Making a positive difference in Saldanha Bay

Pictured above are Sea Harvest staff Belinda Rhode and Donavon Goliath, with children from a local community organisation during Mandela Day celebrations in Saldanha Bay in July 2017.

Best known for its glittering blue sea and bustling harbour, the picturesque west coast town of Saldanha Bay is home to a thriving fishing industry but, like any other town, it faces pressing social challenges, including drug and alcohol addiction, poverty and unemployment. Sea Harvest, which recently announced that it has acquired a new freezer trawler following its successful JSE listing in March this year, has restated its commitment to local area development to help address these challenges.

According to the most recent Socio-Economic Profile of Saldanha Bay Municipality, compiled by the Western Cape Government*, there were over 800 drug related crimes committed in 2015. In addition, almost ten percent of babies are born to teenage mothers, contributing to high drop-out rates amongst learners in secondary school. The report notes with concern that over 4000 households in the area earn less than R400 a month, far below the breadline.

 

Seafood company, Sea Harvest, which catches and processes Cape Hake, is the single largest employer in Saldanha Bay. The company’s contribution to the local Municipality, in terms of Gross Value Add, totalled R405 million in 2014**. “About nine percent of all employment in Saldanha Bay is as a result of Sea Harvest, be it direct or indirect employment. Over 2800 employees work on our vessels and in our factory at the harbour, so we have a tremendous sense of responsibility to invest in the people of this town who work with us. We want to give back to the community in which we operate and to ensure that their quality of life improves,” says Terence Brown, Sea Harvest Operations Director and Chairman of the Board of the Sea Harvest Foundation.

 

“Each employee is a breadwinner and considering the high rate of unemployment here, we constantly look for ways to create work, whether on board our vessels, in the factory or indirectly, through the 170 local suppliers we engage with. While it’s important to run a successful JSE-listed business that delivers value to shareholders, job creation is vital to how we operate,” says Brown.

 

“Education is foundational for development and another priority area for Sea Harvest. At the Foundation Phase, we are building extra classrooms to increase capacity for Diazville Primary School’s Grade R class,” says Brown. Between 2010 and 2015 almost 300 bursaries were awarded to local students. This year, a total of R297 000 was awarded to 31 young people from the West Coast region who will attend tertiary institutions to study courses which vary from law, tourism, consumer science and navigation to commerce, biochemistry and engineering. “Of course, not every bursary recipient will end up working at Sea Harvest, although some certainly will. In fact, we are more interested in seeing many of them working here in Saldanha in the future, as skilled professionals, providing key services to the community,” says Brown.

 

“Work experience makes a person more employable which means an increase in earning power and economic mobility. We have a role to play in providing such opportunities for graduates through our internship programme, as well as for artisans to obtain trade qualifications through our apprenticeship programme.” Sea Harvest also provides Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) learnerships and through its partnership with the West Coast School for Special Educational Needs, workplace exposure is given to students.

 

To further develop businesses in the area, the fishing company have partnered with the West Coast Business Development Centre (WCBDC), which is chaired by Sea Harvest’s Head of Procurement, Welmarie Coetzee. Technical and financial support is provided to WCBDC which helps grow small and medium enterprises in the region.

 

Brown explains that tackling social challenges starts with addressing individual health and wellbeing. “Through our employee wellness programme, we have introduced support groups that have helped our staff manage challenging situations at home.” The Family Enrichment Programme and Substance Abuse Support Groups are run by Social Workers from the Department of Social Development. Sea Harvest covers the rental costs for an office in the centre of Saldanha which is used by Social Workers who assist the community. “Through our collaboration with the Department of Social Development, we have been able to begin to tackle the challenges of teenage pregnancy, foetal alcohol syndrome and addictions,” says Brown.

 

“To promote a healthy, active lifestyle amongst youngsters who might otherwise be tempted to turn to drugs and alcohol, we partner with 24 low-income school sports teams which receive sports kits and financial donations,” says Brown. Fresh fish donations to the Siyabonga Care Village, Sandveld Hospice and other organisations form another part of Sea Harvest’s ongoing Corporate Social Investment (CSI) activities.

 

“Last year, we were able to channel almost a million Rand into developing Saldanha Bay, through the initiatives of the Sea Harvest Foundation. We look forward to continuing with these projects which will result in true, long-term socio-economic benefits for all,” concludes Brown.

 

For more information about Sea Harvest, visit www.seaharvest.co.za.

* https://www.westerncape.gov.za/assets/departments/treasury/Documents/Socio-economic-profiles/2016/municipality/West-Coast-District/wc014_saldanha_bay_2015_sep-lg_profile.pdf

** The Socio-Economic Impact of Sea Harvest’s Operations at Saldanha. Report compiled by Independent Economic Researchers. April 2016.


New computers for Durbanville reading centre

CAPTION: Children at the Morningstar Reading Centre in Durbanville enjoying the new computers at the Centre, a privilege that few of them would have access to at home. The Reading Centre provides afterschool support for up to 30 pre-primary and primary school children from the Morningstar suburb. Most of them come of their own accord: the only admission criterion is an eagerness to learn. The volunteer teachers, mainly social workers and mothers from the greater Durbanville area, supplement the children’s academics with reading, comprehension and art. The newly installed computers, complete with Edubuntu educational software, provide maths, language and computer literacy support.

The computers were installed by the Rotary Club of Tygerberg with financial assistance from the Rotary Club of Claremont’s outreach programme. “These computers will make a tremendous difference to the lives of the children who attend the centre,” says past President of Rotary Club of Claremont Peter Trebble, who spearheads the Club’s outreach programme. “We are delighted to help make numerous projects like this one possible, by financially assisting other Rotary clubs from Namibia to Plettenberg Bay. Over R 1.2 million has been invested in communities over the past five years. It is an honour and a privilege to be of assistance in communities that need it,” he concludes.

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit http://claremontrotary.co.za/.


2 000 sandwiches and hundreds of litres of soup to those in need

In celebration of Mandela Day, hundreds of South Africans came together to commemorate the life of former President Nelson Mandela. The Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB) team joined hands by preparing 2 000 sandwiches and hundreds of litres of soup to those in need.

Caption: The CCPB South region based in Athlone saw over 200 staff including truck drivers, sales managers and general managers, coming together to prepare 2 000 delicious sandwiches. One thousand of these lunch packs were delivered to the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Heideveld, the Heatherdale Children’s Home in Belgravia, Ekuphumleni Frail Care Centre in Gugulethu and Baphumelele Foundation in Khayelitsha. Local non-profit organisation, Mustadafin Foundation, also received 1 000 sandwiches and fruit packs for distribution to the various projects they co-ordinate.

Caption: CCPB also kept everyone hydrated at the Cape Quarter where they joined celebrity chef and one of SA’s outstanding foodie personalities Jenny Morris, who hosted a Soup Kitchen at the Yumcious Café in Green Point. The Cape Quarter was packed with eager volunteers chopping vegetables while lively music entertained young and old. The soup is for night shelters in the area.

Caption: Giggling gourmet, Jenny Morris (left), Priscilla Urquhart, Public Affairs and Communication Manager at CCPB (middle), and Lee Corlett (right), hard at work making bread for the less fortunate.

“It is fantastic to see how Mandela Day brings South Africans from all walks of life together to make a difference within their communities. It has been a pleasure partnering with all those involved,” says Priscilla Urquhart, Public Affairs and Communications Manager at CCPB.

[Photographer: Malick Abarder, Live4ever Productions]


Giving waste a second life, as energy

Waste-to-energy (WtE) involves the physical, chemical and biological processes that give municipal waste a second life – as a resource that will produce renewable energy. The WtE concept, that is gaining momentum in South Africa, is being considered as another alternative for diversion of waste from landfill, depending on whether it passes the rigorous environmental assessments.

The most common way that most municipalities in South Africa have dealt with waste is by landfilling; the waste is compacted, covered and hopefully never seen again.

“Landfilling is not desirable when considering the waste hierarchy as it poses many environmental risks if incorrectly located, poorly designed or poorly operated. Consequently, the waste management landscape needs to explore technologies to maximise diversion from landfill, such as the WtE process,” says Jan Palm, President of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA).

“Not only does WtE alleviate the burden on available landfill airspace, it also provides an entirely new source of energy for South Africa, which can power many homes,” adds Palm.

How does it work?

Municipal solid waste consists of everyday household and garden waste, commercial waste, and sometimes industrial waste. This can be recovered and separated into different parts; recyclable, organic and non-recyclable.

Municipal solid waste first enters a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) which is a physical separation process used to recover all recyclables to re-enter the market. What remains after the recyclables have been removed is the organic part and non-recyclable part of the waste.

The organic fraction, which consists mostly of food waste and garden refuse, then goes through a biological treatment process known as anaerobic digestion (AD). This involves bacteria that thrive in environments in the absence of oxygen, which break down the organic waste, much the same as what happens inside a landfill. Instead of occurring in an open environment, this happens in closed reactors so that the two by-products, biogas and digestate can be collected. Methane gas, which with carbon dioxide makes up the biogas, can then be used as a source for energy (electricity and/or heat) production. The digestate can be used to produce low-grade compost or can be added to the non-recyclable part to be thermally treated.

Thermal treatment as part of the WtE process typically occurs in three different ways namely; incineration, gasification or pyrolysis. Incineration, also known as mass burn, is the most common process which involves using the heat that is generated during incineration to turn water into steam. The steam turns a turbine to produce electricity1. Gasification is a process that turns organic waste into syngas, a gas containing up to 60% carbon monoxide, 25 to 30% hydrogen, 5 to 15% carbon dioxide, and 0 to 5% methane. This syngas is used to produce electricity. Pyrolysis involves heating the organic waste to speed up the decomposition process, however, this occurs in the absence of oxygen so that the waste does not burn. The products of this process include syngas and bio-oil2.

“To ensure that air quality regulations are met, WtE plants will implement emission treatment technology followed by an emission monitoring system to ensure air quality compliance. This is normally a condition that follows the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process, which is a statutory requirement before any WtE activity starts,” mentions Palm.

The IWMSA aims to provide insight into the development of the South African waste management landscape, especially moving waste management up the waste hierarchy. “Our country is governed by strict environmental legislation, which will determine the best route for integrated waste management, which includes WtE,” explains Palm. “By utilising WtE as one of the technologies to divert waste from landfill we progress up the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Waste Hierarchy. Landfill, although it will always act as a safety net when all else fails, still remains the least preferred waste management option according to the Hierarchy,” he concludes.

To gain insight into these industry developments, visit the IWMSA’s training schedule and book your spot in one of the many informative sessions, which are facilitated by industry professionals.

For more information on the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa visit www.iwmsa.co.za. You can also follow IWMSA on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/iwmsa) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/IWMSA).

1United States Environmental Protection Agency (2017). Energy Recovery from the Combustion of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).

2United States Department of Agriculture (2017). Biomass Pyrolysis Research.


31 West Coast students win Sea Harvest bursaries

More than 30 students in various fields of study, ranging from musical theatre to civil engineering, received a Sea Harvest Foundation bursary during a handover event in Saldanha this past weekend. In the photo above are 4th and 7th year (PHD) students: (Back from L-R) Nortimer Barry, Lise Barnard (7th year), Terence Brown (Sea Harvest), Tyron Cloete, Ashwille Brutus and Aslam Dalwai; (Front from L-R) Kirsten Wicomb, Sarkina Dalwai and Chanté Clarke.

The Foundation awards bursaries every year as part of the fishing company’s commitment to social transformation and empowering the youth within the Saldanha Bay area.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Sea Harvest’s Operations Director and Foundation Chairperson, Terence Brown said that they were inundated with bursary applicants.

“With so many promising students applying for bursaries, we decided to almost double the budget we had initially set aside this year.”

Bursaries to the value of R297 000 were given to 31 students, the majority of whom were female.

The Sea Harvest Foundation invests about R1 million annually into community projects and other initiatives aimed at benefitting Saldanha Bay and the surrounding area. “Our primary focus, as a Foundation, is on developing communities, local business and sports within schools, as well as supporting local government health services and empowerment through education,” says Brown.

The bursary recipients, some of whose parents are employed by the company, are all from the West Coast region. Brown explained that no restrictions were made regarding certain fields of study. “Our intention is not to look after our own interests or to merely tick a box. We are invested in the Saldanha Bay area and we want to make a difference on a large scale. So, while funding a course of study in musical theatre or land surveying may have no direct benefit for our business, it can be of value to communities within the Saldanha Bay Municipality.”

Most of the students have received funding from Sea Harvest for consecutive years. One such bursary recipient is Lise Barnard who is in her seventh year, studying towards a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Stellenbosch.

During the handover event, the students were encouraged to make their education a priority despite many challenging social issues competing for their attention. They were encouraged to strive to become leaders who will positively influence the environments within which they will one day operate.

For more information about Sea Harvest, visit www.seaharvest.co.za.


South Africa’s eco-heroes

This year’s Eco-Logic Awards, hosted by The Enviropaedia, was a celebration of the visionaries and innovators who are finding solutions to our most pressing environmental challenges. The Awards took place at the CSIR in Tshwane last night and honoured individuals and organisations who are contributing to a sustainable future. Pictured above is Charne Blignaut, winner of the Eco-Youth Award in her upcycled outfit made from instant cappucino packets and soda can tabs at the glamorous event, which was a highlight of Sustainability Week.

In his opening address, Enviropaedia editor and host of the event, David Parry-Davies said, “For those who will be accepting these awards tonight, you are our very own eco-heroes who look at the environmental challenges in our world as opportunities to pioneer solutions and achieve sustainable growth. Your contributions are of paramount importance in developing the green economy and green jobs in our country and we honour you with this token of our appreciation.”

Guests came dressed in their gorgeously green attire. The best dressed was Dr Michelle Henley Head Researcher at Elephants Alive! and Craig Spencer, Founder of Black Mamba’s Anti-Poaching Unit who won luxury safari holidays at White Elephant Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal.

Each award winner was honoured on stage for their remarkable efforts as eco-logical individuals and organisations.

The Gold award winners for each category included:

  1.     The Biodiversity Award (sponsored by Sun International): Local Action for Biodiversity: Wetlands South Africa.
  2.     The Climate Change Award (sponsored by the Department of Environmental Affairs): Simply Sustainable.
  3.     The Eco-Innovation Award (supported by the City of Tshwane): Solar Veranda.
  4.     The Energy Efficiency Award (sponsored by Eskom): Hot Spot by AET Africa.
  5.     The Recycling and Waste Management Award: Reliance Compost.
  6.     The Transport Award (sponsored by SANRAL): Bicycles and Beyond.
  7.     The Water Conservation Award (sponsored by Coca-Cola Beverages SA): Water Explorer by WESSA.
  8.     The Green Economy Award (sponsored by NCPC-SA): GreenCape Sector Development Agency by GreenCape.
  9.     The Municipalities Award (sponsored by Santam): Atteridgeville Recycling Park by City of Tshwane.
  10.     The Eco-Community Award (sponsored by CHEP): Umgibe Farming Organics and Training Institute.
  11.     The Eco-Youth Award: Charne Blignaut of CB Scientific
  12.     The Eco-Angel Award (sponsored by Pam Golding Properties): Nonhlanhla Joye of Umgibe Farming Organics and Training Institute.
  13.   The Eco-Warrior Award (sponsored by SodaStream): Lorraine Jenks of Hotelstuff / Greenstuff.

“I feel so honoured that my hard work has been acknowledged and celebrated; I hope to inspire other young people to take action in protecting our eco-systems. Together, we can make a difference and positively influence our future,” says Charne Blignaut of CB Scientific and winner of the Eco-Youth Award.

“The calibre of winners is truly impressive, from the interactive water saving mission of Water Explorer who won the gold award in the Water Conservation category, to the incredible innovation of Solar Veranda, winner of the Eco-Innovation Award; they have all inspired us,” concludes Parry-Davies.

Enviropaedia would like to thank all the sponsors who sponsored the Eco-Logic Awards 2017, these include CHEP; the City of Tshwane; Coca-Cola South Africa; David Green Eyewear; the Department of Environmental Affairs; Mico IT Recycling; National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC); Eskom; Pam Golding Properties; SANRAL; Santam; Sodastream and Sun International without whom the event would not have been possible.

Keep up to date with the annual Eco-Logic Awards by visiting the website http://www.enviropaedia.com and find out more on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Enviropaedia) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/EcoLogicAwards).


A responsible growth strategy

It is not only consumers; it is all of your stakeholders who want to know what your business is doing to be socially and environmentally responsible. This influencing factor has the potential to build or break down your reputation; therefore, having authentic ‘Corporate Social Investment’ (CSI) initiatives is key to sustainable growth in any organisation.

The latest King IV report, launched by the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) at the end of last year aims to reinforce principles of good corporate governance, ethical leadership, and sustainable development. The report starts off by speaking about a ‘changed world’1. An influencing drive for the change in corporate governance is climate change, as well as the environmental impacts which also affect people. This points to the fact that social and environmental issues are intertwined can never be treated separately. The quality of the environment and the resources it has to offer has a direct influence on the quality of life of the people living there. Businesses are also a part of society and therefore are in the advantageous position to have a positive influence towards change that addresses social and environmental issues.

“CSI, purely as a marketing attempt is not a good strategy. It is imperative to have an ongoing investment towards positive change,” says Chris Bischoff, research and sustainability specialist at Reputation Matters.

In this day and age, your average consumer is much more tuned in on specific environmental and social issues. Mentioned in King IV, social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter, is creating a world of radical transparency, especially when it comes to being transparent about environmental performance. More and more institutions and businesses are getting caught out, especially on social media, for not ‘walking their environmental talk’. This is known as ‘greenwashing’, saying that you have a responsibility towards reducing your environmental impact or footprint, however certain business decisions and actions suggest otherwise. This is why it is so important to have an authentic approach to your CSI initiatives.

“Not only does it pay dividends for the environment and the well-being of people, having an authentic commitment to environmental and social responsibility makes business sense. You open up the opportunity of becoming a strategic alliance. People and businesses want to be involved with other organisations that are socially and environmentally responsible, our research has shown this,” adds Bischoff.

CSI is a two way investment; in one sense it means investing in uplifting the quality of living of a society, and in another sense investing in that area of business that contributes to your corporate reputation. Having well-thought CSI initiatives aligned to your organisation’s vision and values will encourage employees to embody this responsibility, reflecting in their actions and decisions, and most likely taking this culture home from work.

If you would like to what people think about your corporate social and environmental responsibility, read more about Reputation Matters ‘Sustainability check’, a research tool which provides insight into stakeholders’ perceptions on your social and environmental responsibility.

1Institute of Directors Southern Africa (2016). King IV, Report of corporate governance South Africa.


Extraordinary leadership required: African mayors rise to the occasion

CAPTION: Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Councillor Solly Msimanga, explains how important local government leadership is in the sustainability of cities.

Is civilisation under siege from the weather? In South Africa, you could be forgiven for thinking that’s the case. Climate change is wreaking havoc, causing drought, storms, and wildfires. Who is there to lead us out of danger? Curiously enough, the answer is to be found in your local municipality.

Mayors are the unlikely solution to our collective problem, if they can get their act together in time and lead responsibly. This message rang loud and clear during the plenary session of the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF), held at the CSIR International Convention Centre, in the city of Tshwane.

Pressing home the point to an audience that included 28 mayoral delegations from countries throughout Africa, Parks Tau, President of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), said, “In the past several months SA has been affected by protracted drought, storms, and fires. These phenomena provide mind-boggling confirmation that climate change is not a myth. On the contrary – as the people of Knysna know to their cost – climate change threatens not only the lives and livelihoods of ordinary citizens, but also the very infrastructure assets on which basic service delivery depends. As local leaders we are at the coalface of managing these extremes and the dire consequences for the communities we serve.”

It’s a formidable challenge, admitted the City of Tshwane’s executive mayor, Councillor Solly Msimanga. Seventy percent of the African population is going to be living in cities in the not-too-distant future. “They’re going to need jobs, but they’re also going to need to live in cities that are resilient to climate change. The urban sprawl we are seeing at the moment, where people build first and plan later, is simply unsustainable. We have to plan the future better, so that our cities are future-proof.”

Msimanga reminded delegates that the purpose of the ACCSF – now in its third year – is to forge a network and fellowship among African capital city mayors to advance city sustainability in Africa.

“Adopting sustainability as a primary objective of service delivery and urban development will result in greater prosperity and safety for city residents,” he said.

“It means providing for the pressing service delivery needs of our citizens while safeguarding the environment on which our cities depend. This includes creating the conditions for business to flourish, especially by leveraging the green economy. It is within the power of mayors and civic leaders to make this happen.”

Sound visionary? So it should, for vision is an integral element of responsible leadership. Without responsible leadership, service delivery and investment are flatly unthinkable –  or so says former Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament Pravin Gordhan.

In a trademark delivery combining brevity, precision and dry-to-caustic wit, Gordhan left delegates in no doubt as to what it takes to be considered a responsible leader.

“There’s a crisis brewing in the world and Africa,” he said. “Growing alienation between business and political leaders on the one hand, and citizens on the other, is being caused by growing inequality, and a growing perception that the elite enjoy what others don’t.”

Gordhan continued by saying that responsible leadership demands that leaders take cognisance of this unfolding reality and recognize that this alienation is harmful. Already it has resulted in political upheaval in the Western world, with alienated citizens making political choices of great concern (Trump, Brexit, the “coalition of chaos” in the UK).

And the role of local government?

“From our point of view, governance in a local government context is extremely important,” Gordhan emphasized. “Cities, towns and villages are becoming magnets for people to assemble around. Cities are seen as points where economic opportunity and enterprise are concentrated: people are hopeful of a better future in a city. In some instances, however, where we are not offering the right kind of vision and planning, cities have become centres of disappointment and despair.”

A better organized city offers more economic opportunities, particularly to the young, and hope for a better quality of life. South Africa’s badly planned cities, with their apartheid spatial planning legacy, have to be turned around – and it is local government’s responsibility to make this happen. Gordhan also touched on the scourge of corruption.

“Corruption is a societal disease,” said Gordhan. “The public is very alive to the fact that corruption exists. To turn it around, we want good governance with ethics and integrity, so we need to set our own standards.”

From an investment point of view, said Gordhan, investors want to see leaders with clear vision, planning capability, competent basic service delivery, and service continuity.

“If we can guarantee those things, we will attract investors from across Africa and the world. We don’t have enough capital to invest so we need to attract them,” he said.

For more information about Sustainability Week, visit http://sustainabilityweek.co.za/; for more about the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, visit http://www.africancapitalcities.org/. Join Sustainability Week on Facebook at Sustainability Week SA or tweet them: @SustainWeekSA.


Don’t risk losing valuable business data

“Many businesses do not have the resources or inclination to track the latest computer news, security threats, or even common IT tips. As a result, they frequently make mistakes; the key is knowing when to call in the experts to help,” says Mark Veck, Owner and Director at Unit IT.

According to Mark, many organisations go without technical support. “They choose to rely on an employee or a staff member’s friend who is ‘interested in computers’ to provide technology advice or assistance when critical systems fail or slow down unacceptably. Some turn to their hardware manufacturer's telephone support line for help, only to be disappointed when the solution to many problems is to reinstall software. “This means all previous data is lost, which can be disastrous for a business,” says Mark. “These troubleshooting support methods are not cost-efficient, nor are they effective administration options.”

Mark and his business partner, Richard Kanathigoda started Unit IT in 2012, with 14 years of combined previous experience in providing Managed IT services. The business provides IT solutions for companies in various industries across Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Their clients around the world are serviced from their offices in Cape Town, at The Bureaux’s flexible workspace in the Woodstock Exchange, and in London, UK.

According to Mark, there are two other common mistakes businesses fall victim to: poor back up strategies and security failures. “Despite numerous choices and methods, many organisations fail to adequately back up data,” says Mark. “This is a mistake that can be unrecoverable. Since data backups are so critical to an organisation's livelihood, businesses must make sure the right data is being backed up and that it is done as frequently as required.”

Regarding IT security, Mark explains that businesses everywhere are victims of compromised systems, robotic attacks and identity and data theft. “Organisations that fail to properly secure client and customer data often find themselves in the middle of security crises that result in bad press, lost sales, and forfeited customer trust – all things which one should wisely avoid.”

Mark’s top tip is to outsource appropriately. “As a growing small business, leverage the expertise and economies of scale that vendors can provide, rather than trying to build out ancillary departments, like an IT support team. Outsourcing means you can orient your workforce around your business expertise and have more time to focus on your strengths.”

Wise advice, from Mark whose business is a success story itself. “Our company has grown vastly over the last two years, and thanks to the flexibility of The Bureaux’s shared office space we were able to expand because they could accommodate our growing need for more office space,” says Mark.

Greg Beadle, Founder of The Bureaux says, “Unit IT have been based at our Woodstock Exchange shared office space since 2012. As their Cape Town team has grown from two to 44 staff, we have provided more desk space to the business, allowing them the flexibility to expand seamlessly without the hassle of relocating or paying for unused space in a larger office.”

For more information about Unit IT, visit www.unit-it.co or contact: +27 87 828 0270 or email: info@unit-it.co

For more information about The Bureaux, visit thebureaux.co.za or contact: +27 87 470 0369 or email: info@thebureaux.co.za. For more information about Bureaux Black, visit bureauxblack.com or contact +27 87 470 0369. Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/thebureaux/.


Be prepared for the harsh winter elements

With the recent downpour in Cape Town dubbed #CapeStorm, disadvantaged communities remain vulnerable to the effects of harsh winter months. Local non-profit, Mustadafin Foundation has been committed for the past 31 years to serving and assisting communities affected by severe weather conditions. In partnership with the City’s Disaster Management Centre, the Foundation provides relief to those affected by floods and fires.

Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, says, “During the recent storm in the Western Cape, we assisted over 500 families in disadvantaged communities. This is in addition to the 15 000 people we feed daily in New Horizon, Valhalla Park, Delft, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha. The area that was hit the worst during the storm was Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, where people had to move to a safer space as their homes got destroyed during the harsh winds. With the assistance of the City we were able to provide communities with much needed clothing, blankets and cooked food.”

The Foundation also donated water to residents in Knysna following the devastating fires.

The non-profit started its first winter warmth distribution in St Helena Bay on Saturday, 20 May 2017 and will continue to assist communities in the coming months by providing blankets, warm meals, gloves, beanies, scarves and socks.

“Knowing that winter is the coldest season of the year and although it comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival, particularly the frail and vulnerable. Young and old should be cautious during the winter season by preparing for harsh weather conditions,” says Johnstone-Cassiem.

Johnstone-Cassiem provides the following guidelines to keep warm and safe this winter:

1.     Keep the cold out

“Place a plastic bag between two socks to keep your feet warm and cover the windows with old newspaper and blankets to keep the winter draft out,” guides Johnstone-Cassiem.

2.     Beware of fire risk items

“Residents should be increasingly vigilant of frayed electrical wires on appliances, burning candles, paraffin heaters, matches, and fire places. These are all fire risks items, which have contributed to the recent fires that have devastated informal settlements in the Cape Peninsula. Make sure you extinguish fires before going to bed; never leave any fire unattended,” says Johnstone-Cassiem.

The Foundation’s winter warmth project is currently underway and Capetonians are encouraged to assist where possible. “Residents can assist by donating food, clothes, and blankets; items that will be much needed in disadvantaged communities during the harsh winter months,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

To find out how you can assist and for more information on Mustadafin Foundation, call (021) 633 0010 or visit www.mustadafin.org.

 

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Released by Reputation Matters

Media contact:

Nadia Nel

Mobile: 081 439 3912

nadia@reputationmatters.co.za