Once again, we start with the usual news: To subscribe or unsubscribe to the newsletter, send your comments or make a contribution, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark the email “SUBSCRIBE”, “UNSUBSCRIBE” or the topic of your choice. This free newsletter is a monthly email publication which is available in either Afrikaans or English. New subscribers are always most welcome. Also bear in mind that while we select our advertisers with care, we cannot guarantee or be held responsible for the quality of their services or actions. This month the newsletter is a bit shorter as we are busy with exciting restructuring. The Come Home Campaign will in future be a part of a non-profit company named Afriforum. Read more about this development in the media release below the meditation. Our brochure IMFO has just been updated with the latest information re the cost of living in South Africa. To receive a free copy, send an email with the subject IMFO to email@example.com. Solidarity's economist, Lullu Krugel, issues a regular newsletter about the South African economy. The 24th number has just been completed and includes discussions about the slightly weaker Rand, interest rates and share-prices. It is also available at no cost from us – subscribe by sending us an email with the subject "Economy". URGENT REQUEST Please let us know urgently if you have broadband Internet access. We are considering to stay in touch with you via live news broadcasts in future ... If you would like to stay in touch in this manner, send an email with the subject YES to firstname.lastname@example.org. COMPETITION Our newsletter for South Africans who would not necessarily like to return to the country in the near future, has a name at last! It will henceforth be known as "Biltong Bulletin". Subscribers are welcome – use our address to subscribe for free. The competition for finding a name, was sponsored by kalahari.net - thank you so much for the esteemed support!! South African music and Afrikaans books can now be delivered to your doorstep! Kalahari.net is South Africa's leading online retailer, offering a world of books, CDs, DVDs, games, electronic products, health products and more. It also makes gift buying for friends and family in South Africa hassle-free – send a voucher or let kalahari.net deliver a gift to their doorsteps – wrapped and with a personal note. Five different payment options, door-to-door delivery, wish list facilities, gift-wrapping, e-vouchers and printed vouchers, free local delivery on orders over R350 and 24 hour delivery on top products make kalahari.net the only option for convenient shopping. HOME AFFAIRS In March 2006 a complaint about the unsatisfactory service received from the Department of Home Affairs was submitted to the office of the Public Protector. We are now waiting for reaction in this regard. The complaint was compiled in expert manner by Mr. Attie Tredoux of the legal firm Len Dekker & Associates. The complaint comprises 27 A4-pages. Thank you to all who contributed towards compiling this comprehensive description of the problem – we trust that it will result in better public service! We will keep you informed re the progress with the complaint. AVAILABLE EMPLOYMENT Lately we get loads of offers of employment. All follow below: Clients based in Northern KZN require the following staff for a game lodge: Management Couple – candidates must be experienced, energetic and have an eye for detail. One partner will be required to manage the game farm, be responsible for general maintenance, have a PDP and game ranging experience, minimum FGASA level 1, preferably level 2. The other partner will manage the lodge, must have strong F&B and culinary skills, customer service focused and computer literate. Salary negotiable, accommodation provided. Chef/Lodge Manager – qualified chef with general management experience required for a bush lodge. Must be creative, have good people management skills. Duties will include ordering, stock control, menu planning, cooking and overall responsibility for running of the lodge. Must be computer literate. Salary negotiable, single accommodation. Ranger / PRO – Must have minimum FGASA 1, preferably 2 and have previous experience in Big 5 reserve & first aid, PDP and previous weapons handling experience. Must be well-spoken, well-presented individual to co-ordinate staff and activities for lodge and act as link between guests and activities and facilities at lodge. Salary negotiable, single accommodation. Farm Manager – hands on manager required to be overall responsible of management of game farm. Must have previous experience, have a technical qualification e.g. mechanic, drivers licences. Salary negotiable, single accommodation provided. Enquiries: Lynne Proude via email@example.com. Positions in Carletonville Driefontein GM urgently requires miners, developers, shift bosses, kettle makers, electricians and fitters. Contact Steve Scott at 0027-72-2275501. Position in Secunda A qualified mechanical fitter is required. Contact Jaco van den Berg at 0027-17- 6345296. Mechanical engineer A young mechanical engineer is required in Pretoria. Maximum 5 years experience. Salary negotiable. Well established company. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Electrician wanted Humansdorp for dairy industry, R10 000, plus vehicle and fuel. Call Lorrainna at 0027-83-4102463. Positions for financial advisors at Old Mutual Jannie Heymans of Old Mutual (Hatfield area, Pretoria) is still looking for people who are interested in a career as Financial Advisors. CVs may be sent to him: By hand to – Jannie Heymans, Old Mutual Hatfield Branch, 1 Pencardia , Second Floor, 509 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, Pretoria; By mail to – J.G. Heymans, Old Mutual Hatfield, PO Box 5, Pretoria, 0001, SA; By fax – For the attention of Jannie Heymans – +27-12-4835325; By email to - email@example.com. INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE WHO WOULD LIKE TO START AN OWN BUSINESS IN SA This week Prof. Tommy du Plessis of the Business School of North-West University will present a course in London for entrepreneurs who would like to start an own business in South Africa. The course will be repeated in future. Enquiries may be sent to Prof. Tommy du Plessis or Uzanne van Staden at 0027-18-2991412 or PBSSCVS@puknet.puk.ac.za. An extract from their brochure follows: Have you ever dreamt of starting your own business but were too scared to take the first step? Then the short course on Prospective Entrepreneurship is your answer. Prof Tommy du Plessis, the Director of the Potchefstroom Business School at the North West University, South Africa, is the presenter. Theoretic Topics include: Characteristics of an Entrepreneur; How to determine your Entrepreneurial profile; Can creativity be taught? Characteristics of successful businesses; How to generate ideas that will lead to a successful business; How to determine the viability of a business; How to determine the selling price of a business; Detailed tutoring in how to write a Business Plan. Practical Topics: Principles of Finance and the "potholes" to avoid; Marketing techniques that really work; Ensuring satisfied customers; "Dealing" with your staff; The management of cash. NEWS FROM THE PROPERTY MARKET The South African residential property market By Emille van Heyningen* At R752 300, the price of an average house in South Africa is now two-and-a-half times what it was 5 years ago. In 1999, when house prices first began to increase after nearly two decades of decline, investment in residential property had fallen to a 30- year low. This South African property boom can be attributed to the demand from a growing black middleclass that have created the momentum in the market, alongside other drivers such as the shift to low & stable interest rates, rapidly growing disposable incomes & more general higher economic growth in the country. However, since house-price growth peaked at more than 35% in September/October 2004, there has been a declining trend as high prices squeeze buyers in all segments of the residential property market and cause demand to fall. Absa's house-price index is reporting nominal growth of 14,5% year on year in February 2006, the lowest growth rate in almost 4 years, due to reduced demand for property from middle- & lower-income groups. Absa is now looking at nominal house-price growth of at least 12% or more for the year. But the removal of transfer duty for residential properties costing less than R500 000 from March 1, as well as the savings on transfer duties on properties above that level, could support growth going forward as the cut in transfer duty could push up property prices because housing would become more affordable – especially in the market below R700 000. Higher growth in the property market is expected in early 2007, due to an expected continued stable economy and housing demand from a growing middle class. Continued strong economic growth of between 4% and 5% is expected, and supply constraints in the residential property market would continue to support house price growth. Investing in South African property remains an excellent investment option when compared with returns on other investments or the property market in most other countries. [Sources: Absa, First National Bank, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, Bua News, SA Cities Network]. * Emille van Heyningen, (+27) 844 547 876 or firstname.lastname@example.org, specialises in assisting people living abroad with acquiring property in Cape Town working exclusively for the buyer or lessee, including: Conducting searches for property that meets client requirements (buy or rent). Providing clients with professional advice on property & the pros & cons of various Cape Town neighbourhoods. Facilitating the purchasing of property on client’s behalf e.g. submitting offers, negotiating on purchase price, etc. Liaising with other property professionals e.g. property agents, lawyers & mortgage brokers on client’s behalf. Providing expert advice on the development potential of property in terms of planning law. Interior designing property. Project managing renovations on client’s behalf. MEDICAL SCHEMES Please send us your questions re medical insurance for comprehensive replies here. This month's question is from Kathleen from Europe: I would like to settle in South Africa after retirement. How much can I expect to pay for medical cover per month? Ronell Kruger, consultant of Solmark (email@example.com), replies: Dear Kathleen, there are a few things which count against you – your age, that you are not currently working in SA, and that you do not have a current history of medical scheme cover in SA. No fund will be able to prevent you from becoming a member, but they have the right to add a levy to your premium. Funds may add levies to premiums of up to 120% in extraordinary cases. Please realise that I am not saying that this will be the amount which will be used, only that this percentage is possible The percentage will not be less than 50% though. There will also be an initial waiting period of 3 months, during which no claims will be paid and depending on your medical history. In the case of chronic conditions, such as heart problems, cover of related claims may be excluded. With the above in mind, it is extremely difficult to estimate a premium. You will be regarded as a high risk by schemes. Normal premiums vary from about R600 to R2000 per month, to which the levy will have to be added. Sorry for this "vague" answer, but it is impossible to determine an exact premium with the information available to me. Please feel free to send more questions - we would love to help! SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE STARTING AN OWN BUSINESS Risk capital and expertise is offered by Marthinus Fourie of Delcastienne. Interested entrepreneurs or prospective entrepreneurs can find out more about this unique service by calling him at 0027-82-8235777 or by visiting www.delcastienne-sa.com. MEDITATION This month's meditation has been taken from the newsletter of the Perth Afrikaans Reformed Church. Rev. Gawie van der Merwe, who is responsible for this meditation, visited South Africans in Australia during the past weeks and is prepared, once he is back in South Africa, to act as the congregation's contact in South Africa. Members of the congregation are invited to contact him when worried about loved-ones in South Africa. Rev. Gawie will follow up on questions via the larger church community. People in South Africa are also welcome to contact him if they are concerned about the welfare of family-members in Australia. His address is firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Perth Afrikaans Reformed Church is available from email@example.com or the web site, www.parc.org.au. Rev. Gawie writes: God's purpose with hardships People often struggle to understand why God allows hardship into their lives. It is indeed true that few of us find suffering to be something positive while we are in the midst of such an experience. You can be justified for asking why this had to come your way. The Bible clearly stipulates that God is the author of our hardships. Just look at Lamentations 3:32 where it is stated that He also brings trials our way, but with the promise that He will show mercy to the person through His great love. In the next verse we read that it is also against His will to bring hardships into people's lives. If this truly is against God's will, what can the purpose of such events be? We find the answer in Mark 9:49: "For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt" God sometimes finds it necessary to purify us from our excessive love for ourselves and other things which do not serve Him. By this purification process, He wants us to realize our dependency on Him once again and to make us trust in Him for getting through these hard times. To some people this might sound absurd, but James even goes as far as to say that we have to be glad when all kinds of afflictions beset us (James 1:2). The purpose of this all therefore is: That we may persevere through faith and may reach full spiritual maturity. Once you experience this, be quiet in the presence of the Lord, place your trust in Him once more and relinquish yourself to walk the rest of your way with Him in complete dependence. LAST WORD ... FROM ALANA, ANNATJIE AND AFRIFORUM Thank you for yet another month's support and interest. As promised, we close with the official introduction to our non-profit, umbrella company, AfriForum. Kind regards till we meet again! Alana & Annatjie Come Home Campaign AfriForum [firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com] AfriForum An initiative of Solidarity Media Statement 26 March 2006 Solidarity establishes AfriForum to counter minority apathy A new civil rights initiative, AfriForum, has been established by the trade union Solidarity. AfriForum was established to provide a Forum for the constructive activation of civil society in general and minority communities in particular, in order to stimulate participation in the public debate and actions. Participation rather than apathy is, according to AfriForum, the key t o creating a better future in Africa for all those who know no other home than this continent. AfriForum will operate as an independent, non-profit institution. AfriForum will endeavour to involve ordinary citizens, existing civil organisations and opinion makers from various schools of thought. People like Dr Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, Prof Marinus Wiechers, Flip Buys en Dr Rina Venter have already agreed to serve as advisors to AfriForum. According to Kallie Kriel, chief executive of the newly-formed AfriForum, the establishing of the institution was prompted by the phenomenon that minorities in general have increasingly been withdrawing from public life since 1994. Kriel pointed out that this causes a cycle of withdrawal, with negative consequences for the minorities, democratic principles and the country at large. The negative consequences of the withdrawal mean that government is given free reign to co- opt and selectively interpret the Constitution and to fail in maintaining a balance between the interests of minorities and those of the majority. The end result, according to Kriel, is that minorities lack a meaningful future vision and are drawn deeper into the withdrawal cycle, with benefits for no-one. Kriel emphasised that trade unionism will remain Solidarity’s core business, while AfriForum, as independent entity, will play a role in civil society outside the workplace through: • Campaigns for the protection and consolidation of civil rights, as contained in the South African Constitution and international conventions. The campaigns will concentrate on the protection of civil and other rights across a wide spectrum. Specific problem areas, e.g. the government’s growing obsession with race, political interference in sport, race-based welfare subsidies, crime and the ill-considered changing of some place names will receive attention. The campaigns will be conducted with an eye to win-win solutions to contentious problems and the promotion of tolerance and peaceful co-existence. • Establishing functional forums in various spheres of life, in response to various needs and issues that may crop up in the community. Forums focusing on the following issues have either already been established or are being planned: civil rights, social affairs, future vision, migration (including Solidarity’s Come Home Campaign), taxpayers, crime, sport, the aged, the youth, women, etc. • Creating a future vision for minority communities, built on self-respect and independence, as a platform to enable minority communities to take their rightful place in our country and take part in the mainstream national debate. • Promoting co-operation between civil institutions. Campaigns and forums with specific objectives offer existing civil institutions and persons with divergent points of view an opportunity to work together on matters of joint concern without abandoning the principles on which they may differ. • Liaising with the rest of the world by means of the Come Home Campaign (that assists skilled expatriates to return home), newsletters to South Africans abroad and contact with foreign institutions to promote civil rights, where needed. • Liaising with the authorities by means of AfriForum’s parliamentary liaison office, to give a voice to minority communities. To join AfriForum (or to get more information on AfriForum and the benefits it offers) people can visit www.afriforum.co.za.