By Lisa Martin for The Guardian 
Image credit: Uber Elevate

Uber Air says Melbourne will be a trial site for its new aerial ridesharing service that it is claiming will shuttle people around cities by 2023.

Melbourne will be the first city outside the US to host trials of Uber Air, a service the company describes as “aerial ridesharing” that will shuttle people from rooftop to rooftop for the price of an UberX.

The company has flagged test flights will begin next year, with commercial operations to start in 2023.

Passengers will travel in “electric vertical take-off” contraptions.

The service will operate using the Uber app, allowing passengers to travel across a network of landing pads called “Skyports”.

Uber spokesman Eric Allison said the concept had the potential to reduce traffic congestion which costs the Australian economy an estimated $16.5bn a year.

“The 19km journey from the CBD to Melbourne airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by car in peak hour, but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes,” Allison said.

Dallas and Los Angeles in the US will also be pilot cities. Melbourne beat cities in Brazil, France, India and Japan.

The Victorian treasurer, Tim Pallas, said the announcement was testament to Melbourne’s record of innovation.

“Victorians have a can-do attitude and we hope Uber Air will give us the altitude to match it,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Pallas said there had been no request from Uber for financing.

He said he wanted to put his hand up as the first customer.

“I’m Uber excited,” he joked.

RMIT University aerospace engineer expert Matthew Marino said the concept would potentially be safer than driverless cars.

“While a driverless car would be faced with obstacles on the road like pedestrians on their mobile phones or other vehicles like trams and buses, aerial autonomous vehicles don’t have these obstructions,” he said.

“We need to prove to people that this technology can be as safe as helicopters, which regularly fly in our cities. More research and development are needed in this area.”

Centre for Urban Research expert Chris De Gruyter was sceptical about whether Uber Air can can solve transport problems.

“These vehicles are very low capacity – similar to what a car could carry – while there are also questions about if these vehicles will create visual clutter in the sky and how environmentally friendly they are,” he said.

“Another risk is empty running, where there are no passengers, but the vehicle has to travel to pick people up from another location.”

By Jasper Hamill for The Metro 

WhatsApp has promised to take legal action against people or companies who break its rules – even if the ‘abuse’ took place on another platform. The messaging app has strict guidelines governing its own users’ behaviour and anyone who breaks the terms of service can already be hit by a ban.

But now the Facebook-owned company wants to take things a bit further by hauling users into court. And you don’t need to break the rules on WhatsApp itself to find yourself in trouble, because its enforcers will strike even they find ‘off platform-evidence of abuse’.

It wrote: ‘WhatsApp is committed to using the resources at its disposal – including legal action – to prevent abuse that violates our terms of service, such as automated or bulk messaging, or non-personal use. ‘This is why in addition to technological enforcement, we also take legal action against individuals or companies that we link to on-platform evidence of such abuse.

WhatsApp reserves its right to continue taking legal action in such circumstances.’

If you want to keep a WhatsApp account and not get sued, you might want to avoid using bots to send spam – which is known as automated or bulk messaging. The app has said that anyone who leaves off-platform evidence of abuse after December 7, 2019, will find themselves in its crosshairs.

WhatsApp added: ‘Beginning on December 7, 2019, WhatsApp will take legal action against those we determine are engaged in or assisting others in abuse that violates our Terms of Service, such as automated or bulk messaging, or non-personal use, even if that determination is based on information solely available to us off our platform.

‘For example, off-platform information includes public claims from companies about their ability to use WhatsApp in ways that violate our Terms. This serves as notice that we will take legal action against companies for which we only have off-platform evidence of abuse if that abuse continues beyond December 7, 2019, or if those companies are linked to on-platform evidence of abuse before that date.

‘We are committed to reinforcing the private nature of our platform and keeping users safe from abuse.’

Limpopo clinic’s AI pilot shows promise

A pilot initiative implemented by Microsoft partner Mint Group and the Limpopo Department of Health (DoH) at the Rethabile Clinic, Polokwane, has proved the viability of intelligent healthcare at government clinics through the application of artificial intelligence.

With plans to transform 400 of Limpopo’s clinics into intelligent healthcare facilities, the DoH will address some of the challenges plaguing the Limpopo citizens that are reliant on the public healthcare system.

The Rethabile pilot, which started in May 2018 and concluded in May 2019, comprised the use of predictive analytics, operational intelligence and remote monitoring to manage 25 000 patients a month, enabling access control and queue management, intelligent appointment scheduling, medication dispensing, and inventory control.

The technologies also enabled attendance and performance tracking of healthcare staff to improve service delivery and avoid ghost staff, and provided in-depth data on patient loads, waiting times and queues. This data empowered the clinic to enhance staff allocation processes and digitise patient record keeping, with a holistic overview of patient care.

“The benefits realised at the Rethabile clinic were unlocked through the application of the Mint Vision App – a platform that extends organisations existing systems and processes with highly advanced computer vision as well as face-and-voice recognition functionality. The pilot has proved how Intelligent technology coupled with the right vision, can transform public healthcare facilities in South Africa,” stated Mint group head of artificial intelligence Peter Reid.

Reflecting on the Limpopo DoH’s vision for transformative healthcare the Deputy Director-General of Health Care Services, Limpopo Department, Dr MY Dombo, stated: “We are living in the 21st century, and public healthcare should be moving towards more efficient systems by embracing available technologies that can do just that.
My vision is to have a clinic in the cloud with seamless and wireless processes across Limpopo. This entails automatic patient verification upon arrival via facial recognition, which will eliminate any uncertainty regarding patient identity. Clinic staff should also know which patients are coming before they arrive to ensure a seamless treatment process. Lastly, all patient data should be stored in the cloud with all administrative processes digitised.
These initiatives will streamline patient care, ease the administrative burden of health workers, and enable better healthcare for all.”

Praising the Limpopo DOH’s forward-thinking initiatives and transformative vision, Mint Group CEO, Carel du Toit, stated that the Rethabile pilot proved the viability of intelligent healthcare in South Africa’s public sector and established the Limpopo DOH as a revolutionary leader, paving the way for improved patient experiences and service delivery to the citizens of South Africa.

Following a visit to the Rethabile clinic on May 28, 2019, Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba tweeted “We received an update on our electronic Q management system piloting from the team @Rethabile health center. Watch the space. It’s convincing this time around. There is light at the end of the tunnel. [The] Limpopo healthcare system will never be the same again once this project is done.”

Why XR will be 2020’s buzzword

Last year was dominated by artificial intelligence – and the year before by big data and IoT. But what about next year? How can local companies predict the next wave to ensure innovation and differentiation? One largely needs to follow the breadcrumbs of technology releases, and the ensuing innovators and influential early adopters who dictate the pace of consumption, with their followers lining up behind them.

Over the following 12 months a variety of Extended Reality (XR) products are coming to market that demonstrate a new era of human-computer interaction. Extended Reality is a broad grouping of technologies that change the way we experience digital content. This encompasses all the Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) technologies, enabling profoundly engaging experiences unimaginable a few years ago. From deeply immersive design, training and entertainment applications in VR, to informative or engaging digital overlays in AR, to integrated MR content that allows for digital and real-world interactions, the new realms of XR are set to change the way we experience the world.

Releasing later this year, all signs point to The Oculus Quest being the realisation of the Virtual Reality (VR) dream: affordable, relatively powerful, untethered VR with six degrees of freedom and top tier controllers. Hot on their heels, rumour has it that Apple Glasses will launch their AR headsets in 2020 (though, as yet, unconfirmed). Adding to the competition, Microsoft plans to release their new HoloLens toward the end of the year, promising a significant upgrade on their advanced technology.

The hype built by Oculus (and others) during the launch period of version 1 VR headsets sold a vision that was far removed from the product brought to market which led to VR being perceived as an expensive and complicated device with little content. But the reality in 2019 is quite different where there is an explosion of content on affordable devices. The reason? VR has built out its benefits steadily, beyond entertainment and simulation, into life-changing advancements, becoming widely used for cognitive-based therapy (CBT) – tackling anxieties and phobias around heights, spiders, or a fear of flying, through to social anxiety or body image. Known as Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) it allows patients to access cost-effective anxiety treatment, which can be implemented at home, and its immersive power potentially bypasses the use of medication in many cases, getting a nod too from the powers that be. The American Psychological Association (APA) outlined that VR is “particularly well suited to exposure therapy”, dispelling whatever doubt or criticisms may be looming.

That’s not all. While XR is already used in simulation (flight and military, among others), its usage is expected to dramatically increase within entertainment, museums and tourist attractions, education, and within the transformation of retail e-commerce, offering virtual shopping within various outlets.

Colin Payne, CEO of Sozo Labs, a part of the Alphawave Group, adds, “This presents global and local companies with a choice. Do they invest in the development of platforms that may be somewhat tired by 2022, or seize first-mover advantage as the innovators and owners of XR in their industry space? This next 12 months is the time to make that leap. Out of the ordinary brands really do see that, seeing the opportunity to develop and experience enhanced training or customer experience or even just generating publicity by being innovators in this new space.”

“VR will take centre stage within the next year. Affordability has improved and is pitched to be the next upgrade on social media or mobile phone gaming, arguably waning in our voracious appetite for novelty, and needing to re-invent themselves perpetually,” he says.

“Technology that was previously accessible to labs will soon be in homes and this has been worked on for years by these industry leaders. And the usage has dramatically shifted too – with price down to a few hundred dollars. Even headsets like the Samsung Gear VR that turn smartphones into virtual reality displays is already around $100.”

Sozo Labs has been engaged in the XR space for nearly three years, experimenting in each new iteration of technology. “We have applied these skills across a multitude of applications including data, property and environmental visualisation, as well as marketing experiences, game development, and education. Industry leaders ahead of the curve are already enquiring to ensure they remain the innovators in their respective field.”
Parent company CEO, Frans Meyer, concludes, “Alphawave Group has been building successful technology businesses over the past two decades, and has decided to invest in XR. Our goal is to understand the space and potential market opportunities by diving in and actually developing content and doing projects for customers. We’re convinced the market will grow and the applications will become apparent. We’re backing the team at Sozo Labs to lead this for us and look forward to seeing the growth as the real industry leaders step forward to assume first mover advantage.”

By Alexander Winning, Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Tom Arnold for Reuters

The rand plummeted to R15,12 against the dollar last week after a row between an arm of the ANC and the Reserve Bank.

The row was about the role of the country’s central bank, the South African Reserve Bank. It is unnerving investors because it is being driven by bitter factional battles rather than sober policy debate.

The conflicting policy views came as a fresh blow to the economy, after political uncertainty, increasing living costs and decreased investor confidence have ravaged the market.

Broadening the South African Reserve Bank’s remit to promote jobs and growth as well as taming inflation would not be seen by analysts as a problem per se, given other central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve have similar dual mandates.

The worry is that the push to change the bank’s mandate is coming from a left-wing camp within the ANC that wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to change tack on a range of policies – and is using the Reserve Bank as a battering ram, some ANC members say.

The damaging public row over the bank’s role comes at a time Ramaphosa is trying to build confidence in the economy by tackling long-standing issues such as inefficient state enterprises and corruption.

“This is about the internal politics of the ANC and the factions that are fighting for influence,” said Melanie Verwoerd, a former ANC lawmaker and political analyst.

The ANC is a broad ideological church that has governed South Africa since the end of white minority rule, but it is deeply divided over how to deal with the persistent poverty and unemployment that are hitting its support at the polls.

The row within the ANC surfaced on Tuesday when Secretary General Ace Magashule, part of a group of ANC leftists and populists, said the party had agreed to expand the central bank’s mandate to include employment and growth.

He also said the party wanted the government to consider quantitative easing, a policy widely used by developed economies after the global financial crisis to stimulate growth by pumping cash back into the economy.

Ramaphosa’s allies, including ANC economics chief Enoch Godongwana and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, rubbished Magashule’s remarks. The ANC then issued a statement in Ramaphosa’s name on Thursday saying there had been no change in central bank policy.

But the South African rand tumbled, and has continued to fall, hitting its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since September 2018 on Friday.

Ratings risk

The more moderate ANC faction aligned with Ramaphosa has been forced to cede ground in several policy debates, including land reform, since the president took office in February 2018. The fear is the same could happen with the central bank.

The South African Reserve Bank has built a strong reputation for acting independently and there is a danger its credibility could be tarnished if the more hardline wing of the ANC forces it to adopt different policies.

The economic implications for South Africa could be significant if the change is rammed through in a way that shakes the confidence of the investors who fund the country’s twin budget and current account deficits.

If the central bank had to focus on growth and jobs over inflation, it would be more likely to keep interest rates low, which could in turn weaken the rand currency.

Only one global ratings agency, Moody’s, still gives South Africa an investment-grade rating, but it is hanging by a thread. Moody’s has said in the past that the central bank’s credibility is an important factor in its ratings decisions.

Moody’s declined to comment on this week’s row.

But if the very public ANC squabble pushed Moody’s to relegate South African debt to “junk” status, billions of dollars could leave the economy, analysts say.

Wayne McCurrie, portfolio manager at FNB Wealth and Investments, said Magashule’s comments brought to mind the money-printing in neighbouring Zimbabwe that led to hyperinflation.

“Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank kept interest rates too low and used quantitative easing to buy government bonds when the government was running unsustainable deficits. That ended up in disaster,” McCurrie said. “Sustainable jobs cannot be created by the central bank and its policies.”

Still, even if agreement is reached within the ANC, changing the central bank’s mandate would be complex. It could require changing the constitution and amending the Reserve Bank Act.

But analysts say even an attempt to change the central bank’s role could torpedo hopes of an economic recovery.

“Even if nothing happens, the risk of fallout is high and so any recovery can be derailed,” said Peter Attard Montalto, head of capital markets research at Intellidex.

Ideological differences
Speaking privately, ANC members aligned with Ramaphosa say the Magashule-led group is using the debate over the central bank to stymie the president’s agenda.

The more attention Ramaphosa has to pay to party squabbles, the less time he can devote to fighting corruption and pursuing reforms which could hurt his opponents’ interests, they say.

Members of Magashule’s camp say there is significant support in the party for the central bank taking a more active role in stimulating the economy.

Some who want the central bank to change see it as a bastion of white privilege that hasn’t done enough to help the economy more than two decades after the end of white minority rule. They also accuse Ramaphosa of cosying up to business interests.

“We are a developmental state. The central bank should also play a developmental role,” one source told Reuters.

Magashule did not respond to a request for comment.

The idea of a central bank more focused on job creation resonates with important ANC allies such as the South African Communist Party, which has publicly endorsed Magashule’s message, and labour unions frustrated at losing members through job losses in sectors such as mining.

Ramaphosa has supporters from across the political spectrum, so he has to be cautious in how he responds to the row.

Jan Dehn, head of research at emerging markets investment manager Ashmore Group, said it would be a mistake to change the South African central bank’s role for political reasons.

Though emerging markets-oriented asset managers aren’t expecting the mandate to be changed any time soon, they are monitoring the situation closely.

Other emerging market central banks such as in Turkey are regularly subject to political pressure, making investors wary of putting their money there.

“In the Turkish case the government has always focused on growth and doesn’t see a trade-off between growth and inflation,” said Ferhan Salman, senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “I don’t think Ramaphosa is of the same view.”

Is this the end of SAA?

By Jeanine Walker for SA Promo Magazine

“The end of the line is coming soon,” economist Mike Schussler told the Sunday Times over the weekend.

“We are in a deep crisis, we cannot save every state owned entity (SOE) and I think at this point in time Eskom is much more important than SAA”

His comments come at a time when SAA requested another R4 billion from the government in an attempt to keep the struggling airline afloat. BusinessTech reports the airline continues to operate at a loss and has a R3.5-billion short-term loan, which will be depleted at the end of this month (June 2019), along with a long-term R9.2-billion loan.

SAA board member Martin Kingston is quoted as saying that the board was worried about the state of the economy and how it may impact the government’s decision to bail out the airline.

Schussler says the airline is “indebted to the nth degree”, and that it probably wouldn’t survive.

Meanwhile labour union Solidarity says SAA needs urgent, radical intervention from outside. Responding to the resignation of SAA CEO, Vuyani Jarana, last week, Connie Mulder, head of Solidarity’s Research Institute says since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s election a spirit of excitement prevailed about a new beginning. “However, it now seems as if the faces on the pictures may have changed but the facts on the ground have not. Mr Jarana’s resignation leaves Solidarity with no choice but to update its court papers for business rescue, making a final end to the cadre merry-go-round at the SAA.”

SAA ‘is unsalvageable’

He says he finds its extremely disconcerting that in his letter of resignation Mr Jarana cites all the challenges Solidarity had highlighted in 2018 as the reasons for the airline’s failure. “This is proof that while the airline is state-owned it is unsalvageable, regardless of who is at its helm. In 2018 Solidarity reached an agreement with Mr Jarana in terms of which he would give us regular feedback on progress being made with the turnaround strategy. It is now clear to us that this strategy is not going to be implemented for as long as the SAA is owned by the state,” Mulder added.

The SAA’s status as a going concern is still in jeopardy, and it would appear as if little progress has been made as far the implementation of the turnaround strategy is concerned.

“To give a new CEO another chance, yet again, will be irresponsible given the history of the SAA,” Mulder added.

Solidarity considers the SAA business rescue application to be a precedent-creating case of vital importance, not only for the SAA, but also for taking back other, bigger state-owned enterprises from the hands of the state.

“To sit back now and let the SAA continue with another bailout and a new face will be akin to treating a patient who needs heart bypass surgery with a Panado. The SAA and other state-owned enterprises need radical, external intervention, and Solidarity will provide it,” Mulder concluded.

When Jarana resigned he said he would vacate the post on 31 August. However, the Sunday Times reported that he would now vacate his position immediately and would be succeeded by Zukisa “Zuks” Ramasia as acting CEO of SAA.

Good ergonomics is essential to a productive and healthy workforce – and they cost almost nothing to implement.

Linda Trim, Director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap: “All enterprises should strive to create an ergonomically sound workspace for all employees. Quality furniture and good design is of course a great help, but it is the responsibility of each person to make sure they are using good ergonomics at their own workstations.”

Here are 7 easy-to-implement tips that will help optimise ergonomics:

1. Good working posture

The number one ergonomic priority is establishing a good working posture. “People should be able to sit or stand in a neutral body position with a relaxed posture that requires no stressful angles or excessive reaching to complete tasks, “ Trim said. Office workers should sit with hands, wrists, and forearms that are straight, inline, and parallel to the floor. The head should be level, facing forward with no turn to the left or right, and generally be in line with the torso.

2. Adjustable chairs and desks

To encourage good posture and the neutral body position, enterprises should install high-quality adjustable chairs, furniture, and equipment. “The more positions a chair and desk can adjust to, the more they can be tailored to the individual using them. When it comes to ergonomics, one size most definitely does not fit all, “ Trim noted.

3. Proper display height and distance

Monitors and other display devices should be placed at eye level. Viewing a display should not require straining the neck nor squinting the eyes. Ergonomics dictates that individuals not be required to turn their neck to the left, right, up, or down to view a display.

4. Keyboard and mice position

Said Trim: “While often ergonomic afterthoughts, the proper keyboard and mouse configuration is just as important as posture when it comes to neutral body positioning.” If people are reaching for the mouse at a bad angle or have to violate the inline parallel rule for elbows and wrists, they are going to lose neutral positioning. Reaching for input devices can lead to excessive fatigue, and after lengthy exposure, injury. Keyboards and mice should be accessed without breaking any of the neutral positioning rules.

5. Reducing repetitive movement

Even if an individual applies perfect ergonomic principals, repeating the same motion over and over will cause stress and eventually lead to injury.

“The best way to combat this is by changing tasks. Doing something else even for a short time will reduce potential for injury, “ Trim advised. When changing the task is not possible, individuals should periodically change the neutral positioning they are using – from the upright sitting position to standing, reclined sitting, or declined sitting.

6. Standing up and moving around

For office workers, this is a really important tip. Once an hour, workers should stand up and take a few minutes to walk down the hall, get a drink, look out the window, anything that gets them out of their chair.

7. Environmental setting

Often overlooked when discussing ergonomics is the overall working environment. “Proper lighting, temperature and humidity are ergonomic essentials,” said Trim.

Lighting should not cause glare on computer screens, which means that many workplace settings should be equipped with softer light systems. Lighting that is good for reading printed material is not necessarily the best lighting for computer displays

Temperature settings are trickier since because of individual preferences, but every attempt should be made to maintain a temperature that is comfortable for as many people as possible.

Trim added that Giant Leap advise user training with all of their projects to allow people to get the benefits out of their furniture and office.

Be wary of recorded conversations

Contrary to popular belief, companies may be within their rights to secretly record conversations with employees and use that information against them in a court of law. However, the reverse is also true.

Nicol Myburgh, Head of the Human Resource Business Unit at CRS Technologies, says this has the potential to significantly change the dynamic in the workplace.

According to Section 4 of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA), it is not illegal to secretly record a conversation you are party to. But it is still illegal to do so as a way of intercepting communications to commit an offence, for example obtaining a person’s bank account information.

“The argument that recording these conversations infringes on an employee’s (or employer’s) right to privacy is outweighed when using the recording in court is in the interests of justice. Of course, there is nothing prohibiting the addition of an explicit clause in employment contracts that mitigates against the risk of having communications intercepted.”

Technology has made it incredibly easy to record conversations without other parties being aware of it. Most smartphones and tablets come standard with audio recording features, making it virtually undetectable when somebody runs the app and puts the phone or tablet out of sight.

“Often, these conversations can be used as evidence in disciplinary hearings and other disputes even before they go to the CCMA or court. Further complicating matters is that courts do not hold privacy rights as absolute. Instead, they take other factors into account that can trump privacy rights.”

An example of this is in Harvey v Niland, where evidence was obtained by hacking into the respondent’s Facebook account. Evidence can therefore be presented in various forms and not necessarily only in the form of an audio recording.

Nevertheless, it remains in the best interests of either party to obtain recordings legally. From an employer perspective, fair process must be followed, with the employee being given an opportunity to respond to the evidence presented against them.

“From a legal perspective, it should also be noted that either party can record a conversation that they are part of. But if you are a third party, you need informed consent from one of the other parties to legally record that conversation. It is often this consent that confuses people into thinking all parties must agree to have a discussion recorded.”

Of course, if the recording is inaudible then it cannot be admissible. Myburgh says that employers or employees therefore need to ensure that the audio can be heard, and that the data is stored in a safe place to avoid it being lost, deleted, or edited in a way that will also make it inadmissible.

“Companies are operating in a dynamic, technology-driven environment. It should always be assumed that any conversation or meeting will be recorded, like assuming all work email will be read by a supervisor. In this way, both the employee and employer can ensure no mismanagement takes place.”

By Adam Ismail, Candice Meyer, Safiyya Patel, Partners at Webber Wentzel

On 9 April 2019, the Minister of Trade and Industry signed four amendments to the Amended Generic B-BBEE Codes of 2013 (Codes).

These amendments were gazetted last Friday and will come into effect on 31 November 2019.

The noteworthy amendments to the Codes are highlighted below:

Amendments to Amended Codes Series 000: General Principles

• The deemed Level Two Contributor status, available to 51% Black owned exempted micro-enterprises (EME) or qualifying small enterprises (QSE) are now only available to such entities if they are at least 51% Black owned on a flow-through basis.

• Similarly, the deemed Level One Contributor status, available to 100% Black owned EMEs or QSEs are now only available to such entities if they are 100% Black owned on a flow-through basis.

• Guidance has now been provided on how unincorporated joint ventures will be measured, in essence providing for the compilation of a consolidated verification certificate using the compliance data of the joint venture partners in proportion to their shares in the joint venture.
Amendments to Amended Code Series 300: Skills Development

• The 6% target for skills development expenditure on learning programmes for Black People has now been reduced to 3.5% for a weighting which has been reduced from 8 to 6 points.

• A new sub-element for skills development expenditure on bursaries for Black students has now been introduced. The target for this sub-element is 2.5% for 4 points.

• The target for the number of Black People participating in learnerships, apprenticeships and internships as a percentage of total employees no longer includes a specific target for Black unemployed people and is now set at 5% for a total of 6 points.

• The 5 bonus points for absorption by a measured or industry entity at the end of a learnership is clarified to also pertain to internships and apprenticeships.

• It has been clarified that the calculation of the 40% minimum threshold to avoid discounting by one BEE level cannot include bonus points.

• Recognition for skills development expenditure arising from informal and workplace learning programmes was previously limited to 15% of the total value of skills development expenditure. This limit is now increased to 25%.
Amendments to Amended Code Series 400: Enterprise and Supplier Development (including Preferential Procurement)

• The amendments clarify that for an entity to meet the 40% minimum threshold to avoid discounting by one BEE level for this element, the calculation of the 40% cannot include bonus points. In other words, in order to achieve the minimum threshold of this priority element, an entity must achieve at least 10 points for procurement, 4 points for supplier development and 2 points for Enterprise Development.

• The target for procurement from 51% Black owned companies has increased from 40% of total procurement spend to 50% of total procurement spend, and the number of points awarded for such procurement has increased from 9 points to 11 points.

• The criteria to receive the multiplying factor of 1.2 for procurement from a recipient of supplier development contributions has been amended, and this enhanced recognition status is no longer limited to QSEs or EMEs. It may now also be claimed for procurement from large entities which are 51% Black owned on a flow-through basis.

• Beneficiaries of enterprise development or supplier development initiatives which are currently limited to EMEs and QSEs that are 51% Black owned, now also include large entities (which are 51% Black owned on a flow-through basis) provided that when the entity first received assistance from the measured entity, the Beneficiary was an EME or QSE. Recognition for assistance to 51% Black owned large entities will be limited to five years from the time when the beneficiary first received assistance from the measured entity.

• Procurement from large entities which are 51% Black owned on a flow-through basis will also qualify as procurement from EMEs or QSEs for a period of five years from the date on which procurement from the entity first occurred, provided that when that procurement first occurred the entity was in fact an EME or QSE.

• The amendments clarify that a Supplier Development Beneficiary is a part of the Measured Entity’s supply chain, whereas an Enterprise Development Beneficiary is not.

• Previously only 3% of the amount of any guarantee provided could be recognised as supplier or enterprise development contributions. This has now been increased to 50%, which will act as a major catalyst for companies providing guarantees rather than having to actually spend money. This has both positive and negative consequences.
The amendments to this element of the generic scorecard are likely to act as a catalyst for the implementation of 51% Black ownership transactions. Importantly, the structuring of these transactions could not be reliant on the modified flow-through principle, if the full benefits of the proposed amendments are to be reaped.
Amendments to the Schedule 1 to the Codes which contains the interpretation and definitions sections
Most of the changes to Schedule 1 are aesthetic in nature and aimed at neatening up some of the definitions used in the Codes. However, some more noteworthy changes include:

The term “Absorption” for purposes of the Y.E.S B-BBEE recognition targets and the Skills Development bonus points is no longer confined to Learners. It now includes employees, interns and apprentices.

The new defined term, “Designated Group Supplier”, has been introduced. It refers to a supplier that is not only 51% Black owned but also owned by unemployed Black people, Black youth, Black people with disabilities; black people living in rural and underdeveloped areas and/or Black military veterans. This term was not previously defined. Its introduction provides clarity on how to earn the 2 points on the preferential procurement scorecard to procure from a Designated Group Supplier.

The fifth criteria to qualify as an “Empowering Supplier” which was introduced in May 2015 has been deleted. This read “at least 85% of labour costs should be paid to South African employees by service industry entities”. Now large enterprises must comply with three out of the four remaining elements to qualify as an Empowering Supplier.
The term “long-term contract of employment”, defined as “a legal agreement between an individual and an entity that this individual would work for until his or her mandatory date of retirement”, has been introduced. This relates to the definition of the term “Absorption”.

The introduction of a definition of “Current Equity Interest Date” clarifies the determination of the graduation factor calculation for “Net Value”.

Apple kills off iTunes

By Jessica Dolcourt for CNET

iTunes is dead. Long live Apple Music. That’s how Apple wants you to view its decision to stop updating the 18-year old iTunes service and channel your listening to Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV instead, across all your devices. The change came this week at the tech titan’s annual WWDC event in San Jose, along with a sea of other future updates for iPhones ($1,000 at Amazon), iPads ($249 at Walmart) and Macs, including iOS 13, iPadOS and MacOS Catalina software. They all go into effect this fall.

Apple’s musical moves underscore the company’s renewed attention to services. Apple has long valued its ability to create premium experiences that keep loyal users invested in the brand’s ecosystem. For a company initially focused on hardware, iTunes was one of Apple’s first major successes in this area. People who had bought music from Apple were less likely to stray. Now, Apple is betting that Apple Music will largely pick up where iTunes left off.

But what happens to your iTunes music now? Closing down iTunes raises big questions for those of you who have built up musical collections over the years. What do you have to do, if anything, to keep your investment intact? What if you use iTunes for Windows? And what happens to iTunes Match?

Here’s what we know about Apple’s plans to transition you to Apple Music and the rest.

Does iTunes still work today?
Yes. Apple still advertises iTunes on the website. iTunes will continue to exist for the time being, but Apple won’t support it in MacOS Catalina, the upgrade coming this fall.

Why is Apple ending iTunes?
Apple said that iTunes was initially focused on burning and mixing songs on the Mac, but then suggested it was too big and bloated, and lost its purpose. “How about calendar in iTunes?,” Apple engineering lead Craig Federighi joked during the presentation. “I mean, you can have all of your appointments and your best tracks all in one app!”

Apple describes Apple Music as being extremely fast, which suggests that iTunes performance had gotten laggy.

Do I still get access to the same number of songs with Apple Music?
Yes, Apple advertises a catalog of over 50 million songs, plus collections of music videos (through Apple TV) and podcasts (through the Apple Podcasts app). Scroll to the end for more details.

Does my iTunes collection go away?
No way. Every song you’ve ever bought, ripped, uploaded or imported will already be part of Apple Music when you upgrade from your current Mac OS version to Catalina. All the files that are already on your computer will remain. Apple isn’t liquidating anything you already own, but it will reorganize where the files live.

Even my ripped CDs, MP3s and playlists?
Yep, even those. You’ll find them in your Apple Music library.

Will I still be able to burn a CD with Apple Music?
Yes, if you have an external CD drive and the necessary cables, though this isn’t something we’ve tested yet.

What about backing up my device, restoring my settings and syncing settings?
iTunes is the app you think of for backups and syncs, and those capabilities will exist with Catalina, just not in the Apple Music app. You’ll find them by opening the Finder tool in Mac. That’s the one with the square, stylized icon of a smiling face that serves as the operating system’s file manager. Open it, and you’ll see device will appear in the Finder menu, for example: “Jessica’s iPhone”.

How will I move music onto a device?
If you want to move music onto a device, you open one of your media apps, click and drag from your music library into the folder for your connected device, and it will transfer over.

What happens when I sync my iPhone or other device?
Today, iTunes pops up when you plug in your iPhone to sync devices, but that’s not the case with Apple Music. If you want to sync, you’ll find the setting in the sidebar in Finder. Apple is making this more opt-in (you trigger the syncing in Finder) rather than opt-out (you close the window if it pops up and bugs you).

What happens to people who use iTunes on Windows?
iTunes will continue to work on Windows as is.

Will iTunes still work on older version of MacOS?
You can still use iTunes on a version of Mac that predates MacOS Catalina (e.g. Mojave), but it won’t be available when you make the upgrade.

I’m confused. How is Apple Music different than iTunes?
iTunes is a free app to manage your music library, music video playback, music purchases and device syncing. Apple Music is an add-free music streaming subscription service that costs $10 per month, $15 a month for a family of six or $5 per month for students.

Apple Music closely competes with Spotify and you can listen to songs offline across your devices.

Do I have to subscribe to use the Apple Music app library?
Yes, you can still access your music collection if you don’t subscribe to Apple Music. That is completely opt-in.

Is the iTunes Store going away?
The iTunes name will fade away, but Apple will keep the store and its functionality in the Apple Music app. You can call it up if you want to buy new songs and albums, but if you do subscribe to Apple Music, you likely won’t have much use for a store.

What happens to iTunes Match?
iTunes Match is a feature that gives you access to a song you bought through another service, say Amazon. Apple Music already has the feature built in, so you won’t miss out if you subscribe.

What if I like to make my own mixes?
If you like to DJ your own collection and albums, you’ll be able to import those tracks to Apple Music and listen to them across your Apple devices.

What about the Apple TV app — is that where my iTunes movies will live?
Yep! Any movies you bought via iTunes will move to the Apple TV app for Mac.

The Apple TV app (yes, for all your devices, not just an Apple TV) is where TV shows, movies and music videos will live on the Mac, including HBO and Showtime, and those iTunes movies you bought. It’ll support 4K HDR playback with HDR 10 and Dolby Vision graphics and Dolby Atmos audio playback.

Where does the Apple Podcasts app come in?
Fair question, since Apple is spreading iTunes functionality around. Apple Podcasts is pretty straightforward — it’s where you listen to and search for and subscribe to shows. In MacOS Catalina, Apple Podcasts will also let you type a few words or letters to find a show or episode.

Change is hard. Is there any reason I should skip the Catalina upgrade?
In addition to speeding up these apps, Apple encourages you upgrade to the newest version for ongoing privacy and security updates. Learn more about all the changes coming to your Mac with the MacOS Catalina upgrade this fall.

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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