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Mossel Bay Tourism has turned the Corner

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A glimmer of hope: that’s the general consensus amongst players in Mossel Bay’s tourism industry.

“There seems to be more of a buzz around,” said Mossel Bay Tourism board member, Fred Orban, who owns and operates Sandpiper Cottages and the Oystercatcher Trail, and who coordinates the Point of Human Origin Tours at the Pinnacle Point Caves.

He said that the discoveries at Pinnacle Point – which have revealed the earliest evidence for modern human behaviour – have brought unprecedented levels of international attention to Mossel Bay and the Garden Route.

“This is the kind of marketing windfall that very few destinations are lucky enough to receive, and we in Mossel Bay must continue to capitalise on our amazing good fortune.”

Hotelier and restaurateur Albert Wiffin (the Point Village Hotel, Oceans Hotel, the Kingfisher Restaurant, Delfino’s Restaurant, and others) agreed.

“There is definitely more optimism, and I think this has to do with the proposed developments by PetroSA. It looks like there is something in the offing, and we’re seeing more business from the petro-chemicals industry.

“Our forward bookings are better, and our mid-winter occupancy at the Point Village Hotel is well up in the double figures over last year.”

Mr. Wiffen believes that one solution to the challenges of seasonality would be to appeal to niche markets by running numerous events and small, specialist festivals throughout the year.
“Imagine a festival a week. Even if each of them brought only fifty or a hundred people into town, that’d be thousands more than we’re seeing now,” he said.

The Point Hotel’s Chantal Edwards-Klose said that her company is playing in a different space than it had in the past.

“We realised a few years ago that we had to look for new markets, and we’ve been selling to the Indian market for about eighteen months now. This has proven to be an effective strategy for us, and it’s served to radically improve our winter season – and for many of our partners, we believe, since Indian travellers enjoy organised activities, and to visit the attractions here in Mossel Bay, and in Oudtshoorn, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.”

Ms. Edwards-Klose said that the hotel’s traditional markets are showing signs of improvement, too.

“I’ve been surprised to see that our European business is starting earlier this year – the tour groups usually only came during narrow windows in October and November, and February to April, but now they’re booking earlier, and some of them are even booking during December.

“We’ve seen the same thing amongst the independent travellers, too.”
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Mossel Bay Tourism has turned the Corner Continued from page 1>
The uptick isn’t confined to international visitors: general manager of the Diaz Beach Hotel and Resort, Jacques van Vuuren, said that his hotel has been dealing almost exclusively with domestic guests in recent times.

“Some months remain quiet, but we’re definitely seeing better occupancies this year.”

Local attractions and activities are also enjoying better business.

“All round, it’s been a good one, and we can thank the people at The Point Hotel for that – because many of their Indian guests come to us for scuba diving, tandem scuba diving, and snorkelling,” said Electrodive’s Ken Walmsley.

“It shows that if someone puts the effort into marketing, it pays off for all of us.”

Skydive Mossel Bay’s Henk van Wyk said that his company has had a good winter, too. “But it’s 99% because of the Indian market – our traditional markets have been flat.”

Still, he said, he can’t rely on that market alone: “In my opinion, the recession is coming to an end, so now we need to be ready for the time when the Europeans begin travelling again. We need to stir up the markets by reminding them of South Africa as a quality, affordable destination – especially now that the rand has weakened.”

Chairman of Mossel Bay Tourism, René Bongers, who is also one of the owners of Eight Bells Mountain Inn, said that his hotel has also had a good winter season.

“We’ve been busier than we were in previous years, and we were almost full for three weeks in June and July – although rates continue to be under pressure.

“This year we decided to keep our prices the same rather than put them up during the holiday periods, and this attracted additional guests.”

He said that the current rand-dollar exchange rate is having a double-edged effect on the tourism industry.

“On the one hand it makes South Africa cheaper as a destination for foreign visitors, but on the other it forces the petrol price up, so South Africans aren’t travelling long distances as much any more.

“But even though the winter season hasn’t been great for everyone in Mossel Bay, forward bookings are looking good, and I get the feeling that there’s more optimism than before.”

More information:

Mossel Bay Tourism: www.visitmosselbay.co.za – www.facebook.com/visitmosselbay – www.twitter.com/GetMe2MosselBay •

PetroSA appoints Group Five to manage 2013 maintenance shutdown

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Cape Town, 25 July 2013 – PetroSA, South Africa’s National Oil Company, has appointed integrated construction and infrastructure services firm Group Five, as the Engineering Management Contractor (EMC) for the 2013 maintenance shutdown.

Group Five were appointed following a rigorous tender process. The successful South African-owned bidder is part of the core team working on the 2013 shutdown, and will mainly manage the mechanical works during the maintenance period.

Group Five, a JSE-listed company, is a diversified construction, infrastructure concessions and related services group engaged in resources, energy, real estate and infrastructure delivery. The company operates in South Africa, Africa and Europe.

PetroSA will suspend operations at its Mossel Bay facilities for 37 days from 22 September for a planned statutory maintenance shutdown. The maintenance shutdown will affect the Mossel Bay Gas-To-Liquids (GTL) Refinery and the offshore FA Platform. The statutory shutdown is aimed at ensuring the integrity of equipment and systems at the GTL Refinery and FA Platform. PetroSA is required by law to undergo a maintenance shutdown of facilities every four years.
Dr Thabo Kgogo, PetroSA’s Vice President of Operations, has welcomed the appointment of Group Five.

“At PetroSA we have a very proud record of executing our shutdowns on time and within budget. In appointing Group Five as the EMC contractor, we are confident it is a continuation of that proud record. Group Five is a well-established company, with lots of experience,” he said.

“They will assist in not only making sure we continue with our proud record, but that the shutdown is executed with professionalism and expertise, while also adhering to environmental and safety requirements,” Dr Kgogo added.

To ensure a successful shutdown, PetroSA identified 86 contracts (of which the EMC is but one) that have or will be awarded. These include numerous technology suppliers and OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) which will be involved in inspecting and overhauling compressors, turbines and complex electronic equipment.
All of these contracts will work very close with Group Five, and PetroSA will oversee and ensure the success of Shutdown.

The four-yearly scheduled shutdown is expected to involve a combined workforce of about 4000 full and part-time employees. This is inclusive of temporary employees sourced from the Mossel Bay community. During the 2009 shutdown, 80% of the total workforce was made up of people from the Mossel Bay area. PetroSA is confident of maintaining similar employment levels in the 2013 shutdown.

-See more at: http://thegremlin.co.za/mossel-bay-news/wordpress/2013/07/25/petrosa-appoints-group-five-to-manage-2013-maintenance-shutdown/#sthash.OckdaeWp.dpuf

www.thegremlin.co.za •

Lets get Legal – The Do’s and Dont’s of Suspension

Domestic & Electrical Appliance Repairs Buscard Back

Recently a well-known radio broadcaster was suspended from broadcasting for two days due to a complaint received by his network after he insensitively rebroadcasted a specific newsclip. This particular form of suspension appeared punitive in nature and the radio broadcaster subsequently resumed broadcasting after the disciplinary sanction was completed. On the other hand one also frequently hears about persons being suspended subject to an ongoing invesigation in what is typically a form of preventative suspension. So what is the difference and what are the do’s and don’ts of these various forms of suspension.

Every so often it happens that an employee acts in a manner that warrants suspension. Depending on the nature of business of the employer, these acts may vary from theft by the employee, unauthorised absenteeism, abuse of sick leave, negligence, making prohibited statements in a public forum, to any other form of misconduct by the employee. The question posed by many an employer is whether suspension is the answer in dealing with the situation?

The first thing every employer should keep in mind when contemplating suspension is that there are two forms of suspension, namely preventative and punitive:

Preventative suspension:

Preventative suspension is used as a precautionary measure, for example in instances where an investigation pertaining to serious allegations is pending against an employee and the employer would like the investigating officer to remain objective and not be influenced by the employee. This form of suspension takes place before the disciplinary hearing is held. Very importantly, employees suspended as a precautionary measure in this manner, should always be suspended with full pay. Should the employer fail to do this, the suspension in itself will potentially be regarded as an unfair labour practice.

Furthermore, in order to ensure the fairness of the suspension of an employee, the employer should be sure to grant the accused employee an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him and state the reasons why he should not be suspended.

To ensure that the suspension of an employee is not regarded as an unfair labour practice in terms of the Labour Relations Act, the following questions must be asked:

Question 1: Do you, as the employer, believe that there are sufficient reasons to believe that the employee was involved in the misconduct?
Question 2: Is the alleged misconduct of a serious nature?
Question 3: Does the possibility exist that the employee will interfere with the witnesses?
Question 4: Does the possibility exist that the employee will tamper with evidence?
Question 5: In instances where there is a complainant, does the possibility exist that the accused employee will retaliate against the complainant? This is an especially important consideration if the complainant is in a lower position than the accused employee.
Question 6: Does the possibility exist that the employee will commit further or similar acts of misconduct if he is not suspended?

Should the answer to either the first or the second questions be “No”, then the suspension of your employee may not be fair and reasonable and may be regarded as an unfair labour practice. However, should the answer to the first two questions, as well as at least one other question be “Yes”, the suspension may be reasonable and fair, provided that the suspension does not endure for an unreasonable amount of time.

Our courts have held that suspensions of employees for periods longer than 6 months can be held generally to be unfair. Thus, in order to ensure that the suspension of your employees are fair and reasonable, make sure that the investigation into the alleged misconduct by the employee is dealt with timeously in addition to the provisions provided for above.

Punative suspension:

Punative suspension, on the other hand, takes place after the employee’s disciplinary hearing and can be used as a sanction, especially where the employee has been found guilty of an offence during the disciplinary hearing. The most common use for this kind of suspension would be instances where dismissal would be the appropriate sanction, but the employer feels that mitigating circumstances of the employee warrant suspension rather than dismissal. Unlike preventative suspension, punative suspension, as the name suggests, is unpaid and intended as a disciplinary sanction.

The suspension of an employee can be a very tricky practice which should always be dealt with thoroughly, carefully and in accordance with the law to ensure that the best interests of both the employer and employee are met. Obtain appropriate advice before any decision regarding suspension is taken. If you have been suspended, consider whether the requirements stated above have been met and obtain legal advice in instances where a potential unfair labour practice may have been committed.
Mosdel Parma & Cox
ppam@mpc.law.za
033 533 1101 •

van die Redaksie

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Ek kan nie dat vroue-maand verby gaan sonder om my stem te laat hoor teen al die vorms van geweld teen vroue en kinders nie.

Daagliks hoor en lees ons van seksuele geweld, gesinsgeweld, huurmoorde en dan selfs erger nog, die uitwissing van die gesin en selfmoord.

‘n Tragedie met ongekende hartseer, en nagevolge wat jou, en almal betrokke, jare later steeds bybly en by jou spook.

Hoeveel anders kan dit nie wees as ons net daaroor kon praat en ons probleme kon deel nie. “Probleme is uitdagings, waarvoor daar altyd oplossings is. Steek net jou trots in jou sak en soek hulp – praat met iemand .” !!

Ten slotte – vir al die vroue in my lewe wat op die een of ander manier ‘n spesiale bydrae lewer om my lewe en werk te vergemaklik …baie dankie !
Vriendinne – vir die vreugde, lag en geselsies.
Josie (sus) – vir ‘n oor om te luister, hulp, bystand, wysheid en liefde.
Lindi – jy maak die soet en die suur van die lewe die moeite werd, jy verryk my lewe, hou my gedagtegang jonk en hou my op my knieë.
Grace – my huishulp, van 26 jaar – wat ‘n onbeskryflike voorreg.
Thandi – my kantoor hulp – kan en wil nie sonder haar !

Hiermee groet ek tot ‘n volgende keer.
Besoek ons gerus by http://mossview.co.za en kom kuier op Facebook.

Julie Retief

Broodknippies vir Rolstoele

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‘‘n Projek om 247,5 kg broodverpakkingsknippies in Mosselbaai in te samel, is vandag deur die Uitvoerende Burgemeester, Raadsdame Marie Ferreira, van stapel gestuur. Die knippies sal vir rolstoele vir behoeftige persone ingeruil word.

Die knippies, wat gebruik word om die plastieksakkies waarin brood verkoop word mee toe te maak, is van hoëdigtheidspolistireen gemaak. Dit is geskik vir herwinning, en kan weer gebruik word om produkte soos houers vir saailinge, vloerlyste, kroonlyste en klerehangers te vervaardig.

Vir elke 247,5 kg van die knippies wat ingesamel word, word ‘n rolstoel aan ‘n behoeftige persoon geskenk. Intussen het Sasko, Kwikloc en CE Mobility ook betrokke geraak, en skenk elkeen nog ‘n rolstoel vir elke rolstoel wat deur middel van die insamelingsprojekte verkry is.

Raadsdame Ferreira het ‘n beroep op die publiek van Mosselbaai gedoen om die projek te ondersteun. Spesiale houers sal by alle munisipale kassierspunte asook biblioteke geplaas word sodat die publiek hul knippies daar kan gaan ingooi. Sy het gesê die munisipaliteit gaan ook die plaaslike skole by die projek betrek, en sal met besighede onderhandel om van die houers by hul persele te plaas.

Die landswye projek is ongeveer vyf jaar gelede deur me Mary Honeybun van Noordhoek in die Kaap begin, en word nou deur die Polistireenverpakkingsraad van Suid-Afrika gekoördineer. Byna 400 rolstoele is reeds deur middel van die projek aan behoeftige mense geskenk.

Matriek Afskeid Projek

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Altesame 54 matrikulante van Sao Bras, Punt, Indwe, Groot Brakrivier en Hillcrest gaan spesiale herinneringe aan hul matriekafskeid hê danksy ‘n inisiatief van die Munisipaliteit en die groothartigheid van die Mosselbaaise publiek en besighede.

Die Munisipaliteit het in Maart vanjaar ‘n beroep op die publiek en besighede gedoen om bydraes in die vorm van klere, haarstilering, grimering, bybehore of die vervoer van behoeftige leerders na die matriekafskeid te maak.

Die doelwit was om tien leerders (seuns en meisies) te help, maar die reaksie was oorweldigend en 54 matrikulante is of sal in ‘n meerdere of ‘n mindere mate gehelp word.

Die eerste van die matriekafskeide is verlede Donderdag, 18 Julie 2013, deur Sao Bras gehou, en Chanvea Jones was een van die leerders van dié skool wat by die projek baat gevind het. Die ander skole sal hul matriekafskeide oor die volgende paar weke hou. •

Wandering Hippo Moved to Gondwana

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A hippo wandering in False Bay Nature Reserve has been captured and released in Gondwana Game Reserve near Mossel Bay, the City of Cape Town said on Wednesday.

Environmental resources manager Julia Wood said the young hippo was transported to Gondwana on Friday.

“The translocation was part of the City of Cape Town’s efforts to re-establish this species back into the Western Cape.”

The hippo was found in the Strandfontein Birding Area where it could not move further because of the electric fence.

It apparently escaped last year from the Rondevlei section of the False Bay Nature Reserve where other hippos were located.

Wood said hippos used to be common in the Western Cape but they were wiped out by the early 1700s.

The species was re-established at Rondevlei in 1981, representing the first reintroduction of hippos back to their historical home grounds, said Wood. – Sapa

– See more at:
http://thegremlin.co.za/mossel-bay-news/wordpress/2013/07/24/wandering-hippo-moved-to-
gondwana/#sthash.vaMLp0qy.dpuf •

Surfer Kids Need YOUR help

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The Surfer Kids NON-Profit is an OUTREACH initiative by Unravel Surf Travel. The program is based in Friemersheim, a rural community between George and Mossel Bay, in the Southern Cape of South Africa. Our aim is to bridge the gap left here by South Africa’s history of racial segregation and impoverishment. We offer surf training and travelling opportunities to the children of Friemersheim Primary School.
The Ross Taylor Benefit Surf Contest is held in memory of local surfer Ross Taylor. Their Facebook page is at:
https://www.facebook.com/rosstaylorsurfcontest

“Ross lost his battle to cancer at the very young age of 29. He lived his life like the seventh wave, putting more enthusiasm and energy into it than most people would in 2 lifetimes. His last wish to his friends and family was to hold an annual surf contest, where the spirit of “fun and love through giving” becomes a message to share, live by and learn from.”

The event organizers donate all funds raised by the event to Hospice, who took care of Ross during his last days. Through the support Hospice receives from the contest they are able to provide care for over 500 terminally ill people every year.
The Surfer Kids NON-Profit play an integral part in this special event! Our kids compete in the development divisions and The Surfer Kids’ Program Coordinators organize and run the entire development division of the competition! We also usually camp in Buffels Bay for the weekend and this is a huge adventure for all the kids from our program!
This year however some crucial funding has been withdrawn and as a result we are desperately seeking funds to cover food and transport costs for The Surfer Kids NON-Profit attendance at the Ross Taylor Benefit Surf Contest!

For more information on The Surfer Kids NON-Profit visit our website at: http://unravelsurftravel.com/outreach/

For donations contact: hermann.unravelsurftravel@gmail.com
– See more at: http://thegremlin.co.za/mossel-bay-news/wordpress/2013/07/28/surfer-kids-need-help/#sthash.SHn4GH3N.dpuf •1-DSC_9856-440x293

The Spying Eye

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In die huidige ekonomiese klimaat van ons land het dit baie belangrik geword dat ons daarop sal let om die beste waarde vir ons paar rand te kry. Om te oorleef het ‘n baie duur bedryf geraak. Daarom het die “Spying eye” besluit om so ongemerk ‘n bietjie te kyk na die verskillende aspekte van dienslewering in ons area tydens “nie-spitstyd” sowel as spitstyd. Dit beteken dat die “Spying eye” so af en toe by plekke gaan opdaag, ongesiens, ongehoord, ongemerk, noem dit wat jy wil, en gaan evalueer hoe dit hier rond gaan. Die mediadekking wat die betrokke sakeondernemings en diensleweringsondernemings gaan kry, kan vir ons baie beteken op besigheids en toerismevlak.

Ons oogmerk is om nie net ons area beter te bemark nie, maar ook die kwaliteit van dienslewering hier goed op te skerp. Vroeer jare het die George-area bekend gestaan as “cold and wet” na aanleiding van die registrasienommers op motors. Deesdae is dit “call and wait!” Wanneer die Spying eye” klaar is met sy rondtes, gaan dit wees “COME ALL WELCOME”

Ons gaan wegstap met die beker vir die area in die Suid-Kaap met die beste diens in Suid-Afrika! Niemand gaan oorgesien word nie, van die baksters tot die bouers, die werkers tot die wewers, die kafees tot die kewers, die skole tot die aftree-oorde, elke liewe plek. So…. wees wakker!!!

Onder die Vergroot glas

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GROOT-BRAKRIVIER

Die motors spoed op die N2 verby na Kaapstad. Sommige merk die bordjie “GROOT-BRAKRIVIER” moontlik terloops op. Ander weet dalk van die “Dansplek by Die Dekke” wat vakansietye oorstroom word deur jongmense. Soms kry jy mense wat deur die strate dwaal om die winkeltjies te besoek en meestal is die kommentaar “Die klein plekkies se winkeltjies is so interessant”

En tog ….. hier lê die grootste onontginde juweel in die Suid-Kaap en wag om ontdek te word!

Wie sou kon raai dat hierdie ‘n skatkis van talent is? Wie het al ooit getel hoeveel erkende kunstenaars in hierdie “dorpie” woon. En dan praat ons nie net van kunstenaars wat verf en palet gebruik nie. Stemkunstenaars, lapkunstenaars, woordkunstenaars, musiekkunstenaars, beeldhouers, musikante, akteurs, ontwerpers nasionaal en internasionaal, te veel om op te noem. Jy kan net dink waaroor jy wil, jy sal dit in Groot-Brak kry.

In die volgende paar weke gaan ons hierdie juweel van die Suid-Kaap aan julle bekend stel. Van die wonderlike staproetes, fietsryroetes, besondere eetplekke, besondere mense, aktiwiteite ensovoorts. As ons met Groot-Brak klaar is, sal almal wat hier verby ry weet dis nie net ‘n “ou aftreeplekkie met klomp bejaardes” nie. Niemand sal weer by Groot-Brak verby ry sonder om in te draai en te kom kyk wat hier aangaan nie. Nie uit nuuskierigheid nie, o nee, omdat niemand dit wil mis nie.

WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!!!!!!!
Loeloe•