Author: My Office News

By James de Villiers for Business Insider SA

Media law experts believe WhatsApp admins in SA may be held liable for false information shared on their groups.

However, they would need to know that the information being shared is false, and do nothing about it.

Knowingly sharing fake news is a crime subject to 6 months imprisonment under SA’s Covid-19 disaster regulations.

Administrators of WhatsApp groups in South Africa may be held criminally liable if fake news is shared in the group, but only if they are aware that the information being shared is incorrect.

Under South Africa’s coronavirus disaster regulations, spreading false information, colloquially known as fake news, about the novel coronavirus and Covid-19 with intent to deceive is a crime with up to 6 months imprisonment.

PPM Attorneys communications lawyer Lucien Pierce believes Whatsapp group administrators who were aware that false information is being shared may also be held liable.

Pierce said the disaster regulations, however, make it clear that the fake news has to be spread with malicious intent, and therefore the administrator will have to know that the information being shared is false.

“Many people, like my mom, share many things during the course of a day which is false but which they do not know is false, and they, therefore, cannot be found liable,” Pierce told Business Insider South Africa.

“The same is true for an administrator: they would have to know that the information being shared is false. If they do not correct the information, or do nothing to stop it, they can then be held liable.”

Von Seidels copyright lawyer Salomé le Roux explained that a precedent has been set in South Africa where a court held a person who was tagged in a defamatory Facebook post jointly liable for the defamation in the post.

She said the ruling meant that anyone who participates in the publication or is part of the “publication chain” of defamatory material – or, under the disaster regulations, spreading of fake news – can be held liable.

A WhatsApp administrator is deemed to part of the “publication chain” as they are deemed to have created the group and has control over who is added and what is posted there, Le Roux told Business Insider South Africa.

“If someone [therefore] posts something defamatory [or false] and the WhatsApp admin sees it and does nothing, it is the same as if he was tagged on a defamatory Facebook post, but did not remove the tag and remains associated with the post,” Le Roux said.

Webber Wentzel media law expert Dario Milo said it is highly unlikely that someone will be held liable as the intent to deceive needs to be proved.

“[Only] once an administrator has knowledge that someone has posted fake news, and does not act to remove it from the group, he or she will be at risk of contravening the [disaster] regulation,” Milo said.

Thousands affected as Google SA goes down

By Anita Froneman for CapeTown Etc

People across the country working from home during the coronavirus lockdown were affected as Google South Africa experienced technical issues on Monday, causing various applications including Gmail, Google Docs, Hangouts and Maps to be inaccessible.

“Our engineers have observed an intermittent issue accessing various Google apps including Gmail, Google Maps, etc. The issue is 3rd party (Google) related and is affecting various ISP’s in South Africa. Further updates to follow,” RSAWEB said on Twitter.

It was unsure at the time exactly what the problem was.

The issue was reported to the Google Network Operations Centre and they were investigating, according to MyBroadband. Internet Service Providers will be updated as they figure out the issue.

By James de Villiers for Business Insider SA

The North Korean connection in a brazen R300-million heist in Japan, which used stolen data from Standard Bank, has been confirmed in a new report.
The mastermind of the 2016 operation – which involved more than 100 people – fled to North Korea afterwards.
The group is believed to have used counterfeit credit cards stolen or leaked from Standard Bank to steal the money.

It has now been confirmed that the alleged mastermind behind a syndicate which stole 1.8 billion yen, or roughly R302 million at current exchange rates, in Japan by using data stolen from Standard Bank, fled to North Korea, the Japanese newswire Kyodo News reported this weekend.

In 2016, the man lead a group of people who used counterfeit credit cards stolen or leaked from Standard Bank to withdraw large amounts from convenience-store ATMs in 17 areas across the country, including Tokyo.

The Atlantic reported that more than 100 people were believed to have been involved in the operation which took place over two hours on 15 May 2016.

Around 1 700 automated teller machines at 1 600 convenience stores were targeted.

The mastermind fled to North Korea by way of China shortly after, investigators have now determined.

Last year, Nippon.com reported that United Nations Security Council panel found that North Korea may have been involved in the incident.

Standard Bank told Business Insider South Africa that they are unable to comment as investigations are ongoing, and directed enquiries to the relevant authorities.

Japanese police have been working with South African police during its investigations. It said over 260 people have been arrested in relation to the incident, the Japan Times reported.

By Hanno Labuschagne for MyBroadbrand

South Africans can now use Uber Eats to have essential goods delivered to their door during the coronavirus lockdown.

In an email sent to customers on Monday 6 April, the company said it would offer a range of essential items through its delivery platform.

“From frozen meals to toiletries, household goods to vitamins – open the Uber Eats app to get the items you need delivered to your door,” Uber said in a mail.

Products and stores available

Pharmacies are listed on the Uber Eats app, offering various medicines, baby products, dental products, deodorant, soaps, shampoo and conditioner, and female sanitary products.

Other stores include butcheries, convenience stores, and even health food restaurant Krunch.

The app also states that a R0 delivery charge is charged on orders of over R50.

Uber advised customers to keep checking the app as new stores are being added daily.

Just as was the case for food delivery several days before the lockdown started, users are able to request non-contact delivery of essential goods.

This means that the order will be left outside your door, eliminating the need for physical contact between the courier and customer.

Customers can select the “Leave at door” option at checkout and add additional instructions to indicate where the courier must drop the package.

Free deliveries and rides

Uber last week pledged to provide 10 million free rides and deliveries to essential workers and vulnerable people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said the services will be available to health care workers, the elderly, and others who require assistance. It said “any organisation, healthcare provider, or governmental entity is eligible”.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed to MyBroadband that it will be running the offer in South Africa as well.

“This is a global commitment that applies to all countries where Uber and/or Uber Eats operate. We don’t have a specific number for a specific country. We’re calling on food banks, hospitals and other organisations to reach out to us if they need support.”

Organisations seeking support with rides or food deliveries can contact Uber at impact2020@uber.com.

SA lockdown: Cele not ruling out extension

According to eNCA, Police Minister Bheki Cele has not ruled out extending the lockdown.

Cele said the government’s priority is to ensure people are safe.

“Remember we started with restriction, then we went to the lockdown. People are asking can we go beyond the lockdown and we are saying anything is possible,” said Cele.

Cele stated that the next step will be determined soon.

“We would wish to go back to the normal life as soon as we can but we wish to go back there with the people alive.”

At the time of publishing, the number of South Africans to have died of COVID-19 now stands at 13. Confirmed cases have also risen to 1 749. Gauteng has the most cases in South Africa, with 713 confirmed infections.

Boston Consulting Group report circulating without ‘context’

A report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), unofficially released over the weekend, said new infections in South Africa will only peak “at the beginning of June” – heightening fears that lockdown would be extended for a month or more.

The report suggested that restrictions will only be lifted somewhere between the end of June and the end of August, due to this.

However, BCG has since stated that the report was a “working document” illustrating just “one scenario” – and that it has been “circulating publicly without context or authorisation from BCG”. The document is meant merely as a planning tool and does not “constitute or substitute for medical or safety advice”, nor is it “a formal endorsement of or recommendation for a particular response”.

Speaking at the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) bi-annual Monetary Policy Review briefing earlier this week, Dr Christopher Loewald stated that early projections indicate that the 21-day lockdown, aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, could see around 370 000 job losses and 1 600 businesses being declared insolvent in South Africa.

The Covid-19 lockdown may directly and indirectly result in a 2%-4% contraction of the economy in 2020.

Ratings agencies and the weakening rand

Ratings agency Moody’s downgraded South Africa’s credit rating to junk or sub-investment grade on Friday 27 March.
Subsequently, Fitch downgraded South Africa’s Long Term Foreign-Currency Default Issuer Rating (IDR) from BB+ to BB with a negative outlook. The agency is forecasting a 3.8% contraction for the South African economy in 2020.
As a result, the rand has plummeted to nearly R20/dollar, but has since recovered to R18,65.

Big business in SA to forgo bonuses

South Africa has looked to big businesses during this time to make every effort to keep their staff.

Woolworths yesterday announced its board and executive teams will forego up to 30% of their fees and salaries over the next three months.

The SARB’s Prudential Authority (PA) has asked commercial banks to put a freeze on paying out ordinary dividends or bonuses to executives this year.

IMF versus ANC

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said last month that South Africa would approach the IMF or World Bank for help fighting the coronavirus “if we run out of finance for health interventions”. However, the ANC, the SACP and Cosatu have made it clear that they do not agree – and that South Africa needs to “safeguard [its] democratic national sovereignty”.

Asking multilateral institutions, especially the IMF, for cash is deeply unpopular with a radical faction in the ANC and trade unions the party uses to rally support ahead of elections, partly because of the stringent conditions that can accompany IMF lending programmes.

KFC won’t pay rent during lockdown

By Loni Prinsloo, Leanne de Bassompierre and Janice Kew for Bloomberg

KFC-owner Yum! Brands Inc. has told landlords in South Africa that the U.S. firm won’t be paying rent while outlets are closed during a three-week government-enforced lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision relates to 48 company-owned stores in the continent’s most industrialized country, a spokeswoman for KFC South Africa said in emailed comments. The remainder of the 1 145 KFC fried-chicken restaurants across Africa are operated by franchisees who are making their own arrangements, she said.

One owner of more than 40 KFC shops across four sub-Saharan Africa countries, Grant Wheatley, said he is in talks with landlords, banks and suppliers about arrangements to cope with the shutdown. South Africa has ordered all restaurants to close during the period, including delivery services, with reopening scheduled for 17 April.

Botswana and Lesotho, where Wheatley has outlets, have also imposed shutdowns.

Yum! and Wheatley join retailers around the world in asking landlords for leniency during a period where they will generate little or no revenue, creating a nightmare for banks and real-estate firms. The Foschini Group Ltd., a South African clothes retailer, said it’s stopping payments during the lockdown, while Swedish fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz AB and the U.K.’s Primark are among others to have withheld rent.

By James de Villiers for Business Insider

Retailer Pick n Pay, in collaboration with the Bottles delivery application, is now offering consumers same-day deliveries of essentials at over 70 locations for a cost of R60.

The partnership between Pick n Pay and Bottles previously allowed for the delivery of liquor, but this has been changed to grocery essentials in light of the national lockdown.

It differs from other delivery applications such as Zulzi in that Bottles directly integrates with Pick n Pay’s database to ensure that whatever a consumer orders is available in stock.

This service is in addition to Pick n Pay’s online delivery offering where consumers can have food delivered by selecting available delivery slots at a cost of R60 per delivery.

Most of these slots have however been taken due to increased demand during the national lockdown, despite significantly increasing the amount of slots.

Pick n Pay said the re-engineered offering from Bottles allows consumers to have access to products at in-store prices faster during the lockdown.

Consumers now have the choice of over 1 500 products, and can order over 30 different products in one order (limits may apply per product).

Areas covered by bottles deliveries include suburbs in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. More stores are expected to be introduced across the country.

“We will continue to review products offered on the Grocery Essentials app based on customer feedback, and add the most popular items. We want to make this as convenient for customers as possible,” Pick n Pay’s online head Jessica Knight said.

Orders can be placed Monday to Saturday between 08:00 and 15:00, and on Sunday between 08:00 and 13:00. Items will be delivered until 19:00, except for Sunday when they will be delivered until 17:00.

The delivery cost includes a R45 delivery fee and a R15 service fee.

For some people working from home is a regular practice, but for most of us it’s a new way of working and presents new challenges – especially if you are with family who are now at home too.

Isla Galloway-Gaul, MD of Inspiration Office, says: “People are all at once discovering the benefits and frustrations of remote work. But you can take cues from great workplaces. You’ll get more done and feel better when your technology, space and the ways you need to work come together. Working from home should be no different.”

Here are some practical tips about how to improve the work from home experience.

Establish and stick to boundaries

It’s tempting to be “on” constantly when you work from home. Others find being home distracting and challenging to stay focused and productive. “Identifying boundaries can help you maintain a healthy and productive balance. Decide on your schedule each day and try to stick to it,” Galloway-Gaul advised.

Be transparent

If you are not at your computer, be sure to communicate that with your colleagues. Make your calendar visible to your team, update your status in any team/collaboration software you use or even leverage your out-of-office auto reply. Let your team know when you’re going to be away and when you’ll be back, especially when you work in different time zones.

Build belonging

Think about ways to keep relationships intact while working from home and practicing social distancing.
“Consider creating a group chat for social interactions – during stressful times, everybody loves a good meme. Schedule coffee with a colleague over video to catch up. Remote workers need more of these checkpoints than those who are in the office.”

Create consistent connections

It can be easy to slip into a siloed work experience when everyone is working on their own, especially during more socially isolating times. Institute a quick daily virtual team connect to keep work moving forward.

Provide a variety of tools

The tools available to distributed teams aren’t perfect. No one technology does it all. “Pick some consistent tools for instant messaging, video conferencing, sharing documents, file transfers, etc. to keep your team connected virtually while social distancing,” Galloway-Gaul noted.

Turn your camera on

Video should be the default setting for any remote collaboration. Seeing facial reactions and body language lets you “read the room,” plus people are less likely to interrupt or speak over one another. “To do it well, keep the computer at eye level — put it on a stand or further back so it isn’t looking up your nose. Look into the camera and use natural light, but avoid putting your back to a window or you’ll look like a silhouette.”

Hear and be heard

“Avoid rooms with lots of hard surfaces that echo – like a kitchen,” says Galloway-Gaul. “Choose rooms with rugs or other softer materials, like the living room.” Headphones provide a better experience than computer audio. Finally, if you’re late to an online meeting or not speaking, mute your audio to avoid disrupting the conversation.

Find focus

Not everyone has a home office, so think about establishing a territory that clearly signals “I’m at work.” Discuss protocol with other members of your household to signal when you’re “on at work,” even if you’re reading on the sofa. If you tend to be distracted by other household demands, find a way to create visual boundaries so you don’t see the dirty dishes. And, if acoustics are an issue and you can’t shut the door, headphones may be your new best friend.

Be aware of your posture

A risk of working from home is becoming more sedentary. Look for ways to vary your posture and the spots where you work throughout the day. “Sit, stand, perch, go for a walk — activating the body, activates the brain and can keep you from going stir crazy,” Galloway-Gaul add.

Particularly important: Most people slumped over their laptop and look down onto their screens when they have converted the dining room chair and table to an office. “We strongly suggest raising the laptop, even if on a couple of books, which allows the screen to be at the same level of your face. This is much better for your body, dramatically reducing strain on the back and neck.”

 

Vodacom slashes data prices by up to 40%

Source: Tech Financials

Vodacom has cut data prices by up to 40% and will provide free data to access essential services through Vodacom’s zero-rated platform ConnectU with immediate effect.

The value of these initiatives is some R2.7-billion over the next year.

Vodacom’s various 30-day data bundle prices will be cut across all of its channels by up to 40%, providing customers with even greater value and making it more affordable to connect.

30-day bundle size price reduction

  • 50MB R12 – cut by 40%
  • 150MB R29 – cut by 33%
  • 325MB R55 – cut by 33%
  • 500MB R79 – cut by 21%
  • 1GB R99 – cut by 34%
  • 3GB R229 – cut by 23%
  • 5GB R349 – cut by 14%
  • 10GB R469 – cut by 22%
  • 20GB R699 – cut by 31%

Jorge Mendes, Chief Officer of Vodacom’s Consumer Business Unit, says: “Vodacom can play a critical role in supporting society during this challenging time and we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help customers stay connected. Since we started our pricing transformation strategy three years ago, our customers have benefitted from significant reductions in data prices and the cost of voice calls. Over the same period, we invested over R26 billion in infrastructure and new technologies, so our customers enjoy wider 2G, 3G and 4G coverage and vastly increased data speeds.”

The latest data reductions will complement the discounted bundle offers that will also be made available to prepaid customers in more than 2,000 less affluent suburbs and villages around the country. For qualifying communities to access further discounted voice and data deals, they need to simply click on the scrolling ConnectU banner on the platform via connectu.vodacom.co.za

ConnectU – which is a zero-rated platform – also goes live today. It will provide content aimed at social development and offers a variety of essential services for free. Learners and students enrolled in schools and universities can access relevant information for free, with no data costs.

The ConnectU portal includes a search engine linked to open sources such as Wikipedia and Wiktionary as well as free access to job portals; free educational content on the e-School platform; free health and wellness information and free access to Facebook Flex, the low data alternative to Facebook that enables customers to stay socially connected.

Vodacom’s popular Just4You platform has been a significant contributor to the approximately 50% reduction in effective data prices over the past two years. Substantial cuts in out-of-bundle tariffs and the introduction of hourly, daily and weekly bundles with much lower effective prices have also driven increased value and affordability, resulting in R2 billion in savings for customers in 2019.

This latest announcement is part of Vodacom’s social contract with the public and has been extensively discussed and agreed with the Competition Commission.

“Today’s price cuts and free access to ConnectU will also assist South Africans during the national state of disaster while at the same time helping to drive greater digital inclusion,” concludes Mendes.

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top