Monday, January 31, 2011

Tax Matters For Micro Businesses

This morning I uploaded an article to authored by Aneesa Khan which will no doubt be of interest to small business owners. It centre’s around SARS having introduced a turnover based tax system, to assist micro businesses in handling their tax affairs.

It is all encompassing and replaces five other tax types namely: VAT, Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, STC and Provisional Tax. As Aneesa so elegantly put it, it is designed to reduce the administrative burden and costs on micro businesses in order to streamline their tax obligations.

In theory it is an excellent idea, for a small operator it can prove extremely challenging to determine the accurate amount, they are legally obligated to pay and my understanding of it is, this new system will simplify it to the nth degree. On the face of it, it sounds like SARS have been extremely proactive and perhaps should be commended.

I do however believe that when it comes to matters relating to tax it is always wise to proceed with caution. If there are two systems on offer there will no doubt be pros and cons to both and if you do qualify and are somewhat unsure, I would seek the advice of a tax consultant, one who has a reputation for knowing his or her stuff.

Ernest Roper


Friday, January 28, 2011

Prisons to Reflect Aspirations of Society ???

Just when you thought that there wasn’t anything left for government to rename, Minister of Correctional Services, Ms Nosiviwe N Mapisa-Nqakula has launched an initiative to rename eleven of the country's prisons, under the pretext of honoring struggle heroes.

If your reaction to this is: “Oh My Life! More of my hard earned tax dollars squandered on renaming something” take solace in the fact that you are not alone, I share your pain.

Reflecting on ministerial comments relating to this matter, I have to question my own interpretation of what purpose, correctional facilities serve in modern society. We are told that this forms part of the ministers “ministerial heritage project” to get rid of the assumption that prisons are “places of penance.”

Please for us standard graders!

Would she have us believe they are country clubs?

If that’s not bad enough ……..

“We think it's time that our correctional facilities, and indeed the department, reflect the aspirations of this society today. And we believe that one of the starting phases is to name some of these facilities after these giants of freedom.”

I personally don’t believe that facilities where society’s dregs are housed should reflect its aspirations, and as for naming them after “giants of freedom” …… that’s just mean.

Ernest Roper

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Labour Law Amendments Public Consultation

Yesterday morning I attended the KwaZulu-Natal leg of the Department of Labour’s public consultation meetings on proposed Labour Law Amendments held at the Tropicana Hotel on Durban’s Beachfront.

It wasn’t by any means a dull meeting; particularly the question and answer session which gave clear indication that many are opposed to some of the proposed changes, particularly on matters relating to Labour Brokering.

It was presented in power point format with each attendee having been given the presentation notes. For your perusal I scanned them in, uploaded them, and placed a link on our forum.

Also worth mentioning is that by the time I got back to the office, there were already two media releases from the department in my in-box. These I have included as part of my forum post in the hope that it will stir debate, and prompt our readers to comment.

Ernest Roper


Monday, January 24, 2011

Far-Reaching Changes - Labour Relations Act

Labour Minister, Nelisiwe Mildred Oliphant and her Department, had the following controversial Labour Bills published for public comment in Government Gazette No. 33873 of 17 December 2010.
  • Labour Relations Amendment Bill: Draft, 2010
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill: Draft, 2010
  • Employment Equity Amendment Bill: Draft, 2010
  • Employment Services Bill 2010: Draft, 2010
If these bills are to be enacted in their current form, it will result in far-reaching changes to the Labour Relations Act. The Act will essentially be amended to align employment laws to achieve “decent work” (not defined), regulating sub-contracting, contract work and out-sourcing.

In interest of our members, throughout last week the Association published two articles relating to this matter:

Public Comment Invited On a Slew of Proposed Labour Bills
Interpretation of English Used In the Labour Relations Act Of 1995

Members are reminded that the Department of Labour is having a public consultation forum on its proposals between 10:00 and 13:00 tomorrow, (Tuesday, 25 January 2011) at the Tropicana Hotel, Durban.

Ernest Roper

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Art of the Construction Site

Julie Mayo “The Art of the Construction Site” at artSPACE Durban Opening on Monday, 24 January @ 6:30pm

Having an extensive background in Architecture, Durban artist Julie Mayo has always had a fascination for construction sites: the energy, the chaos, the danger; the smell of wet concrete, sawn timber and freshly dug earth; the noisy carefree chattering of the labourers, the ear-splitting sound of metal against metal. The visuals created by scaffolding, danger tape, cranes, the geometric skyline and the inevitable abandoned broken workmen’s shoe.

For this body of work Mayo has used original digital photographs that she took during the construction stage of the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa and digitally manipulated them to create these stunning images that are imbued with her own sensitivity to colour, emotion and atmosphere. Working in Photoshop she has used computer technology as a contemporary artistic tool to decompose the original image, and through the process of sorting, layering and manipulating, the construction site has become her theatre.

She has choreographed the horizontal, the vertical and the angular. She has layered texture over texture, and kept to a limited palette to create these theatrical but ethereal spaces. Here and there a human figure emerges, seemingly insignificant but essential to the process, to emphasize the scale and dominance of the built forms.

Here the construction site is a metaphor for the journey that is life: her photographs have captured the process rather than an image of the end.

artSPACE durban
3 Millar Road (off Umgeni Road)
Durban 4001 Tel: +27 (0)31-312-0793
Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm/Sat & Public Holidays 9am - 2pm

Ernest Roper


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Free Publicity For Your Business

After a well earned festive season rest, we throw ourselves back into the swing of things and face the challenges ahead.

A catch 22 situation that many in business, particularly small business owners struggle to get their head around is advertising budget. Advertising through mainstream media is hellishly expensive and while most do comprehend its benefits, they simply can’t afford it.

The following is a reminder that, in addition to our Find-a-Builder Module, the Association does offer its members another means of promoting their business, at no cost to themselves.

The 'News and Information' section of our website has a Member News tab; Members are able to submit a newsworthy article which is then considered for publication.

We have allocated a lot of resources to make our website world class. As a result, we are seeing a large number of visits to the website and forums on a daily basis. Our online marketing strategy ensures that a large percentage of these visitors are targeted i.e. they land on a page on our website because they are looking for something specifically related to the Building and Construction Industry. Visitors include clients/prospects, as well as industry stakeholders and you are now able to reach them directly by submitting a news article for submission on our website.

In order to ensure fairness, as well as compliance with our editorial and online policies and goals, the following stipulations apply to all articles submitted:
  • Submission of an article does not guarantee publication
  • Space is limited for Member News articles
  • Articles submitted by Members who are Contractors, need to focus either on a significant company milestone, or on a project which is unique and/or of interest to the public.
  • Articles submitted by Members who are Suppliers of goods or services to the Building and Construction Industry need to focus either on a significant company milestone, or on a new product, service or innovation that would be of particular benefit to Contractors and/or the public.
  • Direct Advertising is not allowed
  • Articles should be between 500 and 1000 words and may be edited
  • At least one picture should accompany any article which is submitted. Pictures should ideally be JPEG's and if possible, both a high resolution and a low resolution version should be submitted.
  • There is at this stage no cost for the publication of articles submitted
  • The stipulations above may change from time to time. If there is a change, it will be published on the website.
View example

If you would like to submit an article for consideration, please contact me on 031 266 7070.

Ernest Roper