Safe tyres can save lives this Easter

Get-a-grip-on-Tyre-SafetyThe South African Tyre Manufacturer’s Conference (SATMC) is urging all road users to give priority to the safety of their vehicle’s tyres before they set off on their holidays and long-distance travelling this Easter.

Well maintained tyres are often an overlooked aspect of road safety, yet tyres are the only parts of the car in contact with the road.  “At any given time only about the size of a person’s palm makes contact.   Having the right tyres, in good condition and correctly inflated is extremely important to your safety,” says Nobuzwe Mangcu, SATMC Managing Executive.

South Africa has a high road accident rate, particularly around the Easter holidays with a recorded 148 crashes nationally during this period in 2014, and 193 fatalities*.  While this represents a 2.5% reduction since 2013, this number is still unacceptably high.

“We believe that tyre failure is a significant contributor in many road accidents and that improved tyre safety could reduce the likelihood that tyres do not perform as they should.  Tyre safety on South African roads is a major concern for us,” said Mangcu. “As road users we all need to commit to routine checks on our tyres, especially during the peak seasons when our roads are extremely busy.  Tyres are one of the most important safety features on any vehicle.”

Tyres manufactured in South Africa are specifically designed with South African road and climate conditions in mind. Mangcu warns against using inferior tyres, “such tyres do not hold to the same performance levels.”  In addition to compromising safety, they generally have a shorter lifespan and inferior road performance.

Quality tyres perform significantly better in terms of gripping the road, cornering, distributing heat evenly, reducing rolling and improving braking when in excellent condition; resulting in a more comfortable ride, increased overall safety and reduced fuel costs.

SATMC is a representative body consisting of the four local tyre manufactures including Bridgestone, Continental, Sumitomo and Goodyear. These four companies manufacture tyres according to strict SABS standards, which are regulated by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) and are in line with international safety standards.  Together these four manufacturers produced a total of 8,6 million tyres in 2014, and are committed to both safety and comfort on our roads.

“We recommended that all tyres are replaced at least every seven years,” says Mangcu. “Tyres are exposed to weather conditions and aging that degrades the integrity of the tyre.  Caravan and trailer tyres need to be replaced regularly as well, even if they are only used once or twice a year and whether they appear to be damaged.”

Before setting off for a long trip, check your vehicle thoroughly, ensure fluid levels are correct, that brakes are in an excellent condition and that all the tyres are roadworthy in every way. A good fitment centre will check your tread, rotate your tyres if necessary, advise you on which tyres need to be replaced and ensure that all the tyres are correctly inflated, including the spare.

For more information on tyre safety or the tyre industry, contact SATMC at

Also view:

Tyre Safety and Safe Driving

Discovery Insure to reward safe drivers this Easter holiday with increased fuel rewards up to 25%


A good driver is proactive about their own and their passengers’ safety on the road. At Discovery Insure good drivers earn great rewards and over the upcoming holidays, we’re giving you the chance to get even more back for driving safely if you’re travelling long distances.

Through our research, we’ve found interesting stats on how driving behaviour can change on holiday. Find out more and get some driving safety tips here.

So, if you’re taking a road trip soon, make an effort to drive well and take regular breaks, and we’ll reward you with 25% more fuel rewards.

How will this work?

All holiday trips taken between 25 March and 4 May 2015 will be considered, as follows,

  • Holiday trips are classified as:
    Any trip with a travelling distance of more than 300km. This means that your destination must be at least 300km away from home.
  • Take frequent stops:
    You need to stop frequently during these trips, for at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving.
  • Avoid late night driving during holiday trips:
    You need to avoid driving between 23:00 and 4:30, as it is up to 10 times riskier than driving at any other time of the day. So, start your holiday trip after 4:30 and arrive before 23:00.

If you meet the above criteria, your April fuel rewards will be increased by 25%. We’ll send you an SMS to tell you the great news.

Stay safe on the roads!

Discovery Insure

First Car Rental adds Honda Brio 1.2 Comfort to fleet

Honda Brio_1.2 HatchFirst Car Rental is excited to announce that it is adding 50 of the all-new Honda Brio's to its car hire fleet.

The Honda Brio 1.2 Comfort will join the Chevrolet Spark in Group A and will be available to hire from the end of March 2015.

The Honda Brio 1.2 Comfort 5dr is Honda’s latest city car, boasting a 1.2 i-VTEC engine that delivers 65kW of peak power and 109Nm torque. The Brio comes with electric windows all round, air conditioner, power steering, USB/aux connectivity for the audio system and steering wheel radio controls. The vehicle's safety features include dual front airbags, ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution).

Says Melissa Storey, Executive Head of Strategy, Development and Marketing at First Car Rental, “We constantly aim to give our customers service, choice, convenience and value for money every time they rent with us and the Honda Brio ticks all the right boxes; it’s a great addition to First Car Rental’s constantly growing fleet.”

Also view:

Car Rental and Road Safety

First Car Rental depot reduces water usage by nearly 80%

No Comments »Written on March 26th, 2015 by
Categories: Business

ewashaFirst Car Rental’s Cape Town depot has reduced municipal water usage by nearly 80% since installing the eWasha Washbay Water Recycling Plant.

EWasha is a revolutionary car wash system that recycles used carwash water through a chemical-free, biological treatment process and then pumps it back into the carwash system.

A rainwater storage system is installed in conjunction to this, further reducing the need for municipal water.

The eWasha system has also recently been commissioned at First Car Rental’s Pomona and King Shaka Airport branch depots, with plans underway to use the recycled water in the toilet systems as well.

Says Melissa Storey, Executive Head of Marketing and Strategy for First Car Rental, “Water is precious and we all have to do our bit to conserve South Africa’s precious resources. The eWasha Washbay System will have a profound impact on water conservation and is certainly the way forward.”

First Car Rental is committed to inspiring green processes in the car rental industry. In 2010 First Car Rental launched the world’s first Green Mobile Checkout facility – Show & Go Mobile Checkout – that allows corporate clients to bypass the branch avoiding queues and paperwork.  The ‘green technology’ ensures the entire transaction from the online booking to closing off the contract after the rental period has ended, is paperless.

How the eWasha Car Wash system works:


Also view:

Car Rental and Road Safety

Holiday travellers face biggest risk on roads – Discovery Insure

No Comments »Written on March 25th, 2015 by
Categories: Travel Insurance

Holiday travellers face biggest risk on roads - Discovery Insure

South Africa’s road accident fatality rate, one of the highest in the world, costs the economy between 8% and 10% of GDP. On average, there are over 200 roads deaths over the Easter holiday period every year. Recent research conducted by Discovery Insure analysing driving behaviour reveals that holiday-makers (people who drive long distances to get to their holiday destinations), drive worse are more at risk of being involved in an accident.

The research, which compares long distance driving behaviour in holiday seasons during 2014 to out of holiday season driving behaviour, shows that drivers are less patient and in more of a hurry, with speeding increasing by 26% during peak holiday times. The data also shows an increase of 5.5% in late night driving putting drivers at greater risk of being in an accident by as much as 30%.

Responding to these insights into holiday driving behaviour, Discovery Insure Executive Director Anton Ossip said, “Improving driver behaviour is critical to reducing South Africa’s very high road accident and accident fatality rate. In line with our aim to achieve long-term positive behaviour change in driving habits, this latest research provides evidence-based tips for drivers to proactively amend their behaviour behind the wheel. It is about each of us taking responsibility and being proactive in improving the way we drive.”

Discovery Insure’s primary goal is to improve the safety of our roads by encouraging better driving behaviour through increased knowledge and awareness of what makes a good driver. “As we build our understanding of the risks associated with certain behaviours, we’re working to reduce the frequency of accidents and the cost of dealing with them while simultaneously saving lives” added Ossip.

Unsafe driving: Not worth it

Another element of the research conducted focused on determining the risks versus the benefits of speeding and not stopping for breaks during a long journey. The analysis revealed that driving from Johannesburg to Durban (565 km) will take about 5.5 hours if you drive within the speed limit and stop every two hours for at least 15 minutes. Driving faster than the speed limit and not stopping will get you in Durban an hour faster, but will double your risk of being in an accident, without factoring in the effects of driver fatigue. This analysis clearly indicates that the risks of driving unsafely during long journeys outweigh the benefits of getting there faster by a significant margin.

Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters said: “We encourage motorists to take the necessary precautions and use the information on driving trends at their disposal to improve their driving behaviour and to ensure that they safely reach their destinations over the upcoming Easter weekend. The Department of Transport supports initiatives by private sector companies that are aimed at improving road safety. It’s through multi -stakeholder participation that we can successfully reduce the alarming road fatalities rate and ensure safer roads,” concluded Minister Peters.

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Adopt safer driving habits

Discovery Insure’s analysis provides the following behavioural guidelines  for safer driving when travelling during the holiday season:

  • Avoid leaving on a Friday as the roads are 15% busier, with worse driving. People drive worse on a Friday with increases of between 15-20% in harsh acceleration, braking, and cornering events, as well as speeding.
  • Drive better by accelerating, braking, and cornering smoothly, driving within the speed limit, and reducing late night driving (between 10pm and 4am). Improving these driving behaviours reduces the risk of having an accident by more than half.
  • Completing a vehicle safety check before leaving reduces your risk of having an accident by 15%.
  • Avoid driving at night (between 10pm and 4am) – the chances of being in an accident late at night are 10 times higher than any other time of day.

According to Ossip, “Road accident claims from Discovery Insure members show that they experience a 2/3rds lower fatality rate in vehicle accidents compared to the national average. On a broader canvas, there is a 34% lower claim rate among drivers who are rated good or excellent compared to drivers who are rated poor or average.”

As a means to encourage safer driving especially during high risk periods, Discovery Insure members driving more than 300 km between the 25 April and 4 May who break for at least 15 minutes every two hours and avoid travelling late at night will increase their fuel rewards by 25%.

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Download the Infographic

Jeep Team ‘s Kyle Dodd gets podium at USA BMX Nationals


Jeep Team’s South African and African Continental Elite BMX Champion, Kyle Dodd, faced America’s top BMX riders to finish third on the podium at USA Cycling’s BMX National Championships, which took place in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on Friday evening (20 March 2015). Dodd (21) finished behind Rihards Veide (1st) and Layne Gainer (2nd) in the Pro Class Open race.

On Saturday, he then competed in the UCI North American Continental BMX Championships, finishing 4th, 2nd and 2nd in the qualifying rounds, and then 8th in the quarter finals.

Says Dodd, “What an awesome experience I had racing this supercross event! Day 2 was the big day I had been preparing for over the past few months. The racing was tough all day, but the three moto’s went well; I started great, ensuring clean laps and very little mistakes. 

“Setting up for the quarters was difficult seeing that I had never been in that situation before. My gate was the best I have ever had, but I made a couple of mistakes and finished up with an 8th.

“All in all I am thrilled with the progress I have seen over the past couple of weeks of training.”

Dodd now travels to Orlando, Florida, to continue his training ahead of the opening round of the five-stop 2015 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, taking place in Manchester, United Kingdom, from 18 to 19 April 2015.

Other Jeep Team results


On Saturday, Jeep Team’s Mikaela Jonsson competed against KwaZulu-Natal’s pro athletes at the 2015 KZNA Senior and Masters Track & Field Championship, placing third in the 800m in 2m19.27s, behind Kelly Fletcher (2m11.02s) and Courtney du Preez (2m12.95s).

Jonsson (17) usually competes in the Junior Women’s category, so the result is an exceptional achievement for the young multisport star who is aiming to compete at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Finale in the United States in September.

Cycling – MTB

On Sunday, Jeep Team’s Thinus Redelinghuys placed second after a thrilling sprint finish against Julluis Cobbett at the 62-km Dunblane March Hare Mountain Bike Challenge in Kempton Park, Gauteng. Redelinghuys finished in a fast 2h4m35s, only seconds behind Cobbett, with Daniel Newman placing third.

Ford Ranger with a new look and cutting-edge technologies

No Comments »Written on March 23rd, 2015 by
Categories: Car Insurance, Vehicle

Ford ranger

  • Ford Ranger builds on its world-class capabilities with a new look and cutting-edge technologies that help achieve more
  • New front end gives the Ranger a bolder, more modern appearance; new interior combines style, exceptional craftsmanship, and improved functionality
  • Advanced features available in the range, including SYNC 2 connectivity, Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control, Driver Impairment Monitor and Front and Rear Parking Sensors, make the Ranger one of the smartest trucks on the road
  • Upgraded diesel powertrains with Start-Stop technology and new Electric Power Assisted Steering make the new Ranger quieter, up to 22 percent more fuel-efficient and even more capable than before
  • Suspension tuning for improved ride comfort and handling delivers on Ford's fun-to-drive promise with higher levels of refinement

BANGKOK, Thailand, Mar. 23, 2015 - Ford unveiled its new tough and smart Ford Ranger today, setting a new benchmark in the pickup truck segment with an uncompromised blend of robust capability, craftsmanship and advanced technology. Starting later this year, an updated range of the truck will take on the world in more than 180 markets worldwide.^

"The new Ford Ranger brings a new level of comfort and refinement to its segment without compromising on the rugged capability that our customers demand," said Brett Wheatley, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford Asia Pacific. "It represents a smarter kind of tough, and will help our customers to achieve more, whether at work or with their families."

Featuring a new look front end, and a stylish, smart and functional new interior, the new Ranger builds upon a reputation of capability, innovation and comfort that has helped the Ranger to stand apart from traditional pickup trucks. It also boasts an array of new cutting-edge technologies that enable new and more practical solutions to everyday challenges.

"When we set out to improve upon the Ford Ranger, we knew we had our work cut out for us: The current Ranger is one of the toughest, most capable trucks out there," said Richard Tilley, vehicle line director, Ford Asia Pacific. "But thanks to our proud truck heritage and global expertise in the utility segment, we've made what was great even better, with a bold new look, improved efficiency and a new level of refinement."

Tough and modern design

The changes to the Ranger begin with an updated exterior design. A bold, more modern look lends Ranger a powerful presence on the road, and immediately conveys a sense of capability.

A more muscular hood flows into a strong new trapezoidal grille, while imposing projector headlamps make the truck instantly recognizable, with a bold, technical look.

"When you look at how our customers use their vehicles, it's important that a Ranger looks and functions as a tough, dependable tool," said Dave Dewitt, exterior design manager, Ford Asia Pacific. "We saw an opportunity to give the design extra tension, and to emphasize Built Ford Tough design elements like the outboard nostrils - all while maintaining the Ranger's excellent aerodynamic characteristics."

The updated exterior has been combined with a stylish new interior that creates an even more comfortable, contemporary and car-like environment for the driver and passengers. Strong horizontal lines run across the width of the cab, giving a sense of openness, and framing the central eight-inch touchscreen. Behind the steering wheel, a new dual-TFT instrument cluster provides drivers with information about the vehicle, as well as entertainment, navigation and climate control details at a glance.

"The interior of the new Ranger is sleek and modern, with a strong technical aspect to it," said Dewitt. "Accentuating the design, we've chosen materials that are stylish and attractive while being durable enough to handle the harsh life of a work truck. The interior may look more car-like, but it's as practical as ever."

Capability and refinement

The Ford Ranger remains one of the most capable trucks in its class. With a class-leading ability to wade through water up to 800 mm deep, and with 230 mm of ground clearance, it is designed and engineered to handle the most extreme terrains with ease. Thanks to a 28-degree approach angle and 25-degree departure angle, drivers in the new Ranger can feel confident when taking on steep obstacles.

A robust electronically controlled transfer case allows drivers in 4x4 models to shift on the fly from 4x2 to 4x4 high with a knob on the center console. For low-speed torque or additional downhill braking, drivers can also engage low-range 4x4 gearing, while an electronic locking rear differential helps to improve traction in difficult conditions. These off-road strengths are matched by towing capability of up to 3,500 kg and exceptional payload capacity.

The Ranger achieves all this with a level of refinement not usually seen in the pickup truck segment. While the current Ranger already sets the standard for ride and handling, Ford engineers fine-tuned its suspension for additional comfort and even better handling.

The driving experience is further enhanced by an electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system, which provides precise steering with a natural and confident feel. With EPAS, steering is light and manageable for low-speed maneuvering, such as parking, and precise at higher speeds - with assistance varying as necessary based on speed, steering wheel angle, cornering forces and acceleration or deceleration. By eliminating the power steering pump used in a traditional power-steering system, EPAS also results in a quieter vehicle and improves fuel efficiency by about three percent.

Engineers also fitted the new Ranger with advanced sound-deadening materials and improved insulation for one of the quietest and most comfortable cabin interiors in its class.

Advanced Technology

A host of cutting edge technology is available on the new Ford Ranger to help drivers stay connected and in control.

SYNC 2, the latest generation of Ford's in-car connectivity system, gives drivers smarter and safer ways to stay connected. Using natural voice commands, like "temperature 20 degrees", "play AC/DC" or "I'm hungry", the driver can control the car's climate controls, entertainment system and navigation system more easily than ever before. An eight-inch touchscreen places more controls at the driver's fingertips, with color-coded corners for easy menu navigation.

For extra convenience, the new Ranger features a 240-volt power socket that can be used to power a laptop computer anywhere, from a work site to a family road trip.

There is also an array of driver assist technologies that help to make your drive more convenient.

  • Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid work together to help to prevent the driver from unintentionally drifting out of a lane when driving at high speeds. If the forward-facing camera detects the vehicle is straying from its lane, Lane Keeping Alert warns the driver with a vibration in the steering wheel. If no action is taken to correct the drift, Lane Keeping Aid applies steering torque to guide the vehicle back into its lane
  • Adaptive Cruise Control makes use of radar sensors to maintain both a preset speed as well as a preset distance from the vehicle ahead. When the system detects a vehicle ahead, it decelerates automatically to maintain a safe distance. It accelerates back to the driver's preset cruising speed when the road ahead clears. An adjustable speed limiter helps drivers avoid unintentionally exceeding their selected speed
  • Forward Alert works with Adaptive Cruise Control to give drivers a visual and audible warning when the gap to a vehicle ahead drops below a safe distance. The system also charges the brakes to ensure optimum braking performance
  • Front and Rear Park Assist uses sensors to detect obstacles and provide audible warnings when the vehicle approaches obstructions at low speeds, such as when parking. A rear-view camera gives a clear view behind the vehicle, giving greater confidence when parking and hitching up a trailer
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System helps drivers to stay safe and save fuel by alerting them when tire pressure is too low
  • Electronic Stability Program with rollover mitigation and trailer sway control helps to keep the vehicle under control even in adverse conditions
  • Driver Impairment Monitor uses the forward-facing camera and on-board sensors to detect if the driver is drowsy. If it notices signs such as drifting off course and sudden corrective steering inputs, the system warns the driver with gradually louder signals
  • In markets where it is available, Emergency Assistance uses a Bluetooth-paired and connected phone to call local emergency services in the event of a serious collision. The system communicates details of the accident and your vehicle's location, and then opens the line to let you speak directly with responders
  • Other smart technologies on the new Ranger include Hill Launch Assist, to help you confidently start off from a slope, whether in forward or reverse; Hill Descent Control, which uses the traction control system to help you descend steep slopes at a constant speed; Adaptive Load Control, which adjusts the Electronic Stability Control system based on vehicle load; and Emergency Brake Assistance, which provides additional pressure to the brake system to increase braking force when you apply the brakes quickly in an emergency situation.

Ford tech

Efficient Power

The new Ranger's impressive power, capability, and payload and towing capacity are made possible thanks to powerful and efficient engines paired to either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. All four engines available provide Ranger customers a winning combination of power and efficiency in all conditions, and help to underscore Ford's fun-to-drive promise.

For maximum power and torque for heavy-duty towing, Ford is offering the latest generation of its globally proven 3.2-liter Duratorq five-cylinder TDCi diesel engine. Upgrades including an updated exhaust gas recirculation system help to improve fuel efficiency by up to 18 percent, while still putting out 147 kW of power and 470 Nm of torque.

Equipped with the latest generation of Ford's 2.2-liter Duratorq four-cylinder TDCi diesel engine, the Ranger delivers significantly improved fuel efficiency and refinement while also providing the power Ranger customers demand. Depending on the market, Ford will offer a standard 2.2-liter engine, which generates an improved 118 kW of power and 385 Nm of torque, or a high-efficiency (96 kW) variant for up to 22 percent improvement in fuel economy.

The new Ranger is also available with Ford's dependable 2.5-liter Duratec petrol engine, providing 122 kW of power and 225 Nm of torque#.

Maximizing the efficiency of its engines, the new Ford Ranger is available with Automatic Start/Stop Technology, which saves fuel by shutting off the engine when the vehicle is idling, such as at a stop light, improving fuel economy by up to 3.5 percent. On the move, an available longer final drive ratio boosts fuel economy at highway speeds.

Ford will manufacture the new Ranger at its AutoAlliance Thailand facility in Rayong, Thailand for distribution throughout Asia Pacific, its Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, South Africa for distribution in Africa and Europe, and its Pacheco Stamping and Assembly Plant in Argentina for distribution in Latin America.

The new Ranger will be launched in South Africa in the fourth quarter of 2015. SA specs and pricing will be confirmed closer to launch.

Ford ranger interior

SA’s Kyle Dodd set to race BMX Champs in USA

Mountain bike Jaco Lups

This weekend Jeep Team’s South African BMX champion, Kyle Dodd, will be racing against the world’s top riders at the UCI North American Continental BMX Championships, in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

The 21-year-old BMX athlete, who is currently racing in the USA, will be aiming to earn vital UCI points for South Africa’s 2016 Rio Olympic BMX qualification as he competes against the likes of USA BMX No.1 Pro Maris Strombergs (Latvia).

Strombergs, a double Olympian also won Gold at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games and is also a former BMX World Champion.

In 2014, Dodd’s BMX achievements reached new heights. He successfully defended his South African Elite Championship Title and was crowned the Elite Men’s African Continental Champion. He also represented South Africa at the 2014 BMX World Championships in Rotterdam and again will be competing at the 2015 event taking place in Belgium in July.

On Saturday, Jeep Team’s youngest athlete, 15-year-old Alex Dolman, will also be aiming to earn valuable Gauteng BMX club points at Alrode BMX Club’s first race of the season, taking place in Johannesburg.

Also view:

Mountain Bike Events / Planning and the Safety of Bikers

Mountain Bike Safety and Riding on the Trail

Endurance Sports, Driver Fatigue and Road Safety


Deaf dancer springs into action for Casual Day

Casual Day ambassador Simone BothaFormer Miss Deaf South Africa and professional ballet dancer Simoné Botha has been appointed as a Casual Day ambassador. The Milnerton-based powerhouse is also a motivational speaker and serves as a member of the executive committee of both the Association for Hearing Loss and Accessibility Development (AHLAD) and Women’s Achievement Network for Disability (WAND).

Says project leader Celeste Vinassa: “This is a very big year for Simoné, and we are privileged to have her on board as a Casual Day ambassador. We are making this announcement just before Human Rights Day on 21 March because we need to focus on the rights of persons with disabilities. She will be touring the country with the South African National Dance Trust as a member of the cast of A Spartacus of Africa. You will be able to see her dance in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Simoné was born profoundly deaf, but her parents decided – when she was 22 months old – that she would receive a cochlear implant, allowing her to learn to speak and communicate with the hearing world. A cochlear implant is an electronic hearing device which is surgically implanted. Unlike a hearing aid, a cochlear implant does not amplify sounds, but stimulates the auditory nerve, so sounds heard through the implant do not sound the same as they are heard through normal hearing.

Simoné’s parents encouraged her to follow her dreams and she decided early on that she wanted to pursue a career as a ballet dancer or actress. “Many people tried to discourage me by saying I would never make it as a dancer, but the more they tried to discourage me, the more determined I became to prove them wrong,” she says.

Says Vinassa: “Our ambassadors are persons with disabilities or people who have dedicated themselves to fighting for the rights of persons with disabilities, but they are also high achievers who speak from experience and knowledge about disability. It’s called ‘self-advocacy’. They are all people who have overcome great adversity, and are now ready to help Casual Day with its evolution.”

“Simone strives to break down stereotypes about the hearing impaired. Hearing impairment as an invisible disability, is often misunderstood. Throughout her life she has worked incredibly hard at honing her dance skills and also found the time to be of service to fellow deaf persons, eventually being chosen to represent them as Miss Deaf SA. She completed community projects with Caring Hands, the Be An Angel network, Lions Club Tableview, the Petra Institute for Childrens’ Ministry and Hear2day.”

She also graduated with distinction with a Performance Certificate in Dance from UCT. She has performed with Cape Town City Ballet, iKapa Dance Theatre and international dance companies and choreographers such as Company Chameleon, Steps Ensemble, Gilbert Douglas, Adele Blank, Ebrahaim Medell, Maxwell Xolani, Jay Pather, Lulu Sala, Elvis Sibeko, Paul Johnson and is often seen gracing the stage with world class opera singer, Aviva Pelham.

Continues Vinassa: “She is both very talented and has a fierce determination to make her mark in mainstream society. Our theme this year is Spring into Action, which can be interpreted literally, allowing people to celebrate the first week of Spring, but it can also be interpreted as an call to action for communities to promote greater inclusion of persons with disabilities. People like Simoné help the world see that persons with disabilities can achieve and contribute to society if nurtured and given opportunity.”

Sponsored by The Edcon Group, Casual Day is the flagship project of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA), which raised R28 million for persons with disabilities last year. Casual Day is on Friday 4 September - the target for 2015 is R30 million.

Now is the time for schools to put Casual Day on their annual calenders. For updates and exciting information visit:


Twitter: @CasualDay_SA



Understanding TB – ER24 shares insights during TB Awareness Month

CaptureDo you know all you need to know about Tuberculosis (TB)?

March is TB Awareness Month and ER24 is urging people to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of the disease. Seek medical attention immediately if it is suspected that you have developed TB.

TB is an infectious disease that spreads through the air. It is caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is spread when someone who has active tuberculosis coughs, sneezes or spits. The bacterium is then inhaled by another person.

Symptoms include cough, fever, night sweats, weight and appetite loss, tiredness, weakness, chest pain and coughing up blood.

High risk

Speaking about healthcare workers, Dr Vernon Wessels, from ER24 said, “Unfortunately they are by the nature of their work, at a higher risk of sustaining many infections, including TB, than the normal population. This is due to them attending to patients with undiagnosed and untreated infections.

“Any person, including trauma cases, could potentially have untreated TB. If you were inadvertently exposed, it is important to take note of any symptoms that may appear, go for testing and have treatment started as soon as possible.”

Healthcare workers should ensure they wear the relevant mask when treating patients.


“Healthcare workers are trained to use universal precautions such as gloves and an N95 mask on any patient suspected of having a respiratory infection,” said Dr Wessels.

He added it is standard practice for healthcare workers to wear an N95 or FFP2 mask when treating TB patients, especially if the patient’s response to treatment is unknown. “If the patient does not require oxygen therapy, it is practical for the patient to wear an N95 mask when in close contact with people while still infectious as this contains the TB germ and prevents spread to other people. It should be noted that some N95 masks are fitted with an expiration valve to make it more comfortable for wearers as a person does not have to exhale through the filter material. This type of mask would however not work if a TB patient wears it as their expired air with the TB germs would exit through the valve and into the atmosphere,” said Dr Wessels.

If untreated TB is suspected, the patient should be approached with an N95 mask and preferably taken to an area where they will not be in close contact with other people.

Caroline Walker, the Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation Co-ordinator at TB/HIV Care Association, said, “If your immune system is strong enough, you can inhale the TB germ but remain healthy. Many people have latent TB. They have the TB germ but their immune system protects them from its spread. Latent TB is not infectious. There is a 10 percent risk of developing active TB if you have latent TB. If your immune system is not strong enough, you can develop active TB,” said Walker.

TB usually affects the lungs however it can affect other parts of the body.

People who are HIV positive, diabetic, malnourished or smokers have a higher chance of developing TB.

Speaking about HIV, Walker said, “The HIV virus weakens the immune system. This means it is more difficult for the body to fight off the TB germs and active TB disease develops. The most common cause of death for HIV positive adults in South Africa is TB. The high co-infection of TB and HIV in South Africa is the reason TB/HIV Care Association works on integrating TB and HIV services.”

Even though co-infection is high in South Africa, this does not mean that everyone with TB is HIV positive or that everyone who is HIV positive has TB.  It is possible to have one disease without the other. TB/HIV Care Association works to prevent, find and treat TB and HIV in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape.

“We take services to people instead of waiting for them to access care at clinics. We make it easier for people to stay in care by providing support for them to take treatment at their homes or workplaces. This is done through community care workers who form a link between the clinic and the patient, visiting the patient at home, explaining their medication and reminding them of their clinic appointments. Our mobile teams provide screening for TB and HIV counselling and testing in community settings,” said Walker.

She urged people diagnosed with TB to take their medication as prescribed by their doctor or nurse until their treatment is completed.

“For the first two weeks of treatment they should avoid close contact with others. After the first two weeks of taking treatment, a person should no longer be infectious. TB patients must continue taking their tablets until the treatment is completed,” said Walker.

TB is more likely to be spread in small, poorly ventilated and overcrowded conditions. “This means everyone should open windows when on a train, bus or taxi for example to allow for ventilation.

“Coughing etiquette should be observed. People should turn away from others and cough into their arm rather than their hand to avoid coughing germs into the air. If you spit, you should do so into a tissue and then throw the tissue away,” said Walker.

She added that kissing, shaking hands, sharing food and cutlery or touching bed linen or toilet seats, do not spread TB. To become infected, a person has to inhale TB germs.

ER24’s Emergency Contact Centre can be reached 24 hours a day on 084 124 for any medical emergency.

Chitra Bodasing
ER24 spokesperson
Also view:

Tuberculosis and Road Safety