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Top 10 business continuity issues for SA in 2010

While views on 2010 are generally cautiously optimistic, there are serious issues South African businesses will have to face during the year, issues that have nothing to do with soccer or economics, writes ALLEN SMITH, CEO of ContinuitySA.

Whether it’s crumbling infrastructure, lack of skills, social unrest, failing health standards, a larger tax bill or any combination of these events, 2010 in South Africa will be a good year to be sure your business continuity plans are in good shape.

There are, of course, always issues that force organisations to implement their business continuity plans, but with reduced budgets, less certainty in all spheres and the continuing brain drain, we expect a busy year for business continuity professionals.

With that in mind, I believe the following make up the top 10 issues businesses will face in 2010 that will cause them to invoke their business continuity plans:



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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy, Trends

Now employing: signpost for 2010

Two ads in the employment section of the latest Sunday Times offer two related signposts for the development of technology infrastructure in South Africa during 2010, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Two ads in the latest Sunday Times were seemingly innocuous: six posts advertised for Broadband Infraco, and 13 for the Department of Home Affairs. But between the lines, they said so much.

To start with, the Home Affairs ad was headlined “Building the New Home Affairs”. That ’s a positive sign to start with; an acknowledgement that Home Affairs as it had been structured and the way it had been operating simply wasn’t good enough.



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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Technology, Trends

All change in cabinet – but not in ICT

The appointment of a new Minister and Deputy Minister of Communications has both raised and dashed hopes for a new era for the advancement of telecommunications in South Africa. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK looks at where change may and may not come – and why.

Siphiwe NyandaAny fan of South African dream football team Kaizer Chiefs will know the feeling: they start off every season with immense hope and promise, and their fans have every expectation they will end the season as champions, or at least with enough silverware in the trophy cabinet to have pleased most of the fans most of the time. By the end of a season littered with disappointment – the one just ended this weekend being a case in point – the fans realise that promise and hope means nothing without results and delivery. Even more ignominiously, it comes a few weeks after the team had been bundled out of a knock-out tournament by a lower-league side.

Siphiwe Nyanda. Pic: Mail & Guardian

So it is with the Department of Communications. Every time we begin a new season, i.e. have a new team in charge appointed by the President, we live in hope that, this time, we will all end up winners. By the end of the season, in which a startling lack of results and very little delivery has left us jaded, cynical and sad, we realise that we have fallen for false promises once again. It is left to the minnows of private enterprise to take on the Department – and beat it, as happened in the courtrooms with regard to licensing – in order for us to see progress.



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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Technology

Time to free up SA’s telecoms market

South Africa will need to become Internet savvy in order to compete globally, argues ADRIAAN GIE, CEO of Plusto.com, a business-to-business e-trading platform launched to the SA, Indian and Chinese markets last month.

It is time for Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri to change her stance on South Africa’s telecoms legislation.

While South Africa may be a leader in internet connectivity across Africa, the country lags behind countries such as Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria in terms of market competitiveness.

A severely controlled and conservative telecoms legislation that repels competition leads to other service providers being shut out of the market while Telkom holds South Africans at ransom by charging exorbitant connectivity fees.

For too long the Minister has stifled economic growth in South Africa by refusing private companies entry to the market. If government’s focus is on increasing trade and commerce between South Africa and the rest of the world, then this is not the way to go about it. In addition, the price of broadband in South Africa is exorbitant compared with international standards:



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Posted in the category: Economy, Technology, Trends

Telkom confirms sale of Vodacom

Telkom today confirmed the key terms of the sale of a 15% stake in Vodacom, South Africa’s leading mobile phone operator, to UK-based Vodafone Group and the intended listing of Vodacom on the JSE.

Telkom formally confirmed today that a 15% stake in Vodacom will be sold to Vodafone for R22.5bn in cash, less Vodacom’s attributable net debt of R1.55bn. Telkom will distribute 50% of the after tax proceeds from the sale transaction to Telkom shareholders by way of a special dividend. The dividend will be paid upon closing of the transaction, which is expected to take place in the first half of 2009.

The transaction is subject to approval by 75% of Telkom shareholders, the competition authorities and the Independent Communication Authority of SA (ICASA). Irrevocable undertakings in support of the transaction have already been received from Telkom’s largest shareholders, the South African Government and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).



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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Technology

AfricaCom Awards finalists named

The organisers of AfricaCom Awards 2008 have announced the finalists for the inaugural African telecommunications awards taking place on 18 November 2008 at the International Convention Centre, Cape Town.

South Africa’s new second Network operator, Neotel, has been nominated as a finalist in the New Entrant of the Year category for the AfricaCom Awards 2008. It joins several dozen other African telecommunications operators and suppliers who are vying for recognition.

The awards recognise the achievements and success within the African communications market during the last twelve months.

According to the organisers, the quality and quantity of entries was exceptional and sets the standard for the African telecommunications industry going into 2009.

The finalists are:



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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Technology

HR is about delivery, not about doing

Part of the solution to South Africa’s skills shortage is for companies to retain key staff. Or, as Kumba Iron Ore’s HR head puts it, “You don’t want to get into a situation where skills recycling is constantly taking place, with companies poaching each other’s skilled staff”

There is a great need to move Human Resources into a position where practitioners are in a position to add value to business.Fergus Marupen speaks in the opening session

This was the key message delivered by Kumba Iron Ore general manager of HR, Fergus Marupen, at last month’s 28th Annual Assessment Centre Study Group Conference held in Stellenbosch.

Speaking at the opening session, he said : “Too often in the past HR has been relegated to a department that reports to the financial manager and not to the head of the organisation, and this has hindered its ability to attract talented people and keep them.”



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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy

Mobile banking – and its threats – on the rise

Simeon ConeyThe unprecedented growth in mobile banking in Africa comes as welcome news to investors, telecoms providers, financial institutions and consumers. However, warns SIMEON CONEY, VP of Strategic Development, at AdaptiveMobile, the potential for fraud and abuse requires user education and operator engagement.

South Africa stands to emerge as the leader in mobile banking on the continent of Africa.

A recent United Nations Trade and Development Conference singled out how mobile technology can help trade and commerce, specifically benefiting the growth and sustainability of small vendors in South Africa.

Mobile is a natural medium for banking services such as money transfers, and the ubiquity of the mobile phone makes it easier to reach consumers, overcoming the challenges of limited ATM and bank property infrastructure in particular regions.

With this opportunity comes the challenge to protect users and the system from fraud and abuse.


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Posted in the category: Economy, Technology, Trends

Study reveals multinational's broad economic footprint

Every one person employed by multinational giant Unilever is responsible for the support of a further 22 individuals, according to a critical study of the company’s economic footprint in South Africa. The findings are expected to create the impetus for other multinationals and large businesses to re-look how they create and share wealth.

The “Footprint” study, a critical research project carried out by Professor Ethan Kapstein of INSEAD, a leading European business school, has found that every person employed by Unilever South Africa supported another 22 up and down the supply chain. This impact on jobs is regarded as significant in South Africa, with its extremely high unemployment.Gail Klintworth and Ethan Kapstein

Unilever SA’s Gail Klintworth with Professor Ethan Kapstein

The study also found that, for every R100 of sales by the company, a further R145 of value-added is created in the wider South African economy. The associated economic activity also generated nearly one percent of South Africa’s tax revenue.

The role of multinationals, especially in developing countries, has been the subject of debate for many years. Some governments and campaigning organisations have questioned whether multinationals do more good than harm in emerging markets.



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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy

Budget speech good for entrepreneurs and SMEs

PKF, the chartered accounting and business advisory firm that specialises in servicing growing and entrepreneurial companies, is positive about this year’s budget speech. Tax specialist DR ROBIN BEALE explains why.

Dr Robin BealeThe new simplified, turnover-based tax system for small businesses, announced by Trevor Manual in his budget speech today, is to be welcomed, even though some caution is in order.

The simpler tax matters are for the small business, the better. The new turnover-based tax proposed for these businesses will be a combination of VAT and income tax, with business owners paying tax on their total turnover without making any deductions for expenses. However, there is a danger that small, unsophisticated businesses could unwittingly miscalculate their taxes. Therefore a simpler turnover system is preferable.



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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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