Maritzburg is ready for cycle city glory

2008-11-16 00:00

A PORTENT of things to come was apparent on Thursday when next April’s Nissan UCI World Cup event was formally launched. For those not in the know, the world’s best mountain bike racers from over 40 countries — and their entourages — will be in Pietermaritzburg to contest the first-ever African leg of the World Cup series.

A tough downhill course comprising some spectacular drops and jumps has been constructed on the steep forested slopes overlooking the Cascades shopping centre.

With the downhill and cross-country courses virtually complete, construction started on the 4X (four-cross) course, a steep, fast, wide, obstacle-riddled course raced by four riders at a time.

The 2009 Nissan UCI World Cup will see an unprecedented 10-day festival of MTB action, from April 3 to 12.

The event also attracts support crews, officials, sponsors and international media. For more information, visit www.mtbworldcupsa.co.za

PCB BUsiness winners

CONGRATULATIONS are in order to the winners of three accolades bestowed annually by the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business at its annual banquet.

Friday night’s proceedings saw the winning recipients being handed their awards by Jenny Goddard, regional head of Nedbank Business Banking, who represented the sponsor of both the banquet and business awards.

The Business of the Year accolade went to the Golden Horse Casino, which was recognised for its part in the economic development of the city, its importance as an entertainment hub, and as a generous contributor to several community projects, including the Olwazini Discovery Centre.

Despite increasingly tough trading conditions, the GHC holds a 10,5% share of the KZN gambling spend, and is on track to post an 18% increase in profit.

We understand that the GHC won by a nose from Nutec and Clifford Welding Systems to claim the 2008 crown.

Clifford Welding Systems MD Graham Raynor was not to be denied a second time, and walked off with the Champion Entrepreneur accolade. Largely responsible for the phoenix-like success of Clifford, which won the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industries’ 2008 KZN Exporter of the Year title, Raynor had a few other aces up his sleeve.

For one, he owns several restaurants at the Durban International Airport where, over the past five years, turn-overs in some instances have increased by as much as 315%.

Then there’s Suntan Systems, which imports and distributes sunbeds, accessories and tanning beauty products, and holds a 40% market share in South Africa.

Finally, the provision of specialised laser cutting services is the business of Crucialtrade 43, which achieved a 129% return on investment.

As the PCB citation states, Raynor exemplifies the true and gifted entrepreneur.

The Emergent Black Business Person of the Year award went to Siyabonga Kheswa, a qualified civil engineer who founded Busiya Logistics that offers a courier service, chauffeur service and logistics.

Kheswa dreams big and wants to develop the largest black-owned freight business in the southern hemisphere.

Double trouble

SPARE a thought for the good people of Scottsville and surrounds who seem to be suffering an inordinate number of water cuts of late.

It’s bad enough that domestic consumers and households are made to suffer, but now businesses too are affected. Particularly hard-hit are service industries, including restaurants, coffee shops and the like, as Rob Boyd can attest to.

Not only was Bread Ahead affected, but also Boyd’s Café, run by his wife Carie, in the Hayfields Shopping Centre.

We’re still awaiting a response to explain the cuts.

Farming climate

A NEW dedicated agro-climate information system will hopefully make sense of the vagaries of the weather, with particular reference to the agricultural sector.

Initiated by the Department of Agriculture, the purpose of the web-based system is to make up-to-date meteorological and climate-related information available to the farming community.

The system will interpret information of 700 weather stations countrywide, and will deal with a variety of subjects such as agri-statistics, economic advice, reports on migrating pests, weeds and invasive plants, agricultural marketing, and veld management.

The information can be accessed by visiting www.agis.agric.za/climate.

Opposites attract

THE Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) and farmers’ union AgriSA are discussing aspects of the Expropriation Bill, land reform, agriculture and food prices.

Called by the PAC, the meeting released a joint statement that fingered inefficiency and red tape as the main causes of delayed land reform. It was also agreed that post-settlement support was inadequate and slow, and that food security was a concern.

Interestingly, much as PAC’s policy on land reform and nationalisation is poles apart from that of AgriSA, the parties found sufficient common ground to talk about matters of national interest.

oil talks louder

FORMER Absa communications manager Lindiwe Khuzwayo has a new job, that of the sustainable development manager for Sapref.

While part of her job is communications, we assume Khuzwayo traded the banking hall for a refinery because oil talks louder than money.

We wish her everything of the best.

Hospitality meeting

PEOPLE involved in the hospitality sector have an opportunity tomorrow to update themselves on the latest developments in the hospitality sectoral determination.

While the determination more or less follows the Basic Conditions of Employments Act, it is important that people in the industry familiarise themselves with the ins and outs of the regulations.

The guest speaker is from the Department of Labour, and those attending should bring a copy of their ID to sign up for Workmen’s Compensation.

Tomorrow’s meeting, under the auspices of the Midlands Bed & Breakfast Association (MidBaba) takes place at Goldstones Club, Maritzburg College, at 10 am. Non-members will pay R30, which includes a delicious tea.

Last word

THIS was an actual exchange between a pilot and a control tower in the United States: Tower: “Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o’clock, six miles.”

Delta 351: “Give us another hint! We have digital watches!”

derekalberts@mweb.co.za

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