Author: My Office News

Source: Business Insider SA

Though Gauteng remains the country’s hijacking capital, more hijackings are now taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

Gauteng has been the epicentre of vehicle crimes since Tracker started tracking hijacking and theft data 25 years ago. During the period, the province’s incidents accounted for 64% of South Africa’s total vehicle crimes.

However, in the past three years, Gauteng has had fewer incidents, with its average dropping to 56%, according to data released by vehicle tracking company Tracker on Tuesday shows.

More car crimes are now occurring in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, whose average increased to 19% from 16%, and the Western Cape, which has risen to 9% from 6%.

Cars are also increasingly more likely to be hijacked than stolen, Tracker said.

This is due to “opportunistic tactics,” Duma Ngcobo, Tracker’s chief operating officer, said, citing a noticeable increase in vehicles such as those ferrying fast-moving consumable goods being targeted for their loads.

In 2021 vehicle crime activities or hijackings rose to 54%, while car theft decreased to 46%, from 50% previously, higher than in 1999, when it had increased to 52%, overtaking theft at 48%.

“Drivers carrying large amounts of cash are also being targeted. South Africans should be wary and remain vigilant at all times, especially when returning home from shopping or when goods bought online are delivered to their homes. Hijackings are often violent and there are instances where a hostage is taken,” Ngcobo said.

“Further techniques include criminals impersonating law enforcement officials in order to commit hijackings, a method otherwise known as blue light robberies. Criminals also commit vehicle theft using online selling platforms, where sellers hand over goods on receipt of a fake payment,” Ngcobo said.

“Sometimes, criminals pretend there is something wrong with your vehicle, a method known as flagging down. They also take advantage of drivers stopped on the side of the road or those picking up hitchhikers,” he said.

The data shows that six provinces are more likely to experience hijacking than theft, with the Western Cape being the province with the highest hijacking incidents compared against car theft. Of the vehicle crimes it encounters, 72% are hijackings, and 22% are stolen cars, most taking place in the metropolitan area.

In Mpumalanga 70% of vehicle crimes are hijackings and 30% being car theft; Limpopo also experiences a higher number of hijackings at 62% against car theft at 38%, while the Eastern Cape sees 60% hijackings and 40% stolen cars.

Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have the same split between car theft, 49%, and hijacking at 51%.

Eskom spent R29m on milk, toilet paper

By Babalo Ndenze for EWN

Power utility Eskom spent R29-million in one year on items like milk, toilet paper, cleaning products and bottled water.

But in the past financial year, the power utility has managed to cut this by almost 50% to R15.6-million.

This spending on the basket of consumables has been revealed by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in a written parliamentary reply on Wednesday.

The debt-ridden power utility’s most costly consumable, according to Gordhan, was milk, which cost the struggling power utility R16.9 million in the 2019/2020 financial year.

But this was cut to just over R7 million the following year due to cost cutting measures at the cash-strapped parastatal.

Gordhan was responding to DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia who asked him about recurring consumables such as bottled water, toilet paper, milk and cleaning products and how these affect Eskom’s bottom-line.

Gordan said a total of 1,646 transactions were identified between 1 April 2020 to 28 February 2021.

He said the spending on the recurring products would not affect Eskom’s finances as they amounted for less than a 0.01% of spending.

Gordhan was also asked about the South African Airways spending on the same products, but said this information was outstanding and would be submitted it as soon as it became available.

 

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Retailer Shoprite has deployed its Usave Ekasi trucks to the Jabulani community in Soweto shop for essential grocery items after the local mall was destroyed in the recent unrest.

Jabulani Mall, situated in South Africa’s biggest township, Soweto, was one of the many shopping centres damaged by looters when violent rioting and looting took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Since the unrest, some Shoprite stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have not been able to operate. The retailer has been working on restocking and rebuilding its affected stores with plans to reopen as soon as possible.

Until this is done, Africa’s largest retailer has sent in it is mobile trucks to ensure that consumers at least have access to essential products.

“Two Usave eKasi trucks were recently deployed to Jabulani in Soweto to enable community members to purchase basic food items and other necessities until Shoprite Jabulani reopens,” the retailer told Business Insider South Africa.

The retailer plans to reopen the doors to its Jabulani store on Thursday, 29 July.

The unrest in the country caused a wave of destruction in KwaZulu-Natal and some parts of Gauteng – at least 200 shopping centres were looted and plundered. In addition, 161 malls, eight factories, and 11 warehouses were extensively damaged, according to data compiled by the South African Property Owners Association.

The grocery trucks will next visit the Ratanda community, a township south of Johannesburg, before moving to other affected areas, it said.

“On Thursday, the two Usave eKasi trucks that were temporarily stationed in Jabulani will be deployed to Ratanda, near Heidelberg, and Protea Glen as the Group continues to ensure food security in affected communities,” Shoprite said.

The Shoprite group started rolling out the Usave Ekasi mobile grocery stores last year when the Covid-19 pandemic surfaced in the country in a bid to get closer to communities and help them save on transport costs. It also introduced the trucks to ensure food security.

Need tech? Rent it.

In answer to the 16-million South Africans unable to afford essential home and business equipment, along with those locked into inflexible contracts for outdated technology, Rentoza has created a secure online marketplace that allows consumers to subscribe for the use of products for a specific time period.

Says Aviraag Ramdhani, CFO of Rentoza: “Customers who subscribe to Rentoza have the option of upgrading, returning or purchasing the product on completion of the subscription.

“Subscriptions are for six or 12 months, and users get access to their specific orders rapidly, with an option of collection or Rentoza delivery.”

Having secured partnerships with world-renowned OEMs and distributors, giving subscribers access to over 1 000 unique products such as mobile phones, wearable devices, laptops and more, Rentoza is currently undergoing rapid expansion, proof that its business model is one that is responding to consumer’s needs now and in the future.

Ramdhani says that the company has already increased its staff compliment to maintain the company’s growth of 48% growth in revenue from January 20-20 to April 2021, and 500% user base growth in the same period.

Rentoza’s online rental marketplace also allows individuals to list their used assets for sale. “Our portal offers to choose from a variety of household and electronic equipment which can be rented as per availability,” says Ramdhani, “enabling users to get hold of products they require and the rent the products in a cost-efficient manner.”

To facilitate their current business model and future growth, Rentoza chose to align with ProfitShare Partners for alternative funding. Says Ramdhani: “There are thousands of SMEs that cannot access finance through traditional channels due to restrictive funding criteria.

“Alternative funding such as that Profitshare Partners offers is imperative to support the growth of SMEs which ultimately leads to job creation and prosperity. We have found Profitshare Partners to be an innovative and efficient funding partner that is breaking new ground through its funding model.”

Ramdhani highlights Profitshare Partners’ speedy and efficient digitally enabled application process and helpful, responsive employees which ultimately leads to far quicker availability of capital.

“It was a perfect fit for Rentoza. While we offer the sustainability of renting and selling products at any stage of their life span, Profitshare Partners is at our side to help us grow our business. It’s a win-win situation for like-minded companies seeking success.

Source: MyBroadband

Compared to the world average, South African’s GDP per capita plummeted in 2019 and 2020, and its citizens are now in the poorest 40% of the world.

Economist Mike Schussler said that between 2019 and 2020, South Africa’s relative GDP per capita, when compared to the world average, dropped by the biggest margin since 1994.

“South Africans now have just under 71% of the income that average person living in the world,” Schussler said.

He said South Africans are now firmly in the poorest half of world’s GDP per capita ranking – 107th out of 191 countries.

“We are firmly on the way to the bottom third. Just another sad story,” said Schussler.

Unless there are significant changes in the local economy, the situation will get much worse.

“If we do the same we did in the last 30 years, South Africa will not be inside the top 125 countries on the planet.”

“South Africans are now in the poorest 40% of the world population. By 2040 we may be in the poorest 20%.”

Even if South Africa’s economy starts to show strong growth, it will take decades to get back to the world average.

The world population currently grows at about 1%, while South Africa’s population grows at around 1.5%.

If the South African economy grows by 6% and the world continues to grow by 4%, it will take South Africa 25 years to catch up to the world average.

Petrol approaches R18 per litre

By Jason Woosey for IOL

South African motorists, who are already reeling from record fuel prices, will have to fork out even more from Wednesday, August 4, as the Department of Energy has announced steep price increases for both petrol and diesel.

Both grades of petrol are set to increase by 91 cents a litre, while the wholesale price of diesel will rise by 55 cents. This means that from Wednesday, South Africans will pay R17.58 for a litre of 95 Unleaded petrol at the coast and a whopping R18.30 in the inland regions, where the cheaper 93 Unleaded petrol will now retail for R18.11. The price of 50ppm diesel will rise to R15.06 at the coast and R15.66 inland, but keep in mind that these are wholesale prices and the (somewhat higher) retail prices for diesel will vary between fuel stations.

How much more for a tank?

What do these price increases mean in terms of the cost of a tank? Putting 35 litres of 93 Unleaded petrol into the 40 litre tank of a Volkswagen Polo (assuming you’re sensible enough to never arrive with less than five litres on board) will now cost you R634, or R31.85 more than it currently costs. Putting 50 litres into a mid-sized car like a Toyota Corolla will now cost R905.50, which is R45.50 more. 75 litres of diesel in a large SUV like the Toyota Fortuner, or a Hilux bakkie, will cost an extra R41.25 versus last month.

According to the Automobile Association, the price of petrol in August will be around 23 percent higher than in January, while diesel would have risen by around 20%.

“The average Rand/US dollar exchange rate consistently trended upward during July and the weaker local currency will make it more expensive for South Africa to import fuel,” the AA said, also noting that international oil prices averaged at a higher level last month. Fuel taxes and levies such as the Road Accident Fund levy, which increase annually, are not helping the situation, accounting for R6.11 per litre of fuel.

 

South African Post Office on the edge

The South African Post Office is experiencing a meltdown with branches unable to serve clients, service providers not being paid, and mass branch shutdowns, according to a recent article by MyBroadband.

  • In April 2021, Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke revealed that the South African Post Office is commercially insolvent
  • In the 2019/2020 financial year, the Post Office incurred losses of over R1.7-billion
  • Its liabilities exceeded its assets by R1.5-billion
  • Most Post Offices had signs about service delivery problems in their windows
  • Some branches have no electricity
  • Vehicle license services are often offline
  • Employees allege that pension fund deductions are taken from their salaries but that these deductions are not paid into these pension funds
  • Landlords and service providers are struggling to get money from the Post Office
  • Unpaid invoices total R638-million
  • SA Post Office CEO Nomkhita Mona blamed the Post Office’s dire financial situation on an outdated business model and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

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Source: eNCA

Concerns are mounting over the effects of the sabotage of Transnet’s security systems. A cyber attack has forced the entity to declare a force majeure, affecting the transport of goods including perishables. But a recovery plan is in place.

The recent cyberattack at Transnet continues to be a concern.

It is impacting the delivery of perishable food, which is stuck in containers and freight trucks.

The delay will push companies into looking at other ports in neighbouring countries as alternatives.

Transnet says authorities are still investigating the cause of the IT disruptions.

On Monday, the company declared a force majeure with immediate effect at its terminals in Cape Town, Durban, Gqeberha and Ngqura, after a cyberattack halted all operations.

Investigators were looking into the source of the compromise and the extent of the breach.

The ports and freight-rail company says they are implementing all available measures to limit the impact of the compromise.

Sipho Pityana for Business Unity South Africa said there may be difficulties in meeting some contractual obligations for customers.

He said the group is working on restoring its systems.

On Tuesday evening, Transnet announced an increase in the volume of containers in and out of the ports as the supply chain started working again.

 

Capitec to add 300 jobs

By Londiwe Buthelezi for News24

As many people and some businesses are likely questioning the wisdom of ploughing more money into South Africa after the recent unrest, Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie says he sees ample opportunities.

A perfectly running economy like Switzerland might sound like a dream, but Fourie says it doesn’t have the magnitude of opportunities that challenges-ridden SA presents.

“I am a strong believer that if you are positive, you’ll look for opportunities, you’ll find opportunities. If you are negative, you just see problems,” said the Capitec CEO during the PSG Think Big Series discussion on Tuesday.

Capitec launched a big recruitment drive on Tuesday, which will see it fill around 300 positions of mainly “fourth industrial revolution” skills over the next few months. These will include disciplines in business science, artificial intelligence, data engineers and computer analysts.

Fourie said he understood that it could be “quite scary” to be recruiting hundreds of people in the current environment as economies battered by Covid-19 are still trying to recover. But Capitec is “looking to grow and go further”, he said.

Fourie said he does not want to underplay SA’s challenges, especially the education system that needs an overhaul. But to get around this, Capitec is doing its own training.

“There are big challenges there. But when I look at where we are, we believe there are massive opportunities in South Africa,” he said.

Room to disrupt the market

Capitec has around 16.3 million clients, which Fourie says is a 10% market share of SA’s retail banking. The banks wants to grow that to around 20% to 25%. In the retail deposit space and insurance, Capitec respectively commands 8% for now and about 6% in credit.

So, Fourie sees “plenty of opportunities” to grow in these areas.

The bank also has big ambitions for its business banking proposition, following its acquisition of Mercantile Bank in 2019.

READ | Snail-paced rollout of business banking – Capitec has a few tricks up its sleeve
“We’re very excited about Mercantile because, in business banking, there’s a big opportunity in the SME market. If you want to unlock the opportunity in Africa, that’s the market you focus on,” he said.

Mercantile Bank will be transformed into a completely digital Capitec Business Bank. With a bank that’s not dependent on its brick-and-mortar infrastructure to grow, it might offer Capitec the opportunity to take its offering internationally, said Fourie.

However, the bank’s immediate focus is growing its market share in SA, and any international expansion would be small and measured.

Building an army of innovators

As a young bank, Fourie said Capitec’s roadmap looked at where it wants to be in three years during the first two decades of its existence. Now, it’s looking at where the bank must be in 2030.

With this long-term focus, it’s looking past short-term noises.

The bank has an “innovation team” that scouts the world, looking at how banking and financial services are changing in other markets.

Fourie said the team travelled a lot before Covid-19, doing over 1 000 international trips a year. It not only confined its learnings to financial services but spent time with retail and internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent to understand where opportunities lie in the blurring lines between banks, mobile operators and retailers.

But Capitec also learns a lot from the annual hackathon competitions that it runs with universities to get new innovative digital solutions for real-world problems.

Fourie said there are three to four solutions currently in production that came from this initiative that the bank will probably use.

 

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