A classic product turns 50

With more than 60 million units being sold world-wide, it is the plumbers, specialist planners and wholesalers who have made this innovation – which Geberit launched in 1964 – into a true success story. What may appear at first glance to be the inspired brainwave of someone simply tinkering with a design, turned out to be a clear-sighted, strategic step on the way from the sanitary unit to the bathroom as we know it today.

Innovative market development
It was the birth of the concealed cistern that provided the initial spark for the development of pre-wall installation, which enabled a previously unimagined level of creative freedom in bathroom applications.

Know-How Installed through partnership
Together with the plumber’s knowledge and experience, the concealed cistern translates Geberit’s motto into genuine quality of life for the end user. Last but not least, suggestions from craftsmen have enabled the development of the concealed cistern to progress steadily over the past 50 years. Now, it is equipped for the bathrooms of the future thanks to its increased convenience and more individual, novel functions.

Reliability
Geberit
concealed cisterns have been in use for half a century which sets the standard and demonstrates Geberit’s reliability and brand promise.

Innovation for the future
Geberit
is always developing more innovations such as the ground-breaking Geberit DuoFresh odour extraction unit situated behind the actuator plate, now available in the market. In the opinion of experts, these could soon be part of the basic features of the modern bathroom. Even shower toilets, such as the new Geberit AquaClean Sela, are heralding in a new era of freshness, hygiene and bathroom design. So why not try out our products and find out for yourself?

Today’s bathroom designs can even be seen in the touchless design actuator plates, such as the Geberit actuator plate Sigma80, which offers increased convenience and hygiene. And the development doesn’t stop there: at the same time, the Sigma50 offers the highest possible level of creative freedom as the customer is able to customise the finish of the plate by choosing from a range of different finishes that best suits the bathroom design. With the Geberit Omega concealed cistern, Geberit is presenting a new concealed model with three different construction heights in its anniversary year. The cisterns can accommodate both front and top flush actuation. What’s more, the actuator plates are significantly smaller which opens up a whole new level of creative freedom.

He who builds responsibly, builds sustainably and creates quality of life.

To find out more:
www.geberit.co.za      → sales.za@geberit.com    → 0861 FLUSH 1

Canon has unveiled its slimmest ever 30x zoom digital camera, the PowerShot SX700 HS, that’s perfect for capturing all your adventures. Combining Canon’s leading lens innovations with an expertly engineered slim, compact body, the PowerShot SX700 HS is ideal for capturing your special moments in the quality they deserve. The camera delivers sharp, high quality photos and vivid Full HD 60p movies, and creative shooting modes add a unique twist to your shots. Sharing your adventures is also simple thanks to integrated Wi-Fi with NFC support.

Capture every detail of your travels

The camera boasts exceptional versatility in a surprisingly compact body – just 34.8mm thin – and captures detail easily with the 30x optical zoom lens. The precision-engineered, ultra-wide angle 25mm lens offers the flexibility to capture a beautiful sweeping countryside vista, while the impressive focal length also gives you the freedom to zoom in on detail in the distance. On memorable holidays when you want to capture, for example, distant wildlife across a valley, Canon’s ZoomPlus technology digitally extends the camera’s reach to 60x while maintaining full resolution image quality. The handy Zoom Framing Assist feature also helps keep your subject in the frame when using the telephoto zoom.

Whether you’re shooting the sunrise, or a candle-lit dinner in a piazza, the
PowerShot SX700 HS captures every detail in stunning quality. Canon’s acclaimed
HS System combines the latest generation Canon DIGIC 6 processor with a high-sensitivity 16.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor to give you beautiful results, with sharp detail and realistic colours – even in low light.

Having the confidence to push theboundaries of your photography and shoot in different situations is possible using Canon’s optical Image Stabilizer with Intelligent IS technology, which keeps your images crisp and clear. Cleverly adapting to eight different scenes, Intelligent IS analyses your shot – whether it’s watersports in the sun, or shooting exquisite flowers up close – and automatically adjusts the stabilisation mode, leaving you with sharp and steady photos and movies.

Share your adventures with the world

Keep friends and family up-to-date on your latest adventures easily with the
PowerShot SX700 HS’s built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Sharing your shots on your favourite social networks – including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – is just a few simple steps away by quickly connecting to smartphones or tablets using the Mobile Device Connect Button. Or alternatively pair the camera to your device using the new NFC functionality, simply touch the twodevices together to begin sharing via Canon’s dedicated CameraWindow app.

The new Wi-Fi connectivity also includes Remote Shooting from smartphones – perfect when the photographer wants to be included in a group shot. You can also keep your images backed up with Image Sync, which lets you wirelessly transfer shots to cloud storage destinations including CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, Flickr, Google Drive™ and directly to your PC. What’s more, for explorers who want to remember where each picture or movie was shot, the PowerShot SX700 HS’s GPS via Mobile functionality can be used to tag the location of every shot.

Capture all the fun in Full HD 60p movies

To preserve your adventures for years to come you can also capture truly mesmerising 1080p Full HD video. The PowerShot SX700 HS’s Movie Record Button easily switches from shooting pictures to filming, and thanks to the power of DIGIC 6, video is shot at 60fps with high quality stereo sound. The five-axis Enhanced Dynamic IS mode keeps movies stabilised, so everything from a game of beach volleyball to flying a kite is smooth and crisp. Recorded in the MP4 format, movies can be instantly enjoyed on different devices or uploaded to social networks to share with friends across the globe.

For a shorter snapshot video of your day, Hybrid Auto automatically captures the four seconds before each still image is shot, joining all the clips together into a single movie at the end of the day, letting you relive your adventure in motion.

The smarter way to take creative pictures

With Creative Shot you’ll capture unique images with every press of the shutter; 46 effects are arranged into four themed categories, Monochrome, Retro, Natural and Special. Pick a category and the PowerShot SX700 HS intelligently creates six individual shots, based on the selected creative effect theme, so you can wow your friends with a great selection of images.

PowerShot SX700 HS Key Features:

?         Ultra compact 30x zoom, 25mm lens

?         HS System with 16.1 MP CMOS and DIGIC 6

?         Intelligent IS with 5-axis Dynamic IS

?         Wi-Fi with NFC support

?         Full HD (60fps)

?         7.5 cm (3.0″) PureColor II G LCD (922k sRGB)

?         Creative modes

?         Hybrid Auto & Smart Auto

?         Manual, Av and Tv modes

?         High-speed shooting

 


THE BEAD CO. SPONSORS MND PATIENT’S DREAM

The Bead Co is making a difference and providing significant corporate social initiative (CSI) investment by helping MND sufferers dream’s come true.

It began in Australia, and quickly went viral: #Neknomination. The extreme social media drinking game involving challengers downing alcohol in bizarre and potentially dangerous ways, posting videos online and nominating others to outdo them.

 

South African, Brent Lindeque, turned the game on its head, when he was  #Neknominated by an Australian friend. He used his nomination to ‘pay it forward’, giving a beggar a meal and challenging others to do the same.  “Downing a can of beer is easy … imagine if we all harnessed the power of social media to make a difference in real people’s lives,” says Lindeque.

 

Another South African, Nathania de Kock, #Neknominated Joost van der Westhuizen and her J9 Foundation colleagues. Happy to pay it forward, Joost and the J9 team, launched the  #J9MomentsOfMagic initiative to give people suffering from Motor Neuron Disease (MND) a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience through the help of corporate sponsorship.

 

Says Joost, “I have been a sufferer of MND for 41 months and I have firsthand experience of how this disease changes the way you think and your priorities in life. Family is important; the love of life is invaluable, and the gift is truly in the giving.  In the end, memories are all we have.”

 

Stuart MacFarlane, had always dreamed of taking his wife, Leoni and their three small children: Amy, Christopher and Duncan, to see Victoria Falls – one of the Wonders of the World. But when Stuart was diagnosed with MND in October 2011, the family finances were quickly absorbed by mounting medical bills.

 

This #Neknomination, changes that.

 

The Bead Coalition, creator of the beaded MND bracelet, has made Stuart’s dream a reality, with an all-expenses paid family holiday to Victoria Falls.  

 

The Bead Co. CEO, Joanne Lapin Thorpe says “Our  MND bracelet is a beautiful symbol of support, particularly sentimental to me, and inspired by my precious sister who also fights this disease. I am thrilled to sponsor the first #J9MomentsOfMagic campaign, and I hope he’ll treasure the memories of Vic Falls.”

 

“We are so grateful to the Bead Co. for their generous sponsorship.” says Joost vd Westhuizen, who has some #Neknominations of his own.

 

Joost and the J9 Foundation further nominate, Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls, Gavin Varejes, CEO of Richmark Holdings and J9 Director, along with fellow trustee and  Blink Pictures Director, Odette Schwegler. #Neknominees have 24 hours to ‘make good’.

 

South Africans are challenged to assist in the global fight to conquer MND by purchasing a J9 Foundation MND bracelet, available for R40 each, at all CNA’s, Foto-First, Sneakers, Pick ‘n Pay Douglasdale or online at www.thebeadco.co.za. Visit www.joost.co.za for more information on J9 Foundation and MND.

 

EIssued by The Bead Co. Pty Ltd – LIFE FORCE  

T: 083 609 1111

www.thebeadco.co.za

Media enquiries: lisa@thebeadco.co.za

St Dominic’s Catholic School for Girls, an independent school in Boksburg, Gauteng, has installed 65 Epson EB-485Wi interactive short throw projectors, accompanied as many sets of Epson ELP-SP02 Active Speakers in its classrooms, as part of a R5million plus network and technology facilities upgrade. This commitment to multi-sensory input in education positions the school as a leader in using technology to enhance its already high quality of education it offers its learners.

 

“The school had installed several interactive whiteboards before the upgrading project started, but we identified the need for an effective, standard approach in all the classrooms when we planned our investment in improving the school,” says Harry Van Der Burgt, ICT manager at St Dominic’s.

 

“Marcus Retief of Compute Corporate Technology Solutions suggested a combination of the Epson EB-485Wi interactive short throw projector and a set of Epson ELP-SP02 Active Speakers for each of the 65 classrooms and other teaching facilities. After a successful trial in a junior school classroom, we agreed to proceed with the installation,” he says.

 Apart from the fact that the projectors offer outstanding value for money, Van Der Burgt and his team found the Epson short throw projectors appealing because they offer high performance, are network ready and are supplied with interactive pens that integrate interactive functionality into one machine, without the constraints or expense of an interactive whiteboard.

 Teachers can make notes on projected images shared over a network or on content from DVD or BluRay players, tablets and cameras, making it easier than ever to expand on the content of a lesson, in real time. Because two pens are supplied with each projector, it is possible for more than one user to ‘make notes’ simultaneously, encouraging greater interaction in the classroom.

 The projectors deliver 3100 lumens of colour brightness and 3100 lumens of white brightness, using 3LCD three chip technology for true to life colour and brilliant images. They were discreetly mounted on classroom walls at St Dominic’s, but can also be used freestanding.

 Although the Epson EB-485Wi comes standard with built in speakers, the St Dominic’s team chose to enhance the experience with the Epson Active Speakers in each classroom. The speakers boast 30W of crisp clear sound, making sure that every learner in a classroom can clearly hear what the teacher is presenting, no matter where they are sitting.

 “The interactive multimedia teaching style that is made possible with the Epson EB-485Wi projector enhances students’ concentration and information retention,” says Dean Jules, product manager at Epson South Africa. “Teachers are also no longer limited to the content of standardised textbooks – they are able to draw on the web to enhance their teaching in real time, which is of tremendous advantage in current events, science and technology subjects, where developments are happening faster than text books can be printed.”

 

Product specifications

 Epson EB-485Wi interactive short throw projector

Projection system

Epson 3LCD, 3 chip technology

Projection method:

Front/Rear/Wall mount/Table

Driving method:

Poly-silicon TFT Active Matrix

Pixel number:

1,024,000 dots (1280×800)x3

Colour brightness (colour light output)

3100 lumens

Interactive white brightness (white light output)

3100 lumens

Aspect ratio

16:10

Native resolution

1280×800 (WXGA)

Lamp life

Eco mode – up to 4000 hours

Contrast ratio

Up to 3000:1

Colour reproduction

Up to one billion colours

 

Epson ELP-SP02 Active Speakers

Active speaker

 

Output power

2x15W at 10% THD

Frequency

80Hz – 20kHz

Response

Tweeter/Woofer

Driver impedance

8 ohm

Passive speaker

 

Output power

15W rms

Frequency

80Hz – 20kHz

Response

Woofer Tweeter/Woofer

Driver input

RCA pin jack from active speaker

Voltage

AC 100 V – 240 V, 50/60Hz

Power frequency

Less than 0.7W

 

 

Compute Corporate Technology Solutions contact details:

 Tel: +27 (0)11 767 7300

Address: Boskruin Office Park, Building 2, President Fouche Street, Boskruin, Randburg

Gauteng, South Africa

E-mail: sales@compute.co.za

 

 

       Ends-

Solar-powered classrooms have evolved from an experiment into the next big thing in educational initiatives by IT giants like Samsung and Dell.

A little more than two years ago, technology giant Samsung unveiled its first solar-power internet classroom at Phomolong in the Tembisa township outside Johannesburg. 

Nothing had to be built: the classroom arrived ready-made, in a renovated shipping container. It starts with solar panels on the roof of a 12m container, which generate up to nine hours of electricity a day for the equipment inside the classroom. That makes it possible to power a 50-inch electronic screen, solar-powered notebooks, Samsung Galaxy tablet computers and wi-fi cameras, all linked to the internet through wireless broadband.

The classroom can accommodate 21 students at a time but, as important, it can store the entire school curriculum in a central computer, also powered by the solar panels.

Until the internet classroom arrived at Phomolong Secondary School, it had been achieving around a 66% matric pass rate. Within two years, at the end of last year, the rate had rocketed to 96.5%, with 102 out of 199 students qualifying for bachelor studies.

“Our achievement is a culmination of a number of sustained systemic interventions,” said principal MK Thoka in a letter to Samsung. He noted that the interventions had been “aimed at strengthening and improving performance of our learners particularly in mathematics, physical sciences and accounting”. Ambitious goals had been set, he said, and these had been achieved thanks to Samsung’s intervention.

Phomolong is just part of the solar-powered container classroom story. Last year, global computer manufacturing giant Dell launched its first Classroom in a Box in Nigeria. At the end of January this year, it brought the concept to South Africa as the Dell Solar Lab at the  Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (Shawco) centre in Kensington, Cape Town.

More than 300 children from nearby under-serviced areas, like Manenberg and Khayelitsha, have free access to the mobile computer classroom.

“Shawco has been a Dell ‘Powering the Possible’ partner for four years and with their excellent service, knowledge and relationship with communities through their welfare, development and education programmes, it made sense not only to place the lab at their Kensington centre, but to also collaborate with them to ensure that communities take full advantage of the benefits of this advanced technological structure,” said Stewart van Graan, general manager, Dell Southern and Central Africa, at the launch.

Meanwhile, Samsung has now deployed solar classrooms in 20 African countries. Some form part of Samsung’s own corporate social investment, while others have been bought by large corporations to fulfill their own CSI requirements. From Botswana and Lesotho up to Rwanda and Sudan, the classrooms are becoming a symbol of educational innovation in rural areas.

And the results continue to raise eyebrows.

“We put one in a little village in the northern part of Botswana, where there were many San people whose kids were not keen on school, and they had a high drop-out rate,” says Thierry Boulanger, Samsung’s director of IT and B2B Solutions, Africa. “Then we put in solar-powered internet schools. To this day, kids are lining up to go to school.”

What’s the attraction? Surely not just the shiny computers? That novelty would wear off fast.

“It’s about interactivity,” says Boulanger. “We’re engaging with the scholars, and they are exposed to something they’ve never seen in the past. Having a notebook computer or Galaxy Tab in front of them, while engaging with a teacher, is so much more enticing than a traditional blackboard and chalk.”

Student management software in the unit itself allows teachers to measure the performance of each student immediately. Spot tests can be given at the end of each lesson, and monitoring systems can go as far as to say whether the teacher was successful in delivering that lesson.

“Those are the things that make it so much more efficient and effective,” says Boulanger.

It doesn’t have to stop with the single classroom, either. At Phomolong, as well as further afield in countries like Rwanda and Tanzania, Samsung has now installed solar powered generators, allowing existing schools with no electricity or high electricity bills to be transformed into “smartschools”.

For Dell, the big win is that the solar-powered classroom manufacture is so easily repeatable.

“We want to try to mass produce it,” says Michael Collins, vice-president and general manager of Dell for emerging markets. “We’re trying to make it simple, drive down the cost, and get a bigger return for available funds.

“Education is a great window. With it, you can go anywhere. All you need is access and the ability to go exploring. The beauty of internet search engines and sites like Wikipedia is that you don’t stop learning. All you need is that window.”

Collins believes that the concept will work not only for children, but also for every community that sees education and knowledge as a springboard.

“Education will change Africa,” he says. “And access will change education.” – Gadget.co.za

Written by Arthur Goldstuck. Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee
S
ource – Newsle

 

 Entitlement is rampant, and it is ruining America.

Children today are all “special”, and they are all “winners”.  They are going to “do great things” and “be somebody special.”

Bull.

Most people are going to be average.  That is the definition of the word, “average.”

Unfortunately, the outsized expectation of quick success versus the reality of requisite hard work and determination (in most cases just to avoid being below average), is causing depression and anxiety in today’s workforce.

The grand canyon of disparity between expectations and reality manifests itself in increased employee turnover rates, low employee morale, an ever-widening gap between the wealthy and the poor and, for you business owners, a significant increase in employee theft.

In the past three years, according to the Society for Certified Fraud Examiners, the average size of small business fraud has increased by nearly 17 percent.  That should get your attention, because fraud and theft occurs in more than 35 percent of all small businesses.

To put it into sharper focus:  Do you know two other business owners?  If so, odds are that at least one of the three of you is being stolen from right now.

One of the most common types of fraud is accounting fraud, and one of the simplest tactics internal accountants use to steal money is called “double checks.”

Here is the way it works (this is a true story with the names changed):

Suzy is your bookkeeper of five years.  You trust her.  She has never missed a credit card payment.  She is extremely organized and every time you ask for back-up for a charge or a bill, she has it.  She is also always hounding you about your receipts, furthering her credibility.  You have grown to trust her so much that today she not only pays all of the Company bills but also pays all of your bills at home.  You consider her an integral part of the Company and your family.  In the past few years she has been to all of your children’s graduations, your friends and family Christmas parties, etc.

Here is where it gets a bit sticky.  She is the only one in the Company that knows how to use your accounting system (QuickBooks).  The only other person who ever looks at your accounting system is your CPA, who only uses it once per year to prepare the tax return.  She runs payroll, reconciles the bank account and does all of the invoicing.  She prints financial statements for you and has rarely made any mistakes that you can see.

Meanwhile, you are busy selling new business and helping your other staff, who you feel are mostly underperforming, get their jobs done.  On the other hand, Suzy is one of your star employees.

Sadly, Suzy always seems short of cash. She always complains about not having enough money and yet, just a few months ago, she leased a new Mercedes.  Four years ago, she got a divorce.  You tried to help her with flexible work schedules.  You knew it was tough on her, and your kids even helped to babysit her kids when she was in a pinch.

What you did not know was that Suzy was in major credit card debt after the divorce, and about four years ago, she started writing herself checks.  How?

Well the first check she wrote herself was the hardest, but she really needed the money, and she came and asked you for a raise, but you really couldn’t pay her more than $50,000 per year.  She saw that you were making $200,000 per year and knew that if she didn’t have that money, she might not be able to pay for her kid’s daycare.

So, she wrote one check to the Electric Company for $850 and one check to herself for $85 (coded to utilities expense with the water and the security system expenses).  Then she wrote one check to the Copier Company for $375 and one check to herself for $45 (coded to the Copier Expense under General Office Expense).  Then she wrote one check to herself and coded it to office supplies for $129.

That first month she did this six more times in various accounts totaling $832 (tax free to her of course).  Then, after she had printed the checks, she went back and changed the names on the checks in the accounting system to the old Vendors names just in case anybody (like the CPA) ever looked in the accounting file.

“That was hard,” she thinks, and she feels bad, but she really needed the money, and this way, the Company does not really have to give her a raise, that she really deserves anyway…right?  After all, she is entitled to a good life and her ex-husband really screwed her over.  Her kids just can’t stay by themselves.  She is really just doing what she has to do to get by.

Here is the end of the story:

Four years after her initial theft, Suzy is in a pretty bad car accident and can’t come to work for nearly two weeks.  The Company has their CPA provide temporary help, and the first thing she (the CPA) notices is that the bank account has not been reconciled all year.  So, she starts reconciling it and sees double payments in almost every expense account.  Being curious, she looks for the original bill and quickly uncovers the fraud.

Suzy epitomizes the entitlement mentality, and without the car accident, she would still be getting away with it.  Perversely, you would still believe that she is a star employee.

Suzy stole $454,000 over a four year period.  The only good news in this story is that the business is still in business, and Suzy was just convicted of fraud (which almost never happens) and will spend at least 3 years behind bars and have to pay back $250,000, which she does not have.

If this story sounds like you, and you have a “Suzy” in your organization, get curious.  Next month, ask for back-up for all bills.  Match up the checks with the bill and make sure the expense amount matches the expense on the P&L.  Then make sure all of your balance sheet accounts are completely reconciled.  You probably do not know how to do this, so have an outsider verify that it was done.  Repeat this process randomly at least three of four times per year.

It is boring.  It is tedious.  It is accounting.  It is not what you are best at.  It does not generate any new revenue.  It is also mandatory.

This business is your business and your responsibility.  You are not entitled, you are not special, you are a hard working business owner and, to make sure you protect yourself, you have to be engaged in every facet of your business.

 Written by Matthew Garrett
This article first appeared on www.forbes.com

 

E-tolls put pressure on Super Group

The impact of the introduction of e-tolling on Gauteng freeways has been “huge and significant” to the operations of transport logistics and mobility company Super Group.

Peter Mountford, the chief executive of Super Group, said yesterday the implementation of the e-toll system would have a negative impact on all areas of the group’s business and continued to be of concern in relation to distribution costs and the knock-on effect on gross domestic product (GDP).

Mountford said e-toll costs were capable of recovery in many of the group’s core supply chain contracts but with some operations it was not in a position to recover these costs.

He added that e-tolling had dramatically affected the group’s administrative costs, particularly because of the inordinate complexity of the system. He said Super Group had to be aware of fraud with “false number plates and the like going through the system and you need a coherent process to deal with that and it all costs money”.

Mountford admitted the group had to employ people to specifically manage and deal with the complexity of the system, which was a big negative for the group.

Super Group reported yesterday that revenue grew 31.5 percent to R7.1 billion in the six months to December from R5.4bn in the previous corresponding period.

He attributed the revenue growth largely to the excellent performances by the majority of the Supply Chain South Africa businesses, the African Logistics and Dealerships operations and the inclusion of Safika Oosthuizens for the full period.

Operating profit improved by 25.7 percent to R650.6 million from R517.4m. This translated into a 30 percent growth in adjusted headline earnings a share to R1.259.

Super Group’s stated strategy remains to use cash generated to invest in acquisitions or repurchase shares, resulting in it not declaring a dividend.

Mountford said earnings growth was commendable given the highly competitive trading environment and strenuous economic conditions experienced by all industries in both South Africa and Australia.

He said the transport and logistics industry in South Africa was affected by underlying factors such as weak consumer expenditure, challenges faced by the mining sector and the above-inflation cost increases being experienced by the local industrial sectors.

Cash generated from operations, after working capital, increased by 25.5 percent to R760m in the period.

Mountford said the group had exposure to the mining industry through its bulk operations and labour disruptions had affected performance but it tried to keep the volumes going and accelerate volumes when there was stability.

The vehicle dealerships division increased revenue by 18 percent to R2.6bn and operating profit by 28 percent to R70.7m despite the seven-week strike in the motor sector that disrupted vehicle supplies to dealerships. The gains were largely because it took on stock ahead of the strike.

Mountford said the outlook for the local economy was subdued given the low GDP growth reported over the past 12 months, uncertain trading and operating prospects in manufacturing, and production contraction in the industrial and mining industries.

“The weak rand, interest rate hikes, higher fuel prices, inflationary pressures and high unemployment rates will continue to hamper growth.”

The shares fell 0.93 percent to R26.70 on the JSE yesterday.

 By Roy Cokayne
This article appeared at www.iol.co.za

 

R1.5bn for cheaper internet access

Johannesburg – The Gauteng government has forked out R1.5-billion on a tender to provide cheaper internet access to the province’s residents.

On Monday, the Gauteng Department of Finance announced that Altech Alcom Matomo, a subsidiary of Altron TMT, has been awarded the Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) five-year tender.

The intention is that after the company has established the network, its ownership will be transferred to the provincial government.

According to the tender, the service provider is supposed to build, operate and maintain a province wide broadband network that will offer broadband fibre internet access to the province’s 316 government-owned buildings, 45 Thusong centres, nine economic development zones (malls, business hubs and such) and 20 priority townships.

The department said the public would be able to access free internet from these points.

The network will consist of 1 600km of high-speed fibre optics and provide coverage to 95 percent of Gauteng’s population.

In two years’ time, the GBN will also be responsible for providing uncapped internet connectivity in all of the province’s public schools.

The e-Learning programme – co-managed by the provincial departments of finance and education – is currently being supported by two private service providers on a two-year contract. When this contract expires in 2016, the programme will be absorbed into the province’s network.

This is not the first time that the provincial government has coughed up millions to roll out internet access.

In June last year, late Gauteng MEC for economic development Nkosiphendule Kolisile filed a R9-million lawsuit against his former head of department, Khulu Radebe, and head of IT Linda Canca.

Kolisile filed his application on June 24 and died on July 20 after a crash which also claimed the lives of two of his bodyguards. He was on his way to a funeral in the Eastern Cape when the tragedy struck, but the matter remains on the court roll.

In his application, Kolisile filed papers stating that Radebe and Canca were given a responsibility to start a broadband programme that would provide internet connectivity, among other services.

He said Radebe, acting on the advice and in cahoots with Canca, entered into an agreement with ECI Telecom Africa in February 2012 to implement the programme, called the Alexandra WiMax Pilot Project.

“ECI Telecom Africa would implement and test WiMax Networking Infrastructure that is capable of transmitting data, voice and video. The network infrastructure would include a self-contained network operations centre with full management capabilities,” Kolisile argued.

However, in his papers, he said Radebe and Canca should have exercised reasonable care to have known that the project had no prospects of success, and that any cost incurred in the ECI Telecom agreement would have no value unless the Department of Economic Development had procured a radio frequency licence 2.6 GHZ from the Independent Communications Authority of SA.

Kolisile said that without that licence, his department suffered losses of R9 908 710.14. He wanted Radebe and Canca to reimburse the department.

Mxolisi Xayiya is the new economic development MEC.

Radebe and Canca have filed papers to defend the lawsuit against them. – The Star

By NONTOBEKO MTSHALI AND BALDWIN NDABA
Article originally appeared at www.iol.co.za

 

 

UK-based financial and business advisors Company Rescue discuss the warning signs that indicate a business in trouble, and how employees or senior staff can notice such signs at an early or preventative stage.

In business, when you rely on suppliers supplying you and customers paying you, it is important to be able to recognize signs of distress in other businesses. The problem is that you have limited information, except that they are perhaps not paying on time. You may also refer to credit rating agencies, but would you recognize all the signs of distress in your own business? Please read this guide of all the warning signs – it is not exhaustive, and if you think that there are more, then please let us know.

The bank

 Perhaps the most obvious sign of distress in a business is the behaviour of their bank. Do they seem worried?

Are they looking for extra security, such as personal guarantees or debentures?

Are they withdrawing overdrafts and refusing loans?

Are they generally asking for lots of information?

 

Reporting and filing

The business has not filed the company’s accounts on time, and has incurred a penalty

The business has not filed the company’s annual return

OK – they don’t seem important, but if the company is not able to comply with some simple statutory obligations that outline its financial position, then it may be in denial, or those in charge are simply fighting on other issues.

 

What about your creditors?

You find it difficult to pay creditors on time, and so your supply line is disrupted. Your business is using credit by what is called “Peter and Paul-ing” – you are using lots of suppliers to obtain new credit

The company’s creditor days are growing (divide the amount of money you owe creditors by the sales per annum and multiply by 365)

The directors are always fighting creditor fires and having to handle creditors calls every day

Suppliers can’t obtain trade insurance against your company – in some cases this can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, because once this trade insurance is withdrawn, then all suppliers will stop supplying. This is in effect what happened to UK high street retailer Woolworths back in 2008

 

The problem with creditor pressure is that it distracts the management away from actually running the business to pay back the creditors, so it can be a vicious circle that often leads to insolvency.

Debtors 

Believe it or not, lots of businesses only get into trouble as they are not collecting in debts as quickly as they should. One sure indicator of this is that the business doesn’t actually know what its total number of debtors is. Another risk factor is where the company has concentration in one or two major customers (debtors). It only takes a dispute with one of them, or one of the customers to get into its own financial difficulties, for the business to be in real danger.

Other indicators may be as follows:

You are reluctant to issue credit notes

The accounts department only invoices periodically

There is no dedicated debtor collection function

 

Factoring companies

Factoring companies can be very useful at helping a company’s cashflow, but they can also get quite tough with companies that may be in distress. They tend to go about this in the following ways:

They start reducing the advance

They don’t seem to understand your business

You can never get enough advance against your invoices

They are advancing 75 percent against the business’s invoices but disallowing lots of them

They claw money back from you after the debtor has not paid in less than 90 days

 

Management warning signs

Often it is the behaviour of management that is a give away, so check that you or the management team are not doing the following all the time:

Concentrating on non-essential issues

Senior people seem paralysed into inaction

Is the team “compartmentalising” problems? (in other words he or she deals with one creditor problem and ignores others)

They don’t have regular meetings

They have overdrawn director’s accounts – taking dividends when no profits in the business

 

Do management blame the:

Bank

Creditors

Debtors

Accountants (ie you!)

Advisors

Everyone(!)

 

Financial information is everything. So often we see businesses that become insolvent due to lack of good financial information (in almost 80 percent of cases). This is the biggest single cause of insolvency and the accompanying stress. It is even possible to be growing rapidly, making lots of profits, but actually suffer a cash crunch that can put the company down.

Only good financial information can prevent this, and can ensure that costs are cut quickly enough and problem areas identified. A company can downsize without the associated stress if the information is at hand. Of course, poor financial information is an indicator of systemic problems with management. So what should you look out for?

The directors and management don’t know:

Gross Profit – accurately

Costs – accurately

Sales per month/per annum

Orders taken

Enquiries quoted for

Bank balances

Where 80 percent of work comes from

Where 80 percent of profit comes from

What their annual accounts mean – they are “wrong” usually

Their market – who are the main competitors, products and threats?

How many units of your products you make per day

How much units made per day cost

How many units the company needs to make to break even

How many enquiries the company needs

How many enquiries the company converts into sales

How many people it takes to make this product

Sales performance compared to last year/last month/budget

Cost increases/decreases year-on-year

 

The list can go on and on, and problems with staff morale, politics, or high staff turnover are also indicative of distress.

2. Financing

Another relatively obvious area would be financing:

Always refinancing assets – no money to pay deposits

Just need a certain amount of money to sort a problem

The next big sale/contract/debtor payment will sort the problem out

The business has introduced a number of new financial products to keep going

The business has borrowed money against homes to fund the business

Directors are not taking money out of the business to live

 

In conclusion, the warning signs are many, and a few of the items listed happen in all businesses, including some that are performing well.  However, some are more critical warnings than others.

So if you want five top warning signs, here they are:

Use of tax due to tax payments being used for working capital

You think that one more sale, one more contract, one big customer payment will solve the cash flow problem (it won’t)

You have overdrawn the director’s current accounts (see a guide to this issue here)

You spread credit around with lots of different suppliers

You have poor financial records and cannot quickly figure out how much you owe and how much is owed to you

 

You will know it in your gut when the problems are too many. However, after many years of dealing with distressed companies, the frustrating thing is that many businesses could have been saved if they had recognized the warning signs earlier and taken professional advice.

 Source: www.therecycler.com

Paperworld Frankfurt 2014, Germany – OPI Editor Andy Braithwaite, Mercedes Westbrook, My Office Editor and Steve Hilleard, CEO of OPI met up recently at the international show and confirmed ongoing editorial agreements between the two publications. 

Office Products International produce a monthly publication, an online platform, as well as a daily update on the office products industry from around the world.

My Office magazine is the official Southern African industry publication produced by Future Wave Media on behalf of shop-sa, the Southern African Stationery, Home & Office Products Association.

To read a digital copy of both publications log onto www.shop-sa.co.za or www.opi.net.

 

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