It's going to be a bright 2017 for the 39 households of the KwaMadiba settlement in the rural Eastern Cape 110 years after municipal electricity was first supplied to the provincial capital of Port Elizabeth. This village in the OR Tambo District Municipality has quite literally been "off the grid" ever since families began settling along the picturesque, yet impoverished, banks of the Thina River. They looked set to remain part of the 55% of rural South Africa that will not be connected to the national grid in the foreseeable future. Fortunately, the government's commitment to exploring alternative technologies in order to achieve universal access to energy has seen the commissioning of the KwaMadiba small scale hydropower (SSHP) scheme during National Water Week (13-19 March 2017). Effectively powered by the height difference between the Thina Falls and the Thina River, the SSHP plant receives diverted river water that rotates a turbine. This mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy that provides grid quality electricity to the surrounding community. The Banki turbine that is the core of the SSHP plant was sourced in Italy and installed by WEC Projects, a leading South African EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor in the water and wastewater industry. The company specialises in the turnkey supply and installation of containerised water and wastewater treatment plants, biogas to energy projects, sludge beneficiation, and operation and maintenance contracts. It is also the exclusive SA licensee for the Nereda® sewage treatment technology that provides significant reductions in CAPEX, OPEX and plant footprint. Local and overseas studies have determined that small hydropower schemes such as the KwaMadiba facility can serve as standalone mini electrical grids providing clean, reliable and affordable energy access in remote areas. Rural electrification has the potential to dramatically improve the standard of living in . . .
Around the globe, millions of people, businesses, and landmarks set aside an hour to host events, switch off their lights, and make noise for climate change action. This year Earth Hour is at 8:30pm on 25 March 2017. "You can celebrate Earth Hour in a slightly different and completely guilt free way," says Alan Straton from Straton Solar who says that using green energy is the biggest and most visible way to make a noise for climate change. "Celebrate your commitment to our planet and your installation of energy saving solar panels on your roof by shining a light onto them during earth hour with the rest of your property in darkness," suggests Straton. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the parent organisation of Earth Hour and started Earth Hour with teams and partners in Sydney, Australia back in 2007 with a lights-off event. Starting in 2007 as a single-city event, Earth Hour is now celebrated across all continents. In the past decade, as global climate efforts gained momentum, Earth Hour has helped bridge the gap between the grassroots and the corridors of power, taking climate action from conference rooms to living rooms. It has empowered millions to support and participate in critical climate and conservation projects led by WWF and many others, helping drive climate policy, awareness and action. From the shores of Argentina where Earth Hour helped mobilize public support for the creation of a 3.4 million hectare-wide marine protected area, to the heart of Uganda where local communities and businesses helped create the first Earth Hour forest, the movement’s impact has been a game-changer for popularizing climate action. "We started Earth Hour in 2007 to show leaders that climate change was an issue people cared about. For that symbolic moment to turn into the global movement it is today, is really humbling and speaks volumes about the powerful role of people in issues that affect their lives," said Siddarth Das, Executive Director, Earth Hour . . .
A record 67 teams descended on the annual SPAR Madibaz Netball Tournament at NMMU's South Campus this past weekend, with the hosts triumphing in four sections. Madibaz teams won the A, A reserve, B and C sections, while Despatch took the honours in the D category. Phoenix won the men's tournament. Madibaz netball manager Melinda Goosen said the event, which was added to the calendar in 2005, had shown tremendous growth over the years. According to her, the organisers were forced to add an additional day for the first time this year to accommodate the field. "Previously, the tournament always took place on a Saturday but, due to the increase in the number of teams, we decided that it would be beneficial to include an additional day." Despite adding extra sessions on the Friday afternoon and evening, she said they were still forced to decline applications of several teams due to limited courts and time slots. Goosen attributed much of the tournament's success to its timing. "It takes place at the beginning of the season, which means it allows coaches an opportunity to test their teams before the official season gets under way." She said the tournament was aimed at clubs and schools from the larger Eastern Cape area. "We accommodate all sections and levels of play and having schools take part offers another avenue for the growth of the tournament." This year's edition included schools from Nelson Mandela Bay and the Grahamstown area. "We only market it to the greater Eastern Cape region and the fact that we have had such a great response, especially this year, shows how important it is to have such an event," said Goosen. "With SPAR as our partners, we have been lucky to create a tournament in which clubs want to participate." Goosen said the event was not only important for the university, but for the region as a whole. "It is an obligation we have to our fellow clubs." She said their focus would now be to get even more teams . . .
Art on Target presents: for your listening pleasure an acoustic concert ‘Natalia’ by: Nibs van der Spuy and special guest artist: Joe Vanderlinden In September 2016, Nibs released his new album, ‘Natalia’ produced by world renowned producer Mark Tucker ( Portishead, PJ Harvey, Jethro Tull ) bringing together strong themes and images from Kwazulu and introducing new and exciting soundscapes to the music. Nibs is returning to the Cape, after a successful spring tour in Italy, This will be his second leg of his ‘Natalia’ national tour and his first solo release in 5 years. “Nibs is probably one of South Africa’s most underrated musicians of extraordinary talent.” AVSA (South Africa’s leading audio visual magazine Nibs van der Spuy is one of the most extraordinary and exciting, world acoustic guitarists and exports to come out of South Africa. Raised in the fertile province of Kwazulu Natal, Nibs immersed himself in his natural environment to formulate a truly consummate and original sound. Growing up with the Beatles and learning first hand from traditional Zulu Maskandi guitarists, he quickly soaked up a rich tapestry of his close surroundings and beyond. After playing the local folk scene around South Africa for years and gathering up a loyal following, his big stage break came after supporting Crosby, Stills and Nash on their 1996 South African tour. After that he was signed to the SHEER (South African World Music label) where he has released over 10 albums. His third solo release, BEAUTIFUL FEET received highly acclaimed accolades around the world where it was album of the month in four German publications and RADIO FRANCE FIP pick of the week. Nibs continues to spread his musical beauty around the world where he has shared stages with the likes of Ben Harper, Bonnie Rait, Taj Mahal, Gito Baloi, Kelly Joe Phelps, Piers Faccini, Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin and Shawn Phillips and recording the critically acclaimed, ‘In the shade of the wild fig’, . . .
Ced (Cedric Vandenschrik), Joe van der Linden and Lloyd Martin are reuniting to bring another crazy musical night to the friendly city with: “Out of the Box” Beyond the grave The three musicians pull on all their worldly experiences and skills sometimes pushing their own limits in taking things right out of the box. What can you expect? A crazy entertaining evening filled with laughs and emotions on all levels. Some known popular songs, some more obscure ones, Some original compositions with a few tracks from Ced’s upcoming new album. Most of tracks will be performed with a twist, either from an arranging or a performance point of view. Ever heard a classic song performed with an inflation pump and a pizza box? An angle grinder that makes music? “Out of the Box” has all that, and more… The trio also promises to pay a very special tribute to some of the recently departed musicians, in their own unique way of course. There will be Drums, Guitars, Basses, percussive instruments, ethnic instruments, boxes, pots, pans, paint dryers, braai tongs and a few more surprises. Anything goes really. The band may even surprise themselves. Venue: Art on target Date: 18th of March 2017 Time 20h00 Tickets R 100 Bookings : 083 7285295 CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
SANRAL Southern Region appoints first research associate Port Elizabeth, 13 March 2017: The recent addition to the staff complement at the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) is a doctoral candidate who also volunteers as a maths and science and homework club mentor. Keith Nare, a PhD candidate at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is pursuing his doctorate in physical and polymer chemistry and was appointed the research associate at SANRAL’s materials lab in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. Nare’s relationship with SANRAL started while still working as a visiting student at the SANRAL Training Academy for Candidate Engineers since last year. He officially joined the lab on January 10, this year. Education plays a very important role in Nare’s life. He volunteers with Masifunde Learner Development at Walmer High School in Walmer. “I am a homework club mentor as well as a Mathematics and Science tutor. Honestly I love teaching it is a response to an outer call from within to give back to the community especially where there is need for me it brings joy to see other young people grow and get to realise that their birthplace shouldn’t determine their future. The future of the country is in the hands of the youth and how far they are willing to spread the ripple effect of extended responsibility for community development in the spirit of Ubuntu,” said Nare. He encourages high school learners and other tertiary students to continue studying. “Perseverance, humility and the willingness to go the extra mile will make a big difference. I encourage them to get mentors that can help them grow. Always remember that it takes a village to raise a child so everyone in your path is important you must be willing to learn and grow for it is in those lessons that you become a better you.” When he has free time he enjoys playing tennis and go on nature walks. He became aware of the research associate position during his interactions . . .
In a bid to drive transformation in the accountancy profession and reach aspiring professional accountants in outlying areas seeking to write their Professional Evaluation examination, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) has, along with the Sector Education and Training Authority for Finance, Accounting, Management Consulting and other Financial Services (FASSET), now taken their Project Achiever programme online. In the past, only candidates in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban were able to attend the programme, which excluded those living in other cities, and in the outlying areas. New entrants to the profession are mandated to pass the Professional Evaluation examination - a requirement of their International Education Standards. The exam assesses whether the aspiring professional accountant meets the minimum competence or proficiency level to be assigned the designation of Professional Accountant (SA), which is an NQF level 8 qualification in terms of the National Qualifications Framework. How it works Project Achiever Online went live on the 21st of January 2017 and works from Moodle, an open source inter-active learning platform that is designed to create an effective e-Learning environment that allows the candidates who have registered via “distance-learning” to interact with the candidates attending face-to-face session as well as having direct contact with the facilitators. All material, assignments and assessments are delivered through the online platform, which also afford the candidates a Q & A forum. Additionally, the platform provides for facilitator and learner feedback, tutorials and discussion forums, creating an e-Learning setting that encourages collaboration between teacher and student as well as student to student. Learners who meet the criteria for funding from the FASSET Project Achiever criteria, can access the e-Learning programme at no extra cost. How Project Achiever was . . .
Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, released updated tax tables on the 22 February as is customary in the budget speech towards the end of each government financial year. We understand that as company employees we will be paying more tax and therefor taking less money home in our pockets at the end of the month, because the country needs more money to keep things running. Calculating your tax accurately can be quite a complex job, which is why there are now formal qualifications allowing payroll people to become specialists in this area, at Certificate, Diploma and Degree level. Things like allowances, fringe benefits (i.e. either payments made on your behalf by your employer, or goods), medical aid and retirement funding contributions and various other factors impact the calculation of what is the first item to be determined, being taxable income. Using the Tax Table You may have seen the updated tax table (below), but how do you translate this into knowing how much tax should be deducted from your earnings? Taxable income (R) Rates of tax (R) 0 – 189 880 18% of taxable income 189 881 – 296 540 34 178 + 26% of taxable income above 189 880 296 541 – 410 460 61 910 + 31% of taxable income above 296 540 410 461 – 555 600 97 225 + 36% of taxable income above 410 460 555 601 – 708 310 149 475 + 39% of taxable income above 555 600 708 311 – 1 500 000 209 032 + 41% of taxable income above 708 310 1 500 001 and above 533 625 + 45% of taxable income above 1 500 000 The first column on the table represents the Rand value of your anticipated earnings in the tax year, which runs for the period March 2017 to the end of February 2018. So, if you earn R10 000 taxable income in March, this must be translated into your anticipated annual income, thus: R10 000 x 12 = R120 000 (a). You can expect to have taxable income of R120 000 by the end of February next year. To calculate the tax on this, refer to the second column on the table, . . .
There are some very good reasons why alternative building methods aren’t that feasible in the South African market. They can potentially be more expensive than traditional methods, don’t inspire customer trust and may not be as aesthetically pleasing. Alternative building methods also come with a hidden price tag that can impact on quality and finish. “There is a resistance to alternative methods in South Africa,” says Bert van den Heever, Immediate Past President of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS). “Most of the alternative construction methods have concentrated on providing alternative walling and roofing systems, the two largest elements you see when looking at a building. “Trying to save money on walling using alternative building methods is sometimes a futile exercise as walling normally comes in at less than 10% of the total project cost,” van den Heever said. The use of clad walling systems has resulted in a negative perception in the lower end of the housing market called the Knock Factor Effect. People knock the walls, if they sound hollow they instantly perceive the build as not solid or secure. They want to solidity of brick – the traditional materials - over the perceived flimsiness of panels – the alternative ones.” In addition to the impact of perception, alternative building materials are not always readily available in South Africa and often have to be imported. This pins on a price tag that few can afford. As a result, there is some growth within the high-end market, but limited uptake in the lower end of the market. “The value of using alternative building methods is hard to quantify,” says van den Heever. “We can show a client how using method B compared to method A will affect costs and often the answer isn’t in favour of alternative solutions. What we do is look at is every aspect of the building and assess exactly what the costs are going to be from the start. We bring clarity – you may not like the . . .
Despite the changes being made to many organisation’s performance management processes, setting clear performance objectives is vital. It ensures that employees focus on work that helps them contribute optimally to both team and business success whilst growing their careers. “If done right, goal setting is still considered key in enabling employees to start any performance period or role with an understanding of their role priorities and what success looks like,” says Lindiwe Sebesho, Executive Committee Member, South African Reward Association (SARA). “It can also direct development efforts as employees can use this as reference for refining their capabilities for the short and long term growth. Most importantly, setting effective objectives reduces the stress associated with performance reviews for those organisations that still hold these formally.” Whilst performance objectives used to be set annually at the beginning of a performance period, more organisations now encourage shorter objective setting cycles e.g. quarterly, as this helps them adjust their focus in line with changes in their environment. “It is important that employees optimise the objective setting processes in their companies to align their career goals with those of the organisation,” says Sebesho. “As goal setting discussions usually happen in teams and/or directly with an employee’s line manager, employees can use these goals to understand key business priorities and the contributions they can make. Not only should this ensure that their performance is in line with what the company expects from them, but it also enables them to work proactively towards a common result which benefits all.” Clear performance objectives are imperative There are various ways in which organisations guide the development of objectives to ensure that they are output focused and drive valued results. The most common of these is the CSMART principle: Challenging, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, . . .