that has been treated with sulfuric acid.
Watercolour paper – this is a type of very thick paper with a rough, textured surface. It is usually white and is used by artists who work in watercolour paints. Watercolour paper needs to be primed before use. Wet the sheet of paper and stretch it. Allow to dry before using.
Card stock – also known as pasteboard, this type of paper is thicker and more durable than normal paper, but thinner and more flexible than cardboard. It is available in a range of colours and finishes and is ideal for making cards and using in craft projects.
Paperboard – this is a thick type of paper that is available in a range of colours and finishes. Paperboard is always thicker than standard paper, and starts at 225gsm. It is ideal for book covers and school projects. Although it is a heavy duty paper, it is easy to cut.
Cardboard – this is considered to be any paper with a weight greater than 130gsm. Corrugated cardboard is a type of card with two or more layers of paper with a fluted layer in between. Corrugated card is usually brown, but it is found in other colours. This type of paper is ideal for craft projects because it is stiff and holds its shape. 

Debunking paper myths

The paper industry often gets a bad rap from environmentalists and consumers alike, but all is not as it seems.
Did you know that:
* The paper industry is one of the most eco-responsible industries and contributes to reforestation.
* One person consumes 212kg of paper per year, on average. This is the equivalent of 500 kWH of energy consumption – but a computer consumes 800 kWH.
* Sending 10 e-mails a day for one year results in the same carbon emission as driving 1 000km by car.
* Paper can be recycled up to seven times without losing any of its original quality.
* A page displayed on a screen for three minutes consumes more energy that the printed equivalent.
* An electronic invoice sent via e-mail releases 242g of CO2 – the equivalent of the production and dispatch of 15 paper invoices.
Visit www.antalis.co.za  for more information.
Source: Antalis

Acknowledgement: Sappi, Antalis

By Jillian D’Onfro for CNBC

In response to the European Union’s $5 billion antitrust ruling in July, Google will change how it bundles its apps on Android phones and charge a licensing fee for phone makers that want to pre-install apps like Gmail, Maps and YouTube in the EU.

Google will also end restrictions on phone makers selling modified or “forked” versions of the mobile operating system.

Previously, Google tied together a suite of 11 different apps that phone makers would have to pre-install if they wanted to license its app store, Play. In July, the EU ruled that this bundling was anti-competitive — pushing consumers toward Google’s search engine and weakening rival app makers — though it only specifically called for Google to separate Chrome and Search from Play.

In response, Google said in a blog post on Tuesday that it will start offering separate licenses for Search and Chrome, as well as a license for its suite of apps like Maps, Gmail and Docs. That means that if phone makers want to pre-install those apps, they will have to pay a fee, though the amount was not specified. Google says the new licensing fee will offset revenue lost through compliance efforts that it uses to fund the development of Android, which it offers as a free, open source platform. The licenses for Search and Chrome will not have a fee.

Although Google doesn’t make money from Android directly, it generates advertising revenue through search as well as Chrome, Maps and Gmail, serving ads within those apps and using data it collects from users to better target ads across its platforms.

“Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA [European Economic Area],” wrote Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of platforms.

Google’s previous agreements with phone makers also prevented them from selling modified versions of Android if they wanted to use its suite of apps, but the company will now allow manufacturers to build forked smartphones and tablets for the EEA.

Overall, Google’s Android powers more than 80 percent of the world’s smartphones. These changes, which will come into effect on Oct. 29, will only affect phones for the EEA, a group consisting of 28 EU countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died

Source: MyBroadband/Bloomberg

Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft Corp. with fellow billionaire Bill Gates and used the fortune he made from the iconic technology company to invest in professional sports teams, cable TV and real estate, has died. He was 65.

Allen died on Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to a statement from Vulcan Inc., his investment firm. Allen’s source for his varied investments and sizable charitable donations was his once-major stake in Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft. He had a net worth of $26.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Allen, along with Gates, helped create an entire industry selling software for a new breed of smaller, more affordable and widely accessible computers.

“I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends,” Gates said in a statement. “Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him.”

Allen stepped down as an officer of the company in 1983 because he was grappling with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2009, Allen was treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which two weeks ago he said had returned.

“A high-tech demigod” is how Sports Illustrated described the man who came up with the name for Microsoft, a company whose ubiquitous products include the Windows operating system and the Office suite of software. “He is one of the richest men in history, a figure of such dizzying wealth and eclectic tastes that he recently donated $100 million to brain research and $25 million to the search for extraterrestrial life,” the magazine wrote in a 2007 profile.

Paul Gardner Allen was born on 21 January, 1953, in Seattle to Kenneth and Faye Allen. His father was a university library executive and his mother was a teacher.

Allen went to the Lakeside School, where he met a younger Gates and the two worked on early computer programs in the school’s lab. In a time when computers were rare, Allen lurked in the University of Washington computer labs, using the machines and aiding students and professors. Finally a professor asked if he was actually a student and Allen was forced to admit he wasn’t. But he was allowed to stay, as long as he continued to be helpful, Allen said in a 2017 interview.

He attended Washington State University but didn’t graduate, dropping out and moving to Massachusetts to be closer to fellow computer aficionado Gates, who was attending Harvard University.

In 1975, they founded a company they called Micro-Soft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after Allen saw a new Altair computer kit on the cover of Popular Electronics magazine and realized computer prices would drop and software would be necessary.

As they struggled to produce operating software for Altair and International Business Machines microcomputers, Allen was regarded as the brains of the partnership, while Gates was the marketing whiz, according to Laura Rich, author of “The Accidental Zillionaire,” an unauthorized biography of Allen.

Allen, a Microsoft general partner, initially held the title of vice president. When he left in 1983 for health reasons, he was executive vice president in charge of research and new product development. He remained on the board until 2000 and was a senior strategy adviser after that.

“Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable,” Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said in a statement. “In his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world.”

Allen was the world’s 27th richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Vulcan, formed in 1986 as the chief investment vehicle for his life after Microsoft, became one of the most prominent family offices globally thanks to its high-profile bets on real estate and space. The billionaire, who signed the Giving Pledge in 2010, said he planned to dedicate the majority of his fortune to philanthropic endeavors including wildlife conservation and brain-cancer research.

“Paul wasn’t content with starting one company,” Gates said Monday. “He channeled his intellect and compassion into a second act focused on improving people’s lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world.”

Allen also assembled one of the world’s most celebrated art collections. A public exhibition of 28 pieces in 2006 showcased works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Roy Lichtenstein. His mega-yachts were a frequent sight at ports worldwide.

A rabid sports fan, Allen bought the Portland Trail Blazers, a National Basketball Association franchise, in 1988 for $70 million. That investment was a success — the team repeatedly made the NBA playoffs after his purchase, and by 2018 Forbes estimated the team was worth $1.3 billion.

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer – in business, philanthropy and in sports,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small.”

In 1997, Allen bought the Seattle Seahawks, a National Football League team, and took a minority stake in a professional soccer team, the Seattle Sounders. He also bought The Sporting News.

Among more mainstream businesses, Allen acquired 80 percent of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. in 1993 for $242 million and sold almost half of that company’s stock to Home Shopping Network for $209 million in HSN shares. He bought control of Charter Communications in 1998. Charter’s 2016 purchase and merger with Time Warner Cable made it the second-largest U.S. cable company.

Allen also used his Microsoft fortune to fund scientific endeavors. He was the founder of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Institute for Cell Science. He also financed deep-sea exploration teams that located sunken World War II warships, such as the USS Indianapolis and USS Lexington.

Allen was the sole investor behind SpaceShipOne, a suborbital commercial spacecraft that climbed to an altitude of 377,591 feet in 2004, the first privately funded effort to put a civilian in suborbital space.

An avid Jimi Hendrix fan, Allen taught himself how to play the rock standard “Purple Haze,” winning praise from legendary music producer Quincy Jones for his talent, according to New York magazine. He also recorded a blues album with Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of the Pretenders, and used his Vulcan Productions unit to finance films, such as the series “The Blues.”

Allen wrote an autobiography, “Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft,” in 2011. In it, he recounted how Gates tried to buy out Allen’s minority stake in the company in 1983, offering $5 a share. Gates rejected Allen’s counteroffer of a $10 minimum. Allen said that was a lucky break for him because he would have lost billions in value by selling at that point.

When Microsoft went public in 1986, it had a list price of $21. The company, which posted revenue of $110.4 billion in its latest fiscal year, ended Monday with a market capitalization of more than $825 billion.

Allen also made a mark in various Seattle institutions. In addition to his ownership of local sports teams, he supported the arts, made property investments that converted South Lake Union into a booming technology hub that is home to Amazon.com Inc. He contributed significantly to the University of Washington’s computer science program and biomedical research.

“He’s been under-recognized for all the things he’s done for Seattle,” said Tom Alberg, managing director of Madrona Venture Group. “We tend to look at political leaders, and here we have someone not giving speeches, but building things important for Seattle and our future. Not a lot of people do everything from philanthropy to sports to technology to urban development.”

Allen is survived by his sister, Jody Allen, who is a co-founder and executive director of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Source: eMarketer

A recent survey conducted by eMarketer has illustrated how the average American Internet user feels about digital advertising.

The majority of respondents felt that advertisers were “too aggressive” in the way they were tracked online.

 

The data was collected from an October 2018 survey by Janrain.

1 079 US Internet users ages 18 and over were surveyed online during August 2018.
Respondents identified:

  • their gender as female (54.6%) or male (45.4%)
  • their ages as being 18-29 (26.9%), 30-44 (21.8%), 45-60 (24.5%) or 60+ (26.8%)
  • their household income as being $0-$9,999 (6.4%), $10,000-$24,999 (11.3%), $25,000-$49,999 (18.8%), $50,000-$74,999 (17.4%), $75,000-$99,999 (13.6%), $100,000-$124,999 (9.4%), $125,000-$149,999 (3.7%), $150,000-$174,999 (3.7%), $175,000-$199,999 (1.5%) or $200,000+ (2.8%).

SARS e-filing system on the brink

SARS e-filing is at risk

By Baldwin Ndaba for IOL

The e-filing tax system will crash in the next two years unless urgent measures are undertaken to recall Barry Hore, who masterminded the IT system dubbed Modernisation.

Senior South African Revenue Services (SARS) official Andre Rabie issued the warning during the conclusion of his testimony before the Nugent Commission tasked to probe administration and governance at SARS since suspended commissioner Tom Moyane took over in September 2014.

Moyane allegedly scrapped an IT system which was introduced by former commissioner Pravin Gordhan in 2007 while he was still at the helm.

The system was continued in SARS even after Gordhan accepted a ministerial post in 2009. Witnesses testified that the Modernisation programme improved the SARS IT system, capturing data of all taxpayers including big business and multinational companies.

According to Rabie, a newsflash announcement on December 12, 2014 – three months after Moyane’s appointment – marked the end of the Modernisation project.

Sue Burger, a senior project manager at SARS, yesterday gave shocking details of Moyane’s decision to end the Modernisation system and its impact on her unit. Burger said Moyane’s decision placed more than R66million worth of projects at risk.

Three witnesses, including Burger, painted a worrying picture about how Moyane allegedly collapsed IT systems, customs enforcement measures and nearly scrapped the e-filing tax system – a few months after taking over.

Earlier the commission heard that the modernisation was introduced in SARS in 2007 when Gordhan was there.

Burger told the commission she was the SARS project manager for customs enforcement. She was the leader of a team of 12 people while others also had people working under them, she said.

SARS, at the beginning of each year, under the Modernisation project, adopted an annual performance plan to improve revenue collection and to implement any new legislation introduced by the government, Burger said.

All the units worked as a team and had regular meetings to assess their achievements and failures including budgeting for their different projects.

The commission heard that this was the practice since the tenure of Gordhan and continued with SARS commissioners without fail until September 2014, when Moyane took over.

Burger and others testified that their troubles began on December 12, 2014, when a newsflash appeared on their internal communication system announcing the scrapping of the Modernisation project.

“We were not consulted about it. The decision placed more than R66m worth of projects at risk. It was just like the curtain had fallen,” Burger said.

She told the commission that SARS had since December 2014 failed to account for more than R22m worth of assets which were captured in the e-Central system.

She said Moyane then introduced a new IT partner, Gartner, to set up a new IT system.

According to her, all project managers were grouped into one under her leadership.

Gartner is one of the companies the National Treasury has compiled a dossier on – it was paid more than R200m without proper procurement processes.

Yesterday, the commission heard that Gartner scrapped all the Modernisation legacy projects, but Burger said they had to plead for the e-filing system to be retained.

The hearing continues.

Source: BusinessDay

South Africans must expect another substantial petrol price increase at the beginning of November‚ the Automobile Association (AA) says.

Commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund‚ the AA said: “International oil prices remain stubbornly high and it is possible that current tensions involving Saudi Arabia‚ one of the world’s biggest oil producers‚ could place more pressure on fuel prices. More welcome news is that the rand is working in SA’s favour‚ and the recent firming of our currency against the dollar has taken some of the bite out of oil’s rally.”

“However‚ the potential price hikes are still daunting‚ especially for diesel users,” the AA said.

Petrol prices are currently set for a 40c a litre increase‚ while diesel and illuminating paraffin could spike 70c and 65c a litre, respectively‚ the AA said.

The association said the predicted increase in the price of petrol must‚ for the moment‚ be seen against the backdrop of the department of energy’s proposal to set a maximum price for the sale of 93 octane unleaded petrol (ULP) and lead-replacement petrol (LRP) fuels.

“Should this happen‚ it will allow fuel retailers to set their own prices below the maximum amount indicated by government‚ and may‚ depending on the margins‚ ease the burden on users of the two identified fuels. It must be stressed‚ however‚ that we did not participate in the drafting of the proposal‚ so details on its possible implementation remain unclear to us‚” the AA commented.

However‚ the association said it welcomed the government’s efforts to tackle rising fuel prices‚ and that the department of energy had requested input from industry stakeholders. It said the proposal looked to be consumer-friendly‚ and that the detail would clarify how this would work once all the feedback was received.

The AA said the country could not continue to be hammered by large fuel price hikes without severe economic knock-on effects. Earlier in October, the price of unleaded 93 petrol increased by 99c a litre‚ unleaded 95 by R1 and diesel by R1.24.

“The effect on bus and taxi operations could lead to fare hikes that exceed commuters’ ability to pay‚” the AA noted. “We again call on government to prioritise economic policies that inspire investor confidence. A stronger and more stable rand is the country’s only defence against the vagaries of the international oil price.”

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