Friday, November 30, 2012

Certificates From Sangomas


Employers would be well advised read an article penned by Pieter Rautenbach and published on masterbuilders.co.za which takes note of a recent Labour Appeal Court review that may have opened room for employees to produce sick certificates from Sangomas.

The article deals with the review of the Labour Appeal Court in this regard and since the review appears to trump section 23(2) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Pieter requested that I link the article to the text of the Labour Appeal Court review.

It is well worth reading ...... follow link:

Labour Appeal Court Accepts Sangoma's Sick Note 

Ernest Roper
Membership Services

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

About Turn - Changes to BBBEE Codes


Of the proposed changes to the BBBEE codes, Statement 500 of gazette number 35754 pertaining socio-economic development spend, received a lot of media attention.  Were it to be promulgated, it would have meant that business would only score points for donating to100% Black owned charities.

This was of major concern as there are numerous charities that do exceptionally good work that aren’t necessarily 100 %black owned, and rely on corporate support.  Government it seems have done an about turn on this which is fantastic news, as the general feeling is that the country would have been worse off for it.

I know of a particular charity that provides care for abandoned babies of all races and in the event they were to lose their corporate sponsorship, it would spell disaster for them.

What is surprising and possibly unpreseidented is that Statement 500 was withdrawn before the cut off date for public comment. I would surmise that perhaps they had already received so many comments on that particular clause that they decided enough is enough.

...... The people have spoken!

Whatever the reason, thank goodness for it.

DTI Media Statement

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Mobile Clinic – Extremely Cost Effective



Please take note that our mobile clinic rates are extremely competitive.

The convenience of using a mobile clinic to perform mandatory medicals is that the clinic comes to you. With it operating on your site, there is little disruption to the construction process and hardly any downtime. 

If your site is in an outlying area regardless of whether you use us or some other service provider, you are going to be charged a fuel levy to cover the additional cost incurred. The difference with us is, we have two main centres, Westville Durban and Empangeni in Zululand.

If your site is within a 30kl radius of either of those two main centres, there is no fuel charge and if it isn’t, you are charged per kilometre from whichever destination is closest. With that in mind as well as the fact that our rates are already extremely competitive and that members are entitled to a discount, it makes sense to use us, doesn’t it?

For more info contact us on 0861 333 354. We look forward to being service to you.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Affordable Housing in Upmarket Umhlanga


My friend and colleague Sane Mlaba forwarded me an article that appeared on www.kbn.co.za informing us that construction will soon start on the first affordable housing development in upmarket Umhlanga near Durban.

There has been a lot of talk about this development in recent times with many in the area, not exactly overjoyed at the prospect. With homeowners on Umhlanga Ridge having invested large sums of monies for the privilege of living there, the fear is that “affordable housing” will bring property values down.

The article informs us that gap housing, or affordable housing, services the section of the market which does not qualify for free RDP homes but which also does not earn enough to qualify for a bond at the mid-to-higher end of the market and expands on the following headers:
  • Low to Middle Income Earners Make a Step Onto the Housing Ladder
  • Housing with a Focus on a Lifestyle Living Environment
  • Expanding South Africa’s Affordable Housing Footprint
I have uploaded the full article to our forum, have a read and feel free to comment. 

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Umhlanga’s Contentious Tidal Pool

Image courtesy www.umhlangauip.co.za

There is an interesting story doing the rounds about the proposed development of a tidal pool on Umhlanga’s main beach.  The expected cost is about R26.7million and as is always the case with proposals of this nature, there are two conflicting views.

The mock-up image that appeared in the weekend papers make it look spectacular and people will no doubt come from far and wide to enjoy the beach without having to face the inherent dangers that come with swimming in the surf.

The image reveals that the size of it is massive and it looks as though it will be built on the rocky outcrop area between the pier and the lighthouse.

Locals are vehemently against it citing lack of parking in the area among their chief concerns. I suspect that many, albeit they wouldn't admit to it publicly, simply do not want the exclusivity of their upmarket beach town being affected by an influx of people.

DA ward Councillor Heinz de Boer has criticised the proposal:

“At a time when this very same department is warning of climate change, shifts in high water levels and a need to remove hard structures from our beaches, it prepares to spend R26m on a pool that could very well be washed into the sea by storms,” said De Boer.

He further stated that that the project appears to be obscenely expensive.

This past weekend’s Sunday Times indicated that eThekwini Municipality believe that the beach is eroding away and that the tidal pool would assist in protecting the beach from it. Based on visual evidence from the perspective of an individual who enjoys walking along that beach, perhaps eThekwini have a point.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Stairway to Heaven or Banister to Hell


For those of you who don’t already know, the Darwin Awards are a tongue-in-cheek honor, that recognizes individuals who have contributed to human evolution by self-selecting themselves out of the gene pool via death due to their own foolish actions.  For our e-newsletter tailpiece, we have again selected  another classic account of one such individual, courtesy of darwinawards.com.

The Kleman Plaza parking garage in Tallahassee has the ideal banister for a long slide, spiraling around an open stairwell all the way down from the fifth floor without a break.       
Brian, 24, was a real-life hero who had saved a friend from drowning, but friends said he was also a "big fan of reality TV and high-risk stunts." The banister was his big chance!
But just sliding down a 5-story the banister was nowhere near risky enough for Brian, so he planned to leap onto the banister to begin his slide.         

He ran, he jumped... and he sailed completely over it, plunging 52 feet to the bottom of the stairwell. A friend fondly reminisced that "Brian had done crazier things than this" before. But this was Brian's first stunt spectacular enough to win a Darwin Award.

According to a police investigation, "alcohol may have been a factor."

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Much Admired Gentleman


I never had the privilege of working with Roger Pickles, I did however meet him on two occasions and it really wasn’t difficult to ascertain why people in the industry held him in such high regard.

When we heard of his passing, we were quick to upload an article on masterbuilders.co.za highlighting his accomplishments and his many invaluable contributions to the industry.  I in fact penned the article, using information we had on record which was easily accessible to me.

We have since received a second article, this time from former Executive Director Pieter Rautenbach who worked with him for many years. Pieter’s article is a great tribute to an old friend which elegantly captures, why Roger was so admired by so many who knew him.

It is titled “A Personal Tribute to Roger Pickles” and although I never really got to know him, it makes me wish I did. 

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Monday, November 12, 2012

A Very Worthy Cause


The Highway Hospice, situated a stone throw away from Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal  is a non-profit organisation that provides palliative care for people suffering from terminal illness. They also provide education and training in palliative care, without expectation of payment.

For those who wish to support their cause, there is very simple unobtrusive way in which do so.

We all from time to time clean out the closet and discover that we have a whole pile of clothing that we no longer wear. Hospice has outlets that sell second hand clothing and the money that is raised goes towards funding their existence. So if you have old clothing to give, you will find them on 59 Locksley Drive, Sherwood, Durban. The contact number is 031 208 6110.

By doing so, you will be donating to a very worthy cause.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager 


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Friday, November 9, 2012

The Customer is Always Right?


I have over the last couple of weeks been dealing with a well known print media group concerning placing an eight page spread into one of their well known publications. It’s an annual insert and we complete all the design work ourselves within their specified guidelines and send it to them in pdf format. For them, its money for jam or at least that’s my opinion.

Albeit that from our side it does require a lot of copywriting and design work which is extremely time consuming, the process is generally straightforward and with it having gone so well in previous years, we stuck to the process we know works best for us.

This year included in the cost, was the services of the publication’s design person should we require it. It was communicated to us as an optional extra and at no point were we told that it's a prerequisite. We knew exactly what we wanted to achieve from the advertorial and felt safe in the knowledge that our own graphic design people were on the same page as us. For this reason we kept it internal which essentialy gave us creative oversight, after all, this is how we had successfully done it in the past!

It turns out that their internal design person has ego issues and felt somewhat shunned when notified that we would again be doing it ourselves. This same individual is responsible for final approval and as it turned out, all of sudden our layout wasn’t good enough.  She referred to their guidelines and pointed to some very petty differences of opinion.  We did our best to accommodate them and went backwards and forwards making last minute changes just to appease her.

I could not get away from the distinct feeling that we were being messed around by somebody who was doing so simply because she could.

One particular episode which to my mind is unforgivable, involved her badmouthing us to colleagues. At the time, we were on the telephone to them and evidently, she had no idea we could hear her ranting in the background.

How this story ends......

Next year when they come to us wanting to know why we went with one of their rival publications (which I suspect they will as we are not talking small numbers), a certain young lady whose name is truly emblazoned on my mind, will get an honourable mention. 

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Power Tower in Northern Cape


I came across an interesting web article that informs us of the construction of a massive tower, in a remote part of the Northern Cape. It reports that an announcement was made earlier in the week by Abengoa Solar, that work on their 50-megawatt Khi Solar One project is underway.

Khi Solar One is to be the first full scale power tower on the African Continent.

Power towers use heliostats which are essentially large mirrors that serve to direct light onto a receiving tower, this in turn heats water or other liquids that are used to produce energy. 

The above image is of the 11MW PS10 power tower near Seville in Spain, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Monday, November 5, 2012

A Bang Up Job - Blasting Expertise


Today we bring you another fantastic example of the innate dangers that come with having a complete idiot on site. It is again courtesy of darwinawards.com and an eyewitness who documented the incident for prosperity, way back in 1967.

This is his account of events:

"I was working on the construction of an irrigation canal in West Africa, and it was necessary to clear the route of some extremely large trees. Gelignite was cheap and effective, and fortunately, we had George on our staff to help us use it. George possessed a Blasting Certificate, testifying to his expertise in this field.

While he was showing an African foreman how to set up the explosives, I spotted George with a cigarette in his mouth, presumably placed there because his hands were occupied with fuse cord and sticks of gelignite. For his comfort, George was seated on a 56-pound case of Special Blasting Gelatin.

Those who know explosives will realize that this situation, in itself, presented no problem. Gelignite may burn when ignited, but will not explode unless prompted to do so by a detonator. As I walked up, I saw that George was inserting a detonator into a stick of gelignite...

We all, with the exception of one tree, lived to tell the tale. However, thinking that I would not believe my own recollection of the incident unless I recorded it, I delayed running for cover until I had taken a photograph, which I have to this day."

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Friday, November 2, 2012

2012 Excellence Awards Web Pages Now Up


For those who perhaps don’t already know, we have a section on our website dedicated to the Excellence in Construction awards and each year we update it to feature the wining projects.

For those of you who interested in finding out more about this year’s winning entries, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that the 2012 pages have gone live and can be accessed by following the link below:

http://www.masterbuilders.co.za/2012_excellence_in_construction_awards.htm

Again, well done to all recipients of awards and well done to the team who put the event together. With several emails of thanks having come through, all feedback received thus far has been exceedingly positive.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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