Category Archives: Uncategorized

MTN and the empty tin syndrome

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MTN Global Markets unstable?

MTN’s two biggest markets are South Africa and Nigeria. In South Africa strikes, limited handset availability and increased smartphone usage hampered growth. In Nigeria disposable income constraints and competition threw a spanner in the works. In Iran MTN’s joint venture did well, and oddly, business in Syria boomed in spite of what is effectively a civil war. By no stretch of the imagination can one call these areas “stable”, yet perhaps it is, ironically, exactly that restlessness that encourages market growth: interpersonal contact and group communication become essential.

Naughty, risky or hubristic?

MTN was fined $5.2bn for failure to cut off unregistered users. Trade in the firm’s shares was suspended at the JSE as stock fell by as much as 12%. Africa’s largest mobile telecoms operator negotiated with authorities in Nigeria and the JSE is investigating the company over possible insider trading. MTN chief executive Sifiso Dabengwa flew to Abuja to make an attempt to have the penalty reduced. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) gave MTN two weeks to pay the fine that has been imposed on MTN Nigeria for alleged non-compliance with telecommunications regulations of that country as well as allegations that MTN Management did not immediately disclose this material information to the market. The telecoms regulator in Nigeria has fined MTN in that country US$5,2bn (That amounts to more than the company’s annual revenue in Nigeria, and nearly double the entire MTN group’s net profit in 2014.) The fine relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5,1m MTN Nigeria subscribers who were disconnected in August and September 2015 and is based on a fine of about US$1 004 for each unregistered subscriber. It seems that MTN either did not disconnect customers with unregistered Sim cards, or did not do it in time.

The Public Investment Corporation, MTN largest shareholder, was concerned that the mobile operator did not anticipate the fine it faces from Nigerian authorities. Things are afoot in Nigeria: A huge drop in oil price, among them. Can we see the MTN fine in isolation, or are there other forces at play? Did nobody take the regulations seriously to begin with or is negligence the order of the day? One supposes if Volkswagen can be foolish, a major listed company like MTN can be foolish too. In contravention of the listings requirements, the MTN group withheld the information from investors.

South Africa – the gateway to?

We rather fancy ourselves as the gateway for investment in Africa, mostly for good reason. We are justifiably pleased with many export products and services. However, do we assume that we can get away with ignoring regulatory institutions? The International Court (and we are signatories to the Rome Statute) is but one recent example of our complacent assumption that we are above the law. One of our leaders (unintentionally, one hopes) said on public television that we in South Africa are subject to the “rule of flaw”. Let’s hope he is wrong.


Surviving change – High School to University

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Surviving change in the transition from High School to University

The Changes a student might me challenged with:

It is seldom realized what challenges the transition from High School to University could hold. Students are not only faced with a new environment, new people, rules and regulations, but are additionally faced with a diversity of languages and cultures they might not have been used to back home. They might have to learn to live in a society which isn’t as conservative as what they were used to.

Then, apart from all that, they would be forced to learn to do things on their own. At University your parents and lovable, nagging teachers aren’t there to help you get through the work, attend your classes or to help you with your assignments. It is your own responsibility whether you attend your classes or not and to know when you have an assignment due. Students are also faced with an enormous amount of work and mostly the work is self-study, which means it is yet again your own responsibility to do it. Unlike your teachers in High School, your lecturers won’t beg you to finish or hand in the work. If you don’t do it, it’s an incomplete mark against your name which may result in  a failed course.

5 Tips on how to handle these changes:

1. Stress

With all the work stress and the negativity caused by being away from home, it is important to stay busy. If you stay busy you don’t have time to feel homesick and in this way you stay on schedule with your work load.

2. Social Events

It is also a good thing to participate in social events or to become a part of the University’s societies. This will create opportunities for you to meet people and make new friends. By making new friends your new environment will become more like a home to you and you’ll feel less alone.

3. Exercise

Becoming a member of a gym is another way to keep you positive about the changes you have to deal with and by staying fit will also make you feel better about yourself physically.

4. Entertainment

You could also put some time aside to explore your new environment by going to museums, art galleries, shopping malls, coffees shops and festivals. In this way you familiarize yourself with your new home and it will open your eyes to the beauty it has to offer.

5. Communication

As you explore your new environment and participate in some of the activities held by the University, make your parents or friends back home part of your new experiences by telling them about it. This will not only help you to stay in contact with them, but it will also help you avoid feeling as if you’ve lost them since you’ve moved away.

Budget Insurance

Students! Get affordable insurance at Budget Insurance for your laptops, cell phones, tablets, jewellery and other valuables. Contact us for a FREE Quote right NOW !

Author: Irene van Staden

Irene van Staden is currently a second year student at the University of Stellenbosch, studying BA (Art and Culture). Her interests range from language dialects, visual art, literature, art festivals, theatre, cultural movements and student life.

Contact details:

Irene is available to write Guest Posts for your website or blog. Contact her at the e-mail address provided.

How to handle fear – strategies that work

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Fear of heights

Overcoming fear is a skill anyone can acquire

“How to” columns are often pat and preachy, so I shall avoid minimising your fears by ready- made answers. It will require work. You have lived with your fears for a long time, and they are part of you. To debrief a set of beliefs takes time and awareness, and the true desire to stop being crippled by fear. Some fears are legitimate, and are healthy warning mechanisms when there is real danger, but when you justify holding onto those fears when the danger is absent, we enter the realm of neurosis. Other fears are disproportionate and can be called phobias.

Fearlessness is inhuman, and can be found in psychopaths and saints. To be guided by fear only is paranoid, and the motivating force behind much political evil. It is also the daily reality of people that are powerless and preyed upon. For those of us somewhere in between, there are ways of dealing with fear.

Face it

A feeling or a thought may not be the truth, but it is nevertheless true for you. Often we are embarrassed to admit (even to ourselves) to being afraid of something others handle with equanimity, so we avoid the experience and it can ruin one’s life. Confession really is good for the soul. Before on can confront a problem one has to acknowledge its existence. Avoid self pity, but do talk about it, write it down, or define it. The nebulous cloud of fears swirling in the mind keeps the fears shapeless. Once written down or articulated, it has a manageable shape. Then one can look it in the eye and say, “I can observe you and keep you in your place”.

Where do you come from gremlin / tokoloshe?

Once identified, one can try to find out how one came by this fear. Was it early childhood conditioning, a nasty experience, or perhaps a generational pattern we are perpetuating? Maybe trans-generational trauma is at work. (There is a growing body of research that posits that we carry negative things that happened to previous generations). The unreason of some fears may be because they are not personal, but some family or cultural heritage. Not everybody can access therapy, or pay a life coach, but the roots of fears sometimes become apparent once we have revealed the fear to ourselves and a diary, or a friend.

Is it a valid fear NOW?

For a long time I resisted reading the Eckhart Tolle book, The Power of Now, and was quite annoyed by everybody spouting it as some sort of superstitious mantra against the evil eye, but I have to admit it is indeed very practical in combating daily challenges. Fears may have been valid at some time, but most are created by the imagination. Right in this minute, is the fear warranted? You will find that mostly it is not. A very liberating exercise is to thank Destiny, God, the Universe/ my ingenuity/a moment of sanity/ my loved ones/ my intellect/Grace/my courageous self, (whatever you believe in) for the fact that I do not have to be afraid in this moment.

Be pro-active

Action is required. Do something: Ridicule is very useful- draw a snake with a silly facial expression and toothache if your fears have the shape of a snake. Sit in your wardrobe and hold the door shut, in the knowledge that you are in control of the door, if claustrophobia is your problem. Gradual desensitization works for some; others prefer more confrontational techniques, but both require courage. Courage to act, not lack of fear, builds strength of character. Turn your fear of drowning into a story or painting – art has always dealt with subconscious fears and desires. Re-write the positive outcome of situations you fear, in as many ways as you can. Help others with their fears, as this will bring perspective to yours.

There are hundreds of techniques ranging from hypnosis to EFT, Neuro-Linguistic Programming to diet, but the above is available to us all.


Know that whatever front people present, everybody is afraid of the unknown, failure and change. These are the intangibles that remind us that our sense of control is an illusion. But one has to be mommy bird as well as baby bird in the nest of adulthood: If mommy never pushes baby out of the safe nest, he will never learn to fly.



Article originally posted on and reposted here with permission.


Car Insurance Premiums: Men vs Women

Do men or women pay lower Car Insurance Premiums?

The battle of the sexes is on!

Men against women. Who pays lower car insurance premiums and why?

Have a look at the following infographic and find the clues …

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Accidents: Men are more likely to be involved in an accident than women. Statistics show that 82% of men have been involved in accidents, compared to 72% of women.

Men are more likely to have hit an animal while driving. Men 60% vs women 41%. Then, 46% of men have had a close call with a cyclist or pedestrian versus 35% of women.

Speeding: This is not really a difficult option … Men that regularly drive at high speed hit the jackpot at 10% against only 6% of women. What’s more – 13% of men admit to ignoring speed limits compared to 6% of women.

Driver Etiquette: Rude gestures and foul language when driving are some of the communication techniques 59% of men use when driving. Female drivers are, however, not far behind with 55%. One in five men admits to being an impatient driver, compared to one in six women.

Distractions: Men are more likely than women to lose concentration when changing radio stations – men 42% vs 38% of women. One in five men use cellphones without a hands-free kit when driving against one in six women.

Impaired Driving: Nearly half of all men have driven when having consumed alcohol over the legal limit against one in four women. Men 48% vs women 26%

Risk: Men take more risks than women and are also more prone to overtake in dangerous situations.

Insurance Companies and car insurance premiums

Men are viewed as higher risk drivers than women and that is why their car insurance premiums are higher. There are exceptions to the rule, but car insurance premiums are determined by statistics.

At 1st for Women , women can pay up to 29% less for car insurance premiums!

Men can get affordable and simple, smart insurance at Dial Direct.

Are you a safe driver?

Long Term Care and your Future

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Long Term Care

Long Term Care: Develop a positive attitude towards your future

Do you belong to the ‘Worry about my future Club’? Well then STOP FRETTING! There are many ways to protect your future.

Today your are healthy and strong, taking care of yourself without any help. If life could continue this way it would be great, but the future is completely unpredictable. We cannot control the future, but we can make precautions to safeguard it.

Instead of waiting till it is too late, realise the possibilities the future might hold and equip your life with amenities. One certain way of equipping, is to get insured as insurance is consolation when you land in tribulation. In this case the important aspect of insurance is Long Term Care.

Why do I need Long Term Care?

As every person may reach a stage in life where he cannot take care of himself, he will need long term care. That includes you. Long Term Care provides assistance for the individual to perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing, using the toilet and eating.

Some people hate the idea of being a burden to others and don’t want to think about losing their independence. They make the biggest mistake by failing to take up long term care. Long term care is necessary when affected by any of these ailments:

• Arthritis

• Cancer

• Heart disease

• Diabetes

• Strokes

• Alzheimer’s disease

• Depression

Don’t panic, take action!

Those are all possible ailments one may face when you get to old age and it could happen to anyone. Panic and worry won’t rescue you. Taking precautionary measures will. Avoiding Long Term Insurance will make no sense later in life. Long Term Insurance provides benefits like home health care for good personal care in your home.

You could also get care from a community care center, or during serious illness you can obtain nursing home care. The hospice care, caregiver service and care coordination services are further benefits of Long Term Care.

Develop a positive attitude towards the future. Careful planning to prepare ourselves, leads to living peacefully now.



How to buy Travel Insurance

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Travel Insurance is the safe way to go!

You can obtain decent Travel Insurance through any of the following providers:

  • Your Insurance Company
  • Travel Agent
  • Specialist Travel Insurance Companies

Where to buy Travel Insurance

You buy Travel Insurance in your country of residence. This has to be the country you wish to be evacuated to in case of a medical emergency.

Travel Insurance for Regular Travelers

You are considered a regular traveler when you travel abroad at least three times per year. Shop around for Travel Insurance that allows you to purchase cover for a number of trips in a specified time frame. Trip by trip cover is more expensive, so if you can get cover for six months or even a year, you’ll definitely save money.

When to buy Travel Insurance

Buy your Travel Insurance as soon as you have finalized your travel plans. You  are covered as soon as you buy your Travel Policy. So, if you buy your ticket without buying a Travel Policy and you are injured the next day and unable to travel, you will not be covered.

Buy your Travel Policy well in advance and ensure that you are covered for medical expenses, medical evacuation and lost baggage and travel documents.

Happy Traveling!