A senior supervisor of a stationery store in the Eastern Cape has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for fraud.
In a statement released on Wednesday, provincial spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said Ntombifikile Kati, 50, was sentenced in the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court.
She said an investigation into the matter revealed that over a period between February 2013 and July 2019, Kati who was employed as a senior supervisor at the Ink Spot (a stationery store) stole R30,000 (US$2,180) from the company.
Kati was arrested by the Mthatha Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team on November 15, 2019, after they were tasked to probe the matter.
On the day of her arrest she appeared in court and was subsequently released on a warning.
Mgolodela said a series of court appearances saw Kati convicted and sentenced to four years direct imprisonment of which one year was suspended on condition that she does not commit the same offence during the suspension period.
Subsequently, she will be serving three years in prison.
Mgolodela said the conviction and sentencing of Kati comes after her sister, Vuyokazi Kati, 37, was sentenced to 15 years direct imprisonment on April 26, 2021 in the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court without an option of a fine for theft to the value of more than R2.3 million.
Vuyokazi was a store manager for the same company.
Those lengthy back-to-school stationery lists are back in every student’s home by now and from the great expense (why is glue so expensive?) to the odd requests (toilet paper, really?) you might be pulling your hair out already.
Parent24 spoke to local stationery supplier, PNA, who offered parents some insider tips to save time and money when buying school supplies this year.
Budgeting for school supplies is a must, because it keeps you from impulse buying and encourages you to stay on track with your monthly goal.
If school supplies are going to cost a little more than you thought, adjust other areas of your budget. Take cash instead of your credit card so that you’re not tempted to spend more than you’ve budgeted for.
Consider buying used or refurbished electronics. Thanks to the pandemic, technological devices are becoming a purchase you just can’t escape.
Check sites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace for lightly used or refurbished devices, headphones or laptops that won’t send you to the cleaners.
Buy them what they need to do well. At the end of the day, your child won’t fall apart if they don’t have the latest sports team or celebrity-themed notebooks.
Do your research, make your lists, and then be focused and strict when you finally hit the stores for back-to-school shopping.
If your budget is tight, typically, the kids won’t need every single supply during the first few days of school. So you could also also buy these items one term at a time.
Generic versus name brands
Generic brands are known for their very basic packaging and labels, and lower prices. And in tough economic times, shoppers are naturally drawn to cheaper brands.
But it really does depend on the product you are buying, if your child is taking art as a subject for instance, it would be wise to invest in a name brand that is trusted as a well-performing product in the art community.
Speak to a store consultant who can advise and help you to make the best choices.
You don’t need to print a full name on pencils. Save time and labels by using your child’s surname only.
For expensive devices, label the machine in a few different areas, on top, underneath and on the electrical cables as these go to school to charge the devices.
Use silver permanent markers on items with dark backgrounds like school shoes, black markers on light backgrounds.
Write your child’s names on the inside of their school bag in black permanent marker.
And also give them a bag tag or fun key-ring to put on their bag so they can easily distinguish which one is theirs, especially if they all have the same bags.
By Manda Banda for Intelligent CIO
SA-based stationery retailer Bidvest Waltons and payments platform Karri have partnered to ensure a safe, simple and convenient Back-to-School experience for South Africans.
The partnership paves way for parents to purchase their Waltons stationery packs securely through the Nedbank powered Karri app.
Back-to-School stationery shopping was established by Bidvest Walton nearly 30 years ago, partnering with schools to give parents a simple and convenient purchasing solution for their children’s stationery needs.
Today, the iconic ‘Back-to-School Box’ is a household favourite for many South African families. Parents are able to order the traditional way by using printed order forms, through the Back-to-School e-commerce platform (backtoschool.co.za) or at any one of Bidvest Walton’s 53 retail stores.
Karri has created a cash-free school environment and has alleviated the administrative burden and safety concerns of schools to manually collect cash.
Parents are now able to buy their stationery packs directly through the Karri App in mere seconds.
The app also eliminates the administrative burden on schools, of handing out catalogues and order forms, collecting orders and handling cash.
Olivia Rungasamy, National Schools Manager, Bidvest Waltons, said: “We always aim to simplify our customer purchasing experience and we are excited by what this innovative partnership with Karri affords our partner schools, parents and learners. It solves the all-time hassle of buying Back-to-School stationery. We have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that their Back-to-School shopping experience is safer and more convenient now and long into the future.”
Douglas Hoernle, CEO, Karri said the changes to the school terms as a result of the pandemic has put a lot of pressure on everyone.
“We are in the fortunate position of being able to do our bit to take away some of the administration that would otherwise take away from valuable teaching time,” said Hoernle.
According to a recent BusinessLive article, CEO of CNA, Benjamin Trisk, “only expects a recovery for the stationery business when back-to-school shopping starts in 2021”.
Edcon bought CNA for R141-million in 2002; it sold it for R1 to Astoria Investments in February.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the five-week nationwide lockdown, consumer spend is under pressure on the back of a weak economy and a rise in retrenchments.
Growing digital platforms are selling competing products, often at better prices.
Trisk believes an improvement in CNA sales would come when consumers returned to shops. Foot traffic at the larger malls remains down, though some mall owners say while shopping fewer times a month, customers are buying more each time.
Trisk has reiterated his plans to revive CNA by:
- Improving the retailer’s book selection and adding more local African literature and books in local languages
- Improving the signage, curation and display in-store
- Cutting CNA product lines
- Removing chocolates, snacks, and tech products including laptops, cellphones and chargers
A Spar in Durbanville, Cape Town, has elected to remove certain items from their shelves in a bit to support neighbouring small businesses during the Alert Level 4 lockdown.
As businesses struggle to survive due to the lockdown and employees around the country lose their jobs and endure pay cuts, Palm Grove Spar is playing its part by lightening the financial burden and uncertainty that comes with it.
The Spar’s owners released a statement on their Facebook page saying that:
- We will be closing our stationary section and asking that you instead support Hein and his team at PenCafe Stationers
- We will remove all Frozen Burger Patties from our shelf and ask that you support Werner and the RocoMamas team when deciding what burger to enjoy
“As owner-run businesses, we, now more than ever, need to support each other.”
By Srishti Mitra for Yanko Designs
Having some cool stationery designs on your work desk can really transform work into joy, and makes dealing with everyday tasks easier.
It’s hard to keep track of the tasks we have to complete by the end of the day – meetings to attend, calls to return, assignments to complete.
Sometimes we just need to write it all down, especially when your boss walks into your office, throws a couple of random instructions at you, and strolls off! Jonghwan Kim’s Memo Roll promises to help us with that.
The Memo Roll is shaped like a teardrop, and to understand its functionality, I guess it’s best to compare it to a tape dispenser. You simply tug out a note as needed, scrawl down whatever you need to remember and stick it onto your desk or bulletin board. No more scrounging around for your memo notepad, while you struggle to jot down crucial details.
You can place your Memo Roll conveniently onto your work desk, providing you with easy access to the notes. You surely won’t miss its cute, quirky form.
The embattled Edcon Group has announced the sale of CNA to a consortium of investors led by JSE-listed Astoria Investments.
The buyout is led by Jan van Niekerk, who heads asset manager RECM and Calibre (RAC) together with Piet Viljoen. RAC took control of Mauritius-based Astoria last year.
The appointed team leader is Benjamin Trisk, who was the CEO of Exclusive Books.
All of the 167 CNA stores, along with the brand, will be sold as part of the transaction, which still needs to be approved by the authorities.
The transaction value was not disclosed, but the sale includes CNA staff, stock, fittings and leases. Trade creditors and other debt will remain with Edcon.
Edcon CEO Grant Pattison explains: “Edcon has a simple business model that is focused on delivering an enhanced customer experience, and an optimised store portfolio, ultimately creating a focus on our three divisions: Edgars, Jet, and Thank U.
“As I have always said, CNA is an important but not a strategic part of the Edcon business, as it is not focused on clothing, beauty and home categories, and we would only sell if it’s good for CNA.
“The new owners have the muscle and extensive management focus and leadership expertise to invest in the business. I am also pleased that this transaction will not result in any job losses.”
According to a statement, the Astoria consortium intends to focus CNA on books, stationery, magazines and gifting. It will signal a move away from technology items such as phones and laptops.
“We believe that this transaction will be welcomed by staff, landlords and suppliers including publishers, both locally and internationally,” said Astoria Investments.
“The ongoing process of consolidating, merging and rebranding of the businesses, will ensure an offering of a selected set of private and some international brands, while also being a fashion and beauty retailer that provides credit.”
Edcon has been staring into a financial abyss for the past few years. It has billions in debt, which has snowballed since American investment firm Bain Capital bought it in 2007.
Last year, the group was saved from collapse by securing a R2.7-billion lifeline – a deal struck with landlords, the Public Investment Corporation, and creditors.
The loss-making Boardmans and Red Square chains have since been shut, and a number of prominent stores – including the Edgars in Rosebank mall, and various CNA outlets – have been closed.
By Kgomotso Modise for EWN
Many parents said that they only received confirmation from the Education Department on where their children had been placed on Tuesday morning.
As parents who left their back to school shopping to the very last minute flocked to uniform and stationery shops last Tuesday afternoon, many blamed the Education Department for the situation.
Government schools reopen last Wednesday for the 2020 academic year.
The queue to get into the schoolwear shop in Booysens was lengthy, with parents streaming in. The store is the go-to shop for schools in the south.
Many of the parents said that they only received confirmation from the Education Department on where their children had been placed the morning before school started.
“I was expecting the other school to take him then he was taken by this school that I don’t like, so that’s the reason why I had to do the last minute shopping because I didn’t know which uniform to buy.”
One woman said that the last-minute changes in her family had brought her here.
“Having to move from one area to another area. I only found out that my daughter was accepted at the school at 12pm [on Tuesday].”
Some parents abandoned their bid for new school uniforms because of the long queues, saying they would try again.
Two local parents have compared eight well-known South African retailers to find the most affordable stationery.
The parents sent their findings to the Parent24 website.
In the first table, reader Keith bases his information on promotional BTS leaflets and retailer websites.
In the second table, reader Jacky compared leading retailers, with the green indicating the cheapest option. Asterisks illustrate where prices were not available at the time of publishing.
By Anne Quito for Quartzy
It can be argued that dread of receiving another unsolicited e-mail conjures the opposite feeling from the delight of getting a handwritten letter. Escaping our cluttered inboxes is one factor fuelling a renewed interest in paper goods and the range of analogue props used in handwritten correspondence. Analysts report that the global market for stationery is growing and expected to reach the $128-billion mark by 2025.
Apart from traditional stationers like Crane & Co and Smythson, a slew of e-commerce startups like Sugar Paper, Minted, Moglea, and StudioSarah are helping spread the love for paper beyond wedding planning and socialite circles. The choices for personal stationery are so plentiful these days that it can be intimidating. Letterpress or offset? Baskerville or Copperplate? To emboss or deboss, that is the question.
A Canadian startup called Maurèle wants to simplify the task of specifying tasteful personalized paper goods. Founded by husband and wife duo Nick D’Urbano and architect Cece de la Montagne, its e-commerce platform offers obsessively designed templates inspired by the beautiful letterheads of historical figures like Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali, and Frank Lloyd Wright (some of which are documented in the addictive site Letterheady).
De la Montagne, whose family is in the printing business, says they labored over Maurèle’s six minimalist templates to appeal to discerning customers, choosing just the right paper stocks, sourcing eco-friendly vegetable inks, and working with independent type foundries to select the fonts. “From a business standpoint, we feel that the design-conscious customer just wasn’t being spoken to,” adds D’Urbano. They believe that type nerds in particular will appreciate the proper kerning and letter spacing for each of the 13 font options on the site. Custom notecards start at $28 for eight and $34 for 16 sheets of letter paper.
Beyond stationery fanatics, De la Montagne adds that Maurèle’s quiet luxury aesthetic might appeal to acolytes of the thriving mindfulness movement seeking to disconnect from the chaos of technology. Writing by hand, she explains, is fundamentally seizing a moment to gather your thoughts without distraction. Maurèle reflects a similar sensibility to her line of minimalist work bags for creative types, produced under the label Atelier YUL.
Stationery is just the start, D’Urbano explains. A week into their launch, they’re already planning a line of pens, leather goods, and reprints of books in the public domain, leveraging their connection with type and graphic designers. Their ultimate dream is to erect physical stores where one can sit down to write or read in an unhurried manner, says De la Montagne, who worked at a boutique architecture firm in New York until last year. “What would a library-cafe look like in the 21st century?” she muses.
If it’s an alternative to co-working coffee shops populated by caffeinated zombies on their laptops, we’re all for it.
Image credit: Cerulean Press