Archive for December, 2013

Van die Redaksie – 6 December 2013

Redaksie

“Daar is ‘n tyd om te kom en ‘n tyd om te gaan”.

Dis nooit maklik om die bekende vir die onbekende te verruil nie, maar wie nie waag, sal ook nie wen nie.

So het die tyd vir my aangebreek om Gauteng se stof agter te laat ….die  see en sy mense wag !

Met groot opgewondenheid sien ek uit om ten volle by Mosselbaai en omgewing, se mense en hul dinge betrokke te raak.

Die afgelope jaar het ek beleef hoeveel goeie werk deur verskeie mense en instansies hier gedoen word.
Hoeveel verskillende uitreike, uitstallings en feeste gereël word om die omgewing te adverteer en as ‘n gewilde vakansiebestemming en toeriste aantreklikheid te bemark, maar ook om terug te gee waar daar nood is.

Ons hier by die “Mossview” sien uit om ‘n positiewe bydrae te lewer.  ‘n Bydrae wat aansteeklik en motiverend is en entoesiasme kweek – ook om projekte te begin wat kinders en jongmense betrokke sal kry en hulle te inspireer.

Soos ek gesê het:  “Die see, sy mense en al die lekker dinge wag – tyd om uit te haal en te wys:”

Geniet die see, son en vakansie (of vakansie stemming).

STUNNING AIRSHOW AT DIAS FESTIVAL

Festivalgoers at the 2014 Dias Festival can look forward to more of the stunning performances of the Eqstra Flying Lions aerobatics team in their Harvard T-6 aircraft.
These daring pilots had festivalgoers gasping for their breaths at the 2013 Dias Festival and will be back at the Standard Bank Airshow during the 2014 Dias Festival. Their programme will again include a spectacular evening display on 31 January 2014.

The 2014 Dias Festival, which is co-ordinated by the Mossel Bay Municipality as a project to stimulate the local economy and market the town, will take place from 30 January 2014 to    February 2014.

As was the case at the previous two Dias Festivals, the Western Cape aerobatics championships will again form part of the festival programme. The championship will be preceded by practice sessions on 30 January 2014, while the official competition will take place on 31 January 2013 and 1 February 2014.

The Standard Bank Airshow, where the Flying Lions will perform in their World War II machines, will take place on the Saturday, 1 February 2014.  In addition to the Flying Lions, several other interesting aircraft are expected to participate. These include a Hunter jet, a RV7, a T29 Trojan, an MX2, a Yak 55 and a Suhkoi.

The programme will also include skydiving performance. Like in 2013 there will be a big flag jump.

More information about the festival can be obtained from the Office of the Municipal Manager at (044) 606-5003, or by e-mail to festivals@mosselbay.gov.za or feeste@mosselbay.gov.za. Information can also be obtained from the website www.mosselbayevents.co.za. •

Trilinear claims Pinnacle Point and Absa withheld crucial information

Pinnacle Point Group’s management and its creditor, Absa, withheld crucial information that could have stopped Trilinear Empowerment Trust from investing in a company that was about to go under, the commission of inquiry into the factors that led to Pinnacle Point’s liquidation heard yesterday.

Trilinear, which lost millions of rand in pension funds of members of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union, bought R100 million worth of Pinnacle Point shares in October 2009 on the premise that a project that would ensure Pinnacle Point’s continued existence was on track.

Absa and Pinnacle Point told Trilinear that the outstanding issues relating to the group’s proposed property development project in Nigeria, the Lagos Keys, had been sorted out, but this was not so. These included the requirement of a certificate of occupation and two environmental impact assessment certificates from the Nigerian government.

Former Trilinear fund manager David de Waal had approached Absa to find out if the project was on track, but claims that he was misled.

However, Stephen van Coller, Absa Capital’s chief executive, told the commission that the bank “took trust in Pinnacle Point’s management that these issues would be sorted out”, and was simply communicating what it had been told to Trilinear.

“Management was telling us that this would be resolved. There was a lot of trust at hand here that this was going to happen. Otherwise we would not have put in R55m,” Van Coller said.

He said the Pinnacle Point chief executive at the time, Hendrik Pretorius, told Absa that the company had a close relationship with the Nigerian government and that getting the required certificates was a mere formality.

The commissioner, retired Judge Meyer Joffe, asked: “I have difficulty understanding your reply [to Trilinear]. How could these matters have been resolved because the precedent conditions hadn’t been filled?”

Absa also refused to share its due diligence report with Trilinear.

Van Coller said: “

De Waal asked about our due diligence report but I don’t think it was Absa’s responsibility to tell them if the land rights were secured. They were supposed to do their own due diligence or go back to Pinnacle Point.”

But advocate Gavin Woodland laid the blame at Absa’s door for not disclosing what it knew to Trilinear.

“Whether you like it or not, Absa was part and parcel of that transaction,” he said.

Although it was Pinnacle Point’s financial advisers, Rothschild, that proposed that the company issue shares to rescue itself from potential liquidation, it was Absa that came up with the initial rescue plan. It was also the bank that said Pinnacle Point needed to raise R100m from shareholders other than Absa.

The rescue package would consist of a R95m underwriting offer and a R55m bridging loan facility. Pinnacle Point had to raise the remaining R100m through a rights issue.

Absa’s lawyers in Lagos alerted the bank some months before Trilinear offered to buy Pinnacle Point’s shares that without obtaining the required certificates, the Lagos Keys project could not happen. Absa was only going to underwrite the group’s rescue package if this project went through, but it did not stipulate this as a precedent condition.

In February 2010, when Pinnacle Point obtained a certificate that stated the company could not sell undeveloped plots of land, Absa ditched the underwriting agreement. It then entered into an agreement with Trilinear, to which it sold all its shares for R150m.

The enquiry continues today.

www.thegremlin.co.za •

EIA for proposed Mossel Bay LNG terminal suspended after objections

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PetroSA is interrogating two main sites (one in Vleesbaai and one in Voorbaai) in for the proposed LNG terminal and is planning to make a final investment decision on the $375-million to $510-million project in the fourth quarter of 2014. The project is designed to bolster security of gas supply to its gas-to-liquids plant and first gas could flow in early 2018.

However, interested and affected parties have alleged that the EIA is noncompliant with South Africa’s environmental regulations, particularly the National Environmental Management Act regulation stipulating that the environmental assessment practitioner (EAP) be fully independent.

Project opponents have objected to the appointment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as the EAP, arguing that the State-owned science council could not be considered to be independent given that government is the sole shareholder in both the CSIR and PetroSA. However, a number of other objections were also raised in correspondence dated November 1, 2013.

The DEA, as the competent authority, is compelled to investigate allegations of noncompliance and it, therefore, notified PetroSA and the CSIR on November 22 both of the suspension and that they could “make representations to the DEA regarding the alleged noncompliance”.

Rescue Vleesbaai Action Group (Revag) chairperson Mareo Bekker expressed gratitude to the DEA for its intervention. The organisation said that the DEA’s intervention followed the recent termination by PetroSA of its appointment of WorleyParsons to conduct a quantitative risk assessment for the project in parallel with the EIA process. The termination followed Revag’s objection to the assessment being performed by the same company that had already been appointed to conduct the front-end engineering design of the proposed terminal.

PetroSA said it had noted the decision and that it would be making a representation to the department regarding the alleged noncompliance.

“PetroSA is confident that all requirements and legislative processes relating to the appointment of CSIR as the independent environmental assessment practitioner have been duly followed,” operations VP Dr Thabo Kgogo said in a statement.

He added that its presentation to the DEA would be done “as soon as possible to ensure that the EIA process continues unhindered”.
Source: Engineering News

– See more at: http://thegremlin.co.za/mossel-bay-news/wordpress/2013/11/26/eia-for-proposed-mossel-bay-lng-terminal-suspended-after-objections/#sthash.lRx0LsZb.dpuf •

MOUNTAIN BIKING STRAIGHT INTO 2014

GEORGE (NOVEMBER 2013) – The 11th annual Great Brak Grabadoo is taking place on Tuesday 31 December 2013. Due to the overwhelming positive response about the routes that were changed in 2012, organizers are not going to change a single route in 2013 to assure more participants enjoy this experience. With breathtaking routes snaking through some of the most beautiful flora in the Kingdom of the Southern Cape, the Great Brak Grabadoo (generally referred to as Grabadoo) offers something for everyone, whether you are a novice or a veteran mountain biker at heart.

This exciting and picturesque route attracts fanatics, families, holiday makers, locals…riders from all walks of life.  Victor Matfield, legendary Springbok lock, participated amongst 1 200 other participants in the 2012 race for the first time and he found the route exhilarating.  The jovial atmosphere, sportsmanship amongst riders and festive spirit makes this an event not to miss!

Runners, walkers, families and even pets can participate in the most beautiful walk in the Southern Cape around the Great Brak River in a 4.8km route. Mountain bikers can choose from 4 exciting routes including some wonderful new twists and turns to the existing routes – 15km, 31km, 42km, 66km..

Entry fees for the specific routes are as follows – 15km @ R60; 31km @ R80; 42km @ R90; 66km @ R100.  Walkers enter @ R35. and the fee for a temporary license for mountain bike distances 31km 42km &66km  is a mere R35.  Pre-race entries can be done on Monday 30 December at the Peperboom Restaurant in Great Brak River, or at www.onlines.co.za .

The 2013 festive season is upon us. Holidaymakers will be here in hordes and before we know it, the jingle bells of Christmas would have come and gone. Before 2014 runs away with you, run, walk and ride out the old year into a bright, happy and fit New Year.

For more information, please contact Mimi Finestone from Interface by Goji on 084 583 3144 or at mimi@gojipr.net, or Alewijn Dippenaar at 082 457 5675 or visit the Grabadoo Facebook page.  •

Lee-Anne Pace on a quest for US LPGA tour card

Heartbreak is the very nature of golf. And, after a year of solid performances, nothing can cause more heartbreak that failing at Qualifying School, professional golf’s version of a trip to the dentist’s office.

Four of South Africa’s top golfers – Lee-Anne Pace, Ashleigh Simon, Melissa Eaton and Paula Reto – will try to avoid that particular agony when they launch their bids at the LPGA Tour’s Final Qualifying Tournament on Thursday.

The local quartet will join 150 other hopefuls from 27 countries, including 30 American states, at the LPGA International golf course in Daytona Beach, Florida in the all-or-nothing battle over 90 gruelling holes for just 20 coveted cards on offer for the 2014 season.

The South African foursome will hope to make the final stage of Q-School for the low 70 players and ties after 72 holes. The consolation prizes are not too shabby, though. Players who finish 21st through 45 and ties will earn membership in Category 17 and everyone who misses, will at least receive Symetra Tour status.

Former Ladies European Tour No 1 Pace has lived through the process before and is a hands-on favourite to make the end goal after another sizzling season in Europe.

The 32-year-old Mossel Bay golfer won the Ladies Spanish and the Turkish Airlines Ladies Opens, posted five top 10 finishes, including a runner-up finish in Slovakia, claimed a top 25 finish at the Ricoh Women’s British Open in a field that included the top ranked players in the world and will start the Qualifying School as the No 2 ranked player in Europe.

Simon, too, has had a couple of turns at Qualifying School and, despite a lengthy layoff at the start of the season, came into some great form recently and vaulted to 10th in the LET standings in just 10 starts.

Eaton won the Florida Natural Charity Classic and finished 13th in the final Symetra Tour rankings, which earned her a straight pass to the LPGA Qualifying School final stage.

But it is unheralded Reto who has been the most impressive over the last few months.

The 23-year-old excelled at hockey and ran track in South Africa, and only took up golf in 2005. She secured a golf scholarship to Purdue University, where she excelled in the collegiate system.

Reto made the All-Big Ten first team, the Golfweek All-American third team, was a Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honouree, received an honourable mention NCGA All-American and was named Golfweek Player of the Week Finished in the quarterfinals of the US Women’s Amateur Championship, where she was eliminated by eventual champion and world’s top-ranked amateur, Lydia Ko.

In July, she graduated with a degree in Law and Society and launched her professional career on the Symetra Tour.

Reto made all seven starts and vaulted to 33rd in the final rankings after tie for sixth in the penultimate Volvik Championship and a third place finish in the season-ending Symetra Tour Championships. This put her straight into the field for the Stage Two Qualifier, where she shot rounds of 73-71-71-73 to tie for 28th and earn her place at Final Stage.

But the South Africans could be up against it with the likes of Amy Anderson, Cheyenne Woods and Kim Kaufmann in the field.

North Dakota State standout Anderson, who won the Stage II Qualifying Tournament in Venice by six strokes, won 20 collegiate titles as a member of the North Dakota State women’s golf team, surpassing Juli Inkster’s previous record of 17 collegiate victories.

Tiger Woods’ niece made headlines last year when she qualified for the 2012 US Women’s Open and played as a sponsor’s exemption at the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship.

Texas Tech graduate Kaufmann took the Symetra Tour by storm after graduation and earned her first professional victory in just her third event at the Island Resort Championship in Harris, Michigan. She went on to record three additional top-10 finishes and narrowly the top 10.

– See more at: http://thegremlin.co.za/mossel-bay-news/wordpress/2013/12/05/lee-anne-pace-on-a-quest-for-us-lpga-tour-card/#sthash.znBR2R5D.dpuf

Lets get Legal – Jurisdiction of the CCMA to adjudicate benefit disputes expanded

The confusion that has existed for years between employers and employees over the scope of what the term “benefits” in section 186(2)(a) of the Labour Relations Act entails has finally been resolved by the Labour Appeal Court in Apollo Tyres SA (Pty) Ltd v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (2013) 34 ILJ 1120 (LAC).

This case also dispelled the fallacy that in order to have an unfair labour practice claim against an employer there has to be an employment relationship in existence at the time that the employee declared and referred an unfair labour practice dispute to the CCMA.

Until very recently, the position in South African labour law was that the Labour Relations Act only allowed an employee to refer an unfair labour practice dispute relating to employment benefits to the CCMA if such benefits were provided for in the employee’s contract of employment, the employer’s conditions of employment, collective agreement or any applicable legislation. If the benefits in dispute could not be traced back to any one of these categories, such a dispute would be classified as a dispute of mutual interest which could only be pursued by way of industrial action, and the CCMA would not have the necessary jurisdiction to arbitrate such a dispute except to conciliate it. A dispute of mutual interest is a dispute where an employee wishes to assert a right which he does not have in terms of any legislation, policy or employment contract, for example, an increment or bonus when there is no provision for such in the contract of employment. The reason for this distinction is based on the view that a wider definition of the term “benefits” could undermine the employees’ right to strike which is constitutionally entrenched.

The issue for determination in the Apollo case at the CCMA was whether an employee’s entitlement to claim benefits under an early retirement scheme fell within the ambit of the unfair labour practice provisions. Due to a decline in trade Apollo Tyres was forced to start with an early retirement scheme for monthly paid staff between the ages of 46 and 59 years. After being told that she did not qualify for the scheme, Ms Hoosen resigned and referred a dispute to the CCMA, claiming that the company’s refusal to pay her the amount specified in the voluntary retrenchment scheme amounted to an unfair labour practice relating to the provision of benefits. Apollo Tyres argued that the CCMA lacked jurisdiction to arbitrate the matter as the voluntary retrenchment scheme was not a “benefit” as contemplated by the Labour Relations Act. The commissioner however ruled that the company had committed an unfair labour practice by not admitting Ms. Hoosen to the scheme, and ordered Apollo Tyres to pay her the specified severance package.

The Labour Appeal Court considered the matter and held that the retirement benefit in Apollo Tyres had been offered to all monthly paid employees between the ages of 46 and 59. The employee was 49 and was paid a monthly wage. Apollo Tyres also had a discretion as to whether or not to grant the benefit. The issue was whether that discretion had been exercised unfairly, for example, whether the employer had acted arbitrarily, capriciously or for no justifiable reason. The Labour Appeal Court concluded that Appollo Tyres had shifted the goal posts and had provided no credible reason for not granting the employee an early retirement package. The court accordingly held that Apollo Tyres had perpetrated an unfair labour practice by excluding the employee from the early retirement scheme and dismissed the appeal with costs.

In arriving at its decision the Labour Appeal Court enunciated the following important legal principles:

A proper approach is to interpret the term “benefit” to include a benefit to which an employee is entitled (from contract or from legislation, including rights judicially created) as well as an advantage or privilege which the employee has been offered or granted in terms of a practice subject to the employer’s discretion. Those judgments in which a contrary approach was adopted are accordingly wrong.
Employees who wish to use unfair labour practice jurisdiction to claim a right to be promoted, receive training or be granted employment benefits, do not have to prove a right to be promoted or trained if the fairness of the employer’s conduct is challenged.
The concern that a wide definition of “benefit” will undermine the right to strike is no longer justified.
Disputes over the provision of benefits fall into two categories. Where the dispute is not based on an allegation that the grant or removal of a benefit is unfair, strike action is the remedy. Where the dispute concerns the fairness or otherwise of the employer’s conduct, it can be adjudicated through arbitration.

The Labour Appeal Court went further and held that there are at least two instances of conduct by an employer relating to the provision of benefits that may be subjected to scrutiny by the CCMA under its unfair labour practice jurisdiction:
The first instance is where an employer fails to comply with a contractual obligation that it has towards an employee. In this instance, an employee would still only be able to refer a dispute to the CCMA for adjudication if such a dispute is based on a right or benefit contained in the contract of employment, or alternatively in law.
The second situation is where the employer exercises a discretion that it enjoys under the contractual terms of a scheme conferring a benefit. In this instance, even where the employer enjoys a discretion in terms of a policy or practice relating to the provision of benefits, such conduct can be scrutinized by the CCMA.

As a result, the term “benefit” in the Labour Relations Act has now been expanded to include not only existing advantages or privileges to which an employee is entitled to as a right, but also those advantages and privileges granted in terms of a policy or practice over which the employer has a discretion. Employers should thus exercise extra care when exercising their discretion and implementing policies relating to benefits.

This judgment may also be seen to have potentially opened the floodgates for referrals by unsatisfied employees to the CCMA regarding privileges and advantages awarded by an employer at its discretion. Importantly thougth, the unfair labour practice jurisdiction cannot be used by employees to assert an entitlement to new contractual terms such as new benefits, new forms of remuneration or new policies not previously provided for by the employer.

It is clear that employers faced with having to exercise a discretion as to whether to grant certain benefits or not must exercise such discretion in a fair, transparent and justifiable manner to avoid falling foul of the unfair labour practice provisions of the Labour Relations Act.

Mosdel Parma & Cox

Business Focus – Oasis Cafe

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Oasis Cafe, is one of the oldest Cafe’s in Mossel Bay, catering for basic groceries,all airtime requirements, as well as delicious take away foods and a sit down peaceful restaurant.

When did you start your business?:
I have been the owner for 5 years now, but Oasis Cafe’ has been in business for 70 years.

What prompted you to start / buy your business?
I bought Oasis Cafe’ as another business adventure as I had been in the fishing tackle industry I wanted to get more involved with the catering side of business.

My business is aimed at?
My business is aimed at the average client, with my prices being very reasonable, I aim at affordability as well as client service.

What products / services are you offering?
Oasis Cafe’ supplies basic groceries, affordable and mouth watering food.

What is your competitive advantage?
6)  My competitive advantage must be the volume and portions of food compared to the price being paid.EG: Jumbo Burger & Chips 200g 100% pure beef patty, R42.00

Personal achievements:
I have managed with the help of my staff to grow Oasis Cafe’ even further, by offering deliveries in and around town, we have extended our take away menu to now offer a restaurant menu which is able to seat 36 people.

What makes your business stand out in the crowd?
I would imagine this to be our food, service and location.
Through experience I have learn’t that the success of my business cannot be achieved without my staff.
In future my business will offer a 24hours service on various days of the week, based on the old Road House.

What is the most important message you wish to send to the community?
Should we disappoint any of our clients please feel free to contact us, and for every problem there is a solution through patience. •

AANSKAKELING VAN FEESLIGGIES

Marshstraat sal, soos die tradisie is, weer vanjaar in ‘n fees van helder kleure omtower word wanneer die Uitvoerende Burgemeester, Raadsdame Marie Ferreira, op Saterdagaand, 7 Desember 2013, die feesliggies sal aanskakel vanuit die Harry Giddeypark oorkant die munisipale kantore in Marshstraat.

Die aanskakeling sal gepaard gaan met ‘n program van samesang, ‘n gebed vir nooddienste en orkesmusiek. Die tyd vir die funksie is 19:00 vir 19:30, en die opening en die verwelkoming sal om 19:30 plaasvind. Die aanskakeling van die liggies sal omstreeks 20:00 geskied.

Dit beloof om weer ‘n skouspelagtige geleentheid te wees, en die publiek word versoek om hul plekke so vroeg as moontlik in te neem aangesien sitplekke beperk is. •

OPEN DAY AT CRAFT ART WORKSHOP

Live music and entertainment by some of Mossel Bay’s best talent will be one of the highlights at the open day on Saturday, 7 December 2013 at the Mossel Bay Craft Art Workshop in Market Street (next to the Mossel Bay Tourism offices).
Local artists and crafters ply their trade or sell their products at this workshop and it is the ideal place to shop for creative art, leatherwork, beadwork, needlework and Proudly South African pâpier-maché art.

 

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