Book fair for marginalised local writers

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by Mawande Jack

Dr Motsoko Pheko author historianThe first book fair marginalised writers from Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage townships opened at the Red Location Museum in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, recently.

During the three-day literary festival budding young writers and experienced wordsmiths will launch their own pieces of literature. Among them are Vodacom journalist award-winner Nosipho Kota with her book Bear Soul and Andile Afrika’s Steve Biko biography.

One of the writers, and organiser of the Ikhwelo Writing Initiative, Ayanda Billie, said the book fair was “aimed at reviving writing and instilling a culture of reading among, especially, the youth in the Nelson Mandela Bay area”.

“There are many people who want to be writers but don’t know how to go about it. The book fair will include workshops for aspirant writers and will also connect them with publishers,” Billie said.

The book fair, which started yesterday and finishes tomorrow, will be attended by historian and former Pan Africanist Congress president Motsoko Pheko who will launch his book on the Freedom Charter. Pheko will also take part in a panel debate with The Herald editor Heather Robertson and writer and academic Vuyisile Msila.

source: The New Age

VWSA celebrates 60

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Sixty years ago today, the first Volkswagen Beetle was produced in Uitenhage, South Africa. The date 31 August 1951 is a significant date both for Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) and the many South Africans who have either owned one of its cars or been employed at the company.

Since then, VWSA has produced over 2.8 million vehicles, been awarded numerous export orders by its parent company, won a number of local and international awards and currently produces South Africa’s two top-selling passenger vehicles.

Volkswagen Group South Africa MD David Powels said the company has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1946 with the establishment of South African Motor Assemblers and Distributors (SAMAD), which produced 12 Studebakers a day, to the world class factory it is today – producing an average of 600 vehicles daily.

Powels said the original management, in the form of SAMAD’s first MD, Melville Steele Brooks and chairman Baron Klaus von Oertzen, could not have predicted how Volkswagen would grow from a small Company with big dreams, and prosper over the next 60 years – not only building Volkswagens and Audis, but also Austins, Volvo’s and Jeeps.

Since its introduction in 1951 until the end of production in 1979, 290 000 of the iconic Beetles were sold in South Africa. For 11 of those 28 years, it was the top selling vehicle in the country. Another proudly South African car, the Golf 1, was launched in 1979, and until the end of its life cycle in 2009, 517 384 A1 Golfs had rolled of the production line in Uitenhage. These humble cars became giants in the motoring world, and would define generations of South Africans.

Volkswagen’s advertising campaigns over the years also speak volumes. Who could forget the famous “Red, Yellow, Blue Citi Golf” TV campaigns, or the aerial views of thousands of its staff and another of VW vehicles – sprawled out in the shape of the company logo – in the “People’s Cars” television ads, or of the father proudly handing over the keys to his beloved Beetle to his son?

Not only has it been producing “People’s Cars” for six decades, but VWSA also has a proud history of putting people first – from having trained and qualified the country’s first Black artisans in the 1980’s to providing continuous training to its staff, suppliers and dealers today.

Over the years, the Volkswagen Brand has won six consecutive rally championships, three Dakar rallies, put the first Black rally champion on the podium and won the South African Car of the Year award two years in a row.

“Once only producing for the local automotive market, the Company has since grown to become a significant exporter to Volkswagen markets around the world. VWSA’s uncompromising approach to quality has seen it become integrated into the Volkswagen global supplier network – producing cars to the same exacting standards as the other 60 Volkswagen facilities around the world. To-date we have exported more than half a million vehicles to the rest of the world since our first major order to China in 1992,” said Powels.

The Company is an integral part of the global presence of the Volkswagen Group – a Group which today employs nearly 370 000 people worldwide in 60 production plants and who produce about 28 000 vehicles or are involved in vehicle-related services each day. “VWSA is the largest German investment in South Africa. Over the years we have grown into a strong, proud Company and remain a trusted Brand with a humble heart,” said Powels.

Currently in South Africa, a 5 000-strong workforce produces about 600 Polo Vivo’s and Polo’s – the country’s two top selling passenger vehicles – daily. These two vehicles have helped position VWSA as the market leader for four months of 2011.

“The Volkswagen Group has been in South Africa for 60 years, and has evolved and changed with the times. We now have to maintain our momentum, and look forward to the next 60 years,” said Powels.

Powels says VWSA’s vision for the future “is to become the country’s best-selling and most profitable car company, for the Uitenhage-based manufacturer to produce South Africa’s best quality cars, which in turn will result in the country’s most satisfied customers. For its 5 000 employees, the Company would like to see them continue upskilling themselves and be the most delighted workforce in the country”.

source: iAfrica

VWSA, Raizcorp open business incubator in Eastern Cape

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Raizcorp Uitenhage branchVolkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has entered into a partnership with business incubator specialist Raizcorp to boost the development of small businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay, in the Eastern Cape.

VWSA’s investment of R5-million a year over an initial three-year period will train up to 16 local entrepreneurs.

Nine beneficiaries are already undergoing training at the site, with more to follow. Raizcorp will manage the project’s business support centre on a day-to-day basis.

The company offers a three-year entrepreneurial development programme to beneficiaries, who undergo a rigorous selection process. It provides Council of Higher Education accredited learning modules (NQF level 5 or diploma equivalent), entrepreneurial mentorship and all the systems and resources to grow small companies into profitable businesses.

Raizcorp supports more than 230 businesses nationally, and has managed to increase the turnover and profitability of over 86% of the companies participating in and complying with its development programme. The Eastern Cape launch marks the seventh centre of its kind in the country.

“With an 11-year track record of success in entrepreneurship development, VWSA is pleased to partner with Raizcorp on this project,” says Volkswagen Managing Director, David Powels.

“The project will contribute to local economic development by creating local business leaders who are vibrant, competent and motivated entrepreneurs.

“They, in turn, will grow companies which create new jobs and enhance social inclusion.

“On average, successful entrepreneurial businesses create between five and 20 new jobs per business over a five-year period. This will help to reduce the high unemployment rate in Nelson Mandela Bay, where good jobs are desperately needed,” notes Powels.

Business incubators have a track record of growing successful entrepreneurial businesses, and reversing the failure rate of entrepreneurial start-ups, he adds.

In South Africa there are between 30 and 40 recognised incubator projects, whereas Brazil has more than 400 – where the unemployment rate is 6.3%, compared with 25% in South Africa. Volkswagen’s corporate social investment (CSI) programme has a strong focus on enterprise development.

“The key principles guiding us in deciding which projects to support are that they are holistic, comprehensive and sustainable,” says Powels.

“Furthermore, it is essential that the projects we support are measurable, able to create a deep and abiding legacy while, at the same time, embodying Volkswagen’s values. This has now evolved into a wider strategic focus encompassing the community, the environment and relevant stakeholders as we strive to become ‘a company with meaning and impact.”

VWSA also encourages the participation of its employees in its CSI initiatives, and has since 2005 been part of the Volkswagen Group’s international programme ‘One Hour for the Future’, which sees Volkswagen employees donate the equivalent of one hour of their monthly salary to a good cause.

Source: Creamer Media Reporter / Engineering News

Cults in our Midst Talk/Seminar

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Cults, How They Work in South Africa book Robin Jackson Durban UitenhageThis is a message from my friend Robin Jackson, Uitenhage born and bred. He is now a leading expert on cults and their influence on teenagers. So don’t miss this seminar…

The next leg of my countrywide talks and seminars kicks off on 5 March 2011 in my hometown of Uitenhage. Thereafter it will move to Cape Town on the 12 March 2011 and Johannesburg on 26 March 2011.

The exact venues in these cities are to be confirmed.

Cult activity is a growing menace in our society and is being left unchecked to ravish and destroy families and societies as a whole. Young people in secondary schools, universities and colleges are especially susceptible to cult recruitment and are often targeted by these groups. Would you like to know how to identify these groups and how to protect yourself, your family and your friends from being recruited into a cult? Then come and listen, interact and educate yourself at the event.

So, you think you are immune to cult recruitment? Think again!

Tickets to the first event cost R80 and includes 2 free e-copies of my books on CD, as well as other informative material. Hardcopies of my books will also be on sale.

Bookings and reservations can be done by e-mail or you may call me on 083 991 8568. I will follow up with payment details in an e-mail.

Please note seats are limited. You may also book for this seminar via Facebook.

My City: Joburg – Loyiso Bala, born in Uitenhage

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Loyiso Bala born in UitenhageI’M A BELIEVER: I wouldn’t say I’m religious but I have a personal relationship with God. So many things can go wrong that it’s impossible for me to think I can go through a day by myself

Where were you born? Uitenhage, Eastern Cape.

Where do you live? Bryanston.

Who do you share your house with? My fiancée, Jennifer.

How did you get into your career? I was doing my degree when Zwai Bala, my brother, asked me to come into the studio to record one of the songs that I had written.

Three years ago you performed at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday charity dinner in London. How was that experience? It was pretty nerve-wracking. Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown, Sir Elton John, Richard Branson and Uma Thurman were all there. But after the first minute of performing, when I saw the audience warming up, I relaxed.

What frustrates you about the local music industry? Radio. I don’t think that radio plays enough local music.

What’s your greatest extravagance? Sunglasses. I lose them all the time.

What’s your most treasured possession? My piano. It’s where I write.

I’m predisposed to… being on my BlackBerry – on Twitter or checking e-mail.

What’s the ugliest thing about Joburg? The crime.

What is the most memorable moment you’ve had in Joburg? Being at Soccer City at the opening of the World Cup. It was the most surreal experience.

I can’t go a day without… saying a prayer.

If you inherited R100-million, what would you do with it? I would build a music school in the Eastern Cape and a community centre in Uitenhage. I would also finish building my house and invest the rest.

What CDs are you playing in your car? The Wake Up by The Roots and John Legend, Israel Houghton’s The One, and Freshlyground’s Radio Africa.

If your house caught fire what would you save? My computer. All the songs I have written are on it.

What are your creature comforts? Lying on my couch and watching television.

What are you reading? A Conversation with a Racist by Karl Meyer.

My friends and I like… to braai on Sundays.

Perfect happiness is … not having to work, but loving your work.

Have you ever taken public transport in Joburg? On Public Transport Day, I abandoned my car and took a taxi to Sandton.

I met my partner… in London three years ago.

If money could buy happiness… I’d share it.

German components firm opens R178m Uitenhage facility

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DAVID POWELS, Volkswagen SA Managing Director, says Benteler is key to VW Group SA's business strategy to increase the local content on the new Polo and the Polo Vivo “Benteler is key to VW Group SA’s business strategy to increase the local content on the new Polo and the Polo Vivo to in excess of 70%,” adds VW Group SA MD David Powels.

Benteler, together with other parts manufacturers – Faurecia, Grupo Antolin, Rehau and Flex Tech – has invested more than R700-million and created more than 600 jobs in the logistics park in the past 12 months, he says.

“Importantly, this investment enables VW Group SA to manufacture in excess of 120 000 vehicles a year for both the export and domestic markets. It is exactly this level of investment that helps provide an original- equipment manufacturer (or car manufacturer), with a hedge against the threat of imports to the South African automotive manufacturing industry,” says Powels.

“Four years ago, VW Group SA commenced a R5-billion investment programme in new plant, new technologies, new product and the required people skills development. One of the fundamental pillars of this ambitious investment programme was to take local content levels from below 40% to in excess of 70%. Together with Benteler and our other suppliers, we have achieved this.”

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu source: Engineering News

Golf challenge for cancer

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THE Cancer Golf Challenge is set for the Fish River Sun on Saturday.

The challenge is part of a country-wide campaign to raise R2.5million for cancer control services between March and July 2010 through various golf challenges.

To be part of this campaign to help Cansa save lives, companies or individuals are encouraged to sponsor a tee-box or a green for R500 or donate prizes for the competition.

Profits from the golf day will go towards Cansa. “They can also encourage others to participate in this note-worthy event,” said Fish River Sun operations manager, Wessel Benson.

The resort’s golf course is voted 28th in Golf Digest’s list of the top 100 courses in South Africa, and has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful.

The 18 hole, Gary Player-designed course is a Parklands Course and not a Links, but when the wind blows, it offers a great challenge to all handicaps.

It is also beautifully kept and in designing the course, Player went to great lengths to ensure that the outstanding natural features of the area were not compromised.

Sports promotions sales assistant Stefan Ferreira said the format of the Sanlam Cancer Challenge will be an individual stableford for men and women and tee-off will be from 8am to 10.30am on the day.

“The entry fee of R100 per person will go to Cansa,” said Ferreira.

Winners from each of the three divisions will qualify (these winners must be members of The Fish River Sun Country Club) to enter the regional finals.

The women’s and men’s regional final will take place on August 29 at the Uitenhage Golf Course.

Winners of the regional finals will qualify to play in the finals of the competition taking place at the Sun City, Gary Player course on October 25 and 26.

For more information about the event, contact Ferreira on 0415831968. – By BRIAN McLEAN

source: Daily Dispatch

Volkswagen unveils SA investment plans in Uitenhage and Pretoria

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Europe’s biggest automaker Volkswagen said on Thursday it would expand its South African operations with investments in a plant in Uitenhage and a distribution centre near Pretoria.

VW said it would invest about €70 million ($85 million) on top of around €500 million already ploughed into South Africa over the past four years as part of its goal to become the world’s biggest carmaker.

“The Uitenhage plant plays an important role in this context,” a statement quoted VW chairman Martin Winterkorn as saying.

Production at the plant is expected to double this year as its press shop is modernised and expanded with €50 million in investment.

Another €23 million is expected to be spent on a new distribution centre in Centurion, near Pretoria, the statement said.

“Volkswagen is the market leader on South Africa’s passenger car market. Our existing investment, coupled with the new measures, lays the foundation for staying on our growth path,” Winterkorn said.

VW hopes to overtake Toyota as the world’s leading carmaker by 2018.

source: I-Net Bridge/Business Report

Work on R3,1 Million Clinic Site in KwaNobuhle Starts Today

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The contractor, appointed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to build a R3,1 million clinic in KwaNobuhle (Uitenhage), will start with the clearing of the site on Monday, indicating the beginning of better Primary Healthcare Services to the community of Gunuluza. Construction is expected to start a week later.

The building of a new 460 square meter clinic, to be situated on erf 21957, 75 Bantom Street, was necessitated since the Mabandla Clinic with three consulting rooms became too small to accommodate the more than 10 900 clients that visit the clinic monthly. As a result nurses shared consulting room space and the inadequate pharmacy room space and small waiting areas did not add value to a visit to this facility as well.

This is now a thing of the past as the new clinic will have six (6) consulting rooms, two waiting areas, a treatment room, a pharmacy, office space and more to enable dignified services to a community with a high prevalence of TB, HIV and High Blood Pressure.

Addressing an appreciative crowd at the sod turning this week, Public Health Standing Committee Chairperson, Cllr Nancy Sihlwayi, encouraged the community to immediately take ownership of the project and to act if they see anything untoward happening on the building site. She said the community is responsible for protecting the new building since it will impact their lives directly in a positive way.

“I appreciate the fact that we can give hope to this community today,” she added.

Sihlwayi also reminded residents that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is the only municipality in the Eastern Cape that deliberately budget and build clinics since the erection of Primary Healthcare Facilities is the constitutional responsibility of Provincial Government.

Dr Ebrahim Hoosain, Acting Executive Director of Public Health, said it is an honour to deliver the clinic and that efficient health services will be provided to so many people.

source: Posted by MyPE on Monday, May 11 @ 12:04:26 SAST

VWSA’s Polo production milestone

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Volkswagen South Africa marked the production of its 400 000th Polo at its factory at Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape last month, with demand for the car being boosted by an earlier export order destined for Europe. Launched in South Africa in 1996, the second-generation Polo is top of the Ao hatch segment for the year to date, with a 19.8% market share.

“In addition, over the past two years, the Polo brand has claimed the title of South Africa’s most popular passenger car with sales far outnumbering its nearest rivals,” VW South Africa said in a statement last week.

Approximately 70 000 Polo hatchbacks have been exported to countries in the Asia Pacific region since 2002, while the company also secured an order for an addition 6 000 units for export to Germany.

“The new generation of this successful Volkswagen marquee will arrive in South African showrooms in 2010, having just been launched into the European market,” VWSA said.

Export markets

Volkswagen South Africa said earlier this year that 40% of its total planned production volume in 2009 would be exported. Its initial export of vehicles occurred in the early 1990s with the clinching of an export deal for 12 500 left-hand drive Jettas destined for China. It then proceeded to win orders for third-generation Golf GTIs to the United Kingdom, a significant order for fourth-generation Golfs to Europe and, in 2004, started exporting Polos and new Golfs to the Asia Pacific region.

Following on its Jetta export heritage, the company secured the order to export the latest Jetta model in May last year to countries including Australia, Japan and Great Britain.

source: SAinfo reporter, South African Information website.