Monday, November 29, 2010

Steve's Stunning Aerial Images



The array of stunning aerial photographs seen in the embedded web album above, were all taken by Steve McCurrach, owner operator of a company called Airserv.

Steve uses a top wing Rainbow Cheetah, which although classified as a microlight, is equipped with a rated aviation engine and has the avionics equivalent to that of any light aircraft.

The Cheetah’s ability to make its way to locations quickly along with slow loitering speeds and removable doors, make it ideal for aerial photography. The aircraft's low running costs enables Steve to keep his pricing competitive, hence his slogan “Affordable Aerial Photography, Environmental, Agriculture, Real Estate.”

For more information visit www.airserv.co.za

Ernest Roper
Webmaster

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Friday, November 26, 2010

More Praise For Safe-Build DVD Series


Producing the Safe-Build DVD series was a project that the Association put a lot of time, money and effort into, resulting in an end-product that we are all extremely proud of. Although we do believe we have a fantastic product, seeing how well it has been received by OHS fraternity is extremely encouraging. The following is the latest of several testimonials to have come through.

“Safe-Build DVD

I had purchased 2 copies of the above DVD’s at NOSHCON 2010. I was sceptical at first as having being involved in SHE for the past 23 years I am very well aware of all the substandard safety products out there. Firstly the price was very low for the 20 topic DVD set which added to my scepticism. However, after watching the DVDs I was pleasantly surprised. All topics are covered comprehensively. The essential safety messages are clearly and succulently provided. The real value for my organization in these DVD’s is the language change options. To date I have not seen a safety communication product of such high quality that is so reasonably priced.


In my professional opinion the DVD’s are of an excellent standard and would be an investment for any Company that is serious about safety and values it’s greatest assets i.e. its people.


Dr Shaun Ramroop
Corporate
SHE Manager

Sasol Oil (Pty) Ltd”


Ernest Roper | Webmaster

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Minister's Economic Proposal Lacks Ambition


With regard to Government's proposed growth path tabled in Parliament yesterday, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has suggested a cap on increases for people earning more than R20 000 a month. The message it sends out is somewhat dire and logic certainly dictates that in the long term rather than the desired effect, it will impact negatively on the economy.

A very basic example would be of an individual (perhaps middle management) who earns close to the 20k yet has ambitions of doubling that over the next three years. He has invested a lot of money in acquiring skills and is now in a position to capitalise on it. The company he works for sees his potential and have incentivised him to achieve targets, to him the goal of doubling his salary is not unrealistic.

His incentive is to grow revenue by X amount over a said period of time and as he does so, jobs will be created as more people will have to come onboard to service the growing demand.

Ambition results in more revenue, more revenue stimulates job creation.

What the Minister is proposing would remove ambition from the equation. If despite all his best efforts middle management guy is destined to remain in more or less the same income bracket, the urgency to achieve will be far less prevalent. Rather than being master of his own destiny his goal of being the master of minesweep, may well take priority.

What the Minister is essentially saying is if more people earned less, there would be more money available in the economic pool for job creation. What the Minister needs to consider is that if we start capping salaries, those entrusted to drive revenue and create those jobs, will lack the ambition to do so.

Ernest Roper | Webmaster

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Monday, November 22, 2010

More About Extreme Weather Conditions


Builders, like farmers are some of the most avid weather watchers in the world. A recent article in the Association’s Newsletter dealt with the impact of global warming and the possibility that the average surface temperatures recorded across the globe for 2010 may be the highest ever recorded. The article also mentions the impact of, and measurement of, so-called "extreme” climate events in the USA measured by means of the Climate Extremes Index (CEI).

Despite dire predictions about the increase in surface temperatures during 2010, many readers will claim that during the recent winter some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded in KZN occurred. This could be largely based on perceptions and there may be no scientific basis to support it. Those who follow weather forecasts will know that Sutherland in the Karoo, is well-known for the South African Large Telescope (SALT), clear starry nights, and icy winter temperatures.

Inhabitants and visitors claim that Sutherland is the coldest town in South Africa. Not so! Say the people of Molteno who also lay claim to living in the coldest town in the country. They say, it all started during the night of 26 June 1996 on the farm Buffelsfontein situated between Dordrecht and Molteno, when temperatures plummeted to minus -18.2 * Celsius.

The farm hosts an official weather station and the South African Weather Service (SAWS), who recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, confirmed this was the coldest temperature ever measured in South Africa. The good folk of Sutherland reject this and counter that Buffelsfontein is a farm, the crown of being the coldest town in South Africa still belongs to them. Sutherlanders say their coldest night was recorded on 12 July 2003, when -16*C was recorded.

A spokesperson for the SAWS said that it is quite difficult to accurately determine the coldest place and ironically neither Sutherland nor Molteno (also a Karoo town) were recorded as the coldest places in South Africa during 2010. At Warden and Fouriesburg in the Free State, the recorded temperature dropped to -8.2*C.

Readers are reminded that the Warden district borders on KZN. Is it possible that besides winning the Currie Cup during 2010, a small part of KZN became the coldest place in South Africa?

Pieter Rautenbach

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Friday, November 19, 2010

South African Weather Service (SAWS) Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Image: Margate courtosy of GLOBOsapiens.net

The first South African Meteorology Commission was established on 26 October 1860 in the former Cape Colony and its current successor SAWS is regarded as one of the oldest and leading weather services in the world. The first Commission was a modest affair with a few staff and basic instruments such as a standard barometer, a maximum and minimum thermometer and a rain water measuring gauge.

Buyelwe Sonjica, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, at a function held at Kempton Park to celebrate this important milestone, said the South African Weather Service provided a valuable service for a century and a half. As the premier provider of weather reports, warnings and information about the climate to the country’s citizens, police, defence, business, sporting codes and agriculture, it has consistently provided a quality service.

The South African Weather Service, in addition to complying with all national legislation, is governed by the South African Weather Service Act, Act no 8 of 2001. SAWS is headquartered in Pretoria and boasts 23 regional offices in the country and 3 manned weather stations on Marion- and Gough Islands and in Antarctica.

SAWS have kept abreast of the science of weather studies which technologically progressed with leaps and bounds during the last three decades. Some 30 years ago, accurate weather predictions for one day ahead were the norm. Currently, seven day weather forecasts are as reliable as three day forecasts of thirty years ago.

The Minister said SAWS provides a wide range of important services to all South Africans.

Pieter Rautenbach

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mortgage, Maties and Companies Amendment Bill

Stellenbosch University Campus

Companies Amendment Bill Approved By the Cabinet

Cabinet recently approved a bill amending the new Companies Act aimed at reducing the burden of red tape imposed on business. A Cabinet spokesperson said the bill will provide for simplified registration of companies and update the Companies Act "to be conducive in the promotion of doing business within SA". (I-Net Bridge/ Business Day)

Mortgage Advances Granted Remain Low

ABSA Home Loans announced mortgage advances granted would continue to record single-digit year-on-year growth for the rest of the year and next year, in reaction to the the South African Reserve Bank’s credit extension data. Total mortgage advances growth remained relatively low at 4.8% year-on-year up to September, unchanged from August 2010. (I-Net Bridge/ Business Day)

"Maties" Joins In the Fight against Corruption

The University of Stellenbosch, popularly also known as "Maties", is offering public officials courses in corruption ---- to assist them combating the problem, rather than stealing from the public purse. The University launched a Centre for Anti- Corruption and Education recently focusing on public sector corruption and its central objective will be to conduct research on the causes of and solutions to rising corruption which is of major concern. The Centre is to be headed by Executive Director, Prof Gavin Woods who said that for the past 15 years, the Government had introduced anti-corruption initiatives, "yet corruption had continued unabated".

Pieter Rautenbach

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Find A Builder Template Update

"Uppink Lodge", By Dicks Construction CC

Over the last couple of weeks, the same request with regard to our findabuilder.co.za page template, came through from two different members. Both parties, Shospec and Dicks Construction CC, wanted their web pages updated with fairly lengthy content.

The challenge however was, that the template was initially designed to only accommodate 3000 characters and up to six images. From our side it was quite encouraging to learn that there are members who see a need for greater exposure in terms of aligning themselves with the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal brand, we therefore happily obliged.

The new template can accommodate up to twelve images, and up to 10 000 thousand characters. On our side we have also included an HTML editor which makes it much easier to include tables, and other MS Word doc type options and layouts.

For a peak at our new improved lengthier findabuilder.co.za template, visit the following two web pages:

Shospec Shopfitting Specialist
Dicks Construction CC

Ernest Roper | Webmaster

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Something Fishy Going On In Zululand


The Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Zululand Fishing Competition took place over the weekend of Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th of November 2010. The weather didn’t quite play its part with some preferring the sanctity of the club house over bad weather and intimidating seas.

While the competition was officially called off for the day, Saturday saw 11 of the 18 boats entered brave the weather with some laying claim to some very impressive catches and bragging rights.

Sunday saw a drastic improvement in weather with all 18 Boats taking to the water. Of the 18 crafts entered, two were from the south coast, one from Durban and one from Pietermaritzburg. In total 65 Fisherman took part on a day where ahead of nearest rival boat "Big W", first prize went to a vessel called "Not Guilty" for their 13.5kg Dorado catch.

Prizes were allocated as follows:

1st Prize
Vessel: Knot Guilty
Fisherman: W Strydom
Catch: 13.5kg Dorado

2nd Prize
Vessel: Big W
Fisherman: Jonathan Booysen
Catch: 12.4 Dorado

3rd Prize
Vessel: Beluga
Fisherman: Dale Leenstra
Catch: 9.2 Dorado

Throughout the competition a small number of Marlin fish were caught and released. Wayne Ritchie of vessel "Big W" managed to land two Marlin on the day, making him recipient of The Bull Fish Prize.

We wish to thank the following organisation for Sponsorship of the event:
  • Andrews Spar
  • ABI
  • Builder Trade Depot Richards Bay
  • Dune Electrical Services
  • Exland Panasonic
  • SAB
  • Shepstone & Wylie
  • Wilcote North Coast
  • Wyett’s Deli
  • Zululand Refrigeration
  • Well Done to all who participated.
Paula Leah | Zululand Regional Manager

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is Longevity A Time Bomb In South Africa?


Labour unrest currently experienced in France as a consequence of the French Government’s proposals to increase the statutory retirement age focuses attention to longevity. It is globally recognised that with better nutrition and health facilities people are living longer and can look forward to a considerably greater life expectancy than their parents and grandparents.

Recent authoritive research suggests that a baby born in 2010 --- given good nutrition and parental care during its formative years --- could expect reasonably to have a life expectancy of at least 100 years.

Ruwaida Kassim, CEO of the Institute of Retirement Funds, says; "We have not fully researched this in the context of SA, but clearly in terms of international practices the issue of longevity and life expectancy has become huge'.

Pieter Rautenbach


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Blogging Is Effective, Ask Julius !!!


About two weeks ago a photocopy of a letter to Business Day titled “Must I sacrifice my time to write a blog for work?” found its way onto my desk and whoever put it there, did not have the courage of their convictions to hand it to me personally and enlighten me with their opinion.

Nonetheless…….

As somebody who has been involved in several online projects over the last five years and having experienced the benefits of blogging first hand, I am more than willing to argue this point.

The letter is from somebody who would have us believe that they work for a fortune 25 IT company and is disgruntled because they are expected to contribute to a company Blog. Somebody named Lucy Kellaway replies by stating that social networking has become the number one way for senior management to waste time, and that until the craze dies, there is little choice but to toe the line.

What a lot of twaddle!!!!

Anyway one should never take these things too seriously, whatever you do in life you will always have your critics. What cast my mind back to it this morning believe it or not was Julius Malema and his supposed gripe with Google.

Blog / Blogger is a Google product and Google with respect to search criteria, prioritise their own products and index them exceedingly quickly. Julius is reportedly uptight because when one Googles Julius Malema, loads of information comes up that doesn’t necessarily paint him in a wonderful light. Topping the search results ahead of Wikipedia, is a blog dedicated to the escapades of Malema, a perfect example of how effective blogging can be.

A company blog that carries industry pertinent information that gets updated regularly will get indexed quickly and those who find your blog through a Google search, will soon find your company via back links to your website. It takes time, patience and consistent posting however using Google Analytics; you can measure your on-line traffic down to the very last click through. Unlike most off-line marketing endeavors, it is 100% measurable and stats do tend to silence critics.

Ernest Roper
Blogger :)
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Britain’s Oldest Home

Stonehenge

Archaeological teams from the Universities of York and Manchester respectively, have uncovered the site of Britain’s oldest house , the waterside home of nomad hunters dating back about 11 000 years, which predates Stonehenge by about 6000 years and built in about 8 500BC when Britain was still connected to continental Europe.

The circular home was built next to an ancient lake at Star Carr, near Scarborough, in north-eastern England. The house was about 3.5m wide, constructed of timber posts and probably had a roof of thatch and was inhabited between 200 and 500 years. A wooden jetty-like platform found next to the lake could be the first evidence of carpentry in Europe.

Dr Chantal Conneller of Manchester University said:

"This changes our ideas of the lives of the first settlers to move back into Britain after the end of the last ice age."

"We used to think they moved around a lot and left little evidence. Now we know they built large structures and were very attached to particular places in the landscape."

Pieter Rautenbach

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Salary Increase - Misused Words


Salary Increase

Collectively the 2 most misused words in the English language.

Most employees each year get an inflation adjustment and not a salary increase.

Often, it’s only a partial inflation adjustment depending on the individual’s inflation rate and the impact of taxes.

A salary increase could result from a promotion or a merit increase.

Recent public service adjustments certainly had an element of a salary increase but a large part of it was in fact an inflation adjustment.

Notwithstanding, as an employee, I always look forward to my partial inflation adjustment each year and I still call it a salary increase.

Old habits die hard. :)

Greg Beykirch

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Monday, November 1, 2010

South Africa Is Water-Stressed


South Africa is a " Water-Stressed" country declares the Deputy Minister of Water Affairs.

"South Africa is a water-stressed country. We need to conserve water, because failure to do so will result in water shortages. We need to link education on water conservation with social and economic conditions. This is the only way to equip our people for the future" said Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the Deputy Minister of Water Affairs at the national conference on "Water and Poverty Alleviation" held in Durban two weeks ago.

City Manager Mike Sutcliffe was quoted as saying, "the time will come when it will be worth more than gold".

Pieter Rautenbach

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