Friday, January 30, 2009

2009 CETA Funded Adult Education Initiative

Triple E Training is one of the providers that have been awarded the opportunity to deliver this exciting training intervention within KwaZulu Natal – at no cost to you!

The service includes; Pre-Assessments and results (3 hrs), Workbooks, Portfolios of Evidence
Certification, Basic stationery (pen, pencil, ruler, sharpener and eraser), Monthly attendance and progress reports.

Please note the following:
  • The delivery will either be on site or at a suitable venue, according to companies’ schedules and requirements
  • Companies must be CETA levy paying members
  • Only SA citizens qualify
  • Copies of Learners’ ID’s must be submitted upon registration
  • Letter of understanding must be signed by client to confirm commitment
  • Learning areas that must be covered: 2 X Learning areas (Communication/Numeracy)
  • Completion of both learning areas by December 2009
  • Assessments: ideally 30 potential learners as the CETA is ideally aiming the training at Level 3 and 4 learners (so they can get 20 in a class), however, this is negotiable
  • Training: 20 learners per class (different clients can combine their employees in one class)
  • Training hours per week to complete within the stipulated time frame: +/- 8 hours a week or 34 hours a month (broken up according to your schedules)
  • Attendance requirements: min 85%
Bookings will be taken on a first come – first serve basis. Should you be interested in attending this training kindly contact Chantal Baeza directly, on 031-9143739 or e-mail her on chantalb(at)

Victor Smith
Training Manager


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Public Holidays 2009

Following on from the post below, our Projects Facilitator has prepared a very useful guideline on Public Holidays in General.

The following are the designated public holidays for 2009 in terms of the Public Holidays Act:

* Thursday - 1 January - New Years Day
* Saturday - 21 March - Human Rights Day
* Friday - 10 April - Good Friday
* Monday - 13 April - Family Day
* Monday - 27 April - Freedom Day
* Friday - 1 May - Workers Day
* Tuesday - 16 June - Youth Day
* Sunday - 9 August - National Women’s Day
* Monday - 10 August - Public Holiday
* Thursday - 24 September - Heritage Day
* Wednesday - 16 December - Day of Reconciliation
* Friday - 25 December - Christmas Day
* Saturday - 26 December - Day of Goodwill

National and Provincial Elections

A general election is to be called during 2009. There is general speculation that the President of the Republic, in consultation with the Independent Electoral Commission may announce that such election date may be held on Wednesday, 15 April 2009.

It is likely that general election day will be proclaimed a public holiday. Should this be the case then there will be four public holidays during April 2009.

Public Holidays falling on a Sunday

The Act provides that whenever a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be a public holiday. Monday, 10 August 2009 will therefore become the public holiday.

Public Holidays falling on a Saturday

The building construction sector traditionally works a five-day week. A public holiday falling on a Saturday will not require payment, provided any employee does not work on that day.

Public Holidays Worked

Any employee who works on a public holiday which falls on an ordinary working day must be paid at least double the ordinary daily wage. If the employee works longer than normal time the employee should be paid for the additional time.

An employee who works on a public holiday falling on a Saturday must be paid a normal daily wage plus the actual hours worked.

Public Holidays Exchanged

Public holidays can be exchange for any other ordinary working ay fixed by agreement between employer and employee. The employee will then be paid at the ordinary daily wage for the public holiday worked.

Pieter Rautenbach
Projects Facilitator


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Annual Shutdown - December 2009

Members are already enquiring from the Association what procedures are recommended for the Annual Holiday period in December/January. The Association is not in a position to be prescriptive regarding this period, but provides the following information for the benefit of Members.

The minimum entitlement of employees is as follows:
  1. Every employee is entitled, under the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, to atleast 21 consecutive days (i.e. 15 working days) leave of absence on full pay in respect of each period of 12 consecutive months employment.
  2. In addition this leave must be extended by an extra working day on full pay for each Public Holiday which falls on what otherwise would have been a normal working day during the leave period.
  3. This year there are three Public Holidays which occur in December and January which fall on normal working days, namely Wednesday 16 December 2009, Friday 25 December 2009 and Friday 1 January 2010.
  4. The Total Leave Entitlement is therefore 18 WORKING DAYS. This would enable enterprises to have their last working day on Thursday, 10 December 2009 and recommence work on Monday 11 January 2010.
Bruce Lyle
Membership Services Manager


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

South Coast Division - Breakfast Meeting

The first South Coast Kwazulu Natal Master Builders Association breakfast meeting, was held on 23 January 2009. It was a great success and was enjoyed by everybody who attended. Our sincere thanks go to Belcom/Building expo and Selected Table Ware Hire, who generously sponsored the meal venue and catering equipment. They have also offered to host the rest of the breakfast meetings planned for this year by our division. WELL DONE !! Domenico we enjoyed it.

The breakfast was also attended by our Membership Services Manager, Bruce Lyle and our newly appointed Training Officer, Victor Smith. A special thanks go to:
  • June Smit, Tony Steppe, Thys Blom and Hans Stols who kindly agreed to form a committee to organize social events and projects during 2009. Their first task is to arrange a MBA golf day for the South Coast Division. This event will not compete or interfere with the Annual Construction Golf day currently running as an annual event.
  • Hans Stols for organising the event.

Invitations to breakfasts will be made to all South Coast members during the year. Where possible the breakfasts are to be limited to small groups so that that everyone can meet one another in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. Members are encouraged to use the opportunity to present ideas and make suggestions as to how the Association can improve service to its members.

Bruce Lyle
Membership Services Manager


Monday, January 26, 2009

Legal Check - Part 7 "Personal Protective Equipment

The items featured in this series, are those that are the main contributors to accidents in the Construction Industry.

Part 7 "Personal Protective Equipment PPE" - General Safety Regulation 2
  1. Identify all hazards associated with the activities on site.
  2. Remove hazards where possible.
  3. Provide suitable PPE where it is not possible to eliminate the hazard.
  4. Issue the identified PPE free of charge
  5. Instruct employees in the proper use and maintenance of the PPE.
  6. Ensure employees acknowledge receipt of the PPE.
  7. Keep record/register of all PPE issued.
Look out for Part 8 "Electrical Installations and Equipment", which will be featured next week.

Neels Nortje
Health and Safety Manager

For back copies of the "Legal Check" series click on the Health and Safety label on this blog.


Friday, January 23, 2009

CIDB Gradings - Anonymous Fraud Hotline

Photo Credit: view-askew from

The CIDB was established inter alia for the purpose of establishing a Register of Contractors who are graded for the purpose of determining their performance capability. Only CIDB registered contractors may tender for public sector construction contracts. The purpose of this is to mitigate the risk in awarding contracts for public sector work to contractors who are not capable of carrying out the work.

Following numerous complaints about irregular gradings the CIDB has finally begun a process of identifying corrupt contractors and CIDB officials. The culprit contractors now face suspension for varying fixed periods.

This means that they will be disqualified from obtaining public sector contracts during the suspension period. In addition their names are to be published not only in the Government Gazette but also on the CIDB’s website. A number of officials have also been successfully prosecuted and others face dismissal. Investigations are continuing which hopefully will continue to bear fruit.

An Anonymous Fraud Hotline (0800 112 452) has been set up and members are encouraged to make use of this.

A list of the culprits is available on the CIDB website and a recent Media Statement by the CIDB on this issue can be found here.

Bruce Lyle
Membership Services Manager


Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Date of Death

If you hold life cover in terms of a policy you own yourself, or your spouse or business partner owns a policy on your life, these are termed “personal policies”. Life cover payable on your death which is part of a pension fund group life policy is different. You don’t own that policy, because you are simply a member of a pension fund which happens to provide life cover. Should you cease to be a member of that pension fund, for example, on retirement or resignation, your life cover will cease.

Sometimes, the so-called “continuation option” allows you to continue to enjoy life cover if you effect a personal policy in the same amount of the group life cover, and pay the premiums yourself.

In a recent decided case, that of Vermaak v The Magistrate (Kuilsriver) (12024/2007 CPD), the deceased, a labour lawyer, had resigned from his employment with effect from 1st October, and knew that from that date he and his dependents would no longer be entitled to any risk benefits from the pension fund of which he was a member. Being determined to end his life, he tried to commit suicide on 29 September.

This was unsuccessful, and he spent the night in hospital. On the 30th, he was discharged, went home, and left again at around 10 pm that evening. His body was discovered the following day, on 1st October, and this was the date appearing on the death certificate. His suicide note made it clear that he was aware that should he die prior to midnight on 30th, his dependents would receive the relevant benefits.

The court considered not only the pathologist’s report but also various other indirect and circumstantial evidence and came to the conclusion that he had succeeded in his second attempt, and had died prior to midnight on 30th September. The only mistake he made, so found the court, was that he had not taken steps to ensure that his body was found before midnight.

The case illustrates who has the the burden of proof.

Claimants on life policies having a time-limit (the so-called ‘die-to-win’ policies eg term life policies or pension fund group life policies) will have to prove that the life assured died within the assured period. Claimants on endowment policies (‘live-to-win’) on the other hand might need to prove that the insured had survived to the maturity date.

What is important is that you should know the type of risk cover you have, the amount of cover and when it will be payable or not payable. A proper needs analysis should be done and your current provision compared with what you really need to ensure that your dependents are looked after.

Clive Hill
Financial Services Manager


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Managing your Business During and Economic Downturn - Part 2

This is the second part in our series entitled Managing your Business During and Economic Downturn. Although it is a fairly lengthy post, we are sure that you will find the information useful and particularly relevant in these tough economic times. The photo above is from Suraj via

What happens to businesses that find themselves in the middle of an economic downturn where they have not earlier formulated a strategic plan? Most managers will hesitate to take strategic steps knowing that there is no second chance to correct errors. A common strategy is to cut prices but this only leads to a drop in profits and consequent cash management difficulties leading to further losses.

Managers should rather look to removing inefficiencies that may have become apparent during the downturn. Restructuring should be done to take advantage of the economic upturn when it comes. This may include trimming fixed overheads e.g. by staff reductions, subcontracting or outsourcing, closure of branches and general organisational restructuring.

Experience has shown however that staff reduction should be done with caution. While this may lead to an immediate improvement the long term effects may be that the loss of key staff members essential to take advantage of the eventual upswing.

Managers should try to focus on core operations and get rid of non-essential profit eating ancillary enterprises.

Some further recommendations

  • Try to lock yourself into long term contracts with your existing customers by giving them incentives such as discounts.
  • When times are good businesses tend to become lazy about collecting debts owed to them. This can become dangerous during a downturn so tighten up your collection procedures. Set targets to reduce the average collection period and try to improve on this. Being tough with customers is not pleasant but it is essential for survival during hard times. Remember to use every opportunity to obtain security for debt. Any liquidator will tell you that the proprietor of an insolvent business almost always sees to it that creditors for whom personal suretyships have been provided usually get paid prior to actual insolvency.
  • Take a good hard look at capital expenditure and if it is absolutely necessary to purchase plant or equipment consider acquiring distressed assets from auctions. In this vein money spent on a technical expert to assess the condition of the item before buying it is money well spent.
  • It is not a good idea to take additional loans during difficult times but if it is absolutely necessary then be completely honest with your bank about your business's financial position. Remember that banks too may be feeling jittery about the current downturn. Strengthen your relationship with your bankers.
  • Try to reduce rented space thus reducing fixed costs by subleasing a portion of your premises. If you anticipate that your business will need more space when the upturn comes try to negotiate an option to lease more space at a later date.

This is worth repeating:
Economic downturns are cyclical as are boom times.

Bruce Lyle
Membership Services Manager


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Income Tax 2008 eFiling

An extension of time has been granted to the 5 February 2009 to file income tax returns for the year ended 28 February 2008 via eFiling.If you have forgotten your user name and/or password, follow 1 of 2 routes:
  1. Navigate to the bottom of the eFiling homepage and click on "For a reminder of your username or to reset your password click here" or
  2. Click on "Login" on the eFiling homepage and then click on "For a reminder of your username or to reset your password click here"
Follow the instructions. Please do not wait to the last moment to submit your income tax returns to avoid possible systems overloads and delays.

Greg Beykirch
Finance Manager


Monday, January 19, 2009

Website Update

The Kwazulu Natal Master Builders Association will have a new Website early in April. The project has been on the go for some time now, and we are now about to enter the final design and programming stage.

In the interim however, we will be launching an online Health and Safety forum. This forum will provide Safety Professionals with a platform to share information, ideas and resources online, and we trust will also contribute towards a Healthier and Safer Workplace Environment.

Membership of this forum will initially be restricted to members of the Kwazulu Natal Master Builders Association, but will soon be opened up to members of the other Master Builders Associations around the country, as well as Health and Safety Professionals from other Industry sectors.

The forum will also provide a niche channel for vendors to advertise Health and Safety Equipment, Resources, Products and Services. If you would like more information about this unique opportunity, please contact us on 031 266 7070. Advertising will be restricted to one Vendor for each sub-forum (e.g. Working from Heights) and will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

We look forward to meeting you all on the forum in the next couple of weeks and are confident that our forum will become your primary Health and Safety information resource.

Gary Amstutz
Commercial and Online Manager


Friday, January 16, 2009

Public and Private Sector Tendering Course

We have just received email notification from a training provider, that a full day course on submitting Public and Private Sector Tenders, will be taking place on the 2nd of February 2008 in Durban.

Some of the topics that will be discussed include, Some of the topics that will be discussed include the following:

- Introduction to tendering

- Sources of tender notices

- Pre-tender requirements, considerations and actions

- The procurement process and policies

- How to complete the tender document

- What the client is looking for in your submission

- Tender requirements and case studies

- Your quote – why it’s not always the price that counts

- Pricing strategies

- Submitting the tender

- The tender interview

- Factors that are taken into account when tenders are awarded

- Body language

- Procurement fraud risk management model

Registration closes on the 30th January and the cost is R1950 Excluding VAT per delegate and bookings can be made by phoning 0861 30 60 90 or emailing

Gary Amstutz
Commercial and Online Manager


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Legal Check - Part 6 "Lifting Machinery and Equipment"

The "Legal Check" series will assist Members to do a quick, yet accurate legal check, to see if there is compliance with the requirements, as prescribed in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993.

The items featured in this series, are those that are the main contributors to accidents in the Construction Industry.

Part 6 "Lifting Machinery and Equipment" - Construction Regulation 17 & 20

1. Competent person appointed in writing to inspect all lifting machines and equipment.

2. All lifting machinery and equipment identified / numbered and on register.

3. All equipment load tested and inspected at correct legal intervals.

4. Competent persons appointed in writing to operate lifting machinery and equipment.

Competent person - means a person having the knowledge, training, experience and qualifications specific to the work or task being performed.

Look out for Part 7 "PPE Personal Protective Equipment", which will be featured next week.

Neels Nortje
Health and Safety Manager

For back copies of the "Legal Check" series click on the Health and Safety label on this blog.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

KZN Master Builders Association - News from Zululand

Greetings & Best Wishes for 2009 to all our Members, their staff and Families. May 2009 turn out to be the best one ever.

The Zululand Division is all packed to move to new premises at the end of January 2009. Although there is a lot of work to be done with alterations & renovations going on, we will be in the middle of all the construction and will be able to see our new offices rise out of the dust and take shape around us.

The premises is situated at 89 Rex Henderson Road ( Old Main Road ) Empangeni - next door to Amble Inn B&B and Conference Centre.

Thanks to Colin Cozens for spotting this house, who saw the potential for the Association to purchase the building and convert it to office space - not just for our own use, but to accommodate other Professionals in the Building Industry as well.

The MBA purchased this huge house / surgery and took transfer in June 2008. The Doctor stayed for six months longer to sort out & find other accommodation. Plans were drawn up by T.J. Architects in Richards Bay. They must have waved a magic wand, as the final plans for the revamp of the building are fantastic. CKM Quantity Surveyors did the rest and with all their detailed measurements, prepared the Bill of Quantities.

In December all the Zululand Division members were invited to tender for the alterations & renovations. Seven members responded with tenders and on the 12th January 2009, Contec Maintenance was awarded the contract to complete the magic started by T.J. Architects & CKM Quantity Surveyors, the ringmaster. Site handover will take place on Wednesday 14th. February 2009 @ 8.00am and work will start immediately, with the completion date being three months from handing over of the site.

At present the ground floor of the house consists of a Double Garage, 3 x Surgeries, a Reception area, Store Room, Toilets & a Walk-in Safe. This section will be converted to accommodate the MBA Divisional Offices for Zululand. The new design sees 3 Offices, a Board room, a Reception area, a Store room, a Kitchen, Toilets and a small Sales office eg. Cell Phones etc.

The top floor will be renovated and will offer 10 separate offices, to accommodate Architects & Quantity Surveyors or other companies in the Building Profession. The area will comprise of Offices, a Boardroom, a Reception area, a Kitchen, a Store Room and Toilets.

Parking for 21 cars will be provided at the back of the property for tenants, leaving 11 spaces at the front of the building for MBA Staff and Members, Clients & Public.

We can't wait to move in to our new offices and look forward to giving you regular progress updates on this Blog.

Manie Malan
Zululand Divisional Manager


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Master Builders KZN appoints Training Manager

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Victor Smith as the new Training Manager at Master Builders KZN.

Victor has been a practitioner in the field of education for over 20 years, the last 4 of which have been in the Construction Sector. Victor will be performing the all important task of developing the training unit of the Association, with the aim of facilitating the provision of appropriate training and skills development to our members. Victor will also be available to the Membership to provide advice and assistance on all training matters.

We bid Victor a hearty welcome to the Association and trust that he will have a long, happy and productive relationship with us.

Brandon Abdinor
Executive Director


Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome to 2009

Greetings and best wishes for 2009. We trust that you have had happy holidays and are well rested and appropriately geared to meet the challenges of the coming year.

This is a watershed year for the Association with many of our plans scheduled to come to fruition during the course of this year. Some of these plans have been on the cards for years and others are still being developed or finalised at the time of writing. Either way, the pursuit of expanding and improving our service delivery to members, as well as ensuring that the Association builds on its commercial success, is continuing.

This is a very exciting time and I am pleased to say that we have a fantastic and, more or less, full team on board to collectively ensure success. We will continue to ensure that all activities are prudent, efficient and appropriately geared to meet the ever increasing demand for service excellence.

Brandon Abdinor
Executive Director