The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism says that it is hoping to attract more bankable projects for its Local and Regional Economic Development Fund. The multi-million fund, which closes in just under two weeks on 30 June 2018, funds projects in key priority sectors, starting at a minimum amount of R500,000 for a feasibility study rising to a maximum of R3 million for project implementation. In the 2016/17 financial year, the Department funded nine projects in the Alfred Nzo, OR Tambo District, Sarah Baartman, Buffalo City and Amathole areas. The Member of Executive Council for the Department, the Honourable Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane says that the fund is vital to the province’s economic development which aims to support SMMEs and cooperatives that have innovative ideas and well-thought-out plans for creating new economic opportunities that enable job creation. “The fund is about helping SMMEs to promote innovation and enterprise development, particularly in the areas of agro-processing, the auto sector, manufacturing, the oceans economy, renewable energy and tourism,” he explains. Amongst the funded projects during the last financial year was a 100% youth owned brick manufacturing project, Khulani Youth Development Co-operative, in Idutywa in which seven jobs were created. This project will be officially launched by the MEC on the 28 June 2018. Another funded project, Ivili Loboya, is a 100% woman owned enterprise which manufactures fibre using cashmere wool, in the Butterworth area. But the support is not limited to funding, over a period of at least 18 months post funding, the department explores additional partnerships to provide further and more comprehensive support to the beneficiaries. Bongani Gxilishe, the Head of Department says that funding for projects has been hampered by poor quality of proposals, following due diligence reviews. I have instructed those in my office to do everything . . .
Gonjah Chalet, campsite and 4x4 route is set amongst lush indigenous forest just 9km north of Patensie in the delightful Gamtoos River Valley, known as the Eastern Gateway to the Baviaanskloof. With idyllic rural surroundings, Gonjah Chalet and Campsite offer the perfect accommodation choice for anyone looking to get ‘back to nature’ in this stunning region of South Africa. Surrounded by colourful woodland, mountain streams, undulating hills and valleys and native wildlife, the rustic accommodation at Gonjah chalet and campsite will provide you with a real break from the trials and tribulations of everyday life and will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after spending a few days away from it all. With no television to distract, you can experience the simple life and enjoy the only distractions you’ll find – the stars and the braai fire! Gonjah is also home to two excellent 4x4 routes that take you on an adventure through the glorious Gamtoos Valley countryside where you stand a good chance of spotting a variety of South African wildlife including Nyala, Bushbuck and the elusive Knysna Loerie to name a few, you may even spot a Gonjah after which the accommodation has been named – Gonjah is the indigenous word for grasshopper. The chalet is fully equipped for self-catering and is set amongst beautiful indigenous forest at the heart of a tranquil valley or ‘kloof’. There are two small bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with two single beds sleeping 4 guests. Gonjah Chalet has one bathroom with a shower, basin and toilet. There is a fireplace in the lounge to keep you warm on colder evenings. There is no electricity, but gas facilities exist for a real back to nature experience, in a fully equipped kitchen. The open wooden deck is a great spot for whiling away the evenings, listening to the sounds of the bush around you whilst enjoying a braai (BBQ) and a few drinks. Braai facilities are provided. The campsite at Gonjah is delightfully set . . .
Kouga Wind Farm ushered in Global Wind Day on Friday by announcing that the R4-million custom-built library and IT centre that it is building for the Sea Vista community outside St Francis Bay is on track to open in October. Celebrating the announcement are community members (from left) Babalwa Sahluko, Nozuko Ntshota and Ragel Goeda, who themselves have benefited from another of the wind farm’s community projects – the Rainmakers women empowerment programme. The seven-month programme has seen groups of women from the Sea Vista, Umzamowethu, KwaNomzamo and Kruisfontein communities undergoing specific skills development and business training, to equip them to identify and implement impactful upliftment projects in their communities. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
DROUGHT-hit farmers in the Gamtoos River Valley have had their already stringent water allocations from the Kouga Dam – the largest in the region – halved for the 2018/19 water year, it was announced late on Thursday. With Kouga Dam at only 7.7% capacity on Friday, this means that farmers will now be forced to operate on 20% of what would be their full irrigation quota for the new water year, which starts in July. This is set to have a significant impact on fruit and vegetable production in the valley, as farmers will not be planting “cash crops” and will be forced to leave older, less productive citrus orchards to die off. The little water they have will be dedicated to the preservation of younger, premium orchards, according to valley farmer and Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB) chairman Tertius Meyer. This follows Thursday’s annual meeting between officials from the national and provincial departments of water and sanitation, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and GIB, which manages the dam. Meyer said the greater part of Kouga Dam’s water supply was given to sustaining agriculture in the valley, with the remainder forming a critical part of Nelson Mandela Bay’s water supply. There had been mixed reaction to the news from local farmers, whose allocation for the current water year had already been restricted to 40% of their normal consumption, Meyer said. Many, he said, had in fact been expecting more drastic measures to be introduced. GIB financial and human resources manager Rienette Colesky said the department had done its best to balance the needs of farmers with creating a sustainable supply to the surrounding towns and cities. “Curtailing water use is vital to prevent dam failure at this stage,” she said. Unlike many dams, Kouga is built in such a way that the outlet is low enough to prevent “dead storage” and can be used up to the 0% level, Colesky said. The last time the dam was at full capacity and overflowing was in December . . .
The government could hold a critical part of the puzzle to unlocking the residential property sector for black entrepreneurs says Xoliswa Tini of Xoliswa Tini Properties. Tini, who has announced that she is to franchise her brand in June, says that the property sector is yet to become more inclusive in the way it does business and bring on board emerging black businesses, particularly in new developments. She is unashamedly forthright on transformation saying that the sector continues to favour historically-advantaged white male businesses at the expense of transformation to make the property sector more representative of today’s South Africa. Tini talks from experience who says that developers and banks have sidelined black-owned agencies for these types of developments. She says private developers, in particular, do not involve emerging businesses much if at all – whether as real estate agents, developers or in the construction of new developments. “From the outside looking in, they have no interest in redressing the inequalities of the past regime and are betraying transformation. After 22 years, not much has changed,” she says. The Estate Agents Affairs Board says only 88% of the country’s 50,000 registered estate agents are black, somewhat up on the 4% of 2007 but significantly down on the 2012 property sector transformation charter goal of 35%. “This has to change or improve,” she says. However, in the face of land expropriation, an issue unlikely to disappear for some time, the government could take a leadership role by using their land for new urban suburbs which will have a positive effect on the market for two reasons. Firstly, the government, using current preferential supply chain criteria, could allocate these opportunities to black-owned developers, construction firms and real estate agencies such as Xoliswa Tini Properties. It would create a demand, in the case of real estate agencies, for black-owned agencies who would . . .
JBay – The JBay Winterfest event organisers are proud to announce the music lineup at the Corona Sunset Sessions, to be held at the Corona Open JBay contest site. The Corona Sunset Sessions will take place over both festival weekends 5-7 July and 12-14 July, and will feature some top South African musical acts. The Corona Sunset Sessions are all complimentary, and proudly brought to you by the Corona Open JBay. There will be 12 bands or artists over the two weekends, and every one of the shows are completely free of charge. There are no tickets to be bought, no bookings to be made and no queuing for anything. Just pitch up and enjoy the vibes. The Corona Sunset Sessions will take place in Pepper Street during the weekend evenings. Just make your way to the Corona Open prize-giving stage, where the bands will be setup for the evening shows. Venerated indie rock outfit Desmond and the Tutus is one of the headline acts, and they will be rocking the house on Saturday 7 July, along with Nic Preen and The World Of Birds. Friday 13 July, lucky for some, will see the hugely popular Cape Town-based rock act aKing perform, along with young and widely-liked Cape Town indie /rock band Crosscurrent, and looks like it will be a huge night. Good old rock ’n roll with a mix of dirty blues is the order of the day on the final evening of the Corona Sunset Sessions, as Jozi-based rock act Shadowclub take to the stage. One of the most celebrated local bands, Shadowclub will get the party going and will finish this year’s free Music Sessions on a high note. It’ll be busy on the final night, so pull in early. The Corona Sunset Sessions is a thank you and acknowledgement to the fans and spectators who come up every year to visit JBay and to watch the worlds’ best surfers competing at Supertubes, and to support our local contingent of surfers. This year we have Jordy Smith as well as Mikey February competing in the Corona Open JBay, as well as a yet-to-be-announced . . .
Shamwari Private Game Reserve Announces New Look Lodges June 2018 – Shamwari Private Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, has announced plans to rebuild, redesign and create three ultra 5-star lodges, with the building process taking two years to fully complete. This is just part of the rebranding and repositioning of Shamwari in the safari marketplace as well as new culinary offerings specific to each lodge. Three of the six existing lodges will be totally recreated to offer guests a whole new level of lodge, architectural and sheer design luxury befitting for this multi-award winning reserve, which has become known globally for its pioneering efforts in wildlife conservation and fine hospitality. Architecture is by DSA Architects International and interior décor and design by K/M2K Architecture and Interior Design, both South African based companies. Comments Group General Manager, Joe Cloete, “We felt the time had come to not simply do extensive annual refurbishments of furniture and décor but rather to redesign the lodges to elevate the guests’ offerings and comfort to absolute sheer safari luxury by means of extraordinary architectural, design and décor offerings. We believe the hospitality industry is entering a new era in guest expectations and we hope to be leading this with four exceptional safari lodges coupled with our renowned, malaria-free, Big 5 safari and walking experiences.” A new Animal Rehabilitation Centre will be created and the Born Free Centres will see a significant refurbishment to marry with the lodge improvements. Situated in the lush indigenous bush of the Shamwari Private Game Reserve with breath-taking views of the adjacent rocky cliff face where eagles soar, Eagles Crag Lodge is set to be a sophisticated safari experience making efficient use of this idyllic site, whilst providing privacy and spectacular views. The architects have designed a spacious entrance and reception looking directly onto the lush . . .
Johannesburg, June, 6, 2018 Scott Ambler and Mark Lines talk business agility in South Africa in July IndigoCube will once more host the internationally renowned and locally popular Scott Ambler and Mark Lines, creators of the Disciplined Agile Framework, but this time with a principally business focus for the first Business Agility Conference hosted in South Africa. The duo will host a conference and present workshops for a week in July aimed chiefly at business people rather than IT people. “The conference is about business agility,” says Jaco Viljoen, the principal consultant and head of digital at IndigoCube. “It’s agile for the whole business, not just IT, so it’s for business people curious about modern practices for the digital enterprise and how that affects all divisions from HR to finance, marketing and the rest.” Scott Ambler, the Senior Consulting Partner of Scott Ambler + Associates, is also the founder of the Agile Modeling (AM), Agile Data (AD), and Enterprise Unified Process (EUP) methodologies and the founding Member of the Disciplined Agile Consortium (DAC). Mark Lines is Managing Partner of Scott Ambler + Associates, coach and co-author, with Scott Ambler, of “Disciplined Agile Delivery: A Practitioner’s Guide to Agile Software Delivery in the Enterprise”, which details their approach to DAD. “Scott and Mark compare this to a racing car,” he says. “IT is the engine but businesspeople put the agile, high performance engines into tractors and make them plough fields. Similarly, IT operations must become suitable high performance engines for the racing car chassis and drivetrain. Both must work together to be competitive in this extremely demanding world.” The two internationally renowned Canadians will be the main attraction at the conference on July 17, from 09:00 to 13:00 held in-conjunction with IBM at the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel. IndigoCube will provide training on Disciplined Agile (DAD) in conjunction with Scott . . .
Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Photo: Plantronics Stock Image Patent-pending RIG Game Audio Dial enables Xbox One and PS4 gamers to keep hands on their controllers while changing volume. Santa Cruz, Calif. – June 5, 2018 – Plantronics (NYSE: PLT), an audio pioneer and communications technology leader, today announced the RIG 500 PRO Series of gaming headsets, created to deliver high-fidelity audio in an ultra-lightweight design for the truly competitive gamer. RIG 500 PRO Series are the first gaming headsets to feature an exoskeleton earcup design with isolated inner acoustic chambers to reduce distortion, creating the ideal audio solution for today’s high-resolution gaming platforms. Premium 50 mm drivers deliver wide-range frequency response while dual-material ear cushions provide the combination of noise reduction and comfort competitive gamers need for long, focused sessions. In addition, the console editions come with the patent-pending RIG Game Audio Dial, a 3.5mm connector with integrated volume control for wireless game controllers. Console gamers can now adjust volume directly from the controller without lifting their hands. PC models feature an inline volume slider. “The new RIG 500 PRO Series takes the innovative modular design of the RIG 500 to the next level,” said Gregory Morquin, Category Business Manager, Gaming Products, Plantronics. “And, it continues the impressive number of firsts we’ve brought to competitive gamers, including the first VR-focused headsets, Dolby Atmos® activation and now, the RIG Game Audio Dial for Xbox One and PS4 wireless controllers.” RIG 500 PRO Series, available in Console, PC and Esports editions, builds upon the lightweight, modular design of the original RIG 500 with performance-boosting features including: • Premium 50 mm drivers for expanded frequency response • A removable noise-canceling microphone boom and flip-to-mute feature • Removable audio cables that can be easily swapped or replaced • Snap-in . . .
Cyclists who have just completed the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain-bike race will have a chance to book their places in next year's event from today. Preferential bookings for this year's entries will be open for all packages - platinum, gold, silver and bronze - and will be valid at a discounted rate until June 30. Race owner and managing director of Hayterdale Trails Siska van der Bijl said the decision to open entries so soon was to give those who had enjoyed the event an opportunity not to miss out next year. "As much as some riders might want to hold back, you get a lot of people who are keen and want to commit themselves to next year's race, and this is a chance to do that," she said. "Some of them like to make early preparations and the idea is for them to hopefully book sooner rather than later when the event is still fresh in their minds." With the race sold out this year, Van der Bijl said there was clearly a case of "supply and demand" and if riders delayed their decision it was likely to result in them not getting an entry. "We are allowing participants of the 2018 event up to the end of June to enter, and the entry fee is slightly reduced, so there is a financial incentive. "If they do not book and pay for their spots before June 30 then they will be liable for the 2019 rates. "This is open for all packages and it will be a case of first come, first served." Van der Bijl said the entries would open to the general public from July 1, "with a slight increase which is in line with inflation". She added that the race organisers were evaluating the possibility of increasing the number of entries next year. "We had a sold-out scenario this year so there is a demand and we want to see if we can open up a few extra entries for 2019." For entry information, go to www.greatzuurbergtrek.co.za CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .