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WHO ARE THE "friendsofgeorge"

friendsofgeorge is a formidable group of people from varying walks of life, from housewives and retired gentry to earnest entrepreneurs and top executives. Our primary objective is to enhance the economic  viability of George by the establishment of a business initiative forum to safe guard our business fraternity. Through frequent networking functions, and an informative and interactive website are we able to connect with one another, supporting each other in our businesses, our social and cultural activities and even day to day living.
Furthermore through friendsofgeorge, we are able to take an active part in addressing social needs in our city with mentoring support groups for young entrepreneurs from the disadvantaged sectors of our community. In addition we are able to support several local charity organizations and are involved with some exciting fund raising projects. We are a group of men and women living in and around George who are proud of our beautiful city with its many faces.

This is our Eden where we work and live, where we bring up our children in a safe and relaxed environment, where people still have time for one another and for others.  We recognize that as citizens of George, we are all custodians of our beautiful city and must take responsibility for our extraordinary heritage.  Collectively through friendsofgeorge, we have the clout and know-how to be an effective part of ensuring the future of our community as well as the protection of our precious natural resources. We are passionate about our city and through friendsofgeorge we are able be an integral part of protecting George's treasure chest of natural beauty, our dams, rivers, beaches, mountains, flora and fauna.
Membership to friendsofgeorge offers you a wealth of benefits.  In the regular networking functions you will have opportunity to meet your fellow Friends and promote and advertise your business: You are able to have a page on our website clearly defining your business: By introducing a new Friend, you will become a Best Buddy¹ and earn commission; You will be able to enjoy discounts at selected shops and restaurants: Participate in fund raising efforts and simply enjoy fun events: Be involved in various community projects and charitable organizations: Become a champion for our city and guard its beauty and resources. Get involved now! RADIANT SUMMER GROUP (PTY)LTD - TEL: 044 873 4155 - 076 135 5955 - 9 RAND ST - GEORGE INDUSTRIA - GEORGE - PO BOX 9712 - GEORGE 6529

Getting out of George

-friendsofgeorge- Getting out of George

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The situation, particularly in its coal fleet, is worse than we think.

What Eskom is not telling us…
Eskom is facing a shortage of electricity capacity and its back-up reserves are working full-time to keep the country from plunging into darkness. Photo: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg
BUSINESS NEWS - We now know that the dramatic and chaotic escalation of load shedding on Saturday – from Stage 2 to Stage 3 and then Stage 4 within hours – was caused by the loss of imports of 1 100 megawatts (MW) of power from Mozambique. Tropical cyclone Idai damaged the transmission lines that carry power to South Africa from Cahora Bassa. Eskom has to maintain an operating reserve of 2 000MW at all times, hence the need from Saturday to curtail load through load shedding (which is, effectively, managed blackouts).

The current underlying problem in Eskom’s generating unit, though, is worse than simply what happened in Mozambique on Saturday. On Friday, it announced that load shedding would continue until Sunday. City Press/Rapport cites acting head of generation Andrew Etzinger as saying that two further units at its power stations “became inoperative” on Friday night. Whether this caused the announcement, we will never know.

Along with the announcement on Friday came the ‘forecast’ that Stage 2 load shedding would continue until “the middle” of this week. This is unprecedented. And the only reason that this forecast was/is “only” until Wednesday is because a de facto long weekend starts on Thursday! With imports off the table for days (if not weeks), expect the forecast to deteriorate.

Pumped storage as base-load
What Eskom hasn’t said explicitly is that it relied (heavily) on its pumped storage schemes to keep the lights on during Saturday. These schemes – Drakensberg, Ingula and Palmiet – together (nominally) produce 2 724MW. They are not intended to produce base-load power for the simple reason that they are net users of electricity!

In other words, they use more power than they produce.

The schemes are used to supply electricity during peak periods, with water being pumped back up during off-peak periods, i.e. overnight.

The details are generally couched in opaque references to “water reserves”, but on Saturday night Eskom for the first time stated that Stage 2 load shedding would continue through the night “in an effort to build up necessary water reserves in the pump storage scheme”.

Presumably it is referring to at least both Drakensberg and the new Ingula power station, which together can generate 2 300MW. The decision to continue with load shedding through the night was another unprecedented one (it has never before continued beyond 11pm) and points to the utility once again using the pumped storage schemes for base-load power through Sunday.

It must also be noted that recent instances of load shedding run for longer, often starting at 8am and ending at 11pm. Previously, load shedding would run until 9pm only. This suggests far less of a peak problem (which was the case, historically), and more of a base-load generation issue.

After Stage 4
Eskom’s (now outdated) infographic about Stage 4 load shedding explains matter-of-factly that “should there be a need to go beyond Stage 4, Eskom and the municipalities will implement contingency schedules”. But late last year the utility published schedules for load shedding all the way to Stage 8, something it was forced to do by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa. This is a good thing, as one wonders whether these “contingency schedules” were as detailed and robust as they ought to have been.

Part of the decision to use the pumped storage schemes as base load power sources in an unexpected emergency was surely to ensure that the utility avoided – at all costs – a situation where load shedding shifted to Stage 5. It has never before removed more than 4 000MW of demand from the grid (under the old Stage 3 and new Stage 4 regimes). Because of this, a scenario where it is forced to cut demand by 5 000MW or 6 000MW inherently carries a number of risks. A lot is made of the fact that it would be politically unpalatable to shift to Stage 5, but the country is hurtling towards an election with load shedding almost certainly a regular occurrence until then.

Underlying coal plant performance is dire
In its most recent status report, Eskom says total installed capacity is 46 292MW. From a capacity point of view, it includes the “expect import at Apollo” (i.e. the ±1 100MW from Mozambique) and excludes “Avon and Dedisa”. It is a mystery why it would even contemplate including either of the latter, given that they are peaking plants operated by independent power producers (IPPs).

Using that report, we can see that in the first week of the month, Eskom had somewhere between 26 314MW and 28 077MW available to fulfil peak demand. We do not know the performance of various plants (or even types of plants), but we do know that given the demand/supply mismatch, Eskom is relying heavily on its pumped storage schemes, and its gas/diesel peaking plants.

Strip this out of the equation (as well as imports and Koeberg) and it is highly probable that Eskom has less than 19 000MW available from its coal fleet.

There is an additional 700MW in hydroelectric and wind power (from Eskom’s Sere Wind Farm), with use of the former at the Gariep and Vanderkloof dams “restricted to periods of peak demand”. Factor this in, and the total starts looking a lot closer to 18 000MW.

Whether or not renewables and other IPPs are included remains unknown. But with 1 005MW accessible from Avon and Dedisa, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that these very much form part of ‘available generation’. A well-placed source suggests that Avon (670MW) has often been running for 24 hours a day in recent weeks.

Even at a generous 20 000MW, the electricity available from Eskom’s coal fleet is barely 52% of the ±38 599MW nominal capacity. At 19 000MW available from coal, it drops below 50%. The utility keeps saying that available generation capacity availability is 67% (versus a 80% target), with a reported energy availability factor (EAF) of ±62%.

In its core coal fleet, the numbers are horrifyingly worse. And it’s this story that Eskom isn’t telling (and won’t).


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Over 200 patients have been treated for snakebites in the past four months in KZN. Photo: Zululand Observer.
NATIONAL NEWS - If you live in a country with venomous snakes, or are travelling to one, here are a few tips to avoid being bitten.

Do not provoke
Snakes usually will not attack unless they feel threatened. In the bush, wear sturdy leather shoes and stomp heavily when walking, striking with a stick on the ground in front of you to warn any reptiles you are coming — they will most likely just slither away.

Most strikes occur when snakes feel cornered or under threat, or when people accidentally step on them.

Be alert and prepared
Outside, have a good look around you for snakes that may hang from tree branches or swim in water, and be careful when turning over rocks or other objects. And remember: snakes are evolved to be well-camouflaged in their environment, whether it be the desert, forest or bush.

Thick, protective gloves are recommended for gardening and farming.

Carry a lamp at night.

Birds can help too: Many species possess an alarm cry to alert others of hidden danger.

Inside, check your bed and dark corners — snakes can enter homes in pursuit of prey, heat or water.

The neater your home, the more likely you will spot an out-of-place snake. A mosquito net around your bed can be an effective snake repellent.

Once bitten
If you or someone else is bitten, try and remember the colour and shape of the snake, and seek immediately medical care at a clinic or hospital.

Remove any bracelets, rings or watches that may hamper blood flow in case of swelling.

Do NOT try and catch the snake, apply a tourniquet, cut the wound, suck out the venom, or drink alcohol or coffee.

Also do not seek to inject your own antivenom, which can induce a violent allergic reaction and needs to be administered in a professional environment with adrenaline and oxygen on hand.

Sources: Doctors Without Borders, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Action International, Bio-Ken research centre.

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Network operators across the country have been battling sophisticated syndicates that have been stealing batteries daily.

Eskom’s rolling blackouts are placing severe strain on mobile network operators trying to keep base stations up and running.
NATIONAL NEWS - Eskom’s rolling blackouts are placing severe strain on mobile network operators trying to keep base stations up and running.

MTN South Africa said on Tuesday that despite “significant” investments in battery backup systems and generators, its sites are under threat due to stage-three and stage-four load shedding. And criminals are also taking advantage.

In a statement, the company said most of its sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure its base stations can continue running when local power goes down. However, the frequency of the blackouts is resulting in batteries not having enough time to recharge.

“These batteries generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge, which in stage-three and -four load shedding is simply not happening,” said MTN South Africa executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan in the statement.

Excluding the amount spent on new batteries for new cellular sites, MTN spent around R300 million in 2018 on batteries for existing sites. In addition to the batteries, MTN has 1 800 generators in use and the company spent more than R120-million on diesel in 2018 to power the generators.

“Another significant additional cost of the load shedding is the extra on-site security that is needed to protect the batteries, generators and general site equipment from thieves and vandals,” MTN said.

“Network operators across the country have been battling sophisticated syndicates that have been stealing batteries daily. However, load shedding is seeing entire neighbourhoods cloaked in darkness at predictable times, which is offering criminals greater cover for their thieving.”

O’Sullivan said the result is a high cost to network providers and their customers each time a battery is stolen. “We have, for instance, had to spend in the region of R11-million to replace batteries at 100 sites in Gauteng. More broadly, we have had to spend R285-million on additional infrastructure to fix what was broken during the theft.”

Additional security is also required where mobile generators are deployed to stop them from being stolen.

“The extent of the outages has placed a significant strain on MTN’s overall network resources and teams have had to be reassigned from growth projects to emergency management of sites due to the load shedding.”

The problems don’t end there. The constant outages are also having a direct impact on the performance of the batteries, MTN said. With stage-four blackouts, the batteries’ integrity is compromised because of the insufficient time to recharge and due to the excessive drain on their power.”


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-friendsofgeorge- Your invitation to "Buzz over Coffee" - It's FREE!


This is your invitation to another great "BUZZ OVER COFFEE" with the friendsofgeorge on Thursday morning at 10h00 when you will be given the opportunity to tell us all about your Company and product. Feel free to bring and exhibit your product, it's free, the "friends" would love to meet with you. Please note that you are not obliged to join us, advertise with us or get involved with us. You are welcome in all our Network meetings as a visitor. We have been ACTIVE in George for the past 22 years with a listed membership of more then 1'600 small business members that have taken hands. "friends" is the way to go.

Our Host : SIMON BERNSTEIN - 084 525 4231


Date : Thursday 14 March 2019

Time : 09h45 for 10h00 Dress : Working clothes.

Kind Regards


083 294 0572

044 873 4155
076 135 5955 Rocky Sonnekus
Check it out : www.busscon.co.za
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- GLOBAL NEWSStray pup emerges top dog in elite Indian sniffer squad

Asha, a rescued stray-turned-sniffer dog, is put through her paces at the West Bengal training school.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS - Some 18 months after been rescued from stone-throwing children, an Indian street mutt has emerged top dog in an elite bomb- and drug-sniffing squad.

"Asha" - meaning "hope" in Hindi - was rescued by West Bengal police when they found her being mistreated outside their training facility.

"The dog was bleeding when she was taken inside the campus," senior West Bengal Police Training Academy official Dipankar Bhattacharya told AFP.

Officers originally intended keeping the mixed-breed stray as a pet, but Asha turned out to have a nose every bit as good as the German Shepherds and Labradors usually trained to sniff out explosives and drugs.

Sajal Mondal, the head of the academy, said she passed the gruelling training with flying colours and that drugs and explosives like TNT were no match for Asha's keen sense of smell.

"She performed better than her pedigree peers, jumping nearly six feet (two metres) high and crossing hurdles," he said.

"She is also our fastest runner."

Asha is the first mixed-breed dog to join the 30-strong unit.


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- IN GENERALNo immediate risk but it will be difficult to grow client numbers in the long run, portfolio manager says. What the digital onslaught means for SA’s big banks

Nedbank Group CEO Mike Brown. Photo: Moneyweb

BUSINESS NEWS - As new banks with radically different cost structures enter the market in an economic environment that is unlikely to provide much support for top-line growth, the question is whether South Africa’s large banks are well placed to respond to the digital onslaught.

African Rainbow Capital’s TymeBank officially entered the market in February, with Discovery Bank and BankZero expected to follow soon.

While it was widely known that TymeBank would have no bricks and mortar infrastructure of its own (it operates through kiosks and till points at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores), arguably the most standout number from its recent investor presentation is that it runs with 125 full-time employees and that the number probably won’t change much at scale. It had 80 000 clients at the end of February. Breakeven point is projected for 2022 with around two million customers.

What do these changes in cost structures mean for traditional banks? Are the big four in a good position to respond to the digital onslaught?

Broadly speaking, roughly 20% of clients are responsible for about 80% of profits at South Africa’s big banks, says Jan Meintjes, portfolio manager at Denker Capital. The most profitable clients have several products at the same bank, which probably include a home loan, car loans, a current account and insurance. It is highly unlikely that these clients would cut ties with one of the traditional banks to save around R40 in costs on an entry-level transactional account.

More newcomers likely
Yet this doesn’t mean that the big four can rest easy, as newcomers will likely follow in Capitec’s footsteps and may attract price-sensitive clients on the transactional side.

“The entry level banks are not an immediate risk for established banks, but at the margin, they will have an impact on the growth of client numbers in the long run.”

At the same time, the benefit of a significant capital base at established banks shouldn’t be underestimated, Meintjes says. New entrants must lure clients and establish themselves, while traditional banks won’t be sitting still.

“By offering product and service bundles, traditional banks can entice clients to stay.”

Nedbank is in a “very good position” to compete with digital entrants, its chief executive Mike Brown said after the release of its annual results on Tuesday.

With eight million customers and three million primary client customers, incumbents like Nedbank have a huge advantage, he added. Nedbank reported full year headline earnings growth of 14.5% to R13.5 billion. The improvement was boosted by the turnaround at Ecobank.

Continuous tech investments
Brown says the bank has been careful to invest an appropriate portion of profits in its technology platforms, including R2 billion a year in new technologies over the last three years, and it will be difficult for some of the new competitors to offer a significantly better customer value proposition.

The Nedbank Money app, which was relaunched about 18 months ago, has been downloaded 1.5 million times and has added approximately one new service per week since launch.

About five years ago, Nedbank realised that it was simply too hard for customers to sign up with traditional banks.

“You go into a branch, there is too much paper,” says Brown. “We sign everybody up by product, so every time you want a new product, it feels like you are starting again.”

To address this, Nedbank will be launching a new customer ‘onboarding platform’ in the first half of 2019 where customers only sign up once, with new products offered as a drop-down set. Its new loyalty and rewards programme will be launched during the second half of the year.

Nedbank Group revenue grew 6% to R54.8 billion. Its total assets surpassed the R1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018. It declared a final dividend of 720 cents, taking its full year dividend to 1 415 cents, an increase of 10.1%.

Its share price closed 0.22% higher at R272.


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Financial burden could still await SA’s poor

In total, levies on petrol and diesel will increase by 29 cents and 30 cents per litre respectively. Image: AA South Africa
BUSINESS NEWS - While it seems as though South Africa’s low income earners have been given some relief in the new Budget, there may still be one more development in the pipeline that could weigh heavily on the poor.

This is according to Tertius Troost, a tax manager at Mazars, who explains that if one particular proposal related to paraffin, contained in the 2019 Budget Speech is brought to pass, the country’s poor could find their cost of living increasing significantly.

“The potential bad news for the country’s poor is that Treasury is looking at the viability of imposing a fuel levy on illuminating paraffin, which has not been subject to the fuel levy to date.”

In total, levies on petrol and diesel will increase by 29 cents and 30 cents per litre respectively.

The general fuel levy accounts for a 15 cents per litre increase, the Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy increases by five cents per litre from 3 April, and the new carbon fuel levy will amount to nine cents per litre for petrol and 10 cents per litre for diesel, applicable from 5 June.

“This in itself already poses a problem for the lower income tiers, since both personal and public transport will become more expensive. By adding the extra cost of the fuel levies to illuminating paraffin, which is used extensively in low income households, the cost of living for South Africa’s poor could increase significantly,” says Troost.

Treasury’s rationale behind imposing this added levy is somewhat unclear.

In the Budget Review document Treasury stated that “at present, fossil fuels such as mineral ethanol, illuminating paraffin, aviation kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas and biofuels are not subject to RAF levies. Yet they are used as transport fuels. This creates a discrepancy: claims can be made to the RAF for damages arising from accidents involving motor vehicles operating on fossil fuel sources, but these fuels are not subject to the RAF”.

In response Troost states: “Even though I agree that biofuels may be used as transport fuels, I am yet to hear of a vehicle running on illuminating paraffin.”

In addition, if Eskom’s current challenges persist, and South Africa experiences more rolling blackouts, many more South Africans are likely to experience the effect that the proposed levies could have on the price of paraffin, first hand.

“In terms of time lines, Treasury has not yet given any deadline for its decision regarding the matter, but it is expected that Treasury will review the scope and definition of fuel levy goods in the Customs and Excise Act. For now, we will just have to look out for future announcements,” Troost concludes.


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- GEORGE NEWS Outstanding award for George Hospital trustee

Prof Robert Frater.

GEORGE NEWS - Professor Robert William Mayo Frater (90), inter alia a trustee of the George Hospital trust, was the first to receive a new award inaugurated by the famous Cape school, Bishops.

The Bishop Gray Medal, named after one of the founders of Bishops 170 years ago, goes to an old boy of the school for outstanding achievement in the interests of the community. Frater received this magnificent honour in the Bishops chapel that is the central focus of the senior school, on Friday 1 March.

In an exceptional school career starting at the Bishops Preparatory School in 1937, Frater was the head prefect of Ogilvie House, captain of tennis and a member of the First Rugby XV. He matriculated in the first class in 1946, winning the West Jones Scholarship to study medicine at the University of Cape Town, where he qualified with a first class in surgery.

In 1955 he was admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons in the United Kingdom. He subsequently took up a fellowship in surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester where he specialised in the then new field of cardiothoracic surgery. He continued his research, specialising in the repair of diseased mitral valves using autologous pericardial patches, and was the first surgeon to successfully install a prosthesis for a defective aortic valve into a human being using a pig's valve.

In 1964 he took charge of the new open heart operations department at the prestigious Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and built it from scratch to a point where the graduates from its clinical training programmes and research fellowships became chiefs of surgery at their respective hospitals around the world.

Over a 50-year period, Frater pioneered various life saving techniques for which he was declared the outstanding alumnus of the Mayo Clinic, the highest honour attainable in the medical profession in the US.

Frater and his artistic wife, Elaine, a graduate of Rhodes University, have always loved South Africa where they keep a holiday home in the Southern Cape. After retirement he formed the company Glycar based in Irene, which produces bovine heart patches used to repair diseased heart valves in humans that supply the world.

He has also formed an association with the University of the Free State, where he is involved in a wide variety of projects. Now, at the age of 90, he was recognised with an honorary PhD by his old school, with the Bishop Gray Medal for his outstanding career as a surgeon. His parents were also doctors at Mayo, where they met, hence his third name "Mayo".


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My fok Marelize



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Sanlam, Standard Bank and MTN results, Eskom tariff decision, Absa job cuts.

Standard Bank is reporting a 6% increase in headline earnings to R27.86bn for the year ended 31 December 2018. Photo: Bloomberg

NATIONAL NEWS - Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:

1. Sanlam results
Insurance and financial services firm Sanlam is reporting a 6% decline in headline earnings to R9 162 million, while diluted headline earnings per share declined 8% to 441.1 cents for the year ended December 31, 2018. The company says this is against the backdrop of a challenging local environment, while its operations in other key emerging markets were also constrained. Sanlam has however declared a dividend of 312 cents per share, up 8%.

Read: Sanlam hit by global markets rout, weak growth at home

2. MTN results
Telecommunications firm, MTN has been facing numerous challenges, especially from its external operations, mainly Nigeria, in recent times. Despite this, during the year ended December 31, 2018, the company delivered an 85.2% increase in group headline earnings per share to 337 cents, while group headline earnings per share, after adjustments amounted to 565 cents per share. The company CEO, Rob Shuter says the company was able to meet its targets for growth service and Ebitda, which increased by 15.9%, during the period. A final dividend of 325 cents per share was declared.

3. Standard Bank results
For the year ended December 31, 2018, Standard Bank says it was able to deliver sustainable earnings growth and improved returns. The lender is reporting a 6% increase in headline earnings to R27.86 billion, while headline earnings per share increased by 7% to 1 748 cents for the period. A dividend of 970 cents per share is being declared, up 7%.

4. Eskom tariffs
Energy regulator Nersa is expected to announce electricity price hikes for the next three years on Thursday. Eskom has repeatedly submitted applications calling for increases as it battles with debt and looming expenses.

Eskom previously called for a 15% increase in electricity tariffs for the next three years.

5. Restructure on the cards at Absa
Absa Group has announced it will be restructuring its South African retail and business banking units. Bloomberg is reporting that discussions between finance labour union Sasbo, Absa and employees are still in their early stages and that 827 jobs could potentially be at risk.

The lender’s annual financial results are due on Monday.


Biltong Warehouse & Nuts - George

Biltong & Nuts
The Biltong Warehouse & Nuts Address: Knysna Rd, Eastern Extension, George, 6529, South Africa City of Western Cape Post Office box: 1641, George, 6530 Phone number: 044 871 1892,, Fax: 044 873 6113
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