FNB NMMU will be looking to secure their semifinal berth in the FNB Varsity Cup rugby tournament when they take to the field against the FNB Shimlas in Bloemfontein on Monday night. With four wins and two losses under their belts, the Madibaz will aim to finish the round-robin part of the competition on a high note. "For us this is where our knockout stages begin and our performance needs to be of the highest quality for us to progress," said head coach David Maidza. "Our approach will not differ from when we started the competition." Maidza said team management had made just three changes to the side that claimed a rain-soaked 19-9 win over defending champions FNB Tuks in Pretoria this week. "Monday night's performance and result was a step in the right direction and I'm pleased with the fight the players showed against Tuks. "The boys have certainly been buoyed by the result but they're also fully aware of what has happened earlier in the competition when we did not focus for the next game." He said ever-dependable eighthman Timothy Agaba would rejoin the starting line-up with Marcel Groenewald moving back into familiar territory on the right flank. "Louis Fourie shifts onto the bench to cover the locks, while Stefan Willemse puts on the number four jersey." Maidza said his Port Elizabeth-based outfit was well aware of the quality and depth in the Free State side, which featured players such as Lions lock Franco van der Merwe and Griquas fullback Gouws Prinsloo. "We will respect Shimlas but will ensure that we are clinical in what we do on the field and that we control as much of the game as possible – with ball in hand or without." The Madibaz were eliminated in last year's play-offs with a one-point loss to FNB Maties. "We are excited to know that we have the backing of the university and thank everyone who is behind the team throughout this beautiful city of ours," said Maidza. Visit www.sport.nmmu.ac.za or find Madibaz4U . . .
Non-profit community organisations will have an opportunity to raise funds for their institution simply by attending the action-packed Varsity Athletics meeting at the NMMU Stadium in Port Elizabeth on March 21. Madibaz athletics manager Nellis Bothma said schools, clubs, churches and charities would receive a R10 contribution for every spectator who attended the first instalment of the national four-meet series on their behalf. "It's a fantastic initiative that allows the community to see some of the country's most exciting athletes in action, while giving their own sports development funds a welcome boost." The two-hour event – which showcases the best student athletes from the top eight universities in South Africa – starts at 5.30pm and will be televised live on SuperSport. Bothma said qualifying groups should register before Thursday, March 20, to receive their allocated number of free barcoded tickets. "All their spectators have to do is fill in their name, cellphone number and e-mail address on the back of the ticket to gain entry into the stadium. "For every person who presents one of these tickets at the gate before 6.30pm, Varsity Athletics will make the promised contribution to the relevant group's development fund." He said organisers were expecting a capacity crowd at the 10 000-seater stadium on the South Campus in Summerstrand. Olympic pole-vaulter Okkert Brits will be the official flag bearer, while local entertainer Donna Africa will deliver her rendition of the national anthem. "This is the first time that NMMU is hosting a Varsity Athletics event, so we really want to make a splash." The remaining track and field meets will take place at North-West University in Potchefstroom (April 14), Stellenbosch University (April 21) and the University of Pretoria (April 28). Bothma said free advance tickets would also be available to individual members of the public via the Varsity Sports Facebook page and website. "All . . .
Johannesburg, South Africa –MATHSGENIUS LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE (MGLI) based in Midrand has turned to the popular crowd funding website Indiegogo in its bid to raise funds for its girl empowerment project entitled GirlChild Rise Up in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) poster competition. MGLI CEO, Edzai C. Zvobwo explained that the lack of positive response from all the South African organisations approached led to the institution taking the crowd funding route. At the time of going to press MGLI had received one donation of US$25 which is a drop in the ocean for its target of US$9 000. The competition entails Grade 8 – 10 boys and girls designing a cover for the book GirlChild Rise Up in STEM, a motivational book encouraging girls and women to take up STEM subjects and careers as there is a dire need to open up dialogue and have Grade 8 to Grade 10 South African learners acknowledge the gender parity in STEM and how it can be resolved by a shift in the mindset and afford girls better subject choice decisions at Grade 9 based on ability and desired career. There is an acute under-representation of girls and women in STEM subjects and careers as a result of ill-informed subject decisions at Grade 9 level. The campaign aims to: • Contribute to girl empowerment in education in South Africa and beyond. • Educate Grade 9 girl learners to choose subjects based on ability and desired career choices. • Unleash learner creativity and provide a launch-pad for design careers. • Give a chance to learners to contribute to equal rights in education. • Give learners an incentive to participate in the rights discussion and be ambassadors of change. • Increase public awareness of the plight of girls and women with respect to taking up STEM related subjects and careers. The competition entails Grade 8 -10 boys and girls designing a cover for the book under the themes, Feminine Power, Freedom and Ability. The organisers gave a high-level plan of . . .
The Minister of Labour will introduce the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill into the National Assembly during 2014. According to Johan Botes, Director in the Employment Practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, this draft Bill, which will amend the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001, has several important implications for employers and employees. Botes explains that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is a vehicle for payment of benefits to employees who become unemployed, take maternity leave or otherwise become entitled to benefits. Employers and employees contribute to the UIF. The proposed Bill aims to improve service delivery by the UIF. “A further amendment will see the inclusion of individuals on learnerships (contract of employment contemplated in the Skills Development Act), and their employers, and Government employees Fixed term workers required to leave South Africa on expiration of their term will also now benefit from the UIF. Exclusion of these categories of employees was deemed unconstitutional and the draft Bill will seek to cover these employees,” he explains. New maternity benefits will see payment made at a rate of 66% of the earnings of the beneficiary at the time of the application. This provision also provide for the income replacement rate of 20% payable after 238 days until 365 days. An interesting amendment to the Act is that a contributor who has a miscarriage during the 3rd trimester or bears a still-born child, is now entitled to a full maternity benefit of 17 to 32 weeks. “Clause 9 also provides that a contributor is not entitled to benefit unless she was in employment, whether as a contributor or not, for at least 13 weeks before the date of application for maternity benefit. The clause that stipulates that a person should apply for maternity benefits eight weeks before a child is born will be deleted. This clause has caused confusion in labour centres and frustration for would-be and new mothers seeking to claim maternity . . .
Organisers of the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek have unveiled a route that promises equal parts effort and reward for participants in the three-day mountain bike race, which starts in Addo on May 30. Speaking at the recent launch event in Port Elizabeth, route designer Rob Hayter said each of the three stages had been specifically created to offer a completely different riding experience. "The diversity of these three days is going to be incredible. I don't think you'll see the variety of nature and tracks in any other race in the Eastern Cape." The race, which covers more than 200km, traverses the Sundays River Valley, the Karoo and Hayterdale Trails at the foot of the Zuurberg Pass. Race director Brad Jackson, of Mountain Events, said the clover route would use the Zuurberg Mountain Village at the top of the pass as its daily rendezvous point. "Our number one objective was to deliver something unique each day and this location in the heart of the mountains allows us to do just that. "It's one of the very few places where so many biomes converge." On day one, riders head south on a 76km route into the picturesque Sundays River Valley and world-renowned Addo Elephant National Park. The following day, they take on the 78km queen stage, climbing more than 1 970m over the northern ridge of the pass and overlooking the plains of the Karoo near the historical Ann's Villa. "There are places where the mountain views are so spectacular, you'll feel like you're at one of those tourist lookout points for several kilometres at a time," said Jackson. On the final stage, riders hug the southern slopes of the mountains, as they test their technical skills on a 58km route that includes some of Hayterdale's national cross-country championship track. "We end the race in single-track heaven on some of the best purpose-built mountain bike trails in the country," said Jackson. He said last year's two-day inaugural event had been constructed around existing . . .
Despite the crucial role of transformation in driving and growing the South Africa economy, most Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) managers are asked to drive this complex systemic process with little or no formal training. To-date, there has been no longitudinal accredited work-based learning process that mentors new transformation champions to deal with these responsibilities. This is according to Dr Robin Woolley, Executive Director at Transcend Corporate Advisors. He announced this week that Transcend Corporate Advisors would be launching a B-BBEE Internship Programme, which will begin in late March and run until August, with clients having to commit their chosen BEE champion to 9.5 full workdays for training over the six-month period. “The internship programme, through a combination of work-based and classroom-based processes, aims to provide a detailed step-by-step approach to understanding and implementing enterprise transformation, based on the revised Code of Good Practice and empirical best practice,” Dr Woolley explains. Dr Woolley says that this internship is aimed at the B-BBEE champion who wants practical training, which is delivered through a structured 6-month programme based on classroom and on-the-job learning processes. Delivery combines classroom facilitation, experiential learning in communities and expert mentorship processes. “The objective of this internship is to equip BEE champions to move organisations beyond classical tick-box compliance thinking around B-BBEE, to truly embrace the new enterprise transformation paradigm,” he explains. “The process includes an explanation of the Department of Trade and Industry’s revised Codes of Good Practice and scorecard measurements, as well as a set of enterprise principles and a transformation process roadmaps that serve as the foundation for a framework that captures the current state of the business, envisions the future state, and determines actions needed for guiding . . .
FNB NMMU continued their march towards the FNB Varsity Cup semifinals in a water-logged 19-9 win over defending champions FNB Tuks in Pretoria on Monday evening. The Madibaz did well to maintain control of the game in foul weather conditions that caused play to break down on several occasions. "The playing conditions were even worse than last week's game against Wits," said Madibaz head coach David Maidza. "Having said that, there weren't many handling errors from either team. It was actually a high quality game." Maidza said he was very happy with the cohesive and determined performance from his players. "I think the boys did very well to stick to the systems and structures and really played together as a team." He said he was heartened by the improvement shown in various facets of their game that had been lacking in previous weeks. "Every week it's a case of improving those facets that we're not great at. I thought our defensive effort was brilliant and our game management was also spot on." Maidza said where there had been handling errors, these had been on the attack rather than in their key defensive aspects. The men from Port Elizabeth have now jumped two places in the standings and currently lie third overall behind FNB Ikeys and log leaders FNB NWU-Pukke. They face FNB Shimlas in their final must-win match of the round-robin section next week. "There's no other way of us getting into the semis apart from winning. We know what we have to do when we get to Bloem on Monday." Although sixth-placed Shimlas have trailed Madibaz throughout the tournament, Maidza said they still posed a serious challenge. "I think Shimlas have been a bit unfortunate in a lot of their games this season and they will definitely have an eye on the semis." He said every team was a potential threat; therefore his side would have to ensure that their energy and concentration levels were high and their tactics correct. "It's going to be a tough . . .
It seems that guests are enjoying the eco-conscious reminders Hotel Verde have introduced as part of their holistic, sustainable vision. Not only does the hotel implement a range of green operational practices, but they have recently introduced a weekly Earth Hour that gets guests actively involved in their green thinking. Samantha Annandale, Hotel Verde’s general manager, explains that in order to expand Earth Hour, which is traditionally an annual event, Hotel Verde has decided to make it a weekly one. So between 19h00 and 20h00 every Wednesday all non-essential lights and equipment are switched off. In the spirit of reducing electricity consumption, the hotel prepares wood-fired pizzas and offers a discounted menu of specially selected food that is not prepared using the standard energy consuming methods. ’Going green is not just about the building; it’s also about every aspect of the operation. As part of Hotel Verde’s commitment to be “Africa’s greenest hotel”, management is committed to following the principal tenets of sustainable procurement to minimize their environmental impact, to maximize wider social benefits and to aim for zero waste to landfill.’ A green operation Hotel Verde has installed a vertical aquaponic system to minimise use of space and produce vegetables and herbs. The cyclical system of fish and plants involves the breaking down of the fish waste into nitrates, off which the plants will feed, and in turn the plants clean the water for the fish. The system is fed by a timed pump system to ensure that the plants get regular and sufficient water, without compromising on energy output. Split bins are placed in the guestrooms and throughout the property, encouraging waste separation and recycling, as well as to optimize Hotel Verde’s waste reduction plan. All products in the rooms, such as hand lotions, liquid soaps and body washes, are locally produced and are not harmful to the environment. ’This was not an easy task,’ explains . . .
Don’t miss the opportunity to see In the Weave, an exhibition of works by Walter Oltmann, one of South Africa’s finest and most intriguing artists, now on display at Standard Bank Gallery, until 29 March 2014. Curated by Neil Dundas, In the Weave celebrates Oltmann’s output over the last three decades. It also explores his sources, inspirations and allusions to the exchange of concepts between cultures in southern Africa. Although he is noted for his drawings and prints, Oltmann is best known for his wire sculptures, for which he uses techniques which parallel handcrafts. Oltmann’s sculptures, which may be understood as three-dimensional drawings using wire, are intricately worked in time-intensive and demanding processes related to weaving, basket-making, textiles and vessels. His wire sculptures explore, or relate to, domestic crafts often associated with the home, but with material and imagery that seem sometimes incongruous in relation to these activities. Whether rendered with pencil and ink on paper, or made with wire, Oltmann’s exquisite works are a sensitive blend of finely observed natural forms and poetic social comment. His work reveals his fascination with the natural world, art history and its intersection with science, and, more recently, archaeology and unearthed human remains. It is fitting that Standard Bank has selected to support this exhibition and the publication that accompanies it. Standard Bank has a long association with Oltmann: in 1990 he was the joint first-prize winner of the Standard Bank National Drawing Competition; in 2001 he was the recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art; his work has been on show on several Standard Bank Gallery group or themed exhibitions; and his works Mantis (2001) and Mother and Child (2007) are included in the Standard Bank Corporate Art Collection. This exhibition runs until 29 March 2014, at the Standard Bank Gallery, corner of Simmonds and Frederick Streets, . . .
The Unlimited, a Durban-based financial services provider, is set to make history for the Southern Hemisphere this weekend when it takes on the Guinness World Record for building the most sandcastles in one hour. More than 800 people, made up of The Unlimited’s employees, their families and friends will join in the fun on the Durban’s Bay of Plenty on Saturday, 15 March where they will attempt to build 2 400 sandcastles in just 60 minutes. This will smash the current record of 2 230 sandcastles, set by the German town of St. Peter-Ording on 13 July, 2013. Not only is this a first for South Africa, this will also be the first time this world record has ever been attempted in the Southern Hemisphere! According to Steph Bester, CEO of The Unlimited, this world record attempt was a natural fit for the company. “We believe that ordinary people can achieve the extraordinary and what could be more exceptional than giving all our people an opportunity to break a world record!” Bester explains. This will not be the first time that The Unlimited is helping to write a new world record. The company already has an extensive track record for providing amazing experiences. It brought athletics golden girl Zola Budd back to South Africa to compete in the Comrades Marathon, sponsored two kitesurfers in their successful quest to be the first people to kitesurf from Ponta do Oura in Mozambique to Durban and also helped a Pietermaritzburg youth to be the youngest black person to walk to the South Pole. “We are really proud of the people we have helped and the records they have achieved and we wanted to do the same for our own people as they are the heart of our business. So when we decided to put together a day for our people where they could also bring their families and friends, we decided to create memories rather than just an event – something that would be a real challenge for everyone and great fun at the same time. Our challenge has been met with great excitement . . .