Ray Maota The only women graduate, Elizabeth Mokoena (second left), with Imbizo mentor Gideon Selopyane (left); Cedric Buffler, founder of Trident Institute (right); and Debra Marsden, head of business transformation and public affairs at Wiphold. Graduate Ibrahim Baku praised the credibility of the programme saying it wasn’t just corporates trying to look good, and it brought value to his business. Oosthuizen said that Nedbank viewed the small and micro business sector as the lifeblood of the country’s economy. (Images: Ray Maota) MEDIA CONTACTS • Nkosinathi Msiza Nedbank: Communications +27 11 295 5360 RELATED ARTICLES • SA’s competitiveness consistent • Investment incentives portal launched • Insights into doing business in SA • Citizens in charge of their destinyTen small business owners from Kliptown, Soweto – part of 48 selected in three provinces – have graduated from an eight-month pilot business programme aimed at helping them improve their business skills and sustain their livelihoods.The inaugural Imbizo Business Acumen Programme is sponsored by long-term insurance company Old Mutual, along with affiliates Nedbank and Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (Wiphold), an investment company focused on the empowerment of black businesswomen.Sixteen graduates received their programme certificates in Mpumalanga on 11 October, while earlier in the month, on 5 October, the Eastern Cape village of Centane saw five of its own graduate from the course, which began in March. The Kliptown ceremony was held on 13 October.Training focused on management skills for income and bank accounts, establishing a market for their specific business and understanding input costs to ensure the growth of their enterprises.A random selection of business owners from Kliptown and the neighbouring areas of Pimville and Eldorado Park took part. Tutorials were held at the Soweto Kliptown Youth centre and a local church alternately. The two criteria, according to the organisers, were that candidates have to be literate as the course involved a lot of writing, and that their businesses are at least six months old.Nedbank’s head of black business partnerships and alternative segments, Jake Oosthuizen, said his company believes in the small and micro business sector, viewing it as the lifeblood of the country’s economy.“Through the Imbizo programme,” he said, “we affirm that belief and our commitment towards building a sustainable economy by supporting the sector, which has the potential to create jobs.”Old Mutual’s support of the programme is made possible through its Masisizane Fund, formed in 2007 from unclaimed shares left over from the company’s demutualisation process.The fund operates as a non-profit company in consultation with the national treasury, and has a mandate that includes developing disadvantaged businesses with the potential of creating jobs, while also ensuring its own sustainability and growth.“We are excited about the success of this programme,” said Masisizane CEO Simphiwe Somdala. “We are hopeful that it will really assist these small businesses to increase their contribution to the country’s economy in the long run.”Retaining Kliptown’s pulseThe Kliptown graduates all run businesses in and around the township. These range from small spazas (small, makeshift shops for daily amenities, usually run from the owner’s home) and taverns to general dealers who supply the township’s catering and retail sector, tourism-orientated operations like tour guides, and those providing IT solutions to the general public and other businesses.Jabu Masuku runs a general dealership, and at the end of the programme committed himself to resisting the urge to help himself to money in the cash register, a habit he had developed to cover living costs not related to the business.“During the programme, we talked about how people from other neighbourhoods own shops in our area, capitalising on the needs of their market,” he reflected.“They take money out of the region, which is not good for its development.”Businesses in the area should benefit the people of Kliptown, he added.Ibrahim Baku, who also runs the same kind of business, praised the credibility of the programme.“We had to submit three months’ worth of data pertaining to our businesses,” he said, “and the improvement the course has made shows that it’s not just for the companies involved to look good.”Success start inwardsKarabo Songo, MD of Olive Communications, was the keynote speaker at the Kliptown event, and he encouraged the graduates to use the tool they had just earned to succeed.“I have always believed that success starts inwards and flows outwards,” he said. “We all have dreams but what is funny is that they diminish as we grow older.”Songo added that the business owners needed to own their success. “If you own a spaza, you need to be able to say it’s the best spaza in your area or region.”Investing in travelling, he said, would expose the graduates to how other businesses similar to theirs are run, which could have an indirect impact on how they run theirs.“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer,” said Songo. “Seeing what others do outside your environment opens up your mind and makes you a lateral thinker.”The graduates were also told to always have positive thoughts for themselves and their business as they are only confined by the walls they build themselves by having negative thoughts.
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Other award winnersOther projects recognized in the 2017 LEED Homes Awards were these:Project of the Year: The House at Cornell Tech, Roosevelt Island, New York, is a 26-story Passive House apartment building.Outstanding Single-Family Developer: Maracay Homes in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company has built more than 9,000 homes in Phoenix and Tucson.Outstanding Multi-Family Developer: The Hudson Companies Inc., which has completed more than 3,500 housing units in the New York metro area, including The House at Cornell Tech.Outstanding Affordable Project: Crescent Crossings Phase 1, Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a four-part project that is helping to transform a high-crime section of the city.Outstanding Affordable Developer Builder: Native American Connection, Phoenix, Arizona. The project offers high-quality, safe, and affordable apartments to both individuals and families. The U.S. Green Building Council has named a high-performance house in a Decatur, Georgia, historic district as its 2017 Outstanding Single-Family Project.The house will be familiar to Green Building Advisor readers. Carl Seville, who built and owns the 2,646-square-foot, two-story home, is a longtime GBA author who detailed the ups and downs of this home’s construction in a series of posts beginning in 2016.Seville is a principal at SK Collaborative, a consulting company that offers a variety of services revolving around green building. The house was designed by Thomas Bateman Hood Architecture in Carmel, California.Seville, a former remodeler, and his partner Abe Kruger offer consulting services to builders, architects, and remodelers. One service is certifying green buildings under a number of programs, including the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The Historic Infill Home, as it’s called, is a LEED Platinum home that has won a number of other certifications and awards.“The Historic District Infill Home manages to fit seamlessly into a prestigious existing historic district while meeting the highest standards of energy efficiency and sustainability through its LEED Platinum certification,” the USGBC announcement said. “The 100 percent electric home employs state-of-the-art concepts in design, construction, and mechanical systems.”As Seville described in a 2016 post, the house came after two earlier attempts at construction on the site fizzled. Seville bought a 750-square-foot cottage on the property in 2005. His first attempts to win local approval for a new house on the property failed. Then, in 2013, after failing to get a mortgage from a local bank for a new house, Seville decided to remodel the 1925 cottage. The renovated cottage, protected by historic preservation rules, eventually became an accessory building on the lot when the new house was constructed. Work on the new house started in 2016.Seville started writing his blog series for GBA, the “Green Building Curmudgeon,” in 2008.“I’ve come to think of this project as a ‘stealth’ green home,” Seville wrote a year after moving in, “primarily because it doesn’t have the touchstone ‘green’ features people think about: solar panels, ground-source heat pumps, a heat-pump water heater or tankless water heaters, and maybe that key one, spray foam insulation.“It’s also a very traditional design which doesn’t seem to get as much attention as contemporary architecture these days,” he continued. “But I don’t care what people think about it. We are enjoying the house, the porch, and even the carport and driveway which, it ends up, is an awesome party space.”
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Thursday issued a non-bailable warrant against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in cases of money laundering.On April 12, advocate Hiten Venegavkar appearing for Enforcement Directorate (ED) told the court that Mr. Naik is currently in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has been served with four summons dated January 1, January 24, February 2 and February 24 but has yet not appeared before the court, therefore it is ground for the agency to seek a non-bailable warrant against him.Shell companiesThe agency states that Dr. Naik had floated shell companies in India as well as abroad wherein, he had nominated directors who were not even aware of the activities of the entities. Out of the six companies he floated, Dr. Naik had appointed his confidante Aamir Gazdar as a directorof one such company. Mr. Gazdar, who was arrested last month, claims he has no knowledge of this and that Dr. Naik has been controlling all the activities. The agency further said that these companies were used to camouflage the diversion of funds received by Dr. Naik through his provocative speeches.Investigations have revealed that there were huge amount of cash transactions without leaving any trail about its origin or utilisation.The National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered an FIR against Dr. Zakir Abdul Karim Naik, the president of Islamic Research Foundation which has been declared unlawful by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The FIR reveals that Dr. Naik and his associates indulged in unlawful activities through provocative utterances, promoting enmity between different religious groups in India. Last month, ED had also attached properties worth ₹18.37 crores under the PMLA.
More than a week before Purvanchal gangster Munna Bajrangi was murdered in a Baghpat jail on Monday, his wife Seema Singh had alleged that the Uttar Pradesh police along with some political leaders and officials were conspiring to get him ‘eliminated’ outside the jail in a ‘fake encounter.’ She had requested Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to step up her husband’s security.“The officials of the U.P. STF, U.P. police and some influential ‘safedposh’ people are part of the conspiracy. My husband’s life is under threat,” Ms. Singh told journalists at the Lucknow Press Club on June 29.Ms. Singh also said that during his stay at Jhansi jail there had been an attempt to poison him. While on Monday she was not available for comment and Bajrangi’s brother and nephew had their phones switched off, his lawyer Vikas Shrivastava, who was in Baghpat, echoed Ms. Singh’s theory. “It is a planned murder and done by the administration. Some politicians and criminals are behind it,” he alleged.In March 2016, Bajrangi’s brother-in-law Pushpjeet Singh, a lawyer who even pursued his legal cases, along with a friend was gunned down by unidentified assailants in Lucknow. This followed the murder of Bajrangi’s close aide Mohammad Tariq last year. A native of Puredayal village in Jaunpur district, Munna Bajrangi was born into a Thakur family as Prem Prakash Singh. After dropping out in class 5, he soon discovered his fascination for weapons and as per people who knew him, aspired to become a “filmy don.” He was barely 17 when he was arrested for possessing illegal arms. “After he came out of jail, he got involved with a local mafia don called Gajraj Singh and started working for him. On Gajraj’s call, he committed a couple of murders early on [first he murdered a local businessman in Jaunpur followed by the killing of a BJP leader]. He aspired to be a gangster,” said a distant relative of Bajrangi, requesting anonymity.In the 1990s, Bajrangi, who had by then become a notorious figure in Purvanchal with his extortions and murder cases, started working with jailed MLA from Mau and alleged gangster Mukhtar Ansari. In 1998, he even miraculously survived an encounter by the Delhi police.In 2005, he was accused of executing the brutal and sensational murder of former BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai at the behest of Ansari, who is still facing trial in the case. Around 400 bullets were fired at the MLA’s convoy by the assailants armed with AK47 rifles. The murder was allegedly a retaliation in the rivalry between Mr. Ansari and another Purvanchal gangster Brijesh Singh, with whom Rai was associated. The State had then declared a bounty of ₹7 lakh on Bajrangi, who was arrested in Mumbai in 2009. He faced over two dozen criminal cases, including those for murder, attempt to murder, extortion and gangster activities. .Over the years, Bajrangi had also developed political ambition and in 2012, while he was lodged in jail, he contested the Assembly election from Mariyahu seat in Jaunpur as an Apna Dal candidate. Though he lost, he stood third with a respectable 21% vote share. In 2017, his wife Seema Singh contested from the same seat but unsuccessfully.UP ADG Jails, Chandra Prakash, said it was a “big lapse” on the part of the officials that a revolver had been sneaked in. While police are investigating the motive behind the murder, Mr. Prakash said the accused Rathi himself faced several criminal cases, most of them in Uttarakhand. Rathi, himself an alleged gangster, had been shifted to Baghpat jail recently.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday asked the government to lay off its cricket turf. BCCI Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ratnakar Shetty asked Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken to improve the state of other sports and not to interfere in the functioning of the autonomous body. He said that BCCI’s functioning has been praised time and again by various global sporting bodies. “I think the sports ministry will work better in finding out what needs to be done for the development of the other sports. The amount of problems the other federations face, they (government) should be concentrating on that and try to develop other sports rather than concentrating on cricket which is already well established,” Shetty said. Congress MP and BCCI vice president Rajiv Shukla said, “I have not seen the draft bill. Show me the draft bill. How can it be under RTI when it does not take any grant from the government?” Young BJP MP and BCCI member Anurag Thakur opposed the proposal to bring the board under RTI. Thakur told Headlines Today that it could be used to harass the cricket body. “I oppose Sports Bill. RTI is a tool to harass. There is no age limit for politicians and prime minister. First the (sports) ministry should look into Sports Authority of India. It is an attempt to hide Commonwealth Games scam. Politicians are required in sport bodies,” Thakur insisted. “As far as age-limit is concerned, I think that there is no age-limit for the prime minister or ministers. Then why should there be an age-limit for the head of a sports body,” he questioned.advertisement