Green school backpack wins inventors’ prize

The winner of the Inventors’ Garage competition, which happened as part of the 7th South African Innovation Summit that took place in Cape Town recently, was Thato Kgatlhanye, who created a school backpack which brings together recycling, solar energy and a better learning environment for school children. “Made from 100% plastic shopping bags and fitted with a Consol solar jar lid that charges in the sun, the sturdy eco-friendly schoolbag can provide light for the learner to study after dark. There is a safety and visibility element too as the…

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Would you support a compulsory retirement plan?

Up to half of formally employed South Africans are not saving for retirement in any form, a statistic that has caused most respondents to a survey to welcome the idea of participating in either a compulsory government or employer-sponsored pension fund. But many respondents also highlighted the need for flexibility and the option to opt-out. Labour organisations are not supporting the idea, saying they are concerned about the impact of reform and of a compulsory preservation on the financial vulnerability of their members. Source

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Traffic fines in Western Cape hiked to support commuter safety

Traffic fines in the Western Cape have more than doubled and in some instances increased by 300%. Some taxi drivers protested against the increases last month and have burnt Golden Arrow and MyCiTi buses. The chief magistrate of the Western Cape has said that the increases are based on the need to improve commuter safety and driver compliance. Serious offences would cost an offender R5 000 or R3 000, up from R1 500. Less serious offences have been hiked to R1 500 from R500. Drivers of unroadworthy vehicles, buses or…

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SAA asks for another bail-out

After failing to submit its annual report to parliament by the Tuesday deadline, South African Airways (SAA) is again seeking government support, two years after it was granted R5 billion in loan guarantees. Eighty years after its creation, loss-making state-owned SAA is battling with an ageing fleet and a weak national currency. Air traffic across the continent is soaring and while SAA has tried to build from its traditional European routes, it has had with mixed success. Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown did not disclose the figure asked for by…

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Big fund to boost manufacturing SMEs

A R300 million fund for SMEs has been launched to stimulate the manufacturing sector. According to Nazeem Martin, MD of Business Partners Limited, during the period between 2000 and 2013 the manufacturing sector’s contribution towards South Africa’s GDP shrank from 19% to 15.2%. The funding offered starts at R500 000 and the maximum amount offered over a five year period is R25 million, and will be open to manufacturers in agri-processing, textiles and clothing production, information and communications technology, electronics, automotive and chemical, green industries, as well as new innovation…

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