Lexus NX – Latest images of this new model heading for SA

Lexus showed off its all-new NX at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show (see release dated 20 April 2014), trotting out both the turbocharged 200t model (Lexus' first production turbo) alongside the hybrid-powered 300h.

We have pleasure in releasing additional images of this provocative newcomer – shown here in hybrid 300h guise with F SPORT package.

As mentioned in the previous release, “The SA powertrain line-up will be disclosed closer to the local launch but Lexus SA can confirm that we definitely will be getting the exciting new turbocharged petrol engine. There’s also a very good likelihood that in line with the brand’s strong eco-focus, the petrol-electric hybrid will be on the cards.”

The freshly minted Lexus NX will make it’s local debut during the first half of 2015.

Gang of suspected robbers nabbed and weapons and vehicle keys seized in Limpopo

This weekend an Intelligence driven operation led to the arrest of a gang of 6 men and the recovery of several weapons in Mahwelereng area in the Limpopo province.

The team gathered intelligence that the gang had planned to hold up staff at a business premises and blow up an ATM. However, their plans were foiled when the intelligence team together with Limpopo provincial and Mahwelereng Detective Services and the local Tactical Response Team arrested the gang on the N11 between Steilloop and Mokopane. The gang comprised of 5 South Africans from various parts of the country plus one foreign national.

The suspects were found in possession of:-

·         3 x 9mm pistols (serial numbers filed off) with magazines and 19 live rounds

·         2 x Revolvers (serial numbers filed off) with ten (10) live rounds

·         Explosives: 1 x dura fase, 1 x stop fuse (capped fuse), 1 x blasting Cartridge

·         Extension electric cable

·         1 x 10 pound hammer

·         Balaclavas

·         1 x angle grinder

·         1 x screw driver

·         1 x equipment to force open vehicle doors

·         16 x vehicle keys

The suspects face possible charges of possession of unlicensed firearms and explosives.

All the firearms will be sent for ballistic testing to determine if they were used in the commission of other crimes. Also, the possibility that these suspects may be wanted in connection with other cases cannot be ruled out at this stage.

Lexus NX – First official pictures…and it’s coming to SA

The wraps will finally come off the chiseled, compact, premium crossover from Lexus when it makes its world debut at the Beijing motor show on 20 April.

Called the NX, the newcomer will mark Lexus’s entry into the mid-size crossover/SUV market and targets customers new to the brand with defined, edgy styling. Both in terms of its striking design and its use of high-end technologies, it will stand as a hero model, setting new standards for future Lexus models.

Exterior design

The NX has been designed to look as though it is has been cast from a single piece of metal. Strong, flared wheel arches house 17 or 18-inch wheels, giving the car a crouching, muscular stance. Lexus’s signature spindle grille is the central focus of the NX’s angular shape, reinforced by LED headlamps and daytime running lights. The grille blends seamlessly into a sculpted bonnet, creating strongly contrasting surfacing that projects a sense of depth.

The side profile is instantly recognisable as a Lexus, accentuated by a roofline that’s set towards the rear of the vehicle to give maximum visual impact. Details include an innovative door mirror design and a world-first door handle mechanism with a concealed key barrel and integrated lighting. These features enhance the overall premium look by creating a smooth finish along the side of the car.

The rear is punctuated by Lexus’s L-shape combination lamps, fitted with seamless LED lighting. The bodywork design echoes the spindle grille treatment at the front.

Interior design

Lexus aims to bring a sense of excitement to the NX’s cabin with a design more like a sports car interior, complimenting the angular bodywork.

Details include a thick-rimmed sports steering wheel and contrasting trims. At the same time, Lexus has focused on interior space and seating and has worked to ensure the driver enjoys intuitive interaction with the controls, instrumentation and HMI technology. The NX continues the development of Lexus’s display and operation zone concept.

Powertrains and technology

Three powertrains will feature in the NX range: a highly efficient petrol-electric hybrid in the NX 300h; a Lexus-first 2.0-litre petrol turbo in the NX 200t; and a naturally aspirated petrol unit in the NX 200. Each will offer the choice of front and all-wheel drive. The SA powertrain line-up will be disclosed closer to the local launch but Lexus SA can confirm that we definitely will be getting the exciting new turbocharged petrol engine. There’s also a very good likelihood that in line with the brand’s strong eco-focus, the petrol-electric hybrid will be on the cards.

Innovative on-board technologies include a Lexus-first wireless charging tray for portable devices; a new iteration of the Lexus Remote Touch Interface with a touch pad control; a Panoramic View Monitor; and a comprehensive multi-information display with a Lexus-first G-sensor and boost meter. The NX will also offer a head-up display, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Takeaki Kato, NX Chief Engineer, said that Lexus has approached ‘all phases of the model’s development from the perspective of its target customers’, i.e. it’s aimed at young, urban drivers with active lifestyles who want premium products.

The freshly minted Lexus NX will reach local shores during the first half of 2015.

Dutch endurance mountain bike racing specialist wins South Africa’s longest mountain bike race

The 36ONE MTB Challenge takes in some of the most scenic roads in the Karoo region of South Africa's Western Cape province. Photo by www.oakpics.co.za

Dutch endurance mountain bike racing specialist, Jean Biermans (Sunweb Napoleon Games), has won the third annual 36ONE Mountain Bike Challenge in Oudtshoorn, South Africa, shattering the previous record in the process.

Biermans clocked a time of 14 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds for the gruelling 361km race to claim the title and the course record at the weekend. The 36ONE Challenge is South Africa’s longest full-support mountain bike race, taking the competitors over a distance of 361km with an accumulated elevation gain of 5200 metres.

Participants have a maximum of 36.1 hours to complete the course, the first 10 hours being completed through the night.

Biermans started the race conservatively, moving through the first checkpoint at 81km just over six minutes behind early leader, Dana Schutte. By Check point 2, at 183km, the Dutchman was in second place, literally on the wheel of then leader, Jacques van Zyl.
But by the third check point, at 280km, Biermans had worked up a 30-minute lead over Van Zyl, which he extended to 46 just over minutes by the finish, with Schutte a distant third to round out the podium. Biermans sliced a large chunk off the 2013 record of 17:07:23, set by Charles Nienaber.

“I’m very stoked I could win the 36ONE. It was a very hard race and I’m glad I made it,” said a weary, but happy Biermans.

Hannele Steyn claimed her third successive title in the women’s category, improving on her 2013 winning time and the course record by almost an hour with a time of 17:28:57. Kirsty Thompson and Thea-Mari van der Sandt were second and third respectively.

Competitors enjoyed a clear, moonlit night for the first 10 hours of the 2014 36ONE MTB Challenge. Photo by www.oakpics.co.za

In addition to the Solo division, there are other racing categories at the 36ONE MTB Challenge. Pro racers for the Cannondale Blend Red-E team, Darren Lill and Charles Keey, claimed the highly competitive 2-Rider Relay title in a course record of 12:28:18, almost two hours faster than the 2013 mark of 14:20:58.

Two-rider relay team winners from 2013, Yolande de Villiers and Neill Ungerer (Karoo Mix), were second overall and first Mixed team in a time 13:38:51, also lopping a large chunk off their own course record from last year’s race. Third relay team home was Quinten Myburgh and Jacques van Staden (Changing Diabetes), just over 10 minutes back.

“The 36ONE MTB Challenge is building into one of the most prestigious mountain bike endurance tests, not only in South Africa, but also globally. Besides having an overall winner from Europe in Jean Biermans, we also had an increase in international entries,” said Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management, co-founder of the event.

“The relay race winners, South Africans Darren Lill and Charles Keey, are among the top professional marathon mountain bike racers in the world, which shows that the appeal of the event is broadening too. With all the records being broken in most categories, we’re also seeing greater depth in terms of the level of competition,” added Rademeyer.

Starting at 19h00, the 36ONE MTB Challenge participants began riding into fast-fading light. Photo by www.oakpics.co.za

Other category winners were:
Full race:

  • Two-rider Men: Riccardo Stermin and Billy Stelling (36ONE Veteran Assets)
  • Two-rider Mixed: Johannes Olivier and Shirley Schmidt (Team Afrishore)

Relay race:

  • Four-rider Men: Pieter Burger, Jacques Terblanche, Louis de Wet and Erns Neethling (Klein Karoo Toyota)
  • Two-rider Women: Melissa van Rensburg and Marzanne Kriel (Klein Karoo Toyota Ladies)

A half-distance 180km event was added this year for solo men, solo women and tandems. Joanne McLeod won the event overall and the women’s category, while Anru de Wet secured the men’s category win, with Mike and Jeanine Clarke claiming the tandem title.

For full results, visit www.the36one.co.za and for a photo gallery, visit the Facebook page: The 36ONE MTB Challenge.

Also view:

Mountain Bike Safety and Riding the Trail

Mountain Bike Safety and Event Planning

Endurance Sports, Driver tiredness and Road Safety

Hannele Steyn clocked a new record on her way to winning her third consecutive 36ONE MTB Challenge women's solo title. Photo www.oakpics.com

A competitor rides towards the sunrise during the third annual 361-kilometre 36ONE MTB Challenge. Photo www.oakpics.co.za

Darren Lill of the Cannondale Blend Red-E team that won the team relay and clocked the fastest overall time at the 36ONE MTB Challenge. Photo www.oakpics.co.za

From left: Dana Schutte (third), Jean Biermans (first) and Jacques van Zyl (second) complete the overall Solo podium at the 2014 36ONE MTB Challenge. Photo www.oakpics.co.za

Axis Camera Station version 4.0 enables more efficient video surveillance!

Roy Alves Regional Business Development Manager- MEA Axis Communications

Local network video surveillance company, Axis Communications has announced an upgrade to its Axis Camera Station solution. Version 4.0 is a complete video monitoring and recording solution designed to match the company’s extensive range of network cameras and video encoders.

Roy Alves, regional business development manager at Axis Communications says the redesigned GUI, intuitive setup wizard with camera discovery features, improved ease-of-use, access control support and Extended Smart Search are highlights of this release.

Alves says many feature-rich video management systems on the market today are also quite complex to install and use and says Camera Station 4.0 will prove that it is possible for a video management solution to be both powerful and easy to use.

“The system has been improved based on the experiences and feedback of 50 000 users across the globe, as well as input from installers and this upgrade is a first, important step in putting efficient operation and identification in focus,” he says.

Easy to install, use and manage

With the introduction of Camera Station 4.0, Axis provides user-friendly and efficient video surveillance for small and mid-sized installations with a complete video monitoring and recording solution. The new setup wizard, which features automatic camera discovery, guides the user through every step of the configuration process, allowing the system to be up and running within minutes.

The new user interface of Camera Station has been re-designed with a focus on ease-of-use and intuitive operation of key features, including live view navigation, event configuration and video investigation. The GUI (graphical user interface) allows for quick access to Axis network camera or video encoder views, split-views and simple navigation with the ability to drag-and-drop between multiple screens.

Extended Smart Search and superb image usability deliver powerful video evidence

With Camera Station 4.0, Axis introduces Extended Smart Search. By simply defining an area of interest in the video scene, the user can search through vast amounts of high-definition video in seconds for quick investigation and evidence retrieval. Extended Smart Search is based on AXIS Video Content Stream technology, which enables an Axis camera to capture certain information from the images and send a separate stream together with the video and audio files.

“Version 4.0 combines all of this with powerful features for forensic investigation and positive identification,” says Alves. “Extended Smart Search and auto-configuration turn minutes into seconds, the drag-and-drop features and action buttons provide the operator with more control, and integration with the full line of Axis products, including access control, makes Camera Station extremely attractive for small and mid-sized system owners.”

Insurance Crime Bureau warms on theft of vehicles from auto body repair shops

High value vehicles are currently being targeted by criminals at dealerships and especially Auto Body Repair Companies! Don’t let it happen to you – read on to find out more…

Modus operandi: The suspects obtain detailed information of a specific vehicle at the Auto Body Repairer, including the amount outstanding that must be paid as excess. This amount is then paid into the account of the Auto Body Repairer and the suspects proceed to collect the vehicle “on behalf of the client” or have it delivered to “the address of the client”.

Action taken: We are currently aware of 9 instances thus far, 2 vehicles have so far been recovered and 3 arrests made.

To prevent this from happening to you, insist that service providers request and verify identification from the insured before handing over your vehicle.

Hino Joins Pinkdrive’s Fight Against Breast Cancer

The handover of the Hino-based mobile mammography unit to PinkDrive was a very high profile event in terms of support from central and local government. Here the Deputy Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, is seen being interviewed outside the vehicle for television.

A specially-equipped Hino 500-Series 1626 chassis cab fitted with a box body has joined the fleet of vehicles operated by the PinkDrive charitable organisation for its fight against breast cancer in South Africa. The box body is fitted out with very specialised equipment for carrying out mammographic screening and is valued at approximately R10-million.

“This is our second mobile mammography unit while we also have a truck-mounted educational unit that traverse the country along with three educational cars,” explained the founder and director of PinkDrive, Noelene Kotschan,

“The mobile mammography units travel to semi-urban and urban areas with the objective of enabling various disadvantaged communities access to education, physical examination and how to do breast self-examination in the fight against cancer. We have already provided over 5 000 free mammograms, done over 54 000 clinical breast examinations, educated over 79 000 people and distributed over 90 000 items of educational material,” added Ms Kotschan.

The fact that BIDVest is a major sponsor of this project resulted in the group’s McCarthy automotive retailer being called on to supply the vehicle. In the end it was Hino Selby that undertook the project, which included lengthening a long-wheelbase 1626 chassis cab and coordinating the construction and fitment of the box body by Elite with MWS supplying specialised components. The expensive medical equipment is fitted in three portioned areas in the air conditioned body.

The Hino tows a big generating set so that the unit is self-sufficient.

The handover of the Hino-based unit took place in Johannesburg recently and the high profile PinkDrive and its projects occupy in the eyes of the government was evidenced by the attendance at the function of First Lady Tobeka Madiba-Zuma, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Gwen Ramokgopa and Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu and the MEC of Health for Gauteng, Hope Papo.

The PinkDrive organisation has taken over this Hino-based mobile mammography unit to use in its fight against breast cancer. The handover took place in Johannesburg recently.

Mutual & Federal Celebrates the Second Year of its Premier Interschools Sponsorship

The Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools rugby series is all about celebrating the heritage of South African school rugby and contributing to the development of the youth and hopefully of future rugby legends. With such lofty goals it is exciting to witness the start of this year’s Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Rugby series. 2014 represents the second year that Mutual & Federal will be the headline sponsor. This represents an ongoing commitment by Mutual & Federal to actively support high school rugby in our country.

The 2014 season of the series kicks off this weekend as old foes, Paul Roos Gymnasium and Grey High School take each other on at the Markotter sports field in Stellenbosch on Saturday, 12 April. The game will be televised LIVE on SuperSport 1 at 14:15.

This year’s fixtures are a series of 12 matches, which feature the highest profile and most traditional interschool rugby rivalries from South Africa’s top rugby schools. Matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport from April to August.

Mutual & Federal is extremely proud of the growth of its partnership with Premier Interschools Rugby. Although at first glance it might have seemed that short-term insurance and schoolboy rugby have very little in common; Mutual & Federal recognized a like-minded spirit in the series. The honouring of tradition; protecting schools heritage and pride, celebrating excellence and nurturing future champions are ideals that the company shares.

Explaining the synergies that exist between the two brands, Mutual & Federal Executive: Brand, Customer, Innovation and Transformation, Nangula Kauluma said: “As Mutual & Federal we found that what the series represents - honouring heritage, playing for the future – resonates with our own heritage that dates back over 180 years. In this sense, Mutual & Federal celebrates and honours South Africa’s proud rugby heritage, whilst simultaneously developing future heroes.”

The idea of growing one’s own timber is one that is very dear to Mutual & Federal’s heart. Kauluma said: “Besides the great opportunity to nurture rugby talent and the development of future sporting heroes, Mutual & Federal was keen to partner with the Premier Interschools brand. This is because of the similarities it has with our own brand philosophy, in that both Mutual & Federal and Premier Interschools epitomise unrivalled heritage and experience and are known for forming successful partnerships. The idea of not only contributing to the game of rugby, but also providing a platform for our customers, clients and brokers to engage in an activity that has meaning and relevance to them was critical.”

The Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools rugby series represents schoolboy rugby in its purest form and the stepping stone from which a number of professional players have honed their prowess and launched successful professional careers. Mutual & Federal is proud to be part of this journey.

The ability to change with the times while remaining loyal to one’s principles is a defining feature of both Premier Interschools and Mutual & Federal;  it is a simple story of two brands coming together to display tradition and heritage.

Whether it’s through honouring tradition or being an industry leader, Mutual & Federal and Premier Interschools are interconnected.

Department of Arts and Culture calls on South Africans to mark Freedom Friday with a SELFIE showing national pride

Photo by Anton Geyser

The Department of Arts and Culture is calling on South Africans to mark this Freedom Friday with a SELFIE that shows them wearing anything that makes them feel proudly South African.

“We have reason to celebrate our achievements since1994. Our country still faces challenges, but together we can work towards a shared and prosperous future. With less than two weeks to go before the 27th of April 2014, as part of the celebration, let us wear and show off our pride in being South African,” Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said.

People are encouraged to show their pride, wear their colours, take a selfie and upload it to social media using the hashtag #FreedomFridaySelfie and/or #20YOFSelfie.

Freedom Fridays forms part of the build-up programme towards the twentieth anniversary celebrations of our freedom and democracy, on 27 April 2014.

Every Friday, people are encouraged to wear anything that expresses their national pride; including the flag, the jerseys of their favourite national sporting teams or anything that reflects our unity as a nation.

The campaign is a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, Lead SA, Government Communication and information Systems (GCIS), Proudly SA and Brand South Africa.

"Lead SA calls on the nation to support this initiative, the Freedom Friday campaign is a powerful platform for us all. Together, we can make a difference," urged Lead SA's Yusuf Abramjee.

The Freedom Friday initiative also aims to promote and deepen social cohesion and nation building.

"The Freedom Friday selfie initiative is an outstanding platform for proud South Africans to express their pride and love for our beautiful country and all who live in it. Great strides have been made over the past 20 years and it's important for all of us to unite and collectively celebrate. We support the call for everyone to wear their SA colours with pride each Friday," added Leslie Sedibe, CEO of Proudly South African.

Launching Freedom Month earlier this month, Mashatile said the Government wanted to jointly celebrate our achievements, own-up to the remaining challenges and commit to working together towards a shared and prosperous future.

“Our programmes are geared at reminding South Africans, especially young people, of where we come from as a nation; that our freedom was not free and that we have an obligation to defend it jealously," he concluded.

The public can use a mix of social media sites to share their stories and thoughts on the last two decades of democracy:
Twitter: @20_yof and @ArtsCultureSA
www.Facebook.com/20yof
http://www.20yearsoffreedom.org.za

Making South Africa’s Roads Safer This Easter

According to the World Health Organisation the road fatality rates on the African continent is the highest in the world.  In fact, Nigeria and South Africa are recorded to have the highest fatality rates with 33.7 and 31.9 deaths per 100 000 population per year, respectively in comparison to Australia’s 5.2 and New Zealand’s 9.1 per 100 000 population per year.  Over the 2013 Christmas period alone, 1 376 South African people lost their lives in car accidents.

South Africa’s road accident statistics are of huge concern and in an effort to make a difference, Cartrack joined hands with Fury Motor Group to provide support to Netcare 911’s Rapid Intervention Unit which offers assistance and support at a time when road accident victims and emergency services personnel need it most.

The Rapid Intervention Unit has evolved from being a pure safety vehicle that initially secured the scene of an accident until emergency services arrived, to an invaluable support for paramedic and fire personnel complete with extrication capabilities.  The support vehicle operates independently from official medical and rescue vehicles, providing assistance in road accident rescue operations.

Peter De Kock, Group Risk and Credit Manager at Fury Motor Group says that the unique road accident support vehicle is first and foremost a project that belongs to the community.  “There is no charge to the public for the services rendered by the unit.  Our priority is to provide quality emergency support in a time of absolute need and when lives of accident victims and medical personnel depend on it,” says Peter.

Juan Marais, Sales Director of Cartrack, would like to urge motorists to take extra care on our roads as the Easter holidays gain momentum.  “Many families are planning their trips to their holiday destinations, and as a result traffic congestion and accidents increase significantly over this period.  A large proportion of accidents are as a result of motorists speaking on their cell phones while driving, speeding and neglecting basic safe driving rules.  Drivers and other road users must recommit themselves to safe road user habits,” says Juan.

The road accident support vehicle will once again be stationed along the N3 route to Kwazulu-Natal at the Van Reenen’s Pass over the Easter long weekend – a hot spot for accidents - and will attend to any incidents in the vicinity.  One of the key services that the vehicle provides is to prevent situations where a motorist crashes into an existing accident scene. Just because you have pulled your vehicle onto the shoulder of the road, does not mean that you are safe.  Distracted drivers often do not have enough time to react to a change in the road conditions, which can potentially cause additional damage to an existing accident scene by further injuring accident victims, and placing the lives of emergency personnel attending to the scene at serious risk.

Cartrack provides the following road safety tips:

  • · Avoid speaking on your phone, but if you absolutely must, always use a hands-free mobile kit to make or receive a phone call.  And never text on your phone while driving.
  • Do not speed.  Speed limits are there for good reason – abide by them.  The time saved by increasing your speed is negligible, a few minutes at best.  According to Arrive Alive, speeding is regarded as a factor in nearly one-third of all fatal crashes, so ask yourself if those few extra minutes are really worth it? Important factors to consider:
    • Speed reduces the amount of available time needed to avoid a crash / to stop the vehicle
    • Speed extends the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation
    • Speed reduces the ability of the driver to steer safely around curves or objects on the road
    • Speed increases the likelihood of crashing
    • Speed increases the severity of a crash once it occurs
  • · Pay attention to road signs and markings – they are there to protect you and other road users.
  • · Get enough sleep before your trip and make regular stops to stretch your legs and refresh your mind.
  • · Keep your cool and avoid road rage.
  • · Have your car serviced and thoroughly checked before your trip – it must be 100% roadworthy.  Double check your car’s tyres to ensure the tread is sufficient and ensure that oil, water and brake fluid levels are sufficient before you leave.
  • Find out what the emergency numbers are of the places you are driving through or to and have them handy.

“The Rapid Intervention Unit has an important role to play and there is a real need for vehicles of this nature to assist in making our roads safer and providing first line of care for accident victims.  But the real win for all of us would be if these accidents never happened in the first place – and it all comes down to reassessing our driver behaviour and making changes for the better,” concludes Juan Marais, Cartrack.

Juan Marais, Sales Director of Cartrack