Focus On
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URBANISATION

Strategies for cities

According to a recent United Nations report on urbanisation in South Africa, nearly two thirds of the country’s population occupy urban landscapes, with correlating figures for the rest of the continent. Governments are now facing the increasingly challenging task of managing the overpopulation and social crises that arise from this phenomenon.

Drawing from the various discussions that were held at the recent SAP Urban Matters event in Cape Town, we find a surprisingly enthusiastic new assortment of government officials willing to engage critically and in an innovative way with the issues that have arisen over the past few decades.  

Among the many topics covered, one of the most significant focal points addressed the integration of technology, especially ICT, in an attempt to connect and empower citizens and enhance local government processes. Another important area of debate included local government practices and the importance of value focussed processes aimed at improving the lives of citizens.

On the topic of ICT integration in an African context, Nirvesh Sooful from African Ideas elaborated on the importance of including these strategies in local government practices to enhance their efficiency. “With the challenges that we have, we need efficient and cost-effective government, as all available resources need to be spent on dealing with our massive infrastructure backlogs. One of the challenges facing South Africa, is the burgeoning cost of government administration, without the necessary investment in infrastructure. This is a very dangerous position. Technology can help. In fact, it is the only real answer. We need to increase our investment in effective technology so that we can reduce the running costs,” Sooful said.

He mentioned that when looking at best run cities, they are improving lives of citizens through ICT by cutting spending, transforming services, developing sustainably, accelerating innovation and empowering communities. According to Sooful, key objectives of an ICT enablement strategy within the context of a developmental state can be broken down into three categories with specific aims. The first would be efficient and effective administration, which targets government employees and elected politicians. The second is improved governance and customer service aimed at citizens. Finally he mentioned social and economic development which targets society at large and the economy.

He says;“ICT offers great promise and potential to look at innovative ways of managing and governing cities. However ICT on its own will not do this – we need an effective and integrated strategy that looks at people, processes and technology across society.”

Innovative governance and leadership practices were also important topics covered at the event and looked at best practices from cities within our country, as well as case studies presented on best practices from cities abroad. 

Sean O’Brien, vice president (global) of SAP Urban Matters & Public Security, discussed the broader theme of improving the lives of citizens by integrating innovative governance and leadership practices through transforming government and driving prosperity. He proposed that five government pillars be put in place: good governance, user empowerment, urban resilience, service innovation, and community engagement. The five SAP strategy pillars that seek to integrate technology with the aforementioned are analytics, applications, mobile and cloud technology and databases.

Looking at case studies, local examples of best practices and proposed strategies were discussed in an attempt to highlight solutions that can be implemented to address the issues governments face with regard to urbanisation.

City of Cape Town CIO, Andre Stelzner elaborated on the topic of promoting social and economic value in modern urban environments. When speaking on the issues the city has experienced, he focussed on transformation as a central point that needs to be addressed. 

He highlighted some of the technical difficulties the city has faced in this regard: “The lack of standardised policies and procedures, old order IT systems, out-dated back office systems that are functionally inadequate and not properly integrated—these systems hinder the ability of municipalities to improve governance, be responsive to changing citizen needs and render services.”

Elaborating on value creation, Stelzner says that value in a city context refers to “the extent to which goods or services are perceived by customers to meet his or her needs or wants, measured by the customer’s willingness to pay for it. It commonly depends more on the customer’s perception of the worth of the product or service than on its intrinsic value.” 

This, he says, is not simply a reflection on monetary value and he distinguished between social and financial value as two separate – yet interrelated – concepts that need to be addressed. When referring to social value, he says addressing historical backlogs and service inequalities goes hand in hand with social upliftment and improved service delivery. 

Financial value, Stelzner said, can be increased by focussing on long-term financial sustainability and improved efficiencies, to mention a few.

According to a 2012/13 survey by the city of Cape Town, citizens mentioned that essential services remain a priority. Road maintenance, affordability of services, responsiveness, billing and payment channels and ease of doing business are some of the most important areas to be looked at in improving liveability within the urban perimeter. Stelzner added that public value can be created through efficiency, effectiveness, trust and fairness.He said in order to create value for city customers you need to:

  •  Have a vision of what kind of city you wish to be and share this vision with your citizens.
  • Create value through focussing on process and people which will then deliver against strategy (use technology to enable this).
  • Know that citizen value is created when we are effective, efficient, trustworthy, fair, communicate and measure and adopt an open data strategy.

Looking at urbanisation in another South African city, the City of Johannesburg’s Department of Social Development’s Jak Koseff spoke on a variety of issues that are being looked at in their municipality. The first topic he discussed included an exposition on the matter of poverty and deprivation. He spoke about the importance of social protection imperatives as a method of addressing this issue.

“To the extent that the city can effectively link social protection and assistance to transformative interventions, it can promote the stabilisation and movement out of poverty of its most vulnerable populations. This is the core principle underpinning the single window strategy of social intervention in the City, linking social protection to skills development and active labour market programmes,” Koseff said.

As for co-production and asset-based community development as a way to further the imperative of social protection;  “The asset-based community development model represents one of the most powerful current evolutions in thinking and practice around social and economic development of communities. 

“As much a mind-shift as a collection of methods,  the approach places communities themselves at the centre of the development process. It challenges those who wish to develop communities to work with representative structures.”

Youth development

Koseff is passionate about youth unemployment and the way it links to education. 

He says according to a 2011 City of Johannesburg report: “Only a small number of those without post high-school qualifications make it into formal employment, and those with qualifications are far more likely to be part of the labour force than those who do not. For example, across all age groups, 56% of those with matric or equivalent qualifications are employed, compared to 31% of those who left school in Standard 8. At the other end of the scale, 88% of those with honours degrees are employed, as compared to 78% of those who hold bachelor degrees.” 

Koseff suggested approaches to this problem by synthesizing the National Development Plan and World Bank data. On the supply side of the labour market, the city can connect the dots between the private sector, the key educational institutions and the basic education system such that schooling and skills training are expressly linked to market need.

On the demand side of the labour market, the city can stimulate demand for youth employment through its own contracting to some extent (as a condition of contract with all suppliers). 

But WB and NDP analysis strongly support a parallel set of interventions which increase the rate of firm creation at the micro and small level, since such firms are both more flexible and more labour absorbent than larger firms or the civil sector.

He says the city can act as a social change agent with technology as an enabler.

Among the international delegates who shared best practices from cities abroad, Birmingham’s former director of the Birmingham Transformation Programme and City Council, Glyn Evans, spoke on what their city transformation programme has achieved.

According to Evans, “Transformation is not the same thing as service improvement. It’s not about doing a bit better than what you do now, it’s about doing things very differently than how you do them now.” 

He contrasted transformational change which looks at replacing existing models with the improving of existing models which he links with incremental change.

Evans said that problems that arise with transformation include that the public sector generally comprises organisations geared up for incremental improvement. Resources are committed to “business as usual” instead  of change. 

They perceive transformational change as high risk that is commonly impacted by political ‘short term-ism’. 

The public sector makes limited use of evidence to underpin policy development and suffers from corporate frontline tensions, while often having poor availability and quality of data.

Reflecting on lessons learnt from their city programme, he advises that; “We should have had only one corporate change programme instead of having a parallel organisational development initiative. We should have had our employee engagement right from the outset. 

And we should have made transformation part of the DNA of the council and not a specific, time-limited activity that would come to an end.” 

What made it a success was: “An established approach that delivered change outcomes (not simply project deliverables) and realised that IT was crucial. But it wasn’t just about IT, we have also redesigned processes, organisational structures, reporting lines and responsibilities, job roles and grades, to mention but a few.

“We did proper research – it can’t be done as a side-line to day-to-day service delivery. We have also dealt (sensitively) with the perceptions of senior managers and politicians and saw it through!

“Though urbanisation in Africa is an increasingly worrying phenomenon, we are now at a stage where local government is willing to engage collaboratively and innovatively in an attempt to improve the lives of its citizens.

“We need to learn from each other as we expand our horizons and share our successes and best practices openly and across the board with a willingness to embrace new technologies, practices and policies.

“The city can act as a social change agent with technology as an enabler,” Evans concluded.

Michael Meiring

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WATER

Focus on Oudtshoorn project

Oudtshoorn, capital of the Klein Karoo, has been linked to good design since the ostrich feather boom of the 1870s, with its flamboyant fashions and opulent palaces. This year, in a modern twist to the story, its municipal water project has been selected as part of World Design Capital 2014 (WDC2014).

World Design Capital is a prestigious designation bestowed every second year by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Previous winners were Helsinki, Seoul and Turin, with Cape Town taking the 2014 slot. All these cities are dedicated to using design as a tool for social, cultural and economic development.

Two rigorously-adjudicated public submission processes drew 1 253 entries to be part of the DC2014 programme. Some 450 projects, including Oudtshoorn’s, were selected. The submission was put forward by water, energy and earth sciences consultancy Umvoto Africa, which has worked with the Oudtshoorn local municipality for over a decade.

Paul Müller, Acting Director: Technical Services for the Municipality, explained that the current water project goes back to 1999 when a visionary councillor, Issy Baron, dreamed of turning the arid Klein Karoo into an oasis. He wanted to ensure water security for all communities in the region.

The Klein Karoo Rural Water Supply Scheme (KKRWSS) was implemented by the Department of Water Affairs in the early ‘90s.  It supplies drinking water from groundwater sources to a wide area stretching form De Rust in the east to Calitzdorp in the west, including the town of Dysselsdorp. The Scheme was transferred to the Oudtshoorn Municipality in 2005.

The rural component of the scheme accounts for about 50% of the total supply of drinking water. Its main beneficiaries are farm workers and previously disadvantaged people living in the rural area between De Rust and Calitzdorp.

The present supply from the groundwater source is insufficient to meet the demand, so augmentation of the source is urgent, said Müller.  A pipeline from the nearby Blossoms groundwater well field would alleviate the shortage.

Groundwater from the deep fractured-rock aquifer in the Table Mountain Group (TMG) will augment the existing surface-water storage in the Melville and Raubenheimer reservoirs in the foothills of the Swartberg range, said Dr Chris Hartnady, Umvoto Africa Technical Director. It will also augment TMG and other groundwater sources from the KKRWSS in the western part of the Kammanassie range, and thus provide additional assurance of supply to communities like Dysseldorp and De Rust.

The combined ground- and surface-water sources will be managed conjunctively to ensure that yield is optimised and losses are minimised in the overall scheme. The Blossoms groundwater will be piped to a reservoir in Oudtshoorn during the hot summer months, or as needed.

The proposed bulk water scheme will be designed by WorleyParsons, which has been involved with the feasibility studies to date. Partners have included the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, the Water Research Commission, the Department of Water Affairs, the Development Bank of South Africa, local stakeholders, landowners and farming organisations and drilling specialists.

The municipal cost to date has been R24 million and an additional R27 million has been allocated by the Department of Water Affairs. The total cost of the project is estimated at R200 million. 

Umvoto Africa MD Rowena Hay said challenges have included siting the deepest, highest-yielding production borehole in the hardest, most abrasive quartzitic sandstone formations known. Umvoto also had to research and manage how water falling in surrounding mountains reached the wellfield area (where the aquifer is closest to surface, albeit still at least300 m below ground).

“The main concerns have been proving aquifer yield, evaluating cost benefits and establishing whether the farming area in the Outeniqua region would be negatively impacted if Oudtshoorn pumped groundwater from the wellfield.  Groundwater is, however, recharged by rainfall.  Provided that the abstraction of groundwater by all parties in the region is properly monitored and managed to ensure that in the long run less water is withdrawn than the recharge from rain, groundwater is a sustainable option.” 

The project area also has potential as a geoheritage site – a tourist destination that would provide local and regional economic benefits throughout the year, she said. This would create more income for the community and help ensure greater buy-in to the project.

 

 

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DESIGN

Stellies designed for life

The historic town of Stellenbosch is ready to Host World Design Capital Visitor influx.

The exchange rate favours tourism and Stellenbosch is gearing itself for the influx of visitors that will travel to the Western Cape for the Cape Town World Design Capital experience. Visitors from abroad have a weak Rand on their side, and while many South Africans might not be able to afford the increasing cost of overseas travel, they may decide to see more of their own country. “Stellenbosch is more than able to accommodate them,” says the CEO of Stellenbosch 360, Annemarie Ferns. 

“Stellenbosch has everything to offer tourists a unique experience. It makes sense to showcase our world-class wines, its natural beauty, unique cultural heritage, excellent academic institutions and vibrant agricultural industries, at its best and brightest. South Africa and the world are going to be thrilled with what Stellenbosch is bringing to the table this year,” says Ferns.

Stellenbosch 360, the tourism department of Stellenbosch, was formed to protect the town’s unique historical character and to promote all-round cultural tourism by including role-players of previously disadvantaged communities. “It’s a unique package,” says Ferns, “and it makes for a happy town where old and young can enjoy themselves. “Our organisation attracts many tourists interested in its sustainable development projects and achievements, for the municipality, for the wine routes, for emerging entrepreneurs and for those who attract visitors to our town. A lively tourist industry means better business and better business means more jobs,” she added.

Stellenbosch 360 is also the proud initiator of two projects – the Centre of Entrepreneurship and Talent 360 - which were chosen, along with 450 projects, to assist Cape Town in its victorious bid for the 2014 Design Capital of the World.

The world class Centre of Entrepreneurship is based at the Stellenbosch 360 visitor’s centre. Facilities include a craft incubator, a retail shop (which sells beautiful handmade Stellenbosch souvenirs and memorabilia), training facilities and a cafeteria. The Centre of Entrepreneurship will be used to improve skills, assist emerging and existing entrepreneurs with various phases of growth and promote hand-and homemade cultural and culinary experiences. Visitors are welcomed with a splash of African colour in addition to friendly and helpful staff.

Talent 360 is a collective initiative led by Stellenbosch 360 to enhance talented members in less privileged communities and to promote culture tourism. Auditions are held each year to select finalists in the music, dance, drama and poetry categories, where after they are challenged to recruit between two and five performing artists from their local communities to form a group. The auditions and online voting process produce the top three groups in each category and ends with a gala evening to award the winners.

“The approach for the World Design Capital 2014 is to use excellence in design, design the change we want to see in our city, using the very building blocks of which our city is comprised. Our projects that were chosen are true to the overall theme of ‘Live Design. Transform Life’ and through design and design thinking, improve lives for people who are challenged everyday in their communities,” said Ferns.

Cape Town’s executive mayor, Patricia de Lille, expressed the wish that all of the World Design Capital projects, including the centre of Entrepreneurship and Talent 360, united by their use of design and design-led thinking, will help drive the social and economic change that the country needs.

Laetitia King



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AFRICA

‘Marshall Plan’ for Africa’s employment challenge

Unemployment, independent of any other factor, threatens to derail the economic promise that Africa deserves. It’s a time bomb with no geographical boundaries: Economists expect Africa to create 54 million new jobs by 2020, but122 million Africans will enter the labor force during that time frame. Adding to this shortfall are tens of millions currently unemployed or underemployed, making the human and economic consequences nearly too large to imagine.

Thus, even with the strong economic growth we have seen over the past decade, job creation in Africa remains much too slow. Africa needs a comprehensive, coordinated approach akin to America’s “Marshall Plan” in Europe after World War Two. That effort focused on building infrastructure, modernizing the business sector, and improving trade. By the end of the four-year program, Europe surpassed its pre-war economic output.

We can, and must, do the same for Africa. Entrepreneurs, politicians, philanthropic foundations, and development organizations — such as the World Bank, International Finance Corporation and USAID — must all work together to solve the unemployment crisis and make Africa an engine of growth. If we are outrun by the employment challenge, Africa will be a drag on global growth and resources for generations to come.

Africa’s Marshall Plan should prioritize three interdependent “pillars” of development, which all work together to form a virtuous cycle of growth: policy reform and a commitment to the rule of law; investment in infrastructure, and a commitment to developing Africa’s manufacturing and processing industries. This virtuous cycle forms the heart of Africapitalism: the public, private, and development sectors all coming together, united in a single objective of creating jobs and social wealth.

First, we need enlightened government policies that help reduce administrative and operating costs for investors and businesses. We must streamline licensing and permitting processes, reduce import duties and tariffs and ease visa restrictions, among other reforms. Such policies would do much to attract investment, increase entrepreneurship and ultimately generate jobs.

Enlightened government policy in Kenya and Nigeria has already helped to advance the information technology and financial services sectors. Microsoft’s pilot project to expand broadband access in Africa depends on government policy that frees up unused “white space” in the TV and radio broadcast spectrum. Financial services reform across several African nations, starting with Nigeria, enabled United Bank for Africa to grow into a pan-African financial institution. The government’s privatization program has attracted billions of dollars of private investment to develop Nigeria’s power infrastructure.

Governments and the private sector must also commit to strong, transparent institutions to help boost confidence in Africa’s business climate. African nations such as Botswana, Rwanda and Liberia have made tremendous progress in this area, though in some countries, war and civil unrest continue to take a toll. Sustained economic and job growth requires creating a safe and reliable environment for capital — including strong civil and legal institutions, corporate financial transparency (such as efforts by the Nigerian Stock Exchange to improve the quality of financial reporting for listed companies), accountable, democratically-elected politicians, and modern, open and transparent markets (like the new commodities exchanges that Heirs Holdings, Berggruen Holdings and 50 Ventures and its partners are creating at African Exchange Holdings). Aggressive advances on such policy fronts will help support the development pillars of infrastructure investment and industrialization — both of which are vital to creating employment on the continent.

The second pillar of Africa’s development program must be infrastructure investment, particularly in power and transportation, without which business cannot function. Today, more than 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to electricity and every 1 percent increase in electricity outages reduces Africa’s per-capita GDP by approximately 3 percent. Access to affordable electricity is essential to unlocking the continent’s growth potential — reducing costs and enabling business growth, including homegrown businesses that create jobs and sustainable local economies.

Transportation infrastructure promises to have an equally transformative impact: roads, railways, waterways and airways are the backbone of a thriving commercial economy. The African Union should encourage and embrace transportation projects that first connect African nations to each other, and then to our global trading partners. Projects like the toll road between Entebbe and Kampala, and the Kenya-Tanzania highway will facilitate greater trade of agricultural and manufactured goods within Africa. Consider that today in Nigeria, 65 percent of our produce spoils for lack of storage infrastructure, and is difficult to export to other African markets for lack of rail and road infrastructure.

Major multinationals like Diageo, Wal-Mart, Barclays, and Microsoft are ramping up African operations in spite of infrastructure challenges. In some cases, they even build their own infrastructure. Stronger policy and physical infrastructure would bring more investment from those who cannot or refuse to bootstrap it. It would also help small and mid-sized enterprises grow faster, and these companies are the engines of job growth in any economy.

Africa’s third development pillar must be building our manufacturing and processing industries. Africa lacks the capacity to process and refine its own natural resources. Raw materials such as oil, cocoa and gold are shipped overseas, where they are processed into high-margin products and often re-imported into Africa — costing both jobs and hard currency. For example, Nigeria exports raw crude oil and then imports expensive gasoline, when the country should be able to refine the oil itself, supplying not just its own market, but also other markets across Africa. This inability to create finished goods at home, and trade them with other African nations, drastically limits the continent’s growth potential, and thus its ability to create businesses, jobs and wealth within Africa’s own domestic economies.

I believe we can solve Africa’s employment challenge, but only if we focus on these three development pillars with great urgency, and accelerate current investment and business trends.

Many of Africa’s stock markets are delivering stellar returns, while institutional, retail mutual fund and private equity capital is flowing rapidly into African markets. Many multinationals and African conglomerates are investing heavily in Africa.

Despite such investment and economic growth, however, Africa is not creating nearly enough jobs. According to demographics, time is not on our side. But with a coordinated jobs plan for Africa, we can secure a productive, economically independent future for the continent and its people.

About the writer

Tony Elumelu is a Nigerian economist, banker, investor and philanthropist. He is chairman of Heirs Holdings, a pan-African proprietary investment company with interests in strategic sectors of Africa’s economy. He is also the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based and African-funded not-for-profit organisation (NPO) that is dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa. Elumelu holds the Nigerian national honour, the Commander of the Order of Nigeria (CON). New African magazine recently listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in Africa.

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WATER

Centre of Expertise launched in eThekwini

A unique new partnership between the Netherlands and eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) was launched in Durban to find innovative solutions for present needs in the water and sanitation sector in South Africa.

Financially supported by the Dutch government, the Centre of Expertise (CoE) is a collaboration between EWS and a number of Dutch partners.

Andre Haspels, the Dutch Ambassador to South Africa said, “Living and working with water is part and parcel of the Dutch national identity.  We are known for our technology knowledge and expertise.  What brings us all together today is a shared passion for water and South Africa. Cooperation between our countries on this issue goes back a long way and I am delighted to be here today at the launch of the Centre of Enterprise, an equal partnership which will strengthen the level of exchange between our countries in the quest for continuing improvement and innovation.”

The emphasis is on trade and relationships and the model of the “centre of expertise” is a model of economic co-operation and investment.

“It is an honour to be working with EWS as our host partner because they are seen as the leaders in water projects in South Africa.  Smaller municipalities look to EWS for information.  The core function is the transfer of skills, enable use and make our products. It is important that the “centre of expertise” is a success,” he said.

Neil Macleod, head of EWS said, “The Centre of Expertise started at the Water Institute of Southern Africa conference in 2012.  It aims to improve the South African water supply and sanitation sector by introducing Dutch knowledge and technology where it is needed. The Netherlands has the best quality drinking water in the world and is internationally renowned for its knowledge and expertise in water technology, water purification and the installation of water pipe networks. We are thankful they are happy to share this knowledge and experience.”

“The team will listen to the needs of various metros and water organisations and then match these challenges with the technology they have available.”

They CoE has begun engaging with other South African metros and anticipates a broad campaign initiated through South Africa.

Following the Dutch government’s commitment in May of seed funding for three years, five pilot projects or showcases have already been completed. These cover the testing of different trenchless technologies, a carbon footprint assessment, a comparative investigation into the use of different pipe materials, the development of a course to improve the operation and maintenance of treatments plants and the development of an asset management game for utilities.

The projects aim to help metros move forward using new technologies rather than sticking with the same old systems they are familiar with.  They are designed to showcase what is available so smaller municipalities can see what is being achieved and make informed decisions on upgrading their systems.

“By spreading the pilot studies across all four metros, we avoid duplication among the municipalities and the results can be shared,” said Macleod.  “We are confident that this venture will help to improve the performance of South African utilities by implementing the latest innovations, technologies and best practices.”  

“Some technology works well in European climates but not here in South Africa so one of the CoE’s challenges will be to ensure that the new technology is adaptable and able to be replicated successfully in the local environment and climate,” said Susan Cole, Regional Commercial Manager of Dow Water and Process Solutions, a company that believes Public Private Partnerships have a crucial role to play in achieving a more sustainable water future amid ever-increasing need.

“Service delivery problems are the same in large municipalities all over South Africa,” said Logie Naidoo, the Speaker for eThekwini Municipality represented His Worship the Mayor, Mr James Nxumalo. “We celebrate the partnership with the Dutch government and the CoE offers the capability to leapfrog internal processes and enhance service delivery for the benefit of our communities.”

The CoE team consists of a mix of representatives of Dutch and South African utilities as well as the international business environment. Water treatment and supply specialist, Leo Meijer, is the General Manager based in Durban with EWS, along with Dhevan Govender, who is Senior Manager: Commercial and Business for EWS and is their dedicated Project Manager in the centre. Marketing and business development is undertaken by chemical engineer, Jeroen Bosboom, who is based in Johannesburg.

The CoE is a non-profit-making organisation with the long term goal of becoming self-sustaining.

More than 50 dignitaries attended the launch representing the Dutch community and Ethekwini and surrounding metros. Officials from the Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg metros were also invited.

For more information visit http://www.coe.org.za.

 

 

 

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DEVELOPMENT

Combatting rural poverty

POP centres can become the answer to help transform poverty in rural South Africa.

Goedgedacht runs a Path-Out-of-Poverty (POP) programme in the Cape, based on the premise that appropriate early intervention in education, health care, personal development and environmental awareness can lead to transformed rural communities. It has just opened a new facility in Paarl together with nurseryman and farmer Carl Pretorius of Just Trees.

Goedgedacht describes the new facility as a "starter" model and is using two repurposed shipping containers and a renovated farm-worker cottage to serve ten farms in the Paarl area, feeding, teaching and nurturing around 100 children and teens every day. This is done with just one youth worker drawn from the community, a cook and a part-time caretaker.

Goedgedacht’s director and initiator of the POP programme, Ingrid Lestrade, takes a very pragmatic view. "It would have cost us around R3,5 million if we'd gone the usual bricks-and-mortar route and there just isn't that kind time or  money available. The problems amongst children and youth in rural communities are so dire that we just have to scale up our programme to reach more children."

Goedgedacht Trust, based at Kasteelberg, near Malmesbury, receives funding from a range of donors, including the Distell Foundation and the Nederburg Auction Charity Auction.  

The Paarl POP centre is Goedgedacht's fourth. The original centre is based at the Goedgedacht farm itself, while POP centres have also been established in Riebeek-Kasteel and in Riebeek West.

"Next year will see POP establish new centres in Prince Albert, Porterville, five starter POPs in the Swartland and possibly one more in Piketberg.

As far as possible, POP centres are staffed by young people from the local community.

"Right now the total POP programme in some way touches the lives of 2 500 children from 18 different rural communities in the Western Cape," says Lestrade.

 

 

Go well Madiba, until we meet again

Nelson Mandela

Cape Media pays tribute

Cape Media Corporation, publishers of South Africa's top business-to-business magazine, Leadership, and a host of other titles, paid tribute to Nelson Mandela today, calling him “one of the greatest South Africans in history”. 

Leadership has had a long association with Mandela, featuring him in its pages on many occasions over the past 30 or so years.

The July 2013 issue of Leadership is a tribute to “South Africa's greatest ever son”.

Cape Media owner, Andrew Fehrsen, said the company and Leadership magazine in particular, join 46-million South Africans, and billions around the world, in mourning “one of the greatest, and most influential figures of our times”.

He said that when it came to Leadership, there was no finer example than Mandela, who had become “the very embodiment of what people expect and desire in a leader”.

Mandela, said Fehrsen, had managed what few in history could: “He was able to put aside all possible bitterness and lead South Africa out of the abyss of apartheid into democracy, and a promising future for all”.

He said Cape Media and Leadership, while deeply mourning Mandela's passing, would always look to him as “the very epitome of good leadership, and a man who set an example that all of us are called upon to emulate”.

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BBBEE

Accountants urged to caution new codes

With the new broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) codes having been introduced, professional accountants need to be certain of their facts before issuing BEE certificates.

So says Faith Ngwenya, technical and standards executive at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA). “They need to confirm that the turnover of the entity is less than the R10 million threshold to be rated as an exempted micro enterprise (EME), this is particularly necessary where the certificate is being issued for an entity that is not your regular client,” she stresses.

“In terms of the new codes, the turnover threshold to qualify for EME status has increased from R5 million to R10 million, which means there will be many more enterprises seeking EME certification that would have required a verification in the previous BEE codes of good conduct. Professional accountants or accounting officers may issue these certificates, but they must be sure that the enterprises qualify before doing so, to avoid falling foul of the codes and being seen as undermining the spirit of the BBBEE Act. The days of online issuing of certificates are over.”

Any false declaration will be viewed in the eyes of the law as fronting and as collusion between the company owner and the professional accountant, whether it was negligence in failing to verify the figures or not, she explains. The professional accountant would be liable for criminal charges, the details of which will be announced later this year by Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies.

Ngwenya also advises professional accountants who wish to become accredited verification agents to be eligible to perform verification of entities with annual turnover above the EME threshold of R10 million and must ensure that they meet the requirements of the Act, which include completion of a Department of Trade and Industry management development programme through Unisa or the University of Witwatersrand and accreditation by the South African National Accreditation System. In terms of the revised threshold for EMEs, the turnover to qualify as a QSE is now R10 million to R50 million.

SAIPA encourages practitioners to make use of professional BBBEE software that accumulates the necessary information required to issue an EME certificate.

For details of an example of such a software package visit www.saipa.co.za

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Oliver Tambo celebrated

Ekurhuleni celebrates struggle hero

It has been 20 years since Oliver Reginald Tambo passed away after suffering a fatal heart attack on April 24, 1993. However, the legacy of this great leader lives on.

The 2013 programme to celebrate life and legacy of this struggle icon got underway when the annual Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Liberation Walk took place in Bonaero Park earlier this month.

Cabinet ministers Maite Nkona-Mshabane and Dipuo Peters, and other dignitaries including Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor, Mondli Gungubele, partook in the event, which is aimed at raising funds to develop Tambo’s first school, Ludeke Primary in Mbizaza, Eastern Cape.

On October 19, the City of Ekurhuleni will be hosting a first in the Ekurhuleni Melting Pot National Choral Festival. The festival, to be held at Carnival City’s Big Top Arena, will see the country’s top ten choirs compete for the number one spot and R250 000 prize money.

The festival will begin at the O.R. Tambo Memorial Gravesite, where a thousand voices will sing a tribute to Oliver and Adelaide Tambo. Shortly after, the competition will kick off at Carnival City, and the prize giving ceremony will take place later that day. 

Zakes Bantwini, Siphokazi and Afrotenor are also in the line-up for this musical feast.

Oliver Tambo loved classical and chorale music, having been an accomplished choir master himself. This is the reason the City decided to introduce the choral music festival as one of the elements of the month-long O.R. Tambo programme.

October 27, the birth date of O.R., is a pinnacle on the O.R. Tambo month calendar. It will be marked with a wreath laying ceremony at the Tambo Memorial Gravesite, which was declared a national Heritage Site on the same day last year by deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.

Laying wreaths at the gravesite has become a custom for the City of Ekurhuleni as it is a traditional way of paying respect to the late couple. The ceremony is beneficial to members of the community and dignitaries who attend as speakers share important information about the legacy left by those being celebrated. The other major activity has attracted high profile leaders such as President Jacob Zuma, Motlanthe, a number of cabinet ministers, leadership of the ANC and the tripartite alliance, and other political leaders in the past.

A number of 500 learners from various high schools in Ekurhuleni will meet to debate about the influence that O.R. Tambo had on social cohesion and the racial integration of South African society. This will take place on October 18 at the East Rand School of Arts.

On October 25, municipalities from all over the country will be converging in the City of Tshwane where the O.R. Tambo Inter Municipal Games will take place.

"From whatever facet of life you come from, O.R. has been a star. Be it science, be it arts and culture, be it sports,” said Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor, Mondli Gungubele. “Apartheid diverted African people from focusing on issues that are key for social cohesion and social construction,” he continued, explaining how the different elements of the month's programme act as a lever of cohesion.

For more information on the O. R. Tambo month programme, please contact Lebogang Ramashala on 011 999 0111 or 083 596 3339, or email lebogang.ramashala@ekurhuleni.gov.za

 

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Tourism

Things are looking good

South Africa is on the cusp of a major tourism boom, but it will only materialise if local tourism businesses can resist the temptation to put up their prices as the number of tourists continues to climb.

This is according to Anton Roelofse, Regional General Manager of Business Partners Limited, the leading financier to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa. Reflecting on the state of the industry as it enters tourism month, Roelofse sees several factors combining to create a “perfect spring” for one of the country’s most important job-creating sectors, with the most dramatic contributor being the fall of the rand, by as much as 25% over the past 20 months or so, which has once again made South Africa a sought-after affordable tourism destination.

He says that although the weak rand causes widespread pain throughout the economy, tourism is one of the sectors that benefits from it.  “Combined with other factors such as the emergence of Europe and the US from hard times, the awakening of a fast-growing African middle class to the pleasures of tourism, and the lingering afterglow of the 2010 World Cup, the weak rand could usher in an unprecedented tourism boom”.

Roelofse warns, however, that it will be short-lived if South African tourism businesses fail to learn from the last boom in the mid-2000s, which could have lasted longer if local operators had not priced South Africa out of the market.

“The local tourism industry has learnt an enormous amount since then,” says Roelofse, who advocates a high-volume, affordable-price approach and increased service levels as the only way to ensure that the whole sector experiences growth.  

He says that with restraint and long-term strategy, South Africa has the chance to cement its reputation as an affordable, exciting tourism destination and that this in turn is good news for South Africa’s efforts to boost entrepreneurship, because the tourism industry is in many ways ideally suited for SMEs. 

“The tourism sector is not very capital-intensive as it requires the type of personal attention that owners and managers excel at, and it offers a diverse range of opportunities, including accommodation, restaurants, tour operating, shuttle services and adventure tourism.

“Because tourism is an SME-intensive industry, Business Partners remains heavily invested in the sector and has felt the pain that its clients operating within the sector suffered during the global financial crisis.”

He adds that the green shoots of a tourism ‘spring’ are visible everywhere, from the attitudes of recent visitors, through to the amount of money that these visitors are willing to spend. According to a South African Tourism Index, the estimated total foreign direct spend in South Africa in the first quarter of this year was R 1.4 billion more than the R 7.1 in the billion spent same quarter a year ago.

“Even though spend from domestic tourism was down from the previous year, it remains a sizeable market, at R 3.8 billion in the first quarter of this year. The fact that the number of domestic tourists has remained unchanged highlights that South African citizens are keen to travel, but that they do not want to pay exorbitant prices.”

Roelofse says that these figures suggest that, in line with their willingness to spend, the attitudes of inbound tourists are also growing more positive. A whopping 87.6% of the 2.5 million visitors in the first quarter of this year reported no negative experience in South Africa. 52% described locals as hospitable and friendly, up from 43% in the first quarter of the previous year. A similar increase was seen in positive answers to the question asked about local service levels – 41.8% described service as good, up from 32.6% a year earlier.  The number of visitors describing South Africa as a value-for-money destination increased by 25% over the same period. “This is a clearly an industry which we can, and must, grow,” says Roelofse.

He adds that Business Partners has already felt the turnaround in the industry and will not hold back when it evaluates finance applications from viable tourism businesses. “We have in fact increased our investment in the sector to 17% of our total portfolio, up from 13% over the past few years.

An important consideration for Business Partners when evaluating finance applications include the ability of the business to withstand currency and interest-rate fluctuations,” says Roelofse.

Business Partners figures reveal that, apart from tourism being ideal for job creation; it also lends itself to economic empowerment. The figures also show that no fewer than half of Business Partners’ tourism-business clients are female, and a third of these clients fall within the BBBEE category.

Roelofse believes that the South African tourism sector is ready for a tourism boom. “There is a large amount of under-utilised tourism infrastructure, such as accommodation capacity, as a result of the last boom and the World Cup hype. The recession has shaken out marginal operators and those that remain have emerged stronger, wiser and ready for growth,” he concludes.

 

 Water  quality control

 Water quality control

DWA and WISA improving water quality management

One of the most important conferences on the municipal calendar, the Municipal Water Quality Conference, taking place in July in Gauteng, will address water sustainability issues for future generations.

The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) in partnership with the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) have come a long way in the quest to improve water quality management, particularly in the local government sector, as well as acknowledge those organisations and individuals who have excelled in the execution of their function. The Municipal Water Quality Conference continues its proud tradition to reaffirm government’s earnestness to ensure that all Water Services Institutions are responsive, accountable, effective, efficient, consultative and achieve the desired Water Services outcomes.

The fourth Municipal Water Quality Conference from 7 to 11 July at Sun City will provide a platform for knowledge sharing, lesson distribution and partnership opportunities between the public and private sectors to upscale efforts to improve wastewater services and drinking water management in South Africa. 

Themed ‘Together committed to excellent Water Quality for the future’, the conference will focus on four disciplines: wastewater management, drinking water quality management, sustainable economic municipal environment, and opportunities for partnerships across the sectors in pursuit of good stewardship and cross-pollination beneficiation.

The organisers will endeavour to answer the question: “What does it take to achieve improved water quality management performance, distinctive impact and lasting endurance in a municipal environment?” 

This entails reshaping the South African Municipal Water Quality Landscape.

Who should attend?

  • Wastewater Services Managers and Practitioners;
  • Drinking Water Quality Managers and Practitioners;
  • Scientific and Laboratory Managers and Technicians;
  • Municipal Management;
  • Councillors and Strategic Decision-takers;
  • Researchers;
  • Civil Society Organisations;
  • Water and wastewater consultants;
  • Tertiary Institutions (lecturers and students);
  • Chief Financial Officers, Asset Managers and Economists;
  • Environmental Health Practitioners; and
  • Industry players with specific mandates in the water agenda.

Overview

  • Previous conferences provided opportunities to discuss innovative approaches and technologies for water and wastewater services management.
  • The fourth Municipal Water Quality Conference provides the opportunity to reflect and evaluate the successes or shortcomings of the previously implemented initiatives. 
  • The conference intends to give a forthright review of whether ‘solutions’ have found their mark in the management and operation of wastewater services. The focus of this important conference will be to ensure continuous improvement in drinking water quality management and supply of safe water, while interactive workshops will ensure that participants have a similar understanding of the requirements of the updated drinking water quality (SANS) standard. 
  • The National Water Services Regulation Strategy (NWSRS 2012) sets clear objectives in terms of economic regulation in ensuring that services provided to customers by water services providers are appropriate, effective, efficient and sustainable, noting that in South Africa water services are provided in a monopolistic environment.

 For more information, contact Zanele Mupariwa (DWA) on 012 336 6938 or email her on mupariwam@dwa.gov.za. Alternatively call Jaco Seaman (WISA) on 011 805 3537 or  083 765 9073, or send an email to events@wisa.org.za.

 

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Stats SA report analysis

Unemployment levels drop, skills still a concern

Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA) employment report for the last quarter of 2012, released last week, shows a 0.3% rise in employment numbers, with some 22,000 positions added to the formal, non-agricultural sector.

This took the total employment figure for the sector to 8.46m, with the rise continuing a trend over the preceding three quarters, creating around 82,000 jobs.

The increased pace of hiring did not make a significant impact on the unemployment rate, however, which edged down to 24.9% at the end of 2012 from the 25% recorded in the third quarter. Youth unemployment (jobless people between the ages 15 to 24) remains far higher, accounting for around one-half of this age bracket, and it is estimated that up to 4.5m people are actively seeking work.

There were also concerns that the increase in employment in the final quarter of 2012 could be reversed. Many of the new jobs added in service sectors, such as hospitality and tourism, are traditionally more active in the late spring and summer months, but are prone to shedding jobs as the weather cools.

Merina Willemse, an economist with the Efficient Group, a local financial services firm, says the way to ease unemployment is to address another of the economy’s concerns, the skills deficit. “Jobs growth has not been sustainable thus far and there is not much guarantee that it will be sustainable,” Willemse told Business Times after the employment figures were released. “The focus should really be on skills development. This is the only way to create jobs, given that our economy is not growing strongly.”

According to a report prepared by international consultancy firm Grant Thornton, the skills deficit in South Africa is widening, with the gap likely to impact economic growth in the future. The study said 83% of South African businesses reported a shortage of technical skills when it came to recruitment. This was well above the 61% average of the other Brics member countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China, or the global average of 64%.

Ian Scott, CEO and managing partner at Grant Thornton says some of the largest sectors were among those struggling to bridge the skills gap. “When the data is split according to sector‚ we note that South Africa’s mining industry is finding the shortage of technical skills the most challenging. South Africa urgently needs to address the enormous dichotomy between the skills shortage and unemployment,” says Scott.

The lack of skilled personnel is also hurting the construction industry, according to Werner Franck, managing director of Vertias, a construction management and property services firm.

“With an increasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises emerging in the construction sector, it becomes increasingly challenging for authorities to regulate the level of skills and training of the country’s construction workforce,” Franck says,” Added to this is a lack of skills at management level, where a shortage of skilled project managers often has significant consequences for building projects.”

Eddie Majadibodu, chairperson of the National Skills Authority (NSA), an agency of the Department of Labour tasked with helping to develop strategies to boost skills levels in the workforce, said more emphasis had to be put on providing skills that were in demand by the labour market.

“We should now be able to identify the new labour trends in the information technology, finance or agriculture industries. We will then have enough time to develop the people.

 “We need career guidance for youth on several scales to identify what the economic shift will be. We have to guide the youth where the scarcity in the labour market is in order for them to find jobs,” according to Majadibodu

South Africa is making headway in this regard and is working to identify new avenues for training up skilled staff, according to Hlengiwe Mkhize, the Deputy Minister of Economic Development.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 5th Brics (Brazil-India-China-South Africa) Summit in Durban in March, Mkhize said South Africa would borrow from Brazil’s model to help bridge the skills gap, citing that country’s network of state-funded technical institutes, a contributing factor in the Brazilian economy’s recent growth and rapid industrialisation.

While growth is expected to remain sluggish in 2013, the South African economy is forecast to gain momentum in 2014, with GDP tipped to increase by 3.4%. However, this rate of growth may not be enough to lower unemployment figures; many estimates say the country needs to see at least 6% growth for that to happen. Nevertheless, if the country is to shorten the jobless queues, some skilful bridging of the talent gap will be needed.

(Oxford Business Goup)





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