Team Toyota reigns at rainy VW Rally

Gugu Zulu's VW Polo
The Volkswagen/ Sasol racing service crew repaired Gugu Zulu’s VW Polo after stage two in time for the next stage. Team Volkswagen/Sasol Racing were awarded the manufacturers award. Photo: Greg Stewart

Severe weather and tough and very wet driving conditions resulted in a shortened VW rally with only 10 stages of 12 completed due to the course being flooded.

The rally started in Uitenhage but covered Port Elizabeth and surrounds as far as Buffelshoek near Jeffreys Bay.

There were also stages hosted at the Aldo Scribante Raceway in PE and the PE oval race track.

The 2015 edition proved to be a true test of endurance for both vehicles and drivers with only 15 finishes out of 50 odd vehicles that pulled out of the starting gate on Friday.

Gugu Zulu finished in overall 7th place on home turf with a hair-raising accident that almost saw them out of the race on day one. After a good start on stage one, he crashed on stage two and was fortunate to finish it at all.

The Volkswagen/ Sasol racing service crew must be give its dues.

Watching them in action, repairing Zulu’s VW Polo after stage two where they repaired some significant damage in time for the next stage, was impressive.

Team Volkswagen/Sasol Racing were deservedly awarded the manufacturers award.

The VW brand did, however, maintain momentum in the S1600 class with Paul Franken and Henry Kohne (VW Polo) once again finishing in style upfront in their class after disappointing finishes in the previous two events.

This win in the S1600 class sets the stage for a fiercely contested class with only three events remaining this year.

The weekend however belonged to Team Toyota who dominated with a double podium first and third place.

Leeroy Poulter and Elve’ne Coetzee took on the National Rally Champs leader Mark Cronje with maximum points this outing, while Geniel de Villiers and Carolyn Swan ended a tidy third to climb up the National Rally Champs rankings.

Mathew Vacy-Lyle and Schalk van Heerden wrapped up the Toyota rout with a second place in the S1600 class.

Poulter’s win sees a possible challenge for top honours in the S200 drivers championships.

Only nine points separate the two teams and there are three races remaining.

The only real challenger for top spot over the weekend came in the form of a Ford Fiesta, with a well deserved overall second place for Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton.

They finished just 27.2 seconds off the pace at the end of day two.

The Ford team also gets kudos for pulling three stage wins back from the marauding Team Toyota.

Cronje has now finished with three first places and two second places out of five races this year, and has been the most consistent performance in the 2015 championships.

source: Crocotts Mail, Grahamstown

How Numsa shop stewards splurged R200k

A National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) report has pointed to the wholesale looting of workers’ money by shop stewards at an Eastern Cape transport company for what they called “stress relief” and the “drowning of sorrows”.

The report, leaked to amaBhungane, indicates that after Schnellecke Logistic Solutions management withdrew from overseeing the fund in 2009, leaving control in union hands, close to R200 000 was splurged on T-shirts, parties, hotel accommodation, alcohol and taxi fares.

It also finds that in 2011 nine stewards who feared being replaced at the Uitenhage firm awarded themselves R4 000 each, code-naming the payouts “licences”.

Numsa would not confirm the estimated scale of the loss or comment on the report, saying that it will only be presented to its regional executive committee next week.

The fund was set up in 2006, initially under joint union-company management, with the aim of supporting proper shop steward work. It was funded from a 1% “agency fee” deducted from nonunion employees.

Plundered
The report finds this was in breach of Numsa’s constitution, which stipulates that all such deductions should be held by the union’s national office.

Section 25 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) states that “no agency fee deducted may be used for any expenditure that does not advance or protect the socioeconomic interests of employees”.

The inquiry was conducted by an internal Numsa commission that included regional treasurer Zama Silo, regional legal officer Bonginkosi Zulu and Port Elizabeth local secretary Bandla Mtshiselwa.

Their report finds that:

  • Money plundered from the trust fund was used for “bosberaads” (the drowning of sorrows) and “stress relief” (the abuse and misuse of the agency fee).
  • In 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 the stewards’ council forked out R12 000 for “December farewell getaway parties” with “rooms, braai and booze” for stewards at the Formula One hotel in Port Elizabeth’s upmarket Summerstrand area. The report says that at one of these events “comrade Trevor moered comrade Louis (full names unknown) with an empty of Klipdrift (brandy)”.
  • Stewards paid themselves R100 to cover taxi fares after a night partying at the Waterford and Governor hotels in Uitenhage. “This was a decision of the committee,” the report says. It adds that “two or three got soccer tickets”.
  • About R120 000 was spent on T-shirts for a wage strike in 2010.
  • In 2011 members of “the old committee” made a lump-sum withdrawal and awarded themselves R4 000 each for what they code-named “licences”.

“We knew we might not come back,” a certain “comrade Nojokwe” is quoted as saying. “Anything about money we did not minute because we know we are making corruption. We took a position that we are going to deny it.” Continue reading “How Numsa shop stewards splurged R200k”

Riebeek College Girl’s teacher Jayde Panayiotou RIP

Jayde Panayiotou and husband Christopher PanayiotouSouth Africa was rocked by another murder case in April 2015, two years after Reeva Steemkamp was murdered.

It was a heart-wrenching day at Riebeek College Girl’s High School in Uitenhage on Wednesday following news that the body of much loved teacher, Jayde Panayiotou, had been found.

Teachers and students alike had been praying for her safe return since hearing about her disappearance outside her home at Stellen Glen residential complex in Deacon Road, Kabega Park on Tuesday morning.

Panayiotou, 28, had been waiting outside her complex to get a lift with a fellow teacher and friend, but when the friend arrived, Panayiotou was missing. It triggered a massive manhunt for her that ended in tragedy on Wednesday when her body was found.

Teaching ‘was her passion’ school principal, Marilyn Woods, described Panayiotou as a loving soul who had a passion for teaching.

“Jayde was something special. I taught her when she was a little girl at Riebeek and she’s been teaching here since 2008. Jayde was a special person. For her teaching was not a job, teaching was a calling and her passion,” she said.

Panayiotou was a Grade 7 class teacher, and also taught life orientation from Grades 4 to 7.

Woods said pupils and teachers alike had been hard hit by the news of Panayiotou’s disappearance and the news of her death.

“When we heard about her abduction yesterday [Tuesday], I called the teachers in, as well as the senior girls, and told them what had happened and that we needed to keep faith and have hope that Jayde would be brought back safely,” she said.

Woods said she had also asked the teachers to dedicate the last 20 minutes of the day to praying for Panayiotou’s safe return.

“I told them they’re going to put their heads on their desks, think positive thoughts and imagine her coming back to us and hopefully those positive thoughts would give her strength. We were all sad but we were calm,” she said.

Close friends sent home

Woods said after she had been informed that police had found Panayiotou’s body behind the KwaNobuhle township on the outskirts of Uitenhage, she had told the staff, before revealing the sad news to the rest of the school.

Woods said some staff, who were close personal friends with Panayiotou, had been sent home.

“We called an assembly, which was attended by two representatives from the Uitenhage School Districts, both of whom are psychiatrists, as well as two ministers,” she said.

Woods said the pupils had been heartbroken at the news. She said staff and some of the senior girls had walked around during break to console them.

“We decided to keep the school running as per normal, so that we could provide the necessary support for the children, she said.

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College students protest bursary cuts, evictions

by Binwe Adebayo

Eastcape Midlands College, UitenhageStudents of the Eastcape Midlands College are currently protesting after certain students were denied full bursaries by National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). As a result, local landlords have threatened to evict those affected.

After some students were evicted on Monday night 24 February, a large crowd of students gathered to protest at around 11pm, many wearing pyjamas. The students moved up along Hill Street and up along Milner Road in Uitenhage.

Some protesters jumped over the College’s fence, before three police vehicles arrived at the scene. The crowd dispersed at around 12.30pm but the protest resumed early this morning and is set to continue until their demands are met.

The Student Representative Council (SRC) is adamant that this is an issue which requires resolution, especially because the deduction from the promised R1 600 to R550 has been enacted across all eight campuses of the Eastcape Midlands College.

Students carrying placards are protesting outside the school, which has deployed HiTec guards to protect staff and the premises. Police vehicles have also driven past the site of the protest during the course of the morning.

Despite cold weather and rain over last night and this morning, the crowd of protesting students has grown. Even those who are not on bursaries have pledged their solidarity.

“If one of our students is affected, we are all affected. People must be angry, this is not fair treatment,” said Office Administration student, Anathi Gongqa.

“We will stay here all day and even tomorrow if needs be. The College needs to help defend our rights. We are their students,” said one student, who declined to be named.

Many of the students with whom Grocott’s Mail spoke refused to give their names as they had been told by officials of the College that this could result in immediate expulsion.

The students, along with Student Liaison Officer Lithemba Busakwe, hope to meet the Department of Higher Education at the Eastcape Midlands College’s head office in Uitenhage.

Despite calls to the College there has been no public response so far.

source: Grocotts Mail

Service Delivery Protests continue in Uitenhage

Rioters in Uitenhage disrupting access to certain areas by barricading roads with fires. They are protesting over service delivery and want houses of their own to live in. Roads shown in this video include: Corner of Cannon Street and Middle Street (Kabah), Kamesh Road close to Blikkiesdorp and Kamesh Road in the Thomas Gamble area.

Thanks to Rostin van Heerdan for providing the footage. This does seem to be a continuation of what started in 2013 here:

November 15 – Uitenhage community members claim police used live ammunition to disperse protesters on Thursday. At least one person has been taken to hospital with what’s believed to be gunshot wounds in both legs.

Is the Citrix Virtualization Learning Path Right for Your Certification Needs?

If you are interested in earning the CCEE for Virtualization certification, you may wish to pursue the Design Phase of the Citrix Virtualization Learning Path. This phase requires you to take the CVE-401 Engineering a Citrix Virtualization Solution course. You can also use ExamTrace to learn the skills you’ll need in order to pass the certification exam. Some of the skills you’ll need to successfully earn the CCEE for Virtualization certification include building a virtual infrastructure for desktop and application delivery, building farm to deliver servers and desktops, integrating XenApp and XenDesktop, and integrating XenServer with third party storage solutions. This path is best for you if you are interesting in working as a systems engineer.

If your goal includes being a systems administrator, you may wish to pursue the system deploy phase. For this phase, you’ll need to be responsible for knowing how to create, manage and deliver virtual desktops. You’ll also be responsible for managing applications in the datacenter. Installing and configuring storage and provisioning concepts are additional essential skills.

The maintain phase is targeted towards those individuals hoping to work as a system analyst. The primary tasks you’ll be responsible for include monitoring, maintaining, and optimizing virtualized environments.

For both the deploy and maintain phases of the learning path, you are required to take four training courses. After successfully completing the phases, you are eligible to receive any of the following certifications: CCA for XenDesktop 5, CCA for XenApp 6, CCA for XenServer 6, and CCAA for XenApp 6.

Finishing Last: The Red Lantern

Raise the Red LanternThe original title of this blog by marketing wunderkind Seth Godin made me remember the book and subsequent 1991 film by Zhang Yimou. This message is clearly directed at parents and teachers who often ignore follow the carrot and stick method to discipline and have no clue about perseverance.

My own persistence even when I may be perceived as finishing last comes from my uncle Andrew Arries, who turned 87 years recently in Uitenhage. Even at this age he has never stopped giving more than he receives, helping to raise my sisters children, helping to look after my mother’s house, and also taking care of his own needs from cooking, to cleaning to shopping.

Two weeks ago his 2nd brother died. He has one brother and sister remaining, and may yet be standing when I look at his energy levels and love for life. He was like my grandfather and father rolled into one.

…. from the Seth Godin blog ….

At the grueling Iditarod, there’s a prize for the musher who finishes last: The Red Lantern.

Failing to finish earns you nothing, of course. But for the one who sticks it out, who arrives hours late, there’s the respect that comes from finding the strength to make it, even when all seems helpless.

Most parents (and most bosses) agree that this sort of dedication is a huge asset in life. And yet, as we head back for another year of school, I can’t help but notice that schools do nothing at all to encourage it.

The coach of the soccer team doesn’t reward the players who try the hardest, push themselves or put in the hours. He rewards the best players, by playing them.

The director of the school play puts the same kids in leading roles year after year. After all, the reasoning goes, we need to have tryouts and reward the best performers, just like they do in real life.

But school isn’t real life. School is about learning how to succeed in real life.

Natural talent is rewarded early and often. As Malcolm Gladwell has pointed out, most of the players in the NHL have birthdays in a three month window, because when you’re 8 years old, being six months older is a huge advantage. Those kids, the skaters with good astrological signs, or possibly those performers with the genetic singing advantage–those are the kids that get the coaching and the applause and the playing time. Unearned advantages, multiplied.

If we’re serious about building the habits of success, tracking is precisely the wrong approach. Talent (born with or born without) is not your fault, is not a choice, is not something we ought to give you much credit or blame for.

How do we celebrate the Red Lantern winners instead?

Is South Africa’s public service too large or ineffective?

Government Civil ServantsFRIGHTENING! Government statistics – MIND Boggling: Government statistics

Silly questions receive unbelievable answers.

We have 34 ministers, 33 deputy ministers, 159 directors general, 642 deputy director generals, 2 501 chief directors and 7 782 directors. This information was supplied in Parliament to Mr Mulder by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Mr Mulder replied that 40 years ago there were 18 ministers, 6 deputy ministers and 18 directors general.

In the first quarter of 2013 more than 44 000 public servants have been appointed, bring the number of public servants to 3.07 million, or 22.6% of the total labour force of South Africa.

The Auditor General had noted during a recent audit that our large public service spent nationally on consultants during 2008 and 2011 R102 billion, namely R33.5 billion by national departments and R68.5 billion by provincial departments.

Without including gross corruption, waste and incompetence, watch for a financial implosion if the smaller private sector cannot continue to carry this ever-increasing public service disaster.

The above is 2013 info.

Nice to know where your tax rand is going!