Telecos to amend customer contracts

first_img19 July 2011South Africa’s four big mobile phone operators and two landline providers will have to have new customer contracts that are compliant with the Consumer Protection Act in place within three months, according to Business Report on Monday.This came as national consumer commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala prepared to sign consent order agreements this week with each of the companies. These agreements are legally binding and a fine of R1-million or 10% of annual turnover could be imposed if they were breached.Mohlala said that over the past two weeks the commission had reviewed all contracts provided by the individual companies and that none of the contracts were compliant with the Act. This, despite the fact that it had been in the pipeline for the past five years and its implementation was postponed from September last year to April this year.She said that in most cases about 75% of the cellphone contract terms and conditions would have to change.Companies would have to change their billing systems, marketing approach and their staff would have to be educated and more skilled, which would require more spending on human resources, she said.“There is nothing untoward … we are aligning South Africa with international best practice.”Mohlala said Cell C, Telkom and 8.ta would have their contracts amended by the end of September, Neotel by next month and MTN and Vodacom both expected to have amended their contracts by the end of October.Sapalast_img read more

Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part Ambassador exercises her Constitutional Right #FreedomToMe

first_imgWith the message: your vote is your voice anchored on a video-led digital campaign by Brand South Africa which called on citizens to exercise- their Constitutional Right and vote in this year’s elections. “It is the responsibility of all registered citizens to make their X count to improve the quality of life for all” said, Brand South Africa’s Acting Chief Marketing Officer, Ms Sithembile NtombelaThe general elections held in South Africa on 8 May 2019 saw a total number of 17 671 616 voters heeding the call, with many of them being first time voters. One of which is Play Your Part Ambassador Ntsako Mhlanga.Mhlanga is an education activist, child rights advocate and station manager for CAPS Radio, the station named after the school curriculum – plays the role of supporting learners and teachers in the education system.Mhlanga shares her experience as she exercised her Constitutional Right;Brand South Africa[BSA]: What does 25 years of democracy mean to you?Ntsako Mhlanga [NM]: 25 years is a quarter of a century. South Africa has been through 25 years of finding its feet post the apartheid era. It is quite a remarkable time for young people because we have vast opportunities. We are finally understanding the power of our voice and the potential that the South African child has.[BSA]: Why did you decide to go and vote?[NM]: I decided to go vote because I wanted to be an active citizen. As young people, we sometimes feel that we are not being heard. Youth protests sometimes result in burnt down buildings and vandalized property. Voting is the most peaceful and powerful way to express your views. A vote for me was the biggest noise I could mark about the changes I want in South Africa.[BSA]: Can you summarize your experience between; Making your X [NM]: When I received my ballot papers, I was extremely overwhelmed. There were over 40 political parties to choose from. I knew what I wanted but it was scary seeing all of them there. When I was marking my X, I was slightly paranoid. I did not want to choose the wrong one accidently. I drew my finger from the picture to the empty box to make sure I was selecting the right party. I was confident in my choice. Putting the ballots in the boxes [NM]: Putting my ballots in the boxes gave me so much joy because I felt a part of something so much bigger than I am. I felt that I made a great contribution to society. It was one of those ‘this is it’ moments. I could not turn back and I was comfortable with that. Looking at your inked thumb the day after[NM]: The next day I felt like laminating my thumb. As insane as that sounds, I was proud of my decision to vote and who I voted for. I will confess that the lady at IEC did properly mark my thumb and I asked her to make sure my mark was visible. I had to share this because this is the epitome of playing your part in society. [BSA]: What Why’s do you hope your X will solve?[NM]: The biggest ‘why’ that I would like to solve is education. Why must a young person prove their poverty when applying to university? Why must a young person be barred from furthering their education because of finances? Why do school children not have proper infrastructure for schooling? These are questions that affect the population. We have 12 million learners in the education system and a 19,1 million youth population in South Africa. My X will solve these whys as youth are the future of the country.When asked how do does she foresee the future of South Africa after these elections, Mhlanga said “The future is looking quite united. We will see parties forcibly uniting because they cannot stand on their own. In Gauteng we have ANC governing, the DA majoring cities (Johannesburg and Tshwane) and EFF leading student commands in universities. We will see an interesting distribution of power amongst the top three”.As part of her work to encourage young people to be well informed and exercise their constitutional rights, Mhlanga urges young people to get involved in their communities, bettering the environment around them for a promising future. “One cannot commit to a better tomorrow and not start today”, she adds.Follow the conversation on @PlayYourPartSA  #GetInvolved #FreedomToMe Notes to the EditorAbout Play Your PartPlay Your Part is a nationwide programme created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa.  It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing. A nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone.Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates and individuals, NGOs and government, churches and schools, from the young to the not-so-young.  It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.About Play Your Part Ambassador Ntsako MhlangaStation Manager for CAPS Radio, an online radio station about education. A platform to advocate for education and children’s rights and women’s rights activist. Collaboration with the Department of Education, South African Human Rights Commission, Gauteng Youth Expo, Wits School of Journalism and the Gauteng Department of Education different projects. “I advocate for quality education and academic excellence”.last_img read more

Hidden costs may be affecting the farm’s bottom line

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Some hidden costs may be affecting the bottom line of your operation’s finances, but how do you look for costs that may be trickling down your balance sheet?“If you are you using your tax return to track your operations expenses, you’re probably not getting the full picture,” said Vince Bailey, vice president credit – agribusiness, Farm Credit Mid-America. “There are non-tax-deductible costs that won’t appear on any end-of-year forms, but will still affect your bottom line, so pay special attention if you’re making money but your working capital position continues to decline. This can be a key indicator something isn’t adding up in your operation’s finances.”One major hidden cost that farmers may not be thinking about is family expenses.“Families need to keep an eye on large expenses, like home mortgages and car payments, but all costs of living should be tracked,” Bailey said. “Over time, these seemingly inconsequential costs can make a dent in your balance sheet; but are invisible, because they aren’t stated on the farm’s tax forms.”A better method for controlling the cost of family living is to think of your family budget as a salary or stipend paid out from the operation. Cut a single monthly check to the family and put it in an account that is separate from all operational expenses. This way, the level of cash your family has on hand is finite and it’s easier to track how much your family spends annually.Another cost that farmers may not think about is the so-called “Section 179 Trap”.“If you purchased equipment and chose to fully depreciate it in the purchase year using the 179 Deduction, but borrowed money to buy the tractor, you may have reduced your ability to manage your tax expense the following year,” Bailey said. “Now you must generate enough net earnings (after tax income) to cover the principal payment on the loan going forward, which impacts your cash flow.”AUDIO: The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins visits with Farm Credit Mid-America’s Vince Bailey about hidden costs on the farm.Farm Credit Mid America Full Interview Vince Bailey 9.05.16For more financial tips, insights and perspectives from Farm Credit Mid-America visit read more

Energy Audits and Weatherization

first_imgSealing air leakage sites with caulk, foam sealant, or other materials;Adding attic or wall insulation;Sealing ducts with mastic (duct tape, despite the name, doesn’t really work) and insulating;Weatherstripping windows and doors; andReplacing windows or installing storm panels.We are fortunate in this area to have a number of highly skilled companies and organizations providing energy auditing and weatherization services. Two of these are listed below, and others in Vermont can be found through Efficiency Vermont, the statewide energy conservation utility (, then click on “Residential” and “Marketplace” and follow prompts).A comprehensive energy audit typically costs $400 to $500, but some companies will provide simple audits at a discount or even for free, hoping to make their money on the follow-up weatherization work. The investment in an energy audit and follow-up weatherization work is often repaid quickly. Houses and commercial buildings Keith Abbot weatherizes often achieve a 30-40% reduction in fuel consumption, he told me. If you’re currently burning 1,000 gallons of oil per year, a 30% reduction would save over $1,300 per year at current prices.For more information:Thermal House, Jamaica (802-874-7222, President Keith Abbot has been in the business since 1999 and now has ten employees in several crews (he’s looking for more!). The company uses only the most environmentally friendly materials, such as cellulose cavity-fill insulation, soy-based spray-foam insulation, cotton-batt insulation, and caulking materials that carry green labels.SEVCA, Westminster (802-722-4575 or 800-464-9951, SEVCA offers low-income energy audits and weatherization services for free, but also has a fee-for-service division that goes by the name Best Energy Saving Technologies (BEST). Harald Schmidtke, the weatherization director at SEVCA, has about 18 people working under him, but they’re already six to eight weeks out on audits. Examination of energy bills. How much oil, propane, electricity, or other fuels you’ve been using is the most accurate measure of your home’s energy performance—but it doesn’t show you where you can find savings.Health and safety check. An energy audit is a great time to also look for health and safety problems that may exist, such a furnace or boiler that is backdrafting combustion gases into the house. Most energy auditors do this sort of check as a matter of course.Blower-door test. A special, tight-fitting frame with large fan is installed in an exterior door. With all other doors and windows closed, the fan either depressurizes or pressurizes the house, and air pressure in the house is measured using an integral pressure gauge. The amount of work required by the fan to maintain a certain pressure indicates how leaky the house is. (A blower door is also used during weatherization to magnify air leakage so that those leaks can easily be found and sealed.)Visual inspection of insulation. An energy auditor should climb into your attic and peer into walls to figure out what type of insulation you have and how much. For walls, it is often possible to remove a wall outlet plate and get a view into the wall.Infrared imaging. Most energy auditors have special video cameras that display surface temperatures in different colors. As long as there’s a significant difference in temperature between the interior and exterior of a house, this is a great way to identify air leakage locations, wall areas that are missing insulation, and poorly performing windows. To use this camera effectively, you need about a 20-degree difference in temperature between the inside and out, so it’s harder to do this testing in the summer.Heating system efficiency test. Most energy audits measure the operating efficiency of oil- and gas-fired heating systems. This will show whether the unit needs to be tuned up and cleaned, and it may show whether it’s time to replace the whole unit or part of it, such as the burner or nozzle. Often more important than the efficiency of the heating appliance (furnace, boiler, etc.) is the efficiency of the heat distribution system. Forced-air heating systems can lose a huge percentage of the useful heat if the ducting runs through an unheated attic or basement and is poorly sealed or uninsulated. A “Duct Blaster” (sort of a mini-blower-door) can be used by an energy auditor to measure how well sealed the ducts are. With hot water baseboard (hydronic) heat, there might be opportunities to insulate pipes running through uninsulated spaces.Once an energy audit has been done, the energy auditor should put together a report that outlines what measures can be taken to reduce energy use, what the cost of those improvements will be, and the likely economic payback or return. There are some very sophisticated computer tools that an energy auditor can use to plug in the findings from the audit and create printouts showing the economic benefits of various measures.These improvements can include: As I write this, crude oil has hit another all-time record price, above $145 per barrel. Heating oil is over $4.50 per gallon today, with some local pre-buy contracts above $4.70 per gallon—almost double my pre-buy price last winter ($2.60/gallon). It doesn’t take a math degree to figure out that this sort of price increase will hit hard this coming winter.For most homeowners, the single most important thing you can do to reduce your energy costs is to have an energy audit done and then follow up with as many of the recommended weatherization actions as you can afford.Here’s what’s done in most energy audits:last_img read more

What All Producers Need to Understand About Working With Directors

first_imgFor a film to truly succeed, its lead producer must understand how to effectively collaborate with the film’s auteur. Unfortunately, no two directors are exactly alike.Top image: George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, and J.J. Abrams discussing Star Wars via /FilmThe producer/director relationship can arguably make or break a great film. A talented director needs a dedicated producer to help bring their vision to life, and that producer needs to be working with a director that they truly believe in. But really, having a complimentary working relationship is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many complexities involved with the creation of any film. For a great producer to achieve the best possible final product, they absolutely need to adhere to these guidelines:1. Understand Your Role as a Support SystemImage: Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein via IMDbUnfortunately, it’s quite common for producers to neglect one of their most crucial tasks – to ultimately support the director to the point where they’re performing at the top of their game. A great lead producer is far more than just someone who pulls together the crew and keeps the schedule running on time. A truly great producer will always be able to get the best creative work possible out of their directors by being honest with them, supporting their decisions, and pushing them (even when the going gets tough) to finish each stage of the film to the best of their abilities.As a producer, I’d argue that your role is partly that of a psychologist: you need to understand what your director needs in order to maximize their potential, which will ultimately benefit the entire production by leaps and bounds.2. Don’t Try to DirectImage: Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay on the set of Pearl Harbor via AV ClubSome of the worst collaborations I’ve ever had with producers were with individuals that didn’t know their roles. The most effective producers understand that they’re there to bring someone else’s vision to life, and not to interfere with that vision. That’s not to say that a producer shouldn’t have a vision of their own, but rather that their vision needs to be focused in a different place.The vision of the producer should be big picture oriented. Above and beyond production and post, they need to be able to see the path to success with the film – including distribution, marketing, and countless other elements. When too much emphasis is placed on trying to do the director’s job for them, ultimately everyone loses.3. Picking the Right Director Is ParamountImage: Brian Grazer and Ron Howard on the set of Apollo 13 via Imagine EntertainmentTo use a music analogy, finding the right director to collaborate with is just like finding the right bandmate. You need to work with someone who you respect, can tolerate for months on end, and who you trust immensely. It isn’t enough to just work with a director because they have some clout and you think they can open some doors for you with regards to talent, financing, or otherwise.Fostering a positive collaboration between yourself and your director starts with finding the right person to work with. Someone whose style you understand and respect. Someone whose personality gels well with yours. And someone who’s willing to work through the rough patches with you. If you don’t choose your director wisely, you won’t be able to see eye to eye on most things, and the film will very likely falter as a result.What traits do you look for in a collaborator? Got any tips for maintaining a health working relationship on set? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

10 months agoCardiff boss Warnock brands Liverpool and Clyne ‘a disgrace’

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Cardiff boss Warnock brands Liverpool and Clyne ‘a disgrace’by Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCardiff City boss Neil Warnock has slammed Liverpool and Nathaniel Clyne over the fullback’s move to Bournemouth.Warnock has claimed he was “promised” Clyne would instead make a loan move to Cardiff until summer, before learning on TV of his Cherries switch.”I’m disappointed with Nathaniel Clyne and Liverpool,” Warnock said. “To see on TV he’s gone to Bournemouth when I’ve been promised he’s my player is for me a disgrace and a lack of class.”The Cardiff boss was speaking after watching his side lose 1-0 to Gillingham in the FA Cup. last_img read more

24 days agoLiverpool boss Klopp admits Matip injury doubt

first_imgLiverpool boss Klopp admits Matip injury doubtby Paul Vegas24 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admits Joel Matip is a doubt for their Champions League clash with RB Salzburg.Klopp has confirmed Matip picked up a knock in Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Sheffield United.The centre-back completed the full 90 minutes alongside Virgil van Dijk at Bramall Lane, where the Reds chalked up their seventh win from seven Premier League matches this season.Their only defeat of the campaign to date came at Napoli in their opening match of the defence of their Champions League crown last month, putting extra emphasis on Wednesday’s visit of Red Bull Salzburg.”In a good mood, good spirits, but we have to wait a little bit to give a final answer about fitness,” he told the Liverpool website when asked about the condition of his squad.“Joel Matip obviously got a slight knock at Sheffield, we have to see how exactly it will be.“Apart from that, everybody should be fine. Of course, we have the players who weren’t available last week – that means Shaq is still out; Alisson is very close but for sure not for tomorrow. I think that’s it pretty much.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

CBS Announces New Broadcasting Team For This Season’s Final Four

first_imgCBS broadcaster Bill Raftery.There will be some new voices being heard through your TV speakers during the Final Four and NCAA Tournament national championship game this season. CBS announced Tuesday morning that longtime Final Four broadcaster Jim Nantz will announce the two semifinal games and national title bout with Bill Raftery and Grant Hill. Nantz, Greg Anthony and Steve Kerr announced the 2014 Final Four, while Nantz, Kerr and Clark Kellog had announced the previous three. Nantz has called every Final Four since 1991. CBS Sports and Turner Sports name Bill Raftery + Grant Hill game analysts for 2015 NCAA #FinalFour + National Champ,— CBS Sports PR (@CBSSportsGang) February 3, 2015Raftery and Hill will join team of Jim Nantz and reporter @tracywolfson to call games together throughout 2015 NCAA Tournament— CBS Sports PR (@CBSSportsGang) February 3, 2015This season’s Final Four will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 4, with the national championship game occurring on April 6. We’ll be filling out brackets in no time.last_img read more

Investment Climate Continues to Improve – Minister Shaw

first_img He was speaking at the PIOJ’s inaugural Growth Forum, which was held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Thursday (March 14), under the theme, ‘From Elusive to Inclusive Growth’. Story Highlights “Our local investment is increasingly improved, and our leading investment promotion agency – Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) – can attest to the fact that investors are calling,” he said. Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says Jamaica’s investment climate continues to improve, consequent on measures implemented over the last few years that have resulted in macroeconomic stability and ongoing improvements in growth. Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says Jamaica’s investment climate continues to improve, consequent on measures implemented over the last few years that have resulted in macroeconomic stability and ongoing improvements in growth.“Our local investment is increasingly improved, and our leading investment promotion agency – Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) – can attest to the fact that investors are calling,” he said.He was speaking at the PIOJ’s inaugural Growth Forum, which was held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Thursday (March 14), under the theme, ‘From Elusive to Inclusive Growth’.Among the notable achievements, Mr. Shaw said, are estimated 1.8 per cent growth in 2018, representing the sixth consecutive year and 15th straight quarter of economic expansion; and a further 3.1 per cent reduction in unemployment, to 8.4 per cent as at July 2018.He noted the pivotal role played by the PIOJ in supporting and helping to steer the country’s development.“Our growth inducement strategy, established by the PIOJ, has helped to contextualise the scope of work and the areas in which this work is needed in order to bolster our position as a country, to grasp and maintain a handle on sustainable development,” the Minister said.He noted that based on the positive out-turns recorded to date under the economic reform programme, “what is clear is that we must, as a Government, continue to create an enabling environment for individuals and businesses to strive and create wealth for themselves”.In his remarks, PIOJ Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, noted that the positive outcomes recorded to date have been achieved against the background of an ongoing economic programme aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability and setting the foundation “for meaningful growth to emerge and be sustained”. He cited among the achievements, ongoing debt reduction, projected to fall to 96 per cent by the end of the 2018/19 fiscal year, on March 31; modest inflation; and substantial net international reserves (NIR).Dr. Henry noted that the country’s “excellent performance” is being recognised by international agencies that are tracking the performance of global economies.“So, we commend the Government (and) the Opposition for the continuity (of policies and programmes), and all other stakeholders on the performance we have achieved. Today, we can say that macroeconomic stability has been entrenched,” he said.Dr. Henry noted that “with this stronger foundation and continued efforts to sustain the gains that have been achieved, the country can now move to achieving economic independence”.The occasion was also used to launch the PIOJ’s 2019 Growth Inducement Programme (GIP) Research Report, a collection of eight papers by researchers encompassing economic growth-related disciplines.These include financial inclusion, tertiary education, labour market developments, and social interventions.last_img read more

DSME and DNV GL Unveil New LNG Carrier Design

first_imgzoom South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and the international classification society DNV GL have presented the results of a joint development project (JDP) for the design of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier based on today’s technology. The project focused on delivering a design which an owner can take straight to the yard and is ready for upcoming market trends and incoming regulations, with an optimal size, hull form, and machinery and electrical systems, according to DNV GL.“When we look at today’s LNG market we predict that in the years to come we will see the rise of post-Panamax LNG carrier designs which are dimensioned to fit of the new Panama Canal. Capacities of over 175,000 m3 are feasible given the new restrictions,” said Johan Petter Tutturen, DNV GL – Maritime Business Director Gas Carriers.An important consideration for the design is the shift towards lower, more energy-efficient transit speeds. The hull and propulsion system have been optimized for three different operating profiles on a standard transpacific route (19.5, 16 and 12 knots). Calm water optimization resulted in gains of 6%, 2% and 5% over the reference design at each of the three operating profiles, DNV GL said.The design uses direct-coupled, two-stroke dual-fuel (DF) main engines and DF auxiliary engines, with LNG as the primary fuel. A combined gas turbine, electric and steam (COGES) propulsion system was chosen for the optimized machinery.For the portion of the boil-off gas used as LNG fuel a “High Manganese Steel Cargo Tank Independent Type B” was chosen and underwent closed mock-up testing using liquid nitrogen (LN2).The design also incorporates DSME’s SloT® (Ship Internet of Things) technology and their wireless computer network and integration system Smartship 4.0. In addition, the entire on-board computer environment underwent testing to improve its cybersecurity.last_img read more