‘World first’ for Absa mobile payments

South African bank Absa and payment innovations company Thumbzup have signed an agreement to launch a mobile payment device, Payment Pebble, which will enable small businesses and entrepreneurs to accept debit or credit card payments through smartphones or tablets.

Payments will be made through a world first, plug-in device called “The Absa Payment Pebble”, the bank said in a statement last week.

“The Absa Payment Pebble” is a small card-reader device that can be plugged into the audio input on any mobile smartphone or tablet and used along with a mobile application.

The Absa Payment Pebble is scheduled to be available as a value-added service from Absa from early 2013.

Once the mobile app has been downloaded and the entrepreneur or business has registered for the service and received a pre-configured device, payments can be made via debit or credit card.

“One of the key differentiating features of the technology is its ability to enable safe and secure payment acceptance as a pin entry device, for both chip and magnetic swipe strip cards,” Absa said.

“The Absa Payment Pebble is also extremely simple to use because it seamlessly interacts with any smartphone without the hassle of complex synchronisation or power supply concerns.”

No other mobile acceptance device allows merchants to process payments remotely with a plug-in device, said Absa head of retail markets, Arrie Rautenbach.

“It is a game-changing innovation with the potential to transform the way in which entrepreneurs can safely accept offsite payments.”

He also said the deal with Thumbzup offered the potential of expanding into other African countries through Absa’s parent company, Barclays.

“We have a strong global commitment to innovation,” he said.

“As the Absa payment technology landscape changes, Absa is focused on delivering pioneering solutions to fundamentally transform the customer experience and build strong foundations for growth.”

SAinfo reporter

Read more:http://www.southafrica.info/business/trends/innovations/absa-041212.htm#.UOv6p4leseZ#ixzz2HNdh1mZj

Over the years there have been endless  discussions and points of view regarding ‘Price vs. Brand’ and ‘The Shopping Experience”. I have just returned from a fly fishing trip in the Lesotho Mountains with a bunch of likeminded chaps from different walks of life all with one thing in common – the love of the hunt for wild Rainbow Trout! – Rather similar to consumers, all looking for the same bargain – or are they?

Of the eight of us, two were absolutely committed to catch ‘big’ fish, while the majority were content to just ‘catch’, but all of us were in agreement about the venue which was stunning. Why drive six hundred kilometers to catch trout when there are plenty of trout an hour away? I believe, like shopping, it’s not only about the fish, but it’s about the outing; the Experience!

As retailers compete in a highly competitive environment and basically sell what their opponents are selling, at a similar price I must add, what else can you do to ‘woo’ me into your store? Surely you have to provide me with ‘The Experience’!

Research conducted in Canada and USA found that 35% of shoppers have had an extraordinary , or wow, retail experience in the past six months. But in order to hit that mark, retailers must deliver on as many as 10 different elements of the shopping experience simultaneously. Retailers are rewarded when shoppers tell others about their experience. Customer expectations are pretty high. It’s easy to fall short of those expectations, and hard to eclipse bad experiences. Unfortunately, people in general prefer to moan than to praise! 

So, as a retailer, what must you do in order to create an exceptional shopping experience for your customers?

Firstly, I believe, you need to get back to good old fashioned ‘manners’; being polite, genuinely caring and interested in helping, acknowledging and listening to your customer, after all, they know what they want!

Then, you have to provide Service Excellence, including patiently explaining and advising, checking stock, helping your customers to find products, having product knowledge and providing unexpected product quality.

Next, you must provide a Brand Experience. This includes exciting store design and atmosphere, consistently great product quality, making customers feel they’re special and that they always get a deal – not necessarily the cheaper price!

Consumers today are very busy and retailers must take note of this. Being sensitive to customers’ time on long check-out lines, being proactive in helping speed the shopping process is a critical component of creating the ‘Experience’.

Another important element to the ‘Experience Factor’ is Problem Recovery. You need to help resolve and compensate for problems; make refunds and returns extremely easy and painless. I shudder with consumer emotion when a manager argues over a R30 refund when his average sale is R400! What are your customers worth to you?

In the current recessionary climate, price is important to consumers, but only one factor in the overall wow shopping experience. The researchers found that of those experiencing a wow shopping trip, 43% said having consistently excellent products was a factor in their recent great retail experiences. That was the top response in regard to brand experience, followed by “getting a deal,” which was cited by 31% of respondents. 

Today’s economic situation is leading consumers to focus more on value than price. People are being more scrupulous about where they buy and what they buy. More educated consumers are looking for a better value in everything , even in a challenging economic environment, retailers are able to deliver a wow experience if they plan to provide the basic elements of a great shopping experience. 

We can also learn from the world’s best retailers. Over the last 10-years, Apple has risen to retail dominance and, in the process, became the most valuable company on the Forbes 2000 with a market value exceeding $500 billion.  Instrumental to this financial rise has been Apple’s cultivation of one of the most successful retail environments in history.  As a recent in-depth New York Times series puts it, “the Apple Store is the undisputed king, a retail phenomenon renowned for impeccable design, deft service and spectacular revenues.”  Apple has built this truly unique retail empire through the vertical integration of the product, retail, and customer experiences within the Apple Store. Apple is one the best retailers in the world at creating an engaging customer experience whose retail environment provides an excellent framework for growing retailers to emulate.  By analysing and applying the critical success factors of the Apple retail model in combination with new, innovative tools, growing retailers can readily create an ‘Apple-like’ retail experience in their stores. I believe that Apple’s biggest ‘retail win’ is their sales team. They have a team of cool looking nerds in blue shirts who are pure Apple Specialists and are also Apple Fans who want their customers to fall in love with Apple! Another winning aspect is that these Specialists are not financially incentivised to push one product over another – a subtle message that helps reassure the customer and open the channel for dialogue.

One common thread shared by the leadership of companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Disney,  is an appreciation for the customer experience. Great brands are built and sustained on great customer service. Especially in a time when consumers have more buying choices than ever, great customer service adds value and differentiates brands from their competition; and service is delivered by people!

So, to be the best you need to employ and keep the best. You must be constantly training and communicating with your team members. Information sharing is also paramount to your success. Team members need to know ‘the numbers’ and your company’s strategy, after all, they are going to take you there! Finally, you and your team have to have fun; what is the point if you do not enjoy what you are doing?  Do I enjoy fly-fishing? Sure I do, especially when I catch fish!

Johannesburg, South Africa. October 15th 2012. Canon SA will be hosting two of the world’s most renowned professional photographers at this year’s Canon SA Expo. Photojournalist, Ziv Koren and wildlife photographer, Brutus Östling are among the guest speakers on Canon’s panel for the Expo at Sandton Convention Centre from 30 November to 2 December. 

Canon has increased their efforts this year and will be hosting two speaker sessions, which will run simultaneously throughout the expo period.  

“We are extremely excited about the calibre of local and international speakers who will be sharing their expertise with visitors at the Expo. Both Koren and Östling are Canon ambassadors and those interested in their fields of photography cannot afford to miss these sessions,” comments Michelle Janse van Vuuren, Marketing Manager at Canon SA. 

Ziv Koren started his photographic career as a young military photographer in the Israeli army. He has been freelancing since 1998 and is best known for his award-winning 2003 project – ‘Louai Mer’i’, (a sergeant is going home) documenting an injured soldier. He regularly lectures on photography and exhibits his work around the world. 

One of his images was selected in 2000 by World Press Photo as one of the 200 best pictures from the previous 45 years. He has also won numerous awards including Picture of the Year, World Press Photo and Photo District News awards. Koren was also very active in covering the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

Brutus Östling started publishing his work at the age of 22 in 1981. Specialising in bird and wildlife photography, three of his photo books have been bestsellers in Sweden. Two of his books also won the WWF Panda Prize as best nature books in 2006 and 2007, when he was also appointed as ‘Scandinavian Nature Photographer 2007-2008’. Recently Östling has been photographing birds in the US states of Alaska and Florida, and has travelled throughout Europe to appear and speak at a variety of photo events and workshops.

The speaker sessions will start at 11:00 daily with the last one commencing at 16:00. The speakers and their topics include:

-Ziv Koren (Photo Journalism)
-Brutus Ostling (Wildlife)
-Roger Machin (EOS DSLR range)
-Abri Kriegler (Digital Compact range)
-Dave Han (Portraiture)
-Andrew Aveley (Wildlife)
-Paul Hoffman (Pricing photography)
-Dave Devo Oosthuizen (Conservation)
-Graham Smith (Workflow and DPP)
-Qasim Abdullah (Entry-level video)
-Manus van Dyk (Macro Photography: Equipment and Technique/Action Photography)
-Marlene Neumann (Creative Photography)
-Heinrich van der Berg (Wildlife)


Entrance to the Canon SA Expo is free. Visitors will be able to get a closer look at the latest Canon products and technologies, which include the company’s wide range of consumer and selected business solutions.

Canon will also be selling selected products at the Expo, with various specials on certain items while stocks last. 

For a complete list of the speaker sessions and topics and for general information with regards to the expo, please visit www.csaexpo.co.za.


* Please note speaker topics may be subject to change, please refer to the website for updated list.

Johannesburg, South Africa. October 14th 2012. With just a few weeks to go until the 2012 Canon Expo, the company is gearing up for its biggest show yet. With a top line-up of professionals on the speakers’ panel; a showcase of Canon’s selected range of consumer imaging solutions and the chance to play with just-launched technologies – this year’s Expo will provide an absolute thrill for visitors!

The three-day event takes place from Friday, 30 November to Sunday, 2 December 2012 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, Gauteng. The Canon SA Expo will be open from 10:00 to 18:00 daily and entrance is free.

Among the local guest speakers invited to form part of the panel at this year’s Expo, is world-renowned photojournalist, Ziv Koren and wildlife photographer, Brutus Östling. Two speaker streams will be running simultaneously throughout the event.  

Visitors can also take a stroll through the gallery area to see the top entries in the 2012 Canon Photo Competition. Canon SA’s Marketing Manager, Michelle van Vuuren says the calibre of entries to this year’s competition has been extremely high and she encourages expo attendees to walk through the gallery to see the spectacular level of photographic talent that exists in South Africa.

Jnse Van Vuuren also reminds people to check the Canon website a week before the expo to view the show specials and price list as well as the speaker timeslots. 

“Our 2012 expo promises to be educational, entertaining and inspiring for individuals with an interest in photography, businesses looking to streamline print and document flow efficiencies, and photographers wanting to print their own professional quality pictures. In fact, this expo is for anyone.“

“We will showcase a huge selection of our innovative products and solutions, giving visitors a chance to interact with them and speak to Canon product experts who will be on hand to give advice. For us, this expo is a great opportunity to engage first-hand with the people who buy, use and love our technologies. We are looking forward to it,” she concludes.



For more information please visit the Canon SA Expo website at www.csaexpo.co.za

Old Mutual believes in enabling positive futures. They’ve been doing so since 1965 when they first became involved in corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives. It is now the proud moment of the Old Mutual Foundation, established in 1999, to visibly showcase some of their current social development projects in a unique and exciting way around the Sandton CBD.

Today Old Mutual will launching an innovative and creative marketing campaign that will provide the Old Mutual Foundation with a visually impressive platform to raise the profile of some of its beneficiaries and allow Old Mutual to demonstrate the great work this CSI division does for previously disadvantaged communities across the country.

Shirley Koaho, Old Mutual’s General Manager for Marketing, says: “This is an opportunity to inspire commuters and business travellers about the work being done in the CSI sector and the many ways in which it changes the lives of disadvantaged people.  Rather than simply being a branding exercise, we hope that these examples will inspire others to build partnerships that help ordinary people do great things. 

“The need for social and economic development in SA is so great that no single agency, government department or civil society group can achieve significant change on its own. But partnerships of the sort that the Old Mutual Foundation builds can help build economically viable communities and bring dignity and livelihoods to thousands of people.” 

As reiterated by Dr. Pandelani Mathoma, Old Mutual’s General Manager for Corporate Affairs; “Old Mutual’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme is specifically geared towards playing a pivotal role in this socio-economic development of our country.  As a good corporate citizen we do this work passionately in alignment with the Government’s national priorities and salute all the corporate and individuals who contribute to the countries future with their CSI efforts. We are confident and pleased that all our combined efforts will ultimately contribute towards the realization of the objectives of the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030”.

Gautrain commuters who arrive at the Sandton Station will have a fun and affordable transport alternative around the Sandton CBD. Starting in November, 25 Tuk Tuks, branded with Old Mutual Foundation supported initiatives, will be available to transport commuters around Sandton. 

The Old Mutual Foundation branded Tuk Tuks will reflect initiatives such as: The Bulungula Lemon Grass Ladies, The Old Mutual Legends Programme, Leap Science and Maths School, Heiveld Co operative Ltd and the Wildlands Conservation Trust. 

There will be two Old Mutual “green routes”:  a 3km radius, where fares are R25 per Tuk Tuk journey, and a 6km radius ride that will cost R35. While enjoying the novel experience of riding in a Tuk Tuk through Johannesburg, commuters will be provided with fact sheets on the specific CSI initiatives showcased on their Tuk Tuk.  

Cape Town, October 2012:  The much anticipated third annual Sanlam Investments FoodWineDesign Fair takes place from 23 – 25 November on the roof top of Hyde Park Corner. More than 100 talented winemakers, designers and food artisans will treat guests to the best of South African produce at the boutique outdoor market.  


In addition to items that will make welcome gifts throughout the year, the handpicked exhibitors will showcase a selection of their food, wine and design works with jewellery, ceramics, and a newly introduced Carpenter’s alley attracting many visitors over the weekend.


Artlogic, owners of the Fair have spent the last couple of months speaking to producers to put together a special Summer Christmas selection in one fully stocked booth.  The space will offer visitors small Chirstmas gifts, such as those designed by Snapp design, Flowermill Stationary’s Christmas cards and gift tags, Mr Belvedere for the gentlemen and affordable watches by Bamboo Revolution.  


Sponsors Sanlam Investments were drawn to the fair because it is a true celebration of craftsmanship. Candice Paine, Head of Retail at Sanlam Investment Management, says “At Sanlam we know that expert financial advisors are needed to put together a sound investment portfolio. In much the same way, artisans are the experts of their chosen craft and years of experience have perfected their skills resulting in the perfect product.” 


Operating Hours:

  • Friday, 23 November:12h00 – 22h00
  • Saturday, 24 November:10h00 – 22h00
  • Sunday, 25 November: 10h00 – 16h00


Ticket price: R80.00 per person (kids under 12 enter  free), tickets available at the door, at Hyde Park Corner and online at www.webtickets.co.za. The “Come with your bike” campaign will once again feature at this year’s Fair and will offer visitors arriving at Hyde Park Corner with their bicycles half price entry (R40). Bicycle parking facilities will be made available on the rooftop and will be secure. 


Where: Hyde Park Corner rooftop, cnr of Jan Smuts Avenue, Hyde Park


As part of the build up the Sanlam Investments FoodWineDesign Fair Facebook fanpage includes the newly launched BlenderBakerBeermaker application which encourages visitors to design their own pizza, wine or beer. Conceptualised and designed by Jinja Interactive, the BlenderBakerBeermaker Facebook application is a fun way to emulate the process of production by allowing users to take a product to completion. 

To try your hand at designing a wine, beer or pizza simply ‘like’ the Sanlam Investments FoodWineDesign Fair fanpage and click on the ‘Enter here!’ tab. You can also visit www.foodwinedesign.co.za and click on BlenderBakerBeermaker. By using the application fans are automatically entered into a competition to win the grand prize of a cooking course in Tuscany as well as weekly prizes of Yuppiechef gift vouchers. The most popular creations in each category will be featured at the BlenderBakerBeermaker stand at the Fair.

Johannesburg, 25 October 2012 – Microsoft has launched its long-awaited Windows 8 operating system at a series of launches around the world, including an African-themed launch in Johannesburg that drew the likes of Olympian swimmer Chad le Clos, celebrity chef Reuben Riffel and adventurer Kingsley Holgate. 


From Friday, October 26, South African consumers and businesses will be able to experience all that Windows 8 has to offer: a beautiful new user interface (UI), a wide range of apps with the grand opening of the Windows Store, available on a broad range of Windows 8 certified PCs and tablets. The system features an entirely new look and feel, which is designed to be used across an array of devices like desktops, laptops, tablets and phones.


Windows 8 and more than 40 unique Windows 8 devices will be immediately available from major retail stores countrywide, with numerous launch offers on both Windows 8 and the devices. 


At the local launch in downtown Johannesburg, an array of celebrities – including Le Clos, Riffel, mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane, photographer Greg Marinovich, ceramic artist Fee Halstead, plastic surgeon Ridwan Mia and local band Dance You’re on Fire – shared their experiences of using the new Windows 8 in their work and personal lives over the past few weeks. 


“With the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft is unveiling a reimagined Windows to the world,” said Microsoft SA managing director Mteto Nyati. “Whether you want a tablet or a PC, whether you want to consume or create content, whether you want to work or play – Windows 8 delivers a personalised experience that fits your unique style and needs.”


Windows 8 will be available in two versions at retail, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. For business customers, Windows 8 Enterprise offers new possibilities in mobile productivity with features like Windows To Go, DirectAccess, and BranchCache, as well as enhanced end-to-end security with features including BitLocker and AppLocker. Launching at the same time is a new member of the Windows family designed for ARM-based tablets, Windows RT, which will be available pre-installed on new devices. 


Windows 8 features the new fast and fluid Start screen that gives people one-click access to the apps and content they care most about, the entirely new Internet Explorer 10 that is perfect for touch, and built-in cloud capabilities with SkyDrive that allow users to share images and documents quickly and easily. 


In addition to the range of new devices available, eligible Windows 7 PCs purchased between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013 can download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of R130.00 (exchange rate dependent) with the Windows Upgrade Offer, available at www.windowsupgradeoffer.com

3 Oct 2012

Communications Minister Ms Dina Pule called on all South Africans to embrace the process to migrate broadcasting services from analogue to digital platforms when she launched the latest phase of the consumer awareness and education campaign.

South Africa is demonstrating the digital television technology in the Northern Cape, the first province in the country to enjoy the digital revolution. The launch marks the latest milestone in South Africa’s march towards Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration. The launch took place in Motswedimosa, a community outside Kimberley.

“We have decided to showcase our proof of concept launch on DTT in a province that is hosting the Square Kilometre Array territory. This area presents unique challenges in the rollout of DTT,” says Minister Pule. The Northern Cape is home to 30 communities that either never had broadcasting coverage or had poor and unreliable coverage. At the moment, the Northern Cape has 30% DTT network coverage. Sentech is planning to complete the rollout of the network coverage by October 2013.

“In keeping with our mandate, we will ensure universal service and access by providing broadcasting services through the digital migration process that promises to enhance diversity and access, especially for the previously marginalised. All South Africans will benefit from and be able to afford to move from analogue to digital television in line with world standards,” says Minister Pule. South Africa is launching the DTT rollout using the DVB-T2 technologies, the most advance digital broadcasting technology.

The Government will provide a 70% subsidy towards the cost of the Set-Top-Boxes to the five million poorest of the poor TV owning households. Some of the benefits of digital broadcasting include better picture quality and enhanced voice clarity. The government is using the migration process to give a boost to the local economy. “We envisage that 800 jobs will be created in the manufacturing industry. 20 000 youth will be trained in the installation and maintenance of Set Top Boxes and ultimately, we trust that up to six thousand youth will be entrepreneurial and run their businesses.

 Four thousand call centre operators will be employed to deal with queries relating to the STBs. The South African Post Office will have to employ an additional five hundred staff to assist with the distribution of STBs,” says Minister Pule.

The launch of digital television will also free up space for the introduction of more television channels and the content industry had the ability to create more than 10 000 jobs. It is intended that at least 24 000 direct and indirect job opportunities should be created in all parts of the country within 12months of the rollout of digital migration. We also intend on focusing on rural and underserviced areas to ensure that these job creation opportunities are spread throughout the country

The Department is currently assessing the outcomes of the RFP (Request for Proposal) for STBs, which closed on 14 September. We intend awarding contracts to manufacturers by the end of October. We expect that the first deliveries of STBs will take place at the end of November 2012.

All of these steps are a build up the commercial launch of digital television in December 2012. This will mark the start of the dual migration period in which both analogue and digital signals will be available. Our signal distributor Sentech has currently achieved DTT network coverage of 61% of the population. Sentech is on track to reach 80 percent coverage by March 2013 and 88 percent by December 2013. The remaining 12 percent will be covered by satellite technology. The road to digital migration has been a long and arduous one. However, the end is in sight. South Africa is a leader on the African continent in digital migration as visits by Kenya and Malawi in the last two months indicate. We are also expecting visits from Nigeria, Mozambique and Angola who are keen to understand the challenges we face. Minister Pule also unveiled the DTT commemorative stamp that will be used by the SA Post Office to celebrate today’s occasion


For media enquiries, contact:
Siya Qoza
Cell: 082 8981657
E-mail: siya@doc.gov.za

Issued by: Department of Communications 
3 Oct 2012


Report of the Presidential Task Team

Report of the Presidential Task Team established to investigate the non-delivery and/or delays in the delivery of Learner, Teacher Support Material (LTSM) in Limpopo schools

5 Oct 2012

The President appointed the Presidential Task Team to investigate the non-delivery and/or delays in the delivery of Learner, Teacher Support Material (LTSM) (textbooks and stationery) in Limpopo schools in the 2012 school year.

The task team has provided a report and has made wide-ranging recommendations aimed at both solving the problem at hand and preventing future occurrence.


On 5 December 2011 Cabinet took a decision to invoke Section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution to remedy the service delivery weaknesses in the Limpopo Departments of Education, Health, Public Works, Roads and Transport, as well as the Provincial Treasury. A national Co-ordination Mechanism chaired by the Minister of Finance, including the Ministers of Health, Basic Education, Transport, Public Works, Justice and Constitutional Development, Higher Education and Training, and the Public Service and Administration, was established to oversee and monitor the process of implementation.

The practical effect of Section 100 (1)(b) is that national government assumes the executive obligations of the relevant provincial departments, effectively placing the relevant provincial departments under the administration of national government through the appointment of Administrators.

In the case of the Limpopo Province, Administrators were appointed for the following Provincial Departments: Education, Health, Public Works, Roads and Transport, and Treasury supported by the relevant National Departments, as well as the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and National Treasury, who are playing a key role in coordinating the intervention to enable the relevant departments to meet their constitutional obligations.

The Presidential Task Team comprised the Deputy Ministers of:

  • Finance as Chairperson;
  • Basic Education as member;
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs as member;
  • Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation as member; and
  • Public Service and Administration as member

The findings

1. What were the causes of the non-delivery and or delays in delivering of LTSM to affected Limpopo schools for 2012 school academic year?

The Task Team found that the problems of late or non-delivery of books affected grades one, two, three and 10 only. This was due to a commencement of a new curriculum.

It did not affect other grades as assumed.

Findings of the Task Team with regards to the reasons for the non-delivery of textbooks include the following;

  • The Limpopo Department of Education (LDoE) abolished its book unit and did not put in place a risk management plan, to mitigate any challenges that could arise from the decision to outsource the procurement and distribution of LTSM.
  • The LDoE did not place the LTSM orders timeously and did not manage the contract with the service provider, EduSolutions efficiently.
  • The department negligently handed over the responsibility to manage and maintain the database for the procurement of materials to the service provider.
  • The LDoE prioritised the procurement of stationery instead of textbooks.
  • After LDoE was placed under administration, the late and high turnover of Administrators resulted in instability.
  • The Director-General of the National Department of Basic Education (DBE) failed to act on a letter he received from the Publishers in December 2011, in which he was reminded that the LTSM had not been procured for the LDoE.
  • Both the national and provincial departments did not have credible data on learner and teacher numbers in Limpopo, which prevented them from placing the orders.
  • The financial and legal dispute with the service provider by the two departments resulted in inaction.

2Were there adequate finances available for the procurement of LTSM for the 2012 academic year, prior to and after national intervention in terms of section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution, and if not, what measures were put in place to secure the finances for the procurement of LTSM for the 2012 school year?


During the intervention there was sufficient funding made available from the Provincial Treasury to the Administrator for the purchase of textbooks.

Despite adequate funding being available, other factors impacted on the timely procurement of LTSM, which include amongst others:

i. Over-expenditure on the compensation budget of LDoE because of the filling of unfunded posts; which amounted to approximately R122.8 million.

ii. A general tendency to disregard and transgress legislation.

iii. A weakness of the Provincial Treasury in responding to financial management issues such as cash-flow requirements, supply chain management and financial oversight.

iv. Lack of recourse, response and action for personnel with fiduciary duties to report corruption or irregularities.

iv. Lack of an ethos that promotes a system of accountability in LDoE.

v. Management incompetence, lack of skills and lack of capacity both in the Provincial Treasury and LDoE.

vi. General lack of monitoring and evaluation of compliance in the Provincial Treasury regarding prudent cash management and monitoring of supply chain practices of departments.

vii. A lack of data, threat of legal action from the service provider and unclear mandates of who should do the procurement.

3. What was the role of provincial and national department in the procurement (ordering and distribution) of LTSM for 2012 school year?


  • The Task Team found that the LDoE negligently handed over the responsibility to manage and maintain the database for the procurement of LTSM to the service provider and they only acted as a “post office” in that they received and merely forwarded the information to the service provider, EduSolutions, without keeping any record in their system.
  • The LDoE did not order books for the 2012 school year.
  • The provincial Treasury did not manage its finances to effectively address the five priorities of government in its failure to manage cash flow and monitor the expenditure of the province.
  • In rationalising its budget the LDoE failed to prioritise the LTSM programme and at the end of the reprioritisation exercise, the department opted to procure stationery instead of textbooks.
  • The Office of the Premier failed in its legal and political mandate, to monitor and oversee the planning, budgeting and implementation of programmes of departments.
  • The Department of Basic Education (DBE), through the provincial oversight unit, did not fully oversee the readiness of departments to deliver on their obligations for the 2012 school year.
  • When section 100 (1) (b) was instituted the DBE failed to prioritise the ordering of books and concentrated on matters that were not helpful to the process despite advice from National Treasury and appointed administrators.
  • The administrators appointed by the national department did not get sufficient support and delegations to deliver on the terms of reference of the section 100 (1) (b) intervention. The procurement of textbooks function was not delegated to them.
  • The DBE left things too late while addressing issues that would not facilitate the speedy placing of orders and misrepresented facts on a non-existent court order barring them from ordering books from alternative suppliers.

4. What was the role of service providers in the acquisition, distribution and delays in the delivery of the LTSM for 2012 school year?


Prior to the intervention, EduSolutions suspended the procurement of the LTSM when LDoE could no longer pay them.

After the intervention, EduSolutions did not procure and distribute LTSM, owing to the dispute with DBE.

As a result of the dispute with DBE, EduSolutions was reluctant to hand over the data to DBE to commence with the procurement of LTSM as well as to place orders with publishers.

5. What were the reasons for the destruction or dumping of the LTSM?


The evidence pertaining to the dumping of textbooks was not presented to the Task Team as the matter is before the Courts and a disciplinary hearing is in process. At least one person allegedly linked to a series of dumping of textbooks incidents has been arrested and charged with several counts and has appeared in court.

6. Were the problems identified through the intervention in terms of Section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution in the LDoE adequately addressed?


With regard to the intervention to address the failures in the Provincial Government, the intervention team has identified the following weaknesses that need to be addressed, inter alia:

  • Cash and budget management such as overruns and corruption.
  • Leadership capacity and management deficiencies, for example ineffective oversight, direction, leadership operational instead of strategic and early warning mechanisms.
  • The capability of the LDoE staff.
  • The organisational structure was not aligned to budget and service delivery models.
  • Poor contract management, project management, no statistics on learner and teacher numbers in the LDoE.
  • The inability of the Provincial Oversight Unit within DBE to effectively monitor and oversee the procurement and delivery of LTSM in LDoE.
  • Systemic corruption in the LDoE.

7. Will legislation regulating the intervention contemplated in section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution facilitate and promote the delivery of services, especially textbooks?


The Task Team found that the proposed legislation will provide for a more integrated cooperative governance system in which national government monitors and supports provincial government more effectively, and is able to develop a system of early warning signals of significant provincial government failures.

It found that if legislation had already been passed, it would have provided greater clarity on the roles and responsibilities of the different role-players and would have made for a more effective intervention in Limpopo. However, they added, the absence of such a law cannot be used as an excuse for the Limpopo intervention not being effective and the failure to provide schools with textbooks.

“There is sufficient precedent set in previous Section 100 interventions and there are legislative prescripts in other legislation (PFMA, Public Service Act – PSA, etc.) that provide a reasonable framework for interventions. The considerable experiences of Section 139 interventions are also relevant in providing a broad framework or norms. It is the failure to abide by these precedents, legislative prescripts, previous experiences and norms that explain the ineffectiveness of the intervention’, says the Task Team.

8. Are there plans in place by the education department to assist the affected learners to catch-up with the academic programmes in the affected grades?


A catch-up plan for grade 10 has been developed and presented to Parliament, and it is in the process of being implemented. There is however, still a need for buy-in by stakeholders, including teacher unions, school governing bodies, teachers and learners. There is no need for such a plan for grade 1,2 and 3.

9. Are there plans, during the course of the intervention contemplated in section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution, by the department of education for the procurement of LTSM for 2013 academic year?


The Task Team found that there are plans in place. The Administrator has provided a process map for the procurement and delivery of textbooks and stationery for the 2013 School calendar year.


Specific Recommendations made by the Presidential Task Team are as follows:

The Department of Basic Education must develop a policy for the standardisation of the procurement and distribution of Learner Teacher Support Material. The proposed policy must include mechanisms to strengthen contract and risk management, as well as an operation plan for the procurement and delivery of LTSM.

Given the delays of the delivery of textbooks after the intervention and against the background of the communication by National Treasury Administrator that funds would be found, the Task Team recommended that the Public Service Commission (PSC) should be directed to investigate the role of the Director-General of DBE in contributing to the delay with specific reference to:

  • His indecisiveness to respond to and act on the letter from the publishers in December 2011 in which he was reminded that the LDoE had not ordered LTSM for the academic year 2012.
  • The Director-General also did not provide adequate administrative support to the Administrators to ensure the implementation of section 100 (1)(b).
  • The alleged interference and reluctance to delegate the procurement function to the first two Administrators, therefore further delaying the process to order LTSM for the 2012 academic year.

The PSC shall fully investigate the matter on the basis of the available evidence and further interviews regarding any disciplinary action that may be taken within sixty days. The recommendations by the PSC shall be submitted to the President. The PSC should be further directed to investigate the role of the Head of Department of Education and the Chief Financial Officer of the LDoE with reference to:

1. Failure to fulfill responsibilities of ensuring that LTSM is procured on time and delivered on time for the start of the academic year 2012.

2. The alleged contravention of the supply management principles during the procurement of LTSM through a service provider without conducting a cost benefit analysis and without due regard to the implications on such a decision both administratively and human resource capacity to manage and oversee the implementation of the Service Level Agreement.

3. The ability of the Province to effectively manage the budget and to have credible information that will serve as the basis for costing and procurement of LTSM. The Public Service Commission should further be directed to investigate the role of the Head of Department of the Department of Finance (Treasury) in Limpopo with reference to:

  • The inability of the Provincial Treasury to monitor and remedy the cash flow problems that led to the financial crisis of the Province that had a bearing on the LDoE´s readiness and capability to order LTSM.
  • The ability of the Provincial Treasury to effectively manage the budget and to have credible information that will serve as the basis for costing and procurement of LTSM.
  • Alleged non-compliance with Supply Chain Management and PFMA in awarding the textbook contract to a service provider without a Cost Benefit Analysis.

Support to the Section 100 1 (b) intervention

The Task Team found that given the particular importance of textbooks in the provision of quality education, a pre-eminent priority among the five priorities of government, it is critical that appropriate political oversight in relation to the delivery of textbooks be carefully monitored by government and to ensure that appropriate risk management mechanisms are in place to enhance efficient and timeous delivery of textbooks.

Appropriate steps must be taken to ensure that sufficient Human and Financial capacity is available to support the intervention by developing a mechanism where institutional capacity can be deployed as and when the need arises. The said capacity should be located in the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the National Treasury respectively.

The Task Team made the following broad recommendations to remedy the situation going forward;

  • The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, with the assistance of DPSA and DBE, should develop and implement a proper monitoring mechanism to monitor the implementation of the catch-up plan for Grade 10, and report to Cabinet on a quarterly basis on the progress of the implementation.
  • The “Monitoring, Support and Interventions” (MSI) Bill that deals with national government interventions in provincial government in terms of Section 100 of the Constitution and provincial government interventions in municipalities in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution be finalised as soon as possible.
  • Consideration must be given to making national government intervention in provincial government obligatory, instead of discretionary, where a provincial government fails to fulfil key executive obligations. Such obligatory interventions apply to provincial governments in cases of municipalities failing in their financial obligations – as set out in sections 139 (4) and (5) of the Constitution. These obligatory interventions by provinces in municipalities are based on objective measures of failure set out in the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA). A similar set of measures might be considered for national government intervention in provinces. This can be done through provisions in the MSI Bill and/or amendments to the PFMA. It might also be necessary to amend Section 100 of the Constitution to make it more consistent with Section 139.
  • For the MSI Bill to be effective the PSA and PFMA have to be in synergy with it – and this means that the PSA and PFMA may have to be amended. The Public Service Commission Act (PSCA) may also have to be amended. Draft legislation dealing with a single public service also needs to be taken into account.
  • A Technical Team comprising representatives of CoGTA, National Treasury and DPSA needs to work on ensuring synergy between the MSI Bill, PSA and PFMA. Representatives of the Justice and Constitutional Development Department and PME in the Presidency need to be actively conferred with.
  • The MSI Bill should be finalised by 15 November to take through the Cabinet process. By this time the necessary amendments to the PSA, PFMA, and, if necessary, the PSCA, should be identified, and considered for further processing by the DPSA and National Treasury to be introduced into the Cabinet process by January 2013.
  • In the absence of an enabling legislation for section 100 interventions, National Treasury, the Department of Public Service and Administration and the Department of Cooperative Governance must develop an interim governance framework for Cabinet approval by end of September 2012.
  • In the finalisation of the current bill on section 100 interventions the experiences from the Eastern Cape and Limpopo interventions should also be taken into account.
  • To efficiently manage the budget and to have credible information that will serve as the basis for both costing and procurement Learner Teacher Support Material, a headcount for both the learners and teachers in the Province should be conducted and finalised by end of November 2012 by the DBE intervention team.
  • The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, within the Presidency, must ensure that systems in various departments are coordinated and integrated to enable development of a standard set of measurements and deliverables to enhance the early warning capabilities in all three spheres of government.

Decision of the President

The President views the failure to provide textbooks to Grades 1, 2,3 and 10 in Limpopo in a very serious light and wants to ensure that there is no recurrence of the problem.

The President has accepted the report. In further processing it, he has asked the Minister of Basic Education to supply information on what has been done thus far, with regard to the following matters:

  • The effective procurement, delivery and supply of Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) to the affected schools.
  • The proper implementation and monitoring of the catch up plan in respect of grade 10 learners in the affected schools.

The Minister has been requested to furnish the said report on action taken within 21 days from the 21st of September 2012. Based on the report, the President has asked the Minister to request the Public Service Commission to investigate the conduct of the Director-General of the Department of Basic Education with regard to the following:

  • His alleged indecisive response to correspondence received from the publishers in December 2011 regarding the procurement of LTSM for the 2012 academic year;
  • His failure to provide the necessary support for the Section 100 (1)(b) intervention and specifically his interaction with the Administrators appointed in terms of such intervention.

The President has assigned the Ministers in the Presidency, Mr Collins Chabane and Mr Trevor Manuel to assist the Minister of Basic Education in fulfilling the tasks and ensuring the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Task Team.

Mac Maharaj
Cell: 073 879 3203

Zanele Mngadi 
E-mail: zanelemngadi01@gmail.com 

Bongani Majola
E-mail: bongani.majola@vodamail.co.za

Issued by: The Presidency 
5 Oct 2012

shop-sa puts taste buds to the test

shop-sa joined renowned executive chef and MasterChef SA judge, Andrew Atkinson, in judging the Pillsbury Versatility Workshop at the Pick ‘n Pay Good Food Studio in October.

Atkinson demonstrated his unique creations incorporating Pillsbury TubeSet and Dry Mix products, and laid down the gauntlet for teams of two to come up with their very own creations.

The pressurised cook-off started with a store dash, where contestants selected the ingredients for their creations.

The contestants kneaded, mixed and blanched against the clock only to present their perfectly prepared dishes for critique.


Product, originality, flavour and presentation were taken into account and the winners were unanimously named as the pastry chefs from the Sandton Sun with their Blueberry Torte, Cherry Pin and Skhumbuzo Maphanga.

The runners up were Linda Larkan and Denise Murphy from Clamillas Caterers.

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