Soaring temperatures increase the risk of runaway fires


As temperatures soar over the interior of the country this week, the risk of runway fires has increased significantly. The South African Weather Service has issued a weather warning for the presence of wild fire conditions in parts of the Limpopo, the North West, Free State and the northern sections of Eastern Cape.

According to Andries Wiese, Manager: Market Intelligence & Marketing, Commercial Lines, Distribution & Rest of Africa at Mutual & Federal, these conditions are caused by a perfect storm of environmental factors: “We are in a high risk time for fires. Following winter there is vast amount of dry biomass especially in the interior of our country. Due to high temperatures, there is low moisture in the air, combined with the increased wind and you have a recipe for disaster. We need to do a lot of prevention and have to be strict about smoking, camp fires and the controlling of making fire breaks.”

Fires can be extremely destructive to both property and life, however, by following these tips you can reduce the risk of starting fires or minimise the damage they can cause.

Here are a few tips to reduce the risk of causing runaway fires:

  • Be extremely vigilant
  • Do not throw your cigarette butts out of your car window
  • Notify the authorities about any and all fire you see
  • Do not burn rubbish and garbage in the open
  • Do not start camp fires unless authorised
  • Avoid burning on dry, windy days or when fire warnings are issued by the National Weather Service
  • If you need to burn any garden refuse, burn small piles, gradually adding refuse to the fire as it burn down. Large piles of burning refuse generate   intense heat capable of carrying burning embers up and into other areas
  • Clear all dry grass and weeds from around your home and out-buildings from the area where you burn refuse and/or fire-breaks
  • Always have tools handy while you burn, which include water, hose, rake and a shovel
  • Carry out mock fire drills so your entire family is aware of what is required in the event of a fire in your home.

To eliminate potential fires in the home Mutual & Federal advises people to avoid: placing flammable objects near their stoves, overloading their plug points and running extension cords under rugs or beneath curtains.  It is also important to keep fire extinguishers in easily accessible places in the home.  Test your smoke alarms monthly to ensure they work and have a fire-escape plan in place in the event of a fire in your home or business.

If a fire does break out in your home follow these steps: if there is smoke, stay low and get out of the house, call for help immediately and do not re-enter your home under any circumstances.

Also view:

Safety from Fire at our Homes

Safe Driving near Veld and Forest Fires

Eskom offers advice on how to optimise heating, ventilation and air conditioning


The probability of load shedding remains low today as we mark 60 days of only 2 hours and 20 minutes of load shedding. And, since it was stage 1 load shedding, this meant that 96% of South Africans still received uninterrupted electricity supply on that day.

Let’s work together towards achieving more load shedding free days. Customers can do their bit by practicing energy efficiency throughout the day – at the office and at home – and to encourage friends and family to do the same.

Eskom will continue to provide regular updates on the state of the power system through various media platforms.

Tip - In the heat of the moment, optimise heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) with the following ten easy steps

1. Adjust blinds and curtains in rooms that receive direct sunlight. This helps to keep rooms cool and postpone switching on air-conditioners.
2. Close windows while air-conditioners are running.
3. Don’t cool empty space. Only switch on air-conditioners when rooms are occupied.
4. Switch off units 30 minutes before leaving the office.
5. Set air-conditioners’ average temperature in summer at 23°C.
6. Create awareness amongst employees and individuals responsible for the control of HVAC systems that are not controlled via a building management system.
7. Conduct proper maintenance to ensure all HVAC system components are intact and work efficiently, including motors, pumps, fans, compressors, ducting and filters.
8. Consider replacing old systems. New, energy efficient systems offer enhanced control functionality and higher levels of energy efficiency.
9. Use air-conditioner fans to draw in and circulate cool air from outside during early morning hours.
10. Set air-conditioners to circulate cool air instead of drawing in warmer air from the outside.

Top 10 Finish for Jeep Team’s McGregor and Lewin at 2015 ICF Ocean Racing World Championships


Against fierce competition and big surf, Jeep Team’s Hank McGregor and Barry Lewin both finished in the top 10 in the Elite Men’s race at the 2015 ICF Ocean Racing World Championships, which took place in Tahiti, from 2 – 3 October 2015.

McGregor, who set off to Tahiti only days after arriving back in South Africa following his sixth win at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Hungary, completed the 30km race in sixth position (2:00:43), with Lewin placing 10th (2:03:31).

Australia’s Cory Hill secured the men’s Gold in 1:58:06, with Clint Robinson (Australia) second in 1:58:35. South Africa’s Jasper Mocké claimed bronze in 1:59:07, followed by Sean Rice (South Africa) in 1:59:32 and Michael Booth (South Africa) in 2:00:19.

Said Lewin, “It was a hard but good day out against the world’s top surfski paddlers. I used all I had out on the course. Travelling to Tahiti is always special with the Tahitian people and their rich tradition being a highlight. I will be back in the future for sure. Thanks for all the support from home. You all rock!”

McGregor now sets his sights on the next of his back-to-back challenges, defending his K2 title with racing partner Jasper Mocké at the 2015Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon, which takes place from 9 – 10 October in Craddock, Eastern Cape. If the duo win, it will be McGregor’s sixth K2 title, and another unprecedented record for South Africa’s canoe king.

Said McGregor, “Jasper and I have formed a great combination over the years as we are like-minded paddlers and we always seem to go well together.We don’t train a lot together with him being in Cape Town and me in Durban. We both love to win and that is something that we know makes us a good combination.”

Other Jeep Team news…

It was a busy weekend for Jeep Team’s MTB and BMX athletes, with some impressive results.


On Saturday, Thinus Redelinghuys competed in Race#4 of the Nissan Trail Seeker Gauteng Series, which took place at the Hakahana Trails near Pretoria. Despite technical difficulties during the race, Redelinghuys placed 5th overall (3rd senior male) in 2:26:02. Philip Buys won in 2:21.26, followed by Arno du Toit in 2nd(2:21:27), StuartMarais3rd (2:24.18) and Henry Uys 4th (2:25:09).

In Mpumalanga, Jeep Team’s Pierre Smith and Dylan Rebello took on the 180kmIsuzu 3-Towers Stage Race, which took place from 2 – 4 October at Mankele MTB Trails near Nelspruit. Rebello teamed up with Nico Pfitzenmaier, with the duo finishing 6th overall in a total time of 8:15:26. Smith, racing with Marcel Marais, placed 15th overall in 8:55:31.

Team Biogen-USN (Max Knox and Rourke Croeser) won the race in 7:41:01, followed by Team RECM (Erik Kleinhans and Nico Bell) in 2nd (7:44:02) and Team EAI (Gawie Combrink and Johann Rabie) in 3rd (7:49:29).


On Sunday, Jeep Team’s youngest athlete, Alex Dolman (15), competed in Event #10 of the Gauteng Provincial BMX Series. Racing in the Elite category, Dolman finished 3rd in each of his moto’s, and sixth in the final.

This coming weekend, Dolman and Jeep Team’s Kyle Dodd will be competing in the South African National BMX Championships, which are taking place at the Alrode BMX Club in Gauteng from 10 – 11 October 2015.

Also view:

Endurance Sports, Driver Fatigue and Road Safety


Volvo Cars uses the world’s most advanced chassis simulator


Volvo Cars has become the first premium car maker to purchase the world’s most advanced Vi-Grade chassis simulator – the same equipment used by Ferrari and Porsche – to develop next generation Volvos.

The simulator offers exciting virtual environments including Germany’s renowned Nürburgring as well as test tracks at Volvo Cars’ own secret testing facility in Sweden. It allows Volvo Cars to conduct extremely early stage development work on high speed stability, balance and individual drive mode settings, leading to the development of cars that are more responsive, more rewarding and even more enjoyable to drive.

Engaging control

“We are making substantial investments in people, technology and facilities in order to redefine the Volvo driving experience. Our aim is to deliver full control, ease and dexterity at the wheel. We will improve drivability across the entire Volvo Cars range,” said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Cars.

The Swedish car maker uses the simulator’s virtual environments to support early development work on high speed stability, balance and individual drive mode settings. The use of simulation means that settings can be rapidly tested combining the experiential judgment of a real driver and computer-aided objective data analysis.

The move heralds a new beginning for Volvo Cars in terms of driving experience, claims Dr Mertens. “We have made some critical investments both in terms of our R&D facilities and in our product components in recent times that are now beginning to pay dividends. Our completely new scalable product architecture (SPA), our modular powertrain program and the latest chassis components are the starting point.”

Freedom to innovate


The new simulator means more freedom to innovate in the concept development phase and shorter development time, according to Dr Mertens, enabling a more emotionally resonant driving experience.

“The beauty of the new simulator is that it provides us with the opportunity to physically experience the calculation models and evaluate them using human test drivers, rather than staring at graphs and numbers in a meeting room,” says Stefan Karlsson, Manager Vehicle Dynamics at Volvo Car Group. “This is further testament to our commitment to human centric development and a cornerstone of developing a driving experience that is truly Designed Around You.”

Volvo Cars reveals safe and seamless user interface for self-driving cars

volvo autonomous driving

Volvo Cars has revealed one of the industry’s most advanced and easy-to-use interfaces to oversee how drivers will transfer control to a car’s autonomous driving (AD) mode in its forthcoming cars.

The advent of autonomous driving technology means that the relationship between a driver and a car’s user interface is of crucial significance. A safe and seamless handover of control is the cornerstone of any trustworthy AD technology.

Volvo Cars has designed its IntelliSafe Auto Pilot to be simple and intuitive. The autonomous mode is activated and deactivated with specially-designed paddles on the steering wheel.

When entering a route where autonomous driving is available, the car gives the driver a message that the Auto Pilot is ready. At the same time, lights on the steering-wheel paddles start flashing.

The driver pulls both paddles simultaneously to activate autonomous mode. The lights on the paddles then change to constant green and Auto Pilot confirms that the driving and the supervision has been delegated to the car.

When autonomous driving is no longer available, the driver is prompted to take over again. A sixty-second countdown is displayed.

If the driver, for any reason, doesn’t use the paddles to regain control within this minute, the car will bring itself to a safe stop.

Thomas Ingenlath, SVP Design at Volvo Cars, said: “We have designed a user interface that is safe and seamless to use so that drivers can confidently transfer and regain control of the car.”

Volvo’s new IntelliSafe Auto Pilot will be available for the first time on the one hundred XC90’s it is making available for the Drive Me project in Gothenburg in 2017, the world’s most ambitious AD project.

Drive Me will make 100 self-driving Volvos available to families and commuters around Gothenburg for use in everyday driving conditions. The cars will be driven autonomously on approximately 50 kilometres of selected roads.

Following its use in Drive Me, the IntelliSafe Auto Pilot will then be introduced to the general public.

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Difficult times for the consumer in the market for higher priced vehicles

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Absa Commentary on the September NAAMSA Sales Report

Vehicle Sales and Exports

  • A total of 55 322 new vehicles were sold in September 2015, which were 4 283 units and 8,4% more than total sales in August. Sales volumes were down by 5 460 units in September from the same month last year, resulting in a decline of 9% year-on-year (y/y). Year-to-date sales were down by 4% to just more than 463 000 units compared with the first nine months of last year.
  • Of total industry sales of 55 322 units in September, 77.7% represented dealer sales, 15.3% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3.7% represented sales to the government, and 3.3% of sales were to corporate fleets.
  • Passenger vehicles sales amounted to 37 309 units (67.4% of total vehicle sales) in September, which were 13.7% down on a year-on-year basis, but up by 7% from August. Commercial vehicle sales were up by 1.1% y/y in September, with light commercial vehicles sales (27.3% of total vehicle sales) marginally higher by only 0.3% y/y, while rising 9,8% month-on-month to 15 121 units.
  • The overall daily sales rate was 2 634 units in September, up from 2 552 units in August.
  • New vehicle exports increased by 14.3% y/y and 25.3% m/m to a total of 35 181 units in September. Year-to-date export volumes were up by 33.7% y/y to a total of more than 260 500 units.

Vehicle Finance

  • Vehicles are currently mostly financed over a 72-month period with used vehicles only marginally impacting the average financing term. The main driver of this remains affordability, but it has the downside of an ever-increasing average contract period, which continues to lengthen the vehicle replacement cycle.
  • The ratio of used to new cars financed was 1.72 at the end of July this year. A total of 26 434 used vehicles were financed in July, with the number of new vehicles financed at 15 388. The total number of vehicles financed in the first seven months of the year came to 275 046, of which 173 734 were used and 101 312 were new, with a used-to-new ratio of 1,71 over this period compared with a ratio of 1,62 in January to July last year.
  • Comments and statistics on applications received and electronically scored by Absa in September:
  • We experienced an increase in the number of applications received and a decrease in the approval rate.
  • Applications received and scored with a 72 month finance term = 89%
  • Applications received and scored with balloon payments = 30%

Industry Outlook

  • Based on trends in the first nine months of the year, new vehicle sales volumes are set to be down this year compared with 2014. The main factors impacting vehicle sales are economic growth, inflation, interest rates, household and business financial conditions, and levels of confidence, which declined further in the first three quarters of the year.
  • Entry-level passenger cars, new model releases and manufacturer incentives will continue to be the main contributors to new vehicle sales volumes for the rest of the year.
  • New vehicle exports are expected to perform strongly in 2015 compared with last year, impacted by world economic growth that drive the demand for vehicles, local manufacturers’ export programs and an expected weaker rand exchange rate towards the end of the year, which will give further support to vehicle export competitiveness.
  • A further 25 basis points interest rate hike is forecast before year-end, with interest rates expected to rise by a cumulative 75 basis points in 2016. The prime lending rate is forecast at 9.75% and 10.5% at the end of 2015 and 2016 respectively. The vehicle sector is an interest-rate sensitive sector, with further interest rate hikes to negatively affect the affordability of and demand for vehicle finance.

Consumer Outlook

  • Consumers remain under financial pressure due to an upward trend in inflation and interest rates, while remaining highly indebted. The cost of servicing debt will increase due to expected further interest rate hikes towards year-end and in 2016. Consumers continue to find it difficult to obtain and afford credit for higher-priced vehicles, with the demand for favourably priced entry-level vehicles and good-quality used vehicles remaining strong.

Factors Impacting the Vehicle Sector

  • Vehicle prices (exchange rate, taxes, input costs): New vehicle price inflation may remain under upward pressure due to expected further rand weakness towards the end of the year and in 2016.
  • Household finances (household income, employment, inflation, ratio of household debt to disposable income and consumer credit-risk profiles), business sector performance and consumer and business confidence: Household finances remain finely balanced with debt levels still high and the percentage of credit-active consumers having impaired credit records remaining on a gradual rising trend. Consumer and business confidence remains low.
  • Vehicle finance (interest rates, banks’ risk appetite and lending criteria, legislation and regulation): The demand for and affordability and accessibility of vehicle finance, largely driven by interest rate movements, customer credit-risk profiles and consumer and business confidence, will remain important to the performance of vehicle sales.
  • Transport costs (fuel prices and maintenance costs): Fuel prices and vehicle maintenance costs drive transport costs and consumer price inflation, impacting consumer and business spending power.
  • Economic performance and vehicle demand and supply (global and domestic economic growth, exports and workforce stability): Global and domestic economic growth will drive domestic vehicle sales and exports, which will be supported by manufacturers’ export programs, with labour market trends and developments impacting vehicle production and export volumes. Vehicle export competitiveness will benefit from a depreciating exchange rate.

Also view:

Vehicle Finance, Car Insurance and Road Safety

Buying and Selling a Vehicle – Informed decisions and the Vehicle Retailer

Arrests made and 171 livestock recovered in KZN

Cows cattle

During the past week, KwaZulu-Natal Stock Theft units conducted various operations to arrest stock thieves, recover stolen stock and to make sure that livestock owners have marked their stock. The week-long operation was conducted from 18 to 25 September 2015 across the province in areas such as Nkandla, Melmoth, KwaMsane, Maphumulo, Taylors Halt, Muden, Msinga, Estcourt, Amangwe Plessislaer, Bergville, Nquthu and Upper Tugela.

A total of 25 suspects were arrested for stock theft, illegal hunting and failing to comply with the Animal Identification Act. During these operations 171 animals were recovered including cattle, goats, sheep and horses.

The suspects appeared in various Magistrates’ Courts in the province.

All marked livestock will be returned to their lawful owners whilst others are held in pounds for safekeeping and further investigation.

The KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni commended the Stock Theft units in KwaZulu-Natal for the arrests and recoveries.

“We urge all the livestock owners to ensure that they comply with the Animal Identification Act since it assists in reducing the stock theft in the province. We still find that in most cases stock wander off and are lost as they are left unattended in grazing fields”, she said.

Three AA Members to enjoy special trip on South Africa’s luxury rail carrier


Three lucky Automobile Association (AA) Members and their partners will soon be enjoying the splendours of South Africa from the carriages of one of the world’s leading luxury trains.

The three are winners of a recent competition by the AA for new and existing Members. To be in consideration for the prize, Members had to either join the AA, renew their Membership for another 12 months, upgrade their Membership with AA Roadside Assistance, add cover for their families or boost their Membership from a range of AA added value products.

The AA Members have won trips on the Blue Train, which has received several prestigious national and international awards over the years. The Blue Train is recognised as one of the most luxurious trains in the world and is seen as a magnificent moving five star hotel.

The winners are Mrs Lynnette Steenkamp from Cape Town, Mr A. Chappel from Johannesburg and Mrs Ingrid Wohlers from Randburg.

“These are excellent prizes and a great way for us to reward our loyal Members. We are thrilled that the winners will get to enjoy such a marvellous adventure on one of South Africa’s premier assets and see our beautiful country from a different angle,” says the AA.

“I am so excited about this. I can’t believe I won, I never win anything,” said Mrs Wohlers who collected her prize from the AA earlier this week.

For more information on the AA visit

Three suspects arrested after killing DJ and robbing Bloemfontein tavern owner

11219307_1194390310587909_808871338253918521_nThree suspects were arrested in a multi-disciplinary intelligence driven operation after an attack on staff of a Bloemfontein tavern when they arrived home after closing the tavern.

The DJ was killed in the attack which happened at 03:00 on Sunday morning and two others, including the owner, were injured. Property - including television, cameras and cash - was stolen.

The arrests were effected on the same day and a firearm, as well as the stolen property, was recovered.

Can You Afford Not To Have Insurance?

No Comments »Written on September 19th, 2015 by
Categories: Business, Legal, Life, News


Remember when you were younger and how your ambitious self often dreamed of owning the perfect car and house one day? Perhaps, you've also dreamed of sharing these personal effects with a loving family of your own.  If you're one of those guys who never resign to your aspirations, then you most likely have achieved these goals by now. And since you've worked hard to earn them, you'll value them more than anything and obviously want to protect your most important assets.

When it comes to safeguarding your car and house, it's good to think along the lines of practical safety measures.  For example, burglar fencing and an alarm system will go a long way to secure your house and its contents.  Similarly, installing an anti-theft device or smash-and-grab film in your car, can help to protect you, your family and your car when on the road.  But, will these safety measures be sufficient in the long run?

The risks of living in South Africa

While South Africa continues to be selected as one of the most beautiful countries in the world, we're unfortunately trailing behind as far as road and public safety is concerned. In fact, a recent report by Africa Review declares South Africa as the "crash capital" of the continent with 10 000 annual deaths resulting from traffic accidents.  This, however, is nothing new: back in 2013, South Africa was also ranked the worst compared to other countries in a global road safety report.  This means that even though you may practice defensive driving all the time, you still have the highest chance of being involved in a car accident.

Besides the high level of poor driving practices and the risk of injury, there is the possibility of you ending up in a car accident with someone who has no insurance. This will leave your insurance footing the bill (or you, if you don’t have insurance either).

A Case study

Imagine you and your family departing for a well-deserved holiday at the beach.  The weather is perfect, the countryside is beautiful and the radio is playing the best summer tunes.  It's an idyllic drive – until the moment you took your eyes off the road for two seconds and crash into another vehicle.  Yes, this happens even to the best drivers among us.

Although nobody was injured in the collision, both vehicles sustained damages. And, as luck would have it, the other car is one of the most expensive cars on the market and double the value of your car.

Now, let's imagine this is one of those "when-you-think-things-can't-get-worse-they-do" situations.

Back at home, your area is experiencing loadshedding.  Although you're consoling yourself to the thought that you left your house impregnable , the outage does in fact render your alarm system and electric fencing useless. And the two-hour power cut is all that burglars need to gain access to your house and help themselves to your most prized possessions.

The consequences of living uninsured

While not something we enjoy contemplating, the statistics indicate that the above scenarios will be a reality for many South Africans.

In our two examples, the outcome of the vehicle accident would be far more serious than the house burglary.  Besides the high level of unsafe driving practices on South African roads, that put you at risk of injury,

But what happens when you don't have car insurance?

Even the slightest car accident can leave you with a significant amount of lawyers' bills if you don't have a car insurance policy to back you up. These can include the cost for the vehicle repairs, medical expenses and liability costs if you're being held accountable for the accident. In addition to having to pay for third party claims, you also need to foot the bill for the damages to your own vehicle.  This often results in the uninsured taking desperate measures such as using the money saved for their children's education or turning to a personal loan which they have to pay back with interest over time.

With the high mortality rate of traffic accidents, this, of course, goes beyond car insurance.  You may already have a comprehensive insurance plan covering your vehicle, but the likelihood of you perishing in a car accident cannot be ignored.  In such an event, your family will need the financial stability of life insurance to help them carry on with their lives.