Willie Smit retained his title in the Bestmed Jock Tour after wresting the initiative from overnight leader Nico Bell on the final climb before the fast finish into Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, today. After finishing third in the opening day individual time-trial, RoadCover's Smit rode himself into contention for overall honours when he won Saturday's taxing second stage to end the day seven seconds behind Team NAD's Bell. In today's final stage over 138km, which featured a mammoth 3 100m of vertical climbing, the Nelspruit local bided his time until the peloton closed in on the summit of the feared Hilltop. With team-mate Mornay van Heerden setting up his decisive attack, the 23-year-old was able to gap Bell on the steep ascent and maintain his advantage all the way to the finish to win the stage in 3:55:36 and, with it, the overall title in 8:44:15. Bell, who won the nine-day joBerg2c mountain bike race in late April, fought gallantly to place runner-up on the stage in 3:56:06 and overall in 8:44:38. ProTouch's JC Nel, who won the first stage on Friday, finished third in 3:56:59, but the cyclist from Honeydew in Joburg did not do enough to displace Van Heerden, who ended third in the general classification in 8:46:35. Smit's victory in what is considered South Africa's toughest road stage race came after a lengthy rehabilitation period following a crash while racing in France in April. The double Jock Tour champion has also been suffering with an upset tummy, but said the pace at the start of today's stage had played into their hands. "The start was fairly easy so it wasn't too tough on my stomach," said Smit. "It wasn't that hot so I didn't get too dehydrated and did not have to take on that much liquid." He said his main objective was to conserve as much energy for the final climb, which topped out about five kilometres from the finish. "Unfortunately there was a bit of a headwind on the climb, but I knew what I could do on the last . . .
Defending champion Willie Smit showed that he was getting back to his best when he won the second stage of the Bestmed Jock Tour in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, today. Team NAD's Nico Bell, who was part of a three-man break that went clear on Long Tom Pass, finished second to take the yellow jersey off the shoulders of ProTouch's JC Nel. The 23-year-old Smit, who placed third in the opening day individual time-trial, said he was pleased with his comeback after suffering serious injuries in a crash in France in April. The RoadCover professional, who hails from Nelspruit, won the mountainous 140km stage in 3:53:24. Bell, also from Nelspruit, was awarded the same time. Smit's team-mate Mornay van Heerden, who set up the winning move, crossed the line in 3:53:42 to finish third on the day. Bell leads the overall standings on 4:48:32 and will take a seven-second lead over Smit into the final stage. Van Heerden lies third on 4:49:33. The stage, which started and finished in Nelspruit, took in the ascents of Spitskop and Long Tom Pass as it wound its way through White River and Sabie. When the peloton ascended Long Tom Pass, a lot of riders were starting to sit on, said Smit. "So I got Mornay to go really hard for the last two kilometres and the only rider who was able to follow us was Nico. "The three of us rode away over the top and from there it was a matter of just rolling through once we were sure that we had a good gap," said Smit. "When we had a lead of about three minutes we started attacking Nico, but he had very good legs and it's hard to ride away from someone when they are just sitting in your slip. "But in the end we managed to win so it's better than nothing." About 60km into the stage on Spitskop, the day's first major climb, Smit's team set him up for an attack that ultimately led to the demise of the yellow jersey. Besides the lingering effects from his crash in the Tour de Bretagne, Smit said he was also fighting an . . .
ProTouch rider JC Nel made a flying start to the Bestmed Jock Tour when he took the honours in the stage one individual time-trial at Kaapsehoop outside Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, on Friday. The 24-year-old Nel, from Honeydew in Johannesburg, edged top tour title contenders Nico Bell, who was second, and defending champion Willie Smit for the top place on the podium in perfect conditions. Nel said he was "really happy" with the result, having targeted the yellow jersey on the opening day of one of South Africa's most challenging road stage races, which is presented by Rudy Project. "The idea going into the time-trial was to take the yellow jersey, but having the idea and actually doing it are sometimes two different things," said Nel. "It always creates a bit of pressure, but the conditions were perfect and it was a really fast time-trial. I think we were about three-and-a-half minutes quicker than last year." At one stage Nel wondered whether he had set out too fast, but added that recent training camps in Nelspruit when they had tested the 27km route, which is mostly uphill, had helped him. "After about 20 to 25 minutes I wondered if I had not gone out too hard, but then I was nervous to slow down too much so I just kept going. "I knew there was a hard climb with about seven to eight kilometres to go so I did not overdo it there and that allowed me to pick up the pace on the last stretch which was fairly flat." Having achieved his objective, Nel is looking forward to the rest of the race but knows there is much work to be done. "I have a strong team with me, although the guys are young and do not have much experience. But what they do have is big hearts and real fighting spirit. "We know we will have to work hard but we are ready for the next challenge." Saturday's second stage, which starts and finishes in Nelspruit, is over 140km and the route, via White River and Sabie, includes climbs such as Spitskop and Long Tom Pass. The . . .
The warmth and hospitality of the region’s farming folk was clearly demonstrated at the annual Val Boeredag, recently hosted in Waterval. Resolution Health Medical Scheme (Resolution Health) was there to celebrate agriculture and the strong farming families who put food on the nation’s tables daily. “The Val Boeredag presented the ideal opportunity to ‘kuier’ with Mpumalanga farmers and get to know more about them and their health concerns,” says Principal Officer of Resolution Health, Mark Arnold. Resolution Health also used the day as a key opportunity to understand how conscientious the local community is about their health. It was interesting to note that in a poll taken on the day, two-thirds indicated they could not remember when last they had had their blood pressure checked. “There are a number of health conditions that can arise from high blood pressure, including cardiovascular diseases, stroke, eyesight problems and kidney damage. The concern is that if people in farming communities are not having basic health screening regularly, they may not be adequately looking after their health or be aware of preventable medical problems that they may be facing,” Arnold observes. The same poll also revealed that 63 per cent of respondents did not believe their employer provided suitable and sufficient healthcare benefits. “Making sure that your workers have adequate access to healthcare cover is one of the easiest ways to boosting productivity, reducing absenteeism rates and ensuring a healthier workforce in general. When considering that the South African economy loses approximately R55.2 billion to sick leave per year and R16 billion to ‘presenteeism’, the business case, and eventual impact on the farmer’s bottom line, becomes clear,” says Arnold. Presenteeism, or working while sick, reduces productivity and can further exacerbate illness. In addition, a sickly worker may transmit infection to his or her colleagues, further compounding the . . .
Injuries at an inopportune time will see Bestmed Jock Tour defending champion Willie Smit look no further than the opening day individual time-trial when the three-day race gets underway in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, on Friday. The 23-year-old RoadCover star's preparations for what is widely regarded as South Africa's toughest road stage race were disrupted when he suffered a crash in the Tour de Bretagne in France in April. "It did not happen at the ideal time; right in the middle of my racing season," said Smit, who broke a collarbone and tore shoulder muscles and ligaments. "Winning the tour overall this year would be a bonus as my recovery process has been quite tough and I have been pressed for time. That is why I have identified the time-trial as my main goal." He said success in the solo discipline of the tour, which is presented by Rudy Project, was important to him due to his limited preparations. "It is known as the race of truth," he said. "There are no tactics involved. It is just you and your bike against the clock." Having grown up in Lydenburg and now living in Nelspruit, Smit is familiar with the challenges that participants will face this weekend. "The Jock plays a big role in South African road cycling because it's one of the most mountainous races in the country. So there is great status attached to winning this event and it also always reveals new talent. "The climbs will be the biggest challenge for most participants as the routes around Nelspruit are very hilly compared to most races in the country. In addition, the stages are quite long." Smit started the year on a high when he won the Mpumalanga Cycle Tour in January, but admitted it had been "up and down" since then. "I definitely do not have the form I had due to my injury, which has put me quite far back. "I have focused more on my endurance, which mostly consists of four to six-hour rides. Rehab has been my main aim since the crash." The time-trial covers a . . .
The global economy has come under strain over the last several years, due to lower commodity prices, a shift in demand as well as services which have all affected South Africa greatly over the last two years. Companies that are weathering the current economic climate are those that operate with strategic efficiency and an eye towards the future. These companies maximise human capital by making sure they keep a skilled and competitive advantage as technology, production and trade develops and changes. Across South African Government the general consensus is that the country must produce more skilled participants in the workforce. The Government has also stated that its economic plocies require HR development on a massive scale. The Human Resources Development Strategy for South Africa (HRDS-SA) – which was adopted by Cabinet in 2001 – highlights that the acquisition of knowledge and skills are necessary to work productively and competitively and furthermore, that improved training and education are fundamental to higher employment and productivity. “The cyclical nature of the resources sector and the impact of the global economic crisis have meant that we have had to find ways of cutting costs and working more efficiently.” Italia Boninelli, speaking on challenges of HR in a recent interview. This year, The Future of HR Summit and Awards are proud to host some of the highest esteemed figures in South African society and the HR industry, including the internationally acclaimed HR specialist, Shirley Zinn. It is also with great pride to announce that Axiomatic will sponsor the Skills Development and Training breakaway session. The most innovative HR strategies, labour regulations, case studies and emerging technologies will be disccused by experts in the field over the span of two days. “In the working world, you have to keep up with the pace of change, and there are many factors that drive change. Technology and innovation will reshape the working world . . .
Tour specialist JC Nel is fired up to add the three-day Bestmed Jock Tour title to his palmares after winning the single-day Jock Classique in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, two seasons ago. The Johannesburg rider, who placed fourth overall in the inaugural edition of the 304km race last year, knows there will be no easy route to victory from July 15 to 17. While RoadCover's defending champion Willie Smit, who also won the Mpumalanga Tour this year, looms as a strong title contender to win his home race, Nel said he was looking forward to testing himself in one of the country's most gruelling tours. "The Jock Tour is the sort of race we don't often have because it's a really hilly route with a time-trial included and lends itself to a specific type of rider," said the 24-year-old ProTouch rider from Honeydew. "We don't get a lot of opportunities to race a tour where it can be won or lost on time-trials or climbing. With myself being a climber and a time-trialist, we have put in a lot of work and I'm really looking forward to it." Nel said the Jock Tour provided a completely different examination than the one-day Classique, which is now a supporting event to the feature race. "The Classique, which I won in 2014, is very different as it is fast-paced and everything happens so quickly and there is no room for error. "The three-day tour on the other hand lends itself to more of a harder rider. You have to be absolutely prepared and completely focused to do well. "You can't go there with only a little bit of form and think you are going to win. It's such a tough event that if you are not at 100 per cent you are going to have a hard time. "I think, personally, I'll be happy if I can walk away with a podium position." Wynand de Villiers of ASG Events confirmed Nel's view. "We wanted to create an honest test for the country's elite riders when we formulated the three-day race. There is simply nowhere to hide and the strongest rider will win – full . . .
South Africa’s leading mining bodies; the Mineworkers Investment Trust (MIT), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) and the Mineworkers Development Agency (MDA) are calling for bold steps to be taken to ensure that effective transformation continues to be a key narrative that serves as a blue print for economic emancipation in South Africa. Luthando Brukwe, the Head of Transformation at the National Union of Mineworkers says stakeholders in the mining sector need to ensure that there is an accelerated implementation of the NEDLAC endorsed social accords. Paving The Way for Solutions He stresses that there needs to be an alignment of mining and construction charters in the B-BBEE Amended Codes that were released recently by the Department of Trade and Industry. “Another way forward which speaks to the objectives of saving, creating and maintaining employment in the National Development Plan is that there needs to be a campaign against transfer pricing, offshore listing, mergers and acquisitions resulting in massive job losses. We believe that there should be sufficient support for social wages and we will continue to demand a living wage and enforce the equal pay for equal work principle across the industries we organise. As a way forward it is also imperative that we continue to demand unwavering enforcement of legislative and regulatory frameworks that benefit workers and communities at large as well as champion sanctioning for escalating non-compliance,” adds Brukwe. Currently, there is a serious lack of co-ordination between government’s owned entities, government departments and industry are not being held accountable for non-compliance. This serves as a major obstacle towards reaching transformation objectives. Brukwe acknowledged that the department of mineral resources is legislatively empowered to monitor and report on the compliance and transformation in the mining industry, however there have been various . . .
After two successful sets of courses in KZN, the Investec International Rugby Academy will be returning to St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg these school holidays, adding position-specific courses, for both players and coaches, to the course line-up. The 5-day course aims to provide high school players with the skills and expertise they need by matching them with former national and international players in their position and teach coaches to learn alongside these players. The exciting line-up that attendees can look forward to working with are former Springbok flank Ian MacDonald and utility-back Brent Russell, former Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir, ex-Wallabies kicking coach Braam van Straaten, former Sharks coach Grant Bashford, Sharks forwards coach Ryan Strudwick, Sharks under-19 coach Paul Anthony, Super Rugby referee Archie Sehlako, as well as local coaches Greg Miller, Greig Wegerle and Ryno Combrink. Behind the scenes training is also a feature of the academy and specialists such as Mark Steele (former Springbok conditioning coach) and Ruan Fourie (former Sharks and Lions physiotherapist) will be educating players on conditioning for the season and injury prevention. “The academy affords players the opportunity to meet, interact and learn from the greats of the game. It can only have a positive effect on one’s development,” says former Springbok, Brent Russell. World renown kicking coach, Braam van Straaten, who has been a coach at the academy for the past seven years, is passionate about his role at the academy. “In a week you see boys become men. We get players to function outside their comfort zone,” says van Straaten. Players’ courses on offer in July are the Prestige Players’ Course (aged seven to 10 years), the Intermediate Players’ and Coaches Course (aged 11 to 14 years), the 5-Day Players’ and Coaches Course (aged 14 to 17 years). Former Eastern Province player and GM of the Investec International Rugby Academy, . . .
With seven incredibly successful performances in three provinces, the award winning production is now heading to the ‘province of the rising sun’ for an uplifting performance of their latest album release titled, Joyous 20 at the Banquet Hall in Middelburg. MTN Joyous Celebration is proud to announce that on Friday, 1 July and Saturday, 2 July, Mpumalanga fans will get an opportunity to be a part of a spiritually enriched two-night musical experience that has become synonymous with the internationally acclaimed gospel ensemble. Recently winning this year’s SAMA award for ‘Most Selling DVD, for the fourth consecutive year, fans can attest to the production’s ability to appeal to a much broader musical palate with its arrangement of cross-genre sounds. From their majestic vocals and harmonies, to their signature dance moves and world-class costumes, fans are invited to come and enjoy an enthralling two days of fellowship, praise and worship, in true MTN Joyous Celebration fashion. “Our loyal fans in Mpumalanga have relentlessly given us tremendous support over the years and to be able to increase our reach is quite an honour. There is no better way to show our gratitude than to kick-off the month of July with a double, soul-watering musical treat from Mzansi’s favourite Gospel group. This is definitely one winter weekend, local fans won’t want to stay in”, commented co-founder, Lindelani Mkhize. Tickets to the two-day concert taking place on Friday, 1 July and Saturday, 2 July at the Banquet Hall are now available at Computicket from R200. Join the conversation on the MTN Joyous Celebration social platforms; Facebook: My Joyous Celebration and Twitter: @JoyousSA Tour Date Banquet Hall, Middelburg, Friday, 1 July 2016 at 19:30 PM and Saturday, 2 July 2016 at 19:30 PM CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .