Giving service level agreements perspective, an opinion article by Abubakr Hattas, Group Business Improvement Specialist - Corporate at Servest Johannesburg, 31 October 2018 - In yesteryear, a man's (person's) word was sacred and could be relied on, as it was based upon the honour of the parties for its fulfilment, rather than being in any way enforceable. The act of shaking hands and what is called, a ‘gentleman's agreement’, was a way of sealing a deal, without cumbersome paperwork or a formal contract. Today though, service level agreements are at the heart of a relationship, as they set out the (agreed) criteria for the product, or the quality of service you want to achieve. It usually deals with measurement of activities or services. In legal terms, they are worth the paper it is written on, but we all know that a perfect execution is not a realistic measure of an activity. In getting to a point where a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is more personable, negotiation of it involves a compromise between two or more parties. In the case of a client-service provider relationship, the client’s ideal list of needs should be offset against the service provider’s ability to prioritise these, in terms of what is realistically achievable. A balance needs to be effected, so that the desired levels of performance can be achieved. Despite the agreement, conversely, this ‘meeting of the minds’ often impede innovation, in the form of better solutions, to meet requirements or existing needs. Facilities management in southern Africa is largely managed by procurement, which usually determines the ultimate benefits, for the least amount of money. Whilst this is the natural order of business, you should not impose restrictions on the service provider that are so tight, that they inhibit the development of a creative and effective working partnership. Imposing punitive service level agreements often have service providers operating within the boundaries of the . . .
A hundred ways in a 100 days - Thabo Phokane, Servest’s newly appointed Group Chief Financial Officer talks about the company’s progress within South Africa’s current economy Johannesburg 31 October 2018 - In the one hundred days of holding office in his new position, Thabo Phokane has had his days cut out for him, in more ways than he imagined. It is no easy task to oversee the finances of such a big organisation that has a strong African footprint. During his time in office, he oversaw the sale of the UK business, which follows RMB Corvest’s partnership with the Servest Group. “While it is said that Servest aims to become a top investor in Africa, it made sense for us to exit the UK, as the country builds towards its autonomy, known as Brexit ”, says Phokane. During his first 100 days, Thabo strengthened relations with the shareholders, consolidated and restructured the finance teams, met with internal stakeholders, took over the Mergers and Acquisitions portfolio and navigated the waters of streamlining the overall business. Thabo, together with the senior management team, was also tasked with managing the streamlining of the entire SA operation, to position it favourably for future growth and sustainability. In so doing, collaboration within Servest’s various business divisions was enhanced and a group-wide shared services model was strengthened. Thabo says, “according to Statistics SA, South Africa has entered a recession, with the economy contracting by 0.7% quarter-on-quarter.”When this happens, companies react in different ways, for us, it meant trimming the fat off our overhead structure. This ensured that the business remains competitive, especially in this tough economic environment, where customers are in turn looking for good quality service at the best possible rates. However, all is not doom and gloom. As we are already in a recession, add to that the effects of drought in the Western Cape, together with the job shortages in the country, . . .
When a new business is experiencing growth, there comes a time where every business owner has to consider investing in the further education and training of their staff. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. When you see your revenues beginning to stagnate, the first thing you need to do is analyze where you can optimize your current systems and more often than not, your employees are where the biggest improvements can be made. There is a variety of reasons for this, most commonly, as you begin to grow, new responsibilities are placed on your staff, as well as the need for more advanced operations and systems to be put in place. There may also be an increase in workload which can add additional stress to the work environment. If not addressed correctly, this can lead to an array of unnecessary challenges for your business. Such as projects not getting completed on time and costly mistakes that could have been avoided had your employees known the correct actions to take or had the right risk management procedures in place. The best way to prevent this from happening is by investing into the further education of your employees. Not only is it extremely beneficial from an ROI perspective, but corporate training also has significant tax benefits for businesses in South Africa. It has been proven time and again that sending your staff for specialized training can be the single biggest return on investment that you can make in your business. By utilizing a corporate training company, you can help them to become more effective, more productive and also teach your staff to look at specific challenges from a new perspective. Instead of losing valuable employees, you can rather help them to develop their skills and learn as your business grows. Here are some of the following courses which can help your employees become better: Conflict management and negotiation skills: Learning how to deal with conflict is not only important in the . . .
The sea is a vast area and, unlike in traditional land based game parks, is not fenced off in any way - marine life has free and unfettered access to the vastness of the ocean and humans are not able to see through the water to witness the sea life teeming below. When one searches for animals in a game park the surest way to find them is at a water hole or, when searching for predators, at the source of food. In the sea, things are slightly different: The entire sea is a 'water hole' The food source is a long chain normally near reefs but subject to 'invisible' currents. With reference to the image above, consider the following: The Agulhas Current flows down the East Coast of Africa to the geographic Southernmost tip of Africa - Cape Agulhas - a rocky headland and the beginning of the dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. As the Agulhas current passes Algoa Bay off of Port Elizabeth it veers South and the first of the significant counter currents occurs. The Agulhas Bank South of the tip of Africa shows a large area of shallower and warmer water. The large area is the 'entry point' for Whales traveling North from the Arctic and 'funnels' these predators North East towards Algoa Bay and beyond. Migrating marine animals such as Whales come past our coastline to mate and feed so it makes sense that they will be best spotted in a warm/ish place where their potential mates are, combine that with a food source and the chances of spotting these creatures are very high. The Agulhas current after veering South will get small fish and nutrients in its grip and, when the Agulhas counter current veers back into the Southern Coastline, including Algoa Bay, it will bring this food source close to land. The Sardine Run Season - January to August - is proof that the prevailing winds of South West and West are at work bringing the Agulhas Current and valuable nutrients, close to the shore. So, what ideal conditions does . . .
Johannesburg , 23 October 2018 - “A successful man, is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him” [David Brinkley]. There can be no truer a saying, than this, for a young entrepreneur or start-up company and in the case of describing the work of Servest’s Enterprise Development Program that operates through the Lesipho Trust, this could not be more apt, in creating economic opportunities for its recipients. The Lesipho Trust is a fund and non-profit organisation (NGO), that seeks to provide opportunities and economic assistance to qualifying black South African’s and their businesses. The Lesipho Trust partners with communities and black businesses to create meaningful social change in areas of society, where the Trust operates. It assists companies in advancing their business and also provides them with the opportunity to become Servest preferred suppliers, thus ensuring that they remain sustainable entities. Naledi Kgoadi who owns Bophele & Ditiro Trading, a facilities management company, says, “the Trust has assisted us a great deal, we have acquired machinery that is going to help us grow and enable us to increase our revenues, by reducing our operating costs.” Each year the Lesipho Trusts sets a target for new intakes who fit the qualifying criteria, these include; the business must be in operation for a period of 1 - 2 years the business must earn less than R50 million It must be 100% black owned or black women owned it must be a registered business This past year, Thape Media, who consists of a husband and wife team, who combined their skills in the film industry, saw the fruits of their labour come to life, through the assistance of The Lesipho Trust. They currently produce two productions for TV, ‘Gospel Unplugged’ and ‘Fix my love’, as well as producing all Servest’s multi-media requirements. Through this relationship, they also have opportunities to collaborate and partner with Servest’s . . .
The Electrical Contractor's Association for South Africa (ECA SA) showcased Port Elizabeth based Building Automation firm, BA Systems, in their October 2018 Magazine, Electrical Contractor. BA Systems scooped the ECA SA Presidential Award as the Best Contributor to Energy Efficiency following their project at the Product Testing Institute in the Coega IDZ, Port Elizabeth. This R4 Million project saw Building Automation Systems facilitate the installation of the building management system, and help the facility attain a 5 Star Green Star compliance rating. Green Star is a voluntary rating system for building projects, and is used to encourage the implementation of new and emerging technology, and to encourage a more environmentally friendly approach to designing and developing buildings. The Design phase of the Product Testing Institute building attained a 6 Star rating. The Product Testing Institute has been fitted with a modern building management system, which allows for cost efficient, environmentally friendly, automated management of the lighting, air-conditioning and blinds within the facility. Through the clever use of C-Bus and StruxureWare systems, Building Automation Systems was able to reduce power consumption by ensuring that lights and air-conditioners are not left on needlessly when an area is unoccupied. With the use of sensors located throughout the building that provide feedback to the building management system, it is possible for the building management and maintenance employees to monitor and keep track of the water, electricity and gas consumption, along with the amount of Solar Power generated. This information provides valuable insight into the cost of running and maintaining the facility. A record of environmental conditions is also maintained, with the current and previous day’s weather conditions being shown on the system monitor. The environmental factors will over time reveal the peak periods for Solar PV production, . . .
SITA invests in 7th school computer Lab at Academia Primary School in Khayelitsha - Khayelitsha, Cape Town - on the 28th of September 2018, the SITA South Africa team joined the learners and teachers at Academia Primary School in Khayelitsha, Cape Town to celebrate the opening of their new SITA ICT Lab. The Academia Primary ICT Lab is the seventh school Lab funded by SITA, the worlds leading air transport IT and communications specialist, and the first time they have invested in an ICT Lab in a primary school and in the Western Cape of South Africa. Khayelitsha is one of the poorest areas of Cape Town with 70% of the residents living in shacks and 40% being under the age of 19. Academia Primary educates 557 primary school children and attains a strong pass rate making it an appealing school within this impoverished community. For this reason SITA chose to build the 7th SITA ICT Lab here with the help of Melisizwe consulting- Computer Lab Project Managers. The state of the art ICT Lab with 40 new PC’s, a smart board and academic software was revealed to staff, learners and Cape district of education delegates alongside sponsors SAA and SITA. Suren Naidoo, Senior Manager Customer Services at SITA, addressed the gathering highlighting the importance of investing in the education of the youth to provide access to critical IT skills much needed to develop the economy of South Africa. Suren noted he hoped to see some of the learners attending the ceremony working in the aerospace sector one day. Bruce Croza, head of IT at SAA, a longtime partner and customer of SITA encouraged the learners to bring their passion and innovation to their use of the new ICT Lab as this Lab is only the start of the technological journey for these young children. Tech education will be vital to enabling the kids of Khayelitsha, and their community, to rise above their circumstances and embrace the fourth industrial revolution with confidence. Around the world, nearly . . .
The Money Pouch - Automated Stock Trading App from Richard Malpass on Vimeo. A Free Stock Trading App for South Africans The Money Pouch is a free stock trading app that for beginners and professionals that can trade stocks on auto pilot for residents of South Africa. Accounts are managed by Hudson James Investment Management. The Money Pouch's Free Wealth Management App is gaining traction in South Africa where the Rand fell over 10% in one week in August against the US Dollar and slumped to a 2-year low. The Rand may face increased pressure as the US will further raise interest rates, strengthening the US Dollar and trade wars continue. The solution for South Africans is to invest in US Dollars via The Money Pouch. Interested investors can download the app for free and start trading in USD, GBP and EUR. The Money Pouch is a free stock trading app for beginners and professional traders. The Money Pouch is an offshore wealth management app capable of trading shares of ETFs automatically on a client's behalf. The aim is to deliver, stable, consistent returns over a five to ten year horizon. There are many successful roboadvisers in the US market such as Betterment.com and Wealthfront.com, but not in South Africa. TheMoneyPouch.com is looking to become the roboadviser of choice for residents of South Africa. The Money Pouch is a free stock trading app with low cost annual management fees to help clients trade stocks on auto pilot. The Money Pouch allows residents South African expats to set up a free stock trading account. Then, the accounts are managed for clients automatically by Hudson James Investment Management via pre-programed stock trading algorithms. A spokesman for The Money Pouch commented, "The team is excited to launch GBP & EUR strategies to complement the USD strategies that are already successfully being traded. The Money Pouch is a great, low cost solution for residents of South Africa. The Money Pouch now has over . . .
Final Day Of The Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS – All The Results. Event: Billabong Junior Series Status: WSL JQS 1,000 rated events for U18 Boys & Girls, SAST events for U16 & U14 Boys & Girls, and U12 Boys & Girls. Venue: Seal Point, Cape St Francis, Eastern Cape Dates: September 28 – 30. Seal Point, Cape St Francis – Breezy onshore conditions and a slight surge in swell greeted competitors on the final day of competition at the Billabong Junior Series Finale, and the first heat of the day – the U12 Girls Final was sent straight out. Gabi Herbst was the surfer of the morning with a few incredible rides in the mixed up conditions, including an 8.0 ride for the title. Sarah Scott was the runner up. Kai Hall was the champion in the U12 Boys final, banking one huge score for two critical turns on a big set wave for a score of 9.33 and an unassailable lead, closely followed by Joel Fowles who surfed impressively on his backhand. The U14 Girls division was a slow heat, with low scores and at the end of the heat it was Aimee Du Preez who emerged as the winner, with Olivia Winter in second place. Luke Thompson caught 11 waves in his Final heat to defeat James Ribbink in what was an exciting and fast U14 Boys heat. Thompson’s strategy of hard and fast surfing, catch anything that moves proved to be the winning formula, with Ribbink Daniel Emslie and Brad Scott filling up the minor slots. As the tide dropped out and the onshore waves continued to pour through relentlessly, the U16 Girls headed out for their final, and it was an action-packed exchange, with three of the girls on their backhand and one on her forehand. Zoe Steyn emerged victorious with a safe win against her counterparts, with Kayla Nogueira, Ceara Knight and Caroline Brown in second, third and fourth respectively. The U16 Boys was another final dogged by few sets and low scores, with Tide-Lee Ireland snagging the win from York Van Jaarsveldt with a . . .
Event: Billabong Junior Series Status: WSL JQS 1,000 rated events for U18 Boys & Girls, SAST events for U16 & U14 Boys & Girls, and U12 Boys & Girls. Venue: Seal Point, Cape St Francis, Eastern Cape Dates: September 28 – 30. Seal Point, Cape St Francis – Excellent three-foot waves with offshore conditons greeted the surfers on day 2 of the Billabong Junior Series Finale pres. by BOS, and the Pro Junior divisions were sent straight out in the early morning light. It was high action from the get-go, and Bryce Du Preez and Calvin Goor were the Men’s standouts along with Ceara Knight and Zoe Steyn in the Women’s division. Steyn was awarded a 9,33 out of a possible 10 points for her best ride, in which she executed a series of radical turns along the inside, ending up on the rocks. “I just saw such a good section on that wave and managed to hook it all the way past the rocks,” said Steyn. “There wasn’t priority at that stage so I had to hussle a bit to get that wave.” In the U14 Boys James Ribbink dominated his heat and although it was a bit wave-starved he banked two good scores for the heat win. “There weren’t too many waves out there in that heat, so I got an insider just to quickly open up my score,” said Ribbink. “Then I saw another decent looking wave and paddled further out and got it. I managed a couple of carves on it and so had two decent scores quite early on in the heat.” Ribbink advanced along with Connor Slijpen. Other surfers who shone in this division were Christian Venter, an on-form Daniel Emslie, and Brad Scott. Ribbink went on to win his semifinal and will compete in the U14 Final tomorrow. In the highly competitive U16 Boys division Mitch Du Preez and York Van Jaarsveldt advanced to the Final, leaving Aya Gericke and Josh Daniel in their wake. The second Semifinal in this division was a close affair, with Tide-Lee Ireland winning ahead of Reilly Mare. Sam Bennie and Nathan Perris were both eliminated in the . . .