The importance of geosciences in mining

CAPTION: Geoscience is important for a country’s economy because it defines the mineral resource and ensures the success of mining ventures. Mogalakwena, the world’s largest opencast platinum mine, (above) is located in a complex geological setting near Mokopane, Limpopo, South Africa and supplies a great percentage of the world’s platinum. [Photo credit: Morris Viljoen]

The 35th International Geological Congress (IGC) is taking place from 27 August to 04 September 2016 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Mining development is one of the main areas where geoscience directly contributes to a country’s economy. Africa is destined to supply a large portion of the world’s future mineral resources through the application of various scientific approaches. For this reason, the theme: ‘Resourcing Future Generations,’ will feature prominently at this year’s IGC.

“There is no mining without geology,” says Aberra Mogessie, President of the Geological Society of Africa and convenor of a special symposium on the African Mining Vision (AMV) at the IGC. “Geological, geochemical and geophysical investigations form part of the foundation for successful exploration of mineral occurrences,” says Mogessie.

Richard Viljoen, the co-president of the IGC, agrees and adds that effective mining, particularly of lower grade or erratic ore bodies, is based entirely on good quality geoscientific input. “Without accurate and reliable geoscientific input, most mining ventures are likely to fail,” says Viljoen.

The AMV was established by the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government in 2009 in an attempt to better manage the continent’s mineral resources. “Africa holds an abundant amount of mineral resources, but so far it has not been able to reap the full potential benefits on offer,” says Viljoen. The AMV aims to effectively utilise Africa’s mineral resources through transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of all mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development on the continent. This will be achieved through:

  • Building the capacity of regional and national minerals-related institutions;
  • Investing in improved physical, social and human capital;
  • Developing technology and products in the mining sector; and
  • Strengthening environmental and social management.

The African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) was founded by the AU Commission to provide strategic support to the AMV and is responsible for tying together all the various earth science initiatives and projects across the continent. “As part of their efforts, the AMDC is currently developing the Geological Mineral and Information System Strategy (GMISS) to provide the necessary guidance and support to AU members in improving their geological and mineral information systems,” says Mogessie. “This will encourage investment across the whole mineral value chain,” he adds.

“The GMISS views geological and geospatial information as crucial for several important economic, social, legal and environmental applications in mining and broad development processes in Africa,” says Mogessie.

“The themes of this year’s IGC will shed some light on the purpose and roles of the AMV, AMDC and GMISS. A comprehensive understanding of the industry from a wide range of mining industry geologists from all over the world will also be presented,” says Viljoen. “We are providing an opportunity for key players within the African mining industry to gain invaluable knowledge at the IGC. It should not be missed!”

Registrations for the congress are open. Visit http://www.35igc.org/Verso/60/Registration to sign up or book your exhibit on http://www.35igc.org/Verso/44/Exhibitors-Advertisers.

For more information about the IGC visit http://www.35igc.org/. Join the 35th IGC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/35thigc/.

Fun for young and old at Cape Town ECD Centres

Caption: For many children living in Cape Town’s informal settlements, their grandparents are one of their primary caregivers. Approximately 270 youngsters from Mustadafin Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in Cape Town, treated and gave thanks to their grandparents on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 at the Foundation’s annual ‘Grandparents Day’.

It was a day of giving back for the children at Mustadafin Foudation’s four ECD Centres located in Delft, Khayelitsha (Site B and S-Section) and Manenberg. “Our main goal for 2016 is focused on education – ECD’s being a focal point. We are embarking on a holistic approach with our ECD centres, where we plan activities and excursions that teach our children fundamentals in a fun environment,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director at Mustadafin Foundation.

The ‘Grandparents Day’ festivities took place at all four ECD Centres, with approximately 100 grandparents being entertained with song, dance and gifts from the children aged between two and six years old. Most of the grandparents are direct family of the children or volunteers at the Foundation. The lively young ones spent the day learning, as the grandparents told stories and read from books.

“The aim of the day was to remind children to say thanks to their caregivers – most of them being their grandparents. With our ‘Grandparents Day’, it is important that children learn to respect elders and give thanks for the sacrifices some of their families have made. It is also a fun day for the grandparents; some of them live in dire, poor circumstances and do not have much to look forward to everyday,” mentions Johnstone-Cassiem.

One of the grandparents in attendance was overjoyed: “As a grandparent I felt warmth in my heart not knowing what my grandchild and Mustadafin planned for me. The few hours were great and all the surprises my grandchild gave me.’’

Mustadafin Foundation’s ECD Centres operate in some of the poorest areas in Cape Town. “With excursions and sustainable activities, children are positively stimulated to care for their neighbours and are moulded into self-reliant and self-sufficient citizens,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

For more information about the Foundation and how you can donate or volunteer, please visit www.mustadafin.org.za or contact 021-633-0010. Mustadafin Foundation is also on Facebook www.facebook.com/MustadafinFoundation.

2016 PETCO Awards recognise extraordinary PET recycling achievements

The noteworthy contributions of individuals, companies and organisations to the recycling of post-consumer Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) in South Africa during the course of 2015 were recognised and celebrated at PETCO’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). The prestigious awards ceremony took place at the Venue Green Park in Sandton, on 21 July 2016.

“At PETCO, we believe that our greatest asset is our network of partners – those that give up their free time and work long hours, to get the job done,” says PETCO CEO, Cheri Scholtz. “As such, we are delighted to be able to recognise the significant efforts made by our 13 worthy award winners towards the recycling of post-consumer PET in South Africa.”

The PETCO awards were initially established to recognise those individuals and companies that contribute significantly to advancing PET recycling, whilst reflecting the principles of Extended Producer Responsibility and circular economy-thinking in their practices. This year’s awards, which formed part of the company’s 11th AGM, confirmed that a significant milestone had been reached in 2015.

In its latest results for 2015, PETCO reports that the organisation recycled an additional 15% of post-consumer bottles in comparison to the previous year, with the total PET market growing by 8.5% to 210 000 tonnes. An annual PET recycling rate of 52% of post-consumer bottle PET was achieved and, for the first time, PETCO recycled more bottles than those going into landfill.

Scholtz continues: “This is an extremely proud accomplishment for PETCO, but we could not have achieved this without the people, companies and organisations we work with that have made remarkable contributions to the recycling of post-consumer PET in South Africa.”

[Photo Caption] Cheri Scholtz, PETCO CEO, and Casper Durandt, Technical Manager of Coca-Cola South Africa, at the PETCO awards ceremony. Coca-Cola South Africa received the ‘Designed for Recycling’ award for their extensive range of bottles that have been designed with recycling in mind. [Photo Credit: Dominic Barnardt]

The 2016 PETCO awards acknowledged a wide range of achievements, from recognising products that have been designed with recycling in mind, to the best product using recycled PET (or rPET), to the best female entrepreneur within the PET value chain, whose perseverance has created and sustained a successful, growing business venture in PET collection or recycling.

[Photo Caption] The Women PET-trepreneur award winners, Megan Leach from Envirowaste Recyclers, and Nomlindelo Modisang from Lindithando Construction & Projects, at the PETCO awards ceremony. (From left to right: Megan Leach, Belinda Booker, PETCO Collections and Training Manager, Nomlindelo Modisang and Cheri Scholtz, PETCO CEO) [Photo Credit: Dominic Barnardt]

Three of the categories boasted more than one winner.

Explains Scholtz, “We were so impressed with our nominees this year that, in some instances, choosing between them for a clear winner was impossible. Instead we chose to highlight all the nominees as, besides their contributions to PET recycling, they all work tirelessly to uplift the communities within which they operate – which we believe is worth celebrating.”

The key role that government plays within the PET recycling sector was specifically highlighted through the PET Recycling Local Authority Initiative award.

“PETCO recognises the important role that government and its municipalities have to play in providing an enabling regulatory environment for effective waste management. We applaud Lephalale Municipality for their exemplary quality of service delivery around waste management and recycling, and believe their efforts can be used as a model for other municipalities to follow,” adds Scholtz.

The 2016 PETCO Award winners are:

  • Best Recycling Information, Awareness and Education Programme, Gregory Player from Clean C, Cape Town;
  • Best Product using recycled PET (rPET), Woolworths Holdings Limited;
  • Best Product that has been ‘Designed for Recycling’, Coca-Cola Southern Africa;
  • PETCO Recycling Champion, Kimberley Recycling (Kimberley);
  • PET Community Outreach and Upliftment award, shared by K1 Recycling (Katlehong), WasteWant (Elsies River, Cape Town), and the PEACE Foundation (Polokwane);
  • Woman PET-trepreneur, shared by Megan Leach from Envirowaste Recyclers (Welkom), and Nomlindelo ‘Pinky’ Modisang from Lindithando Construction & Projects (Walkerville);
  • PET-trepreneur, shared by Gcina Makhoba from Mpilenhle Recycling (Mpilenhle), and Brian Masemola from Boremako Recycling (Pretoria);
  • PET Recycling Local Authority Initiative, Lephalale Municipality, Lephalale; and
  • PETCO’s Small- Medium-sized Business Champion, Cannibal Recycling, Port Elizabeth.

“PETCO believes the future of South Africa will be shaped by individuals such as these who have received awards here today; passionate, committed people who are led by intuition and fed by imagination as they re-write the rules, whilst creating a better South Africa for us all,” concludes Scholtz.

For more information on PETCO, visit http://www.petco.co.za. For more information on the nomination process for the 2017 PETCO Awards, email janine.basson@petco.co.za.

How Africa measures up in the geosciences

Registrations are open for the 35th International Geological Congress (IGC); set to take place on African soil at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 28 August to 02 September 2016. Considered as the World Cup of Geosciences, the IGC will address the health status of the continent’s geosciences industry and the major challenges that it faces. The spotlight will be shown on Africa’s geological activities and the many new developments worth getting excited about.

The African Geological Survey industry is an important progress indicator for the African geoscience society. “These organisations provide valuable information, allowing African countries to assess the size of natural mineral reserves and plan government budgets accordingly,” says Luca Demicheli, Secretary General of EuroGeoSurveys. “The geoscientific knowledge and skills that these surveys offer can be translated into a direct economic benefit,” he adds.

The value and importance of this information gave rise to the establishment of the PanAfGeo initiative – an initiative formed with the sole purpose of broadening and strengthening the geoscientific knowledge and skills available. With its feasibility study concluded, the PanAfGeo project is ready for the official launch that will take place at this year’s IGC, where Demicheli will be the convenor of the PanAfGeo symposium.

“The PanAfGeo feasibility study was the first of its kind, evaluating geoscientific knowledge and skills in African geological surveys”, says Demicheli. “It took place over two years in 25 African countries. We now know where it is more urgent to act, and this is where the PanAfGeo project will operate,” he adds.

“The increasing global demand for raw materials and a volatile market outlines the need for a successful geoscientific initiative of PanAfGeo’s magnitude,” explains Demicheli. The PanAfGeo initiative is a collaboration between the Organisation of African Geological Surveys (OAGS) and EuroGeoSurveys.

The study found several challenges in the industry, namely that 54.9% of the reason for reduced field activities result from insufficient staff training, and that 37.6% of the problem is made up of a lack of advanced equipment. “The study also indicated that geological surveys mainly focus on mineral resources whilst neglecting environmental elements such as natural hazards, groundwater and soils,” continues Demicheli.

“The effectiveness of Geological Survey organisations in Africa have advanced in leaps and bounds over the past years. However, much still needs to be done. PanAfGeo will specifically address the challenge of supporting the development of the OAGS,” says Demicheli.

The opportunities for PanAfGeo to contribute to the involved countries health and wealth are immense. “Essentially, a geologist is the Earth’s doctor. We listen to the Earth. A geologist knows what needs to be done to find and protect groundwater; protect people from landslides, earthquakes or volcanism; and to discover and take advantage of the earth’s resources in a safe and wise manner. Geosciences can really make a difference,” says Demicheli. “PanAfGeo will provide African governments with the opportunity to capitalise on the trainings developed by PanAfGeo and on the geological collaboration among African countries,” he adds.

PanAfGeo focusses on policy, governance and communication. Various technical areas that require immediate action have been identified to which a series of trainings for the staff members will be organised. Training sessions for African geological administrations will focus on: remote sensing and geoscientific mapping; mineral resources assessment; environmental management of mines; artisanal and small-scale mining; geoscience information management; geohazards monitoring; and geoheritage valorization.

Greg Botha, Secretary-General of the 35th IGC and a senior specialist at the Council for Geoscience, adds: “The industry in Africa is also something to get excited about – there is so much potential. The IGC is proud to host the official launch of the PanAfGeo – it demonstrates what can be achieved when international bodies work together and with so many experts from all over the world converging, we look forward to seeing the African geosciences industry taken to new heights”.

Registrations are open. Visit http://www.35igc.org/Verso/60/Registration to sign up.
For more information about the IGC visit http://www.35igc.org/. Join the 35th IGC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/35thigc/.

Capetonians in for SA Innovation Summit lead-up event

South Africa’s innovation ‘event of the year’ is back! This year’s SA Innovation Summit, which is taking place from 21 to 24 September 2016 in Ekurhuleni, is hosting a co-creation day in Cape Town as part of a lead-up event. All Capetonians with a thirst for innovation are invited to join the inspirational day session focused on “Creating a City of Opportunity for All’. The lead-up event, called the High Impact Series, will be taking place on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 at Workshop 17, V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

“We are thrilled to pay a visit to Cape Town before the main event in September. The aim of the High Impact Series is to bring together thought-leaders, innovators, enablers and industry leaders to co-create around how to move South Africa’s beautiful Mother City forward,” says SA Innovation Summit Chairperson, Dr Audrey Verhaeghe.

The jam-packed full day programme promises to bring sustainable and innovative solutions to build and grow the city to the table. Two main topics up for discussion include: ‘How could Cape Town become a real City of Opportunity?’ and ‘What would it take to create a city (and region) that allows all its people to thrive?’

The line-up of awe-inspiring speakers for the day include international and local industry leaders, namely; Abbas Jamie, the Director of Innovation for Aurecon Africa, Neil Jacobsohn, Senior Partner at FutureWorld International, Thomas Wittig, Chief Executive Officer of WITTIGONIA®, Martijn Aslander Entrepreneur and Founder of Permanent Beta, Aurelia Albert, the manager of the Innovate Durban programme for the eThekwini Municipality and Shannon Royden-Turner, Visionary Urban Strategist at Actuality.

“The revolutionary insights gained on the day, will be shared with cities across the globe with the help of our wonderful partners, the Futures Institute of Africa. This will help co-create smart cities, brimming with opportunity,” adds Verhaeghe.

On top of the co-creation session, the SA Innovation Summit will also host a 24-hour Hackathon on 19 to 20 August 2016 at the Lookout Centre in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. With the Hackathon, we hope to see creative and effective ideas to support and grow the local community,” adds Verhaeghe.

“We look forward to welcoming industry leaders. Your thinking, brilliant ideas and efforts to innovate can make a difference,” concludes Verhaeghe.

To register or for more information on the High Impact Series, please visit http://innovationsummit.co.za/high-impact-series/.

For more information on the 2016 SA Innovation Summit, please visit http://www.innovationsummit.co.za/, email info@innovationsummit.co.zaor call +27 (12) 844 0674.

1000 meals for children on Mandela Day

Caption: On 18 July 2016 employees of Peninsula Beverages (PenBev – Coca-Cola’s bottling partner in the Western and Northern Cape) Athlone dedicated their time to provide lunch to 1000 learners at schools in the surrounding community.

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” (Nelson Mandela). To commemorate the memory of one of South Africa’s great leaders, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the 201 employees at PenBev Athlone gathered early on Mandela Day 2016 to prepare 1000 lunch packs consisting of a sandwich, piece of fruit and a Just Juice.

“We believe that business should play an active role in the upliftment of the communities in its direct vicinity. There are many learners that go to school hungry, and we decided to use our 67 minutes to provide lunch for the learners at Eros School in Athlone, Athwood Primary School in Hanover Park and Mseki Primary School in Gugulethu,” said Priscilla Urquhart, Public Affairs and Communications Manager for Peninsula Beverages. “Making a difference starts with each one of us, and as a collective team the impact is so much greater,” Urquhart added.

Caption: Learners at Athwood Primary School in Hanover Park enjoying the lunch packs provided by Peninsula Beverages on Mandela Day 2016.

It was a privilege for the employees of Peninsula Beverages Athlone to take time on Mandela Day to make a difference in the lives of these 1000 children.

For more information about Peninsula Beverages contact 021 936 5500 or visit www.penbev.co.za. PenBev is also on Facebook www.facebook.com/PenBev.

Backstage with Zip Zap Circus School co-founder and CEO Laurence Estève

CAPTION: This women’s month Zip Zap Circus School puts the spotlight on its co-founder and CEO Laurence Estève. [Photo credit: Anne Barbotteau]

“When you see a child succeed, overcome a fear or a disadvantage, or just smile, things become simple,” says Estève, reflecting on what has driven her passion to co-found and lead one of the first social circus schools in the world for the past 24 years. “I have persisted because I’ve seen how it has helped so many children and how much joy it has brought to so many people,” she adds.

Estève founded the Zip Zap Circus School in Cape Town together with her husband, Brent van Rensburg in 1992 with the intention to foster social change through the medium of circus arts. Life skills and professional circus acts have been taught to children from all backgrounds at no cost. In the last financial year over 1 000 children, many from disadvantaged areas, received circus training and more than 95 000 people saw Zip Zap perform live. Estève humbly admits that she prefers being behind the scenes, rather than under the spotlight. “Brent is the public figure and I am the back bone at Zip Zap,” she says.

Zip Zap and Estève’s own contribution towards using the circus arts to unify young people and build communities has not gone unnoticed. Zip Zap received the Business Day Award for Arts Education in 2001 and in 2005 the Circus School was a finalist in the Proudly South African Bridge Builder of the Year award. The following year Zip Zap won Sappi’s Ideas that Matter award.

“When we started Zip Zap in Cape Town in 1992, I saw so many gaps that needed to be filled and was happy to participate in the rebuilding of the nation,” says Estève who was born and grew up in France. “I’ve always felt welcome in South Africa. I don’t see South African, or French or race or religion, I just see youngsters.” In 2012 Estève was awarded the Knight of the National Order of Merit for more than 15 years of exemplary public service by the French President and in January next year she will join an esteemed judging panel with some of the most acknowledged ‘circus people’ in the world at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris. “I am extremely honoured to have been invited and am super excited about going to watch the best acts in the world and score them,” she said.

In her position as CEO of Zip Zap, Estève leads with a vision and passion for children. A great deal of patience, excellent communication skills and the ability to juggle incredibly tight financial budgets are also required for the role. Seeing happy children make positive and constructive changes in their own lives is the most rewarding part of the job. Estève adds that some of her most special moments are when Zip Zap alumni send her a wedding invitation or pop into the dome to greet their circus family. As with any NPO there are challenges and for Estève, this centres around finances: finding donors and managing the day-to-day details with insufficient funds, making it hard when Zip Zap employees are not paid what they deserve.

A personal highlight for Estève was in 2002 when Zip Zap performed at the international circus festival in Monaco. “There we were, in the heart of the circus world; Wandisile Mtshula was carrying the new South African flag at the opening ceremony and our first professional troupe performed for Prince Raynier – what an honour.” Another special memory was when Estève personally convinced the organisers of Cirque de Demain’s international circus competition to include two Zip Zap performances in their 2007 competition. Zip Zap duo; Kagisho Arnold Mutlane and José Baptista do Rego, went on to win the prize for the best comedy bench act, beating the Italian, Russian and American performers. “They were booked for the next four years in professional shows across Europe after that. I was over the moon with pride and joy,” says Estève.

When asked what would make her day, she is quick to explain: “There must be a person out there who wants to support Zip Zap financially over a three year period? I’d love to meet that person. Our yearly budget is so small for a big corporate and Zip Zap has so much to give.”

Check out the Zip Zap YouTube channel here to find out more.

To make tax deductible donations to Zip Zap, visit the website www.zip-zap.co.za or contact 021 421 8622 or donate via Thundafund here.

Find Zip Zap on Facebook www.facebook.com/zipzapcircus.

The real price of not addressing your child’s learning problems

Failing or delaying to address a child’s learning difficulties has far-reaching implications for both parents and children alike. Edublox reading, maths and learning clinic, warns that the real cost of withholding learning intervention programs from children with learning difficulties should not be underestimated. This could result in long-term financial burdens when learners have to repeat a grade, while they often pay the price academically, emotionally and socially.

“While parents tend to spend money on exciting hobbies, or sporting activities in areas where their child is flourishing, they often find it difficult to acknowledge and prioritise resolving their child’s immediate academic issues,” says Susan du Plessis, Director of Educational Programs at Edublox. “Parents put off addressing their child’s academic problems as they tend to hold on to the hope that the next report will be better. Their child’s busy schedule, full of extracurricular activities, also leaves no time for homework or attending extra classes” says du Plessis.  

“Children often pay a steep price for not being able to learn at a level that is expected of them,” says du Plessis. “Besides not being able to pursue a career of their choice one day, children with learning difficulties often develop emotional issues that can cause long-term psychological damage,” she adds. Research by Dr. Marianna Alesi, published in the Journal of Psychological Abnormalities, found that students who experience repeated failure, such as those with learning disabilities, are more likely to have anxious symptoms and to use avoidant behaviours. This, explains Alesi, creates a vicious circle where a learner’s self-esteem is negatively impacted by their learning ability and it can affect all aspects of their future development.*

Parents often underestimate the true value for money that effective, solution-driven and scientifically proven educational intervention programs provide for children with learning difficulties. Recent research by Old Mutual indicates that if a learner repeats a year at a state school, it could cost an estimated R 37 500 for school-related expenses alone; excluding additional food, recreation and transport costs.** “When looking at the cost of an additional year of school fees, the economic choice to invest a marginal amount in solving an academic issue early on becomes much simpler,” says du Plessis.

Parents concerned about the affordability of getting specialised help for their child’s learning woes are encouraged to take a look at their monthly expenditure, and prioritise their expenses by making use of various budgeting tools available online or to consult a financial advisor.***

Alida Smit is a parent that can attest to the psychological and financial benefits of early intervention at a reputable and professional reading clinic. Today an owner of such an establishment herself, she once struggled to find help for her son, who was diagnosed with dyslexia. “My son’s confidence blossomed and his attitude towards learning changed completely when he was exposed to the right intervention and development programs. If I got to the clinic sooner, I am sure the cost would be less and the emotional impact far less significant. When my daughter started experiencing some of the same challenges, I was able to help her immediately without having to exhaust many options. Not only was the cost significantly less in this process, but she benefitted much sooner, and did not go through the emotional and psychological roller coaster of emotions,” she says.

Today’s challenging economic environment is forcing parents to cut down on costs wherever possible.  The financial implications of an academically struggling learner are, therefore, often overlooked as parents feel they cannot afford professional help for their children. Du Plessis advises that parents who want to save money should do research to evaluate various learning support programs available based on their track record, quality control measures, and the realistic timeframe of improvement. “By temporarily reducing little luxury expenses such as restaurant meals and pricy entertainment, parents can provide their child with the opportunity to excel at school,” says du Plessis.

“The best solution for parents is to get help for their children as soon as possible. Nip learning difficulties in the bud; it makes sense from a financial perspective and helps build your child’s self-confidence,” says du Plessis. “As parents, we have a responsibility to not only provide our children with an education, but to ensure that they have a wide array of choices when it comes to possible career paths after school. The temporary financial sacrifice for resolving your child’s learning difficulties is actually a long term, emotional and educational investment towards your child’s future success,” du Plessis concludes.

* Alesi, M., Rappo, G., & Pepi, A. (2014). Depression, Anxiety at School and Self-Esteem in Children with Learning Disabilities. Journal of Psychological Abnormalities, July 2014.

** Direct Axis, (2013). The Cost of Raising a Child in South Africa [Online] Available from: https://www.directaxis.co.za/topics-tips-tools/cost-raising-child-south-africa [Accessed: 2016-04-29].

*** http://dogreatthings.co.za/education/budget-calculator/

Stop being taken for a PR ride

Stop being taken for a ride by your public relations (PR) company or ‘social media agency’ and stop throwing exorbitant amounts of money at communication efforts that are not well planned or strategically sound. A press release is not a silver bullet that is going to magically solve your sales problems, nor is a beautiful Facebook page.

“When it comes to your organisation’s reputation, every aspect of the business contributes to how it is being perceived. Perceptions may not necessarily be correct, however they are somebody’s reality and do need to be managed,” says Regine le Roux, Managing Director of Reputation Matters.

“Only once you understand exactly what these perceptions are, and which areas of the business is important to which stakeholder groups can you effectively put a reputation management strategy and communication plan in place,” explains le Roux.

“Too often business owners think that a clever press release or quirky marketing campaign is going to increase their sales. You can spend a ton of money on a fancy communication campaign but if your internal business building blocks are not in place, you may actually do a lot more harm than good,” adds le Roux. These building blocks, explains le Roux, include having the right processes, people and pricing principles in place; all of which needs to be glued together by a strategic internal and external communication plan.

Le Roux will be presenting a reputation management master class at the upcoming International Association of Business Communication (IABC) conference taking place at the Vineyard in Cape Town on 02 November 2016. She will be facilitating an interactive workshop on what it takes to enhance and improve your reputation, and will guide delegates on how to develop their own reputation strategies and plans. “After the session the delegates will have a very comprehensive idea of what they need to do to take their company’s reputation to the next level,” adds le Roux.

“Collaboration and agility is the new communication frontier in business,” says Carol Allers, IABC Chairperson. “At the conference we’ll be bringing together thought leaders from across the communication spectrum to engage, collaborate, network and most importantly to share their knowledge of business communication,” concludes Allers.

The IABC Conference will be taking place from 02 to 04 November 2016 at the Vineyard Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. For more information about the Conference visit: http://www.iabc.co.za/2016/02/17/iabc-africa-23rd-annual-conference-2016-registrations-are-now-open/

For more about managing your reputation visit www.reputationmatters.co.za Join the reputation conversation on Twitter @ReputationIsKey and  Facebook www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters.

Durban entrepreneurs to gather at popular SMME Opportunity Roadshow

The second of the four highly acclaimed SMME Opportunity Roadshows in South Africa heads to Durban on Tuesday, 26 July 2016, at the Durban ICC from 08:00 to 17:00. SMMEs (small, medium and micro enterprises) in Durban and the greater KwaZulu-Natal Province are invited to register for free to attend this educational event which will help them discover how to implement a winning business model that will create jobs and improve employee skills.

Durban is the second city, after Johannesburg to host the SMME Opportunity Roadshow, which will then move to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth respectively. According to the recent Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) for the first quarter of 2016 released by Statistics South Africa, employment decreased in all industries except for community services, construction, and electricity. The largest percentage decrease was recorded in trade (-1,8%), followed by transport (-1,1%), mining (-0,9), manufacturing (-0,7%), and business services (-0,4%)* These statistics are yet another grim reminder of South Africa’s need for more entrepreneurs that can create sustainable job opportunities.

Hiking petrol and food prices, service delivery strikes, as well as narrowly missing a junk status rating are just some of the most obvious reasons entrepreneurial businesses struggle; these and other factors leave business owners with tough decisions to make that will ultimately affect business growth. Now, more so than ever before, they need the guidance of seasoned industry experts.

“We are passionate about growing SMMEs, as we recognise that more successful entrepreneurs equals a stronger, more prosperous economy,” says Abigail Botha, Event Manager at Cape Media, organisers of the SMME Opportunity Roadshows.

“We also recognise that even though SMME owners and their employees have the drive, ambition, and intelligence needed for success, they may lack access to networks, industry expertise and support. Events such as the SMME Opportunity Roadshow can provide these vital resources.”

Participating SMMEs will be empowered through master classes in:

  • The Fundamentals of Sustaining & Growing SMMEs
  • Enabling Funding for SMMEs; and
  • Scaling up SMMEs: The Future Growth Drivers of the SA Economy.

Businesses are also invited to exhibit on the day and network during the engaging break-away sessions. The Programme Director for the day is non-other than the inspirational founding director and chief executive at the property, asset and infrastructure development and solutions firm; Innate Investment Solutions (Pty), Lynette Ntuli. Other invited speakers include young and charismatic Xolani Gumede, Founder and  Chief Executive Officer of Ballitoville strawberry farm, Cappeny Estates; Vice President of Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Claudette Sigamoney; and Tshidi Mahlangu, Manager of the SMME Business Sector at South African Airways (SAA).

“Durban is one of the favoured tourist destinations in South Africa. The city also plays a pivotal role in the importing and exporting of goods through the Durban Harbour – the largest and busiest shipping terminal on the African continent,” shares Botha. “South Africa may be deemed as an industrial economy, and the fact is skilled labourers and small businesses are the driving force behind this. Each city has its own business dynamics, and we look forward to learning from and assisting the SMMEs that KwaZulu-Natal will raise.”

To RSVP and for information about exhibition opportunities, please contact Chenica Williams | chenica.williams@capemedia.co.za | 021 681 7000. To book your seat, please visit http://www.smmesa.co.za/registration, select your preferred city and your free registration will be approved.

Registration for the next two Roadshows is still open. Visit http://www.smmesa.co.za/registration, select your preferred city and your free registration will be approved. The next SMME Roadshow Opportunity segments will continue in the following cities:

  • Cape Town on Tuesday, 06 September 2016 – Cape Town International Convention Centre; and
  • Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, 16 November 2016 – Boardwalk Hotel & Conference Centre.

If you can’t be at the venue, don’t miss out – watch the live stream on http://www.capemedia.tv/. You can also join the discussion on Twitter @SMME_Roadshow and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/smmeor.

*http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=7965