South Africans go to the polls

first_imgMillions are expected to cast their votestomorrow during South Africa’s fourthdemocratic elections.(Image: Britannica) In their election campaigns, politicalparties encouraged voters to use theirvotes to effect change in the country.(Image: Polity.org.za)Khanyi Magubane With less than 24 hours to go before South Africans cast their votes, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced that it expects the largest turnout since 1994.Briefing the media on the expected voter turnout, the IEC’s chairperson Dr Brigalia Bam said that more than 80% of the registered voters were expected to cast their vote on 22 April.“We feel very confident this time around. We have never experienced such a high enthusiasm amongst South Africans,” she said.Statistics for this year’s elections include 200 000 election officials who will be working in 19 726 voting stations across the country. The number of registered voters captured on the voters’ roll stands at 23 181 997.Bam said she’s especially encouraged by the high number of youths who have registered. According to Bam, the number is significantly higher than recorded in previous years. Nearly 800 000 are between 18 and 19 years of age, and five-million are between 20 and 29.In total, 40 political parties will be participating in the national and provincial elections. Of these, 26 will participate nationally, while 14 parties will contest the elections at a provincial level.Bam said the election campaigns ran by political parties had been vigorous, which she expects will boost voter numbers.“We have never had so many political parties all over the country so involved … persuading people to vote for them,” said the chairperson. “We will be disappointed if we don’t get the 80% turnout. The effort we have put in preparing for these elections will not be good enough if we get only a 50% voter turnout.”It’s voting day, now what?For many first time voters tomorrow’s experience may be a daunting one but the IEC has gone to great lengths to explain the process, as even those who have voted before, may have forgotten how the process works.In order to facilitate the smooth running of the voting process, a few key actions have been put in place. Firstly, voting station officials will check a potential voter’s ID to verify that the ID number appears on the voters’ roll.Secondly, an official will check that the picture in the ID matches with the person standing in front of them.Once the official is satisfied that the person is indeed eligible to vote, the voter’s hands will be checked to ensure that they have already cast their ballot for the day.Inedible ink will then be used to mark the left thumbThe voter will then be issued with two ballot papers – one for national and another for provincial.Officials will then direct the voter to a booth, where they will be able to cast their vote for their political party of choice, after which they will insert their ballot papers inside a secured ballot box.For the first time since the 1994 elections, the IEC has now introduced the Braille ballot paper, which will enable visually impaired South Africans to vote independently.South Africa is the second country after Japan to offer the Braille sheet to blind voters. Each voting station will be issued with a national and provincial Braille ballot paper.Observing free and fair electionsIn order for the elections to be recognised internationally as free and fair, a group of independent election observers will be present to monitor the voting process.Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo is leading the election observers team consisting of 4 900 domestic observers, 355 international observers and 358 diplomats from 61 embassies.On 17 April IEC Chief Executive Officer Pansy Tlakula addressed the observers to discuss the state of readiness for the elections.Tlakula stressed that the IEC has spent the past year and a half in preparation for the elections. The process started with the registration of political parties who intended on running in this year’s poll.She also explained to the observers that new technologically advanced systems would be used during the voting. She introduced observers to the “Zip-Zip”, a small hand-held device already loaded with the details of all the voters.The “Zip-Zip” system will capture statistics on voting day including the number of voters, the age group, gender, as well as the time at which every vote is cast.After voting closes at 9pm, all the ballot papers will be transported to the National Results Operation Centre. The state-of-the-art building will serve as an anchor to coordinate all the election activities at one central point.The media will also be privy to the results as they trickle in via a digital board mounted inside the centre.Regular press briefings will be held inside the centre, where journalists will be updated with the latest developments from the various voting centres across the country.Members of various political parties will be provided with some access to the workings of the operations centre, though they will not be allowed to interfere with the work of the officials.Duties of election observers include attending the ballot paper counting session in a bid to ensure that the final results are accurate and are a true reflection of the votes.According to the electoral law, the final results can only be released 48-hours after the elections. This will give political parties a chance to contest interim results if they have any objections.Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at: [email protected] Related articlesThe bell that rings when the vote is called SA expats vote abroad Guide on reporting on elections Which way, SA? Expats allowed to vote overseas Laugh until you cry with Evita Useful linksIndependent Electoral CommissionElectoral institute of Southern Africalast_img read more

Domestic Issues Are Increasingly the Root Cause of Workplace Violence

first_imgThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as “any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the workplace.” A workplace can be a location, either permanent or temporary, where an employee performs any work-related duty. This includes, but is not limited to, the buildings and surrounding perimeters, including parking lots, field locations, clients’ homes and travel to and from work assignments.The most common acts of workplace violence are simple assaults, totaling 1.5 million incidents a year. These range from simple pushing to much more serious acts of violence. Robberies account for 84,000 workplace violence incidents per year. Homicide is currently the fourth leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States. Of the 4,679 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in 2014, 403 were workplace homicides. Retail industry employees are particularly susceptible to violent crime, as businesses are often open late, lightly staffed, are sometimes in high crime rate areas and usually have cash on hand. But not all workplace violence stems from external assaults by strangers.More and more, domestic violence situations are bleeding into the workplace. Even if a potential victim is “on the run” or hiding, they usually have to go to work at some point. Thus, a potential predator knows where to find them. Women are much more likely than men to be victims of on-the-job intimate partner violence or homicide. Spouses, boyfriends/ girlfriends and exes were responsible for the on-the-job deaths of 321 women and 38 men between 1997-2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Nearly 33% of women killed in U.S. workplaces between 2003-2008 were killed by a current or former intimate partner. Another frightening statistic shows that 70% of workplaces in the U.S. do not have a formal program or policy that addresses workplace violence.- Sponsor – But, it’s statistically rare, right? Odds of it affecting your company are small, right? Wrong on both counts! Below is just one example from my 10 years of overseeing retail loss prevention at Nike. There were many others.A Nike Factory Store in Las Vegas had a strong workplace violence policy and management trained in basic reaction procedures. A female sales associate confides in store manager that she is afraid of her boyfriend and that he has threatened to show up in the store. The store manager did not notify loss prevention or employee relations, as she was trained to do. Instead she took it upon herself to rely on the basic training she knew. The store manager offered the employee time off. The employee said she had to work so the manager allowed the associate to work in the back of house instead of on the sales floor. The manager also got a picture of the boyfriend and briefed her management staff on the issue.Sure enough, a couple of days later the boyfriend shows up in the store looking for his girlfriend. Instead of calling police as her training required, the store manager simply warned the associate, who was in the back. For some unknown reason, the associate made the decision not only to come out and meet with the boyfriend but she agreed to leave the store with him. The manager, although knowing it was a bad situation, did nothing to stop it or notify authorities. Five blocks from the store, the boyfriend pushed the associate out of his car, got out himself and shot her five times on the sidewalk.Miraculously, the associate survived although she will never be the same. Yes, the boyfriend was caught and convicted. However, had the manager counseled with loss prevention in the beginning and called police immediately after seeing the boyfriend, as she was trained to do, this tragic incident might have been prevented.Not all workplace violence situations are this serious or dramatic, but incidents sparked by domestic disputes happen every day and are on the rise. As noted above, 70% of U.S. workplaces do not have a formal workplace violence policy in spite of the fact that OSHA’s General Duty clause states “each employer shall furnish to each of his employees a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm”. Obviously this rule is aimed at general safety but it also covers the prevention and control of the hazard of workplace violence.This article is not designed to be a comprehensive training guide on workplace violence. But it is designed to point out the ever-increasing role of domestic disputes as a cause. It is also designed to point out that all employers have a duty under OSHA guidelines and that up to 70% of companies have nothing in place.What can retail loss prevention professionals do? Basically, three things: • Learn all you can about workplace violence, its causes, preventative measures and response protocols. • Know your company’s workplace violence policies and program by heart, if there is one. • If your company is lacking in this area, lobby loss prevention, human resources, employee relations and senior management to develop a program and train all employees.Start now and good luck. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

China Breaks up $15M Fake Merchandise Ring

first_imgChinese police have arrested 32 members of a group they said had made and sold up to 100 million yuan ($15 million) worth of counterfeit luxury goods from brands such as Louis Vuitton and Loewe, state news agency Xinhua said.The case highlights the challenge faced by brands in China, where products, such as cosmetics and even automobiles, run the risk of being copied.Police in the commercial capital of Shanghai also closed two assembly lines used to make the counterfeits and seized more than 4,000 bags, clothes and accessories, each of which they said cost the group 200 yuan ($30.00) to make.- Sponsor – Authorities launched the investigation last year, following a tip that knock-off luxury handbags were being sold on Chinese mobile messaging app WeChat, which is operated by Tencent Holdings. They also made some arrests in January in the southern province of Guangdong and eastern Jiangsu, Xinhua said.   [Source: VOA News] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Cloud Computing: Gartner Tracks Rapid Migration to SaaS-based BI, but Security and Bandwidth Issues Linger

first_imgIncreasingly Business Intelligence (BI) projects are being deployed into the cloud.  A report from Gartner found that 17 percent of companies have already moved all their BI projects to the cloud and nearly one-third of organizations are planning or are in the beginning stages of using BI in the cloud.James Richardson, research director at Gartner, said “Business users are often frustrated by the deployment cycles, costs, complicated upgrade processes and IT infrastructures demanded by on-premises BI solutions.  SaaS- and cloud-based BI is perceived as offering a quicker, potentially lower-cost and easier-to-deploy alternative, though this has yet to be proven. It’s evident that, despite growing interest, the market is confused about what cloud/SaaS BI and analytics are and what they can deliver.”The Gartner report identifies three trends which are beyond the rapid move of BI to the cloud.  These include:Time to value:   The cloud is able to better meet business demands by enabling deployments that are significantly faster and more more flexible than what is possible with traditional on-premise computing.Cost concerns:  The SaaS pricing model for cloud-based BI services is attractive to many organizations.  The model allows either pay-as-you-go or subscription services which can typically be expensed rather than capitalized.  The cost benefits are particularly clear relative to cash flow and reduction of IT support costs.Lack of available expertise:  SaaS Bi offerings often provide packages solutions which enable organizations to get the benefits of powerful BI capabilities without have in-house analytic experts build custom solutions.Richardson warns that “If their operational business applications are in the cloud, organizations should consider pursuing cloud BI/analytics for those domains. However, they must assess risks on an ongoing basis and ensure their chosen cloud provider has appropriate business skills to provide a viable outcome.  They must also ensure their BI strategy outlines how to ensure that data flows to and from these solutions in order not to become yet more silos of analysis.”Ian Bertram, managing vice president at Gartner, added that “from a feature and functionality perspective, there is no real benefit with cloud BI. And from a total cost of ownership perspective, it costs just as much if not more than on-premise BI.”  The cloud brings with it additional worries about security and the costs and potential delays resulting from transferring large amounts of data to and from the cloud.But Bertram added that the cloud has the potential to actually break down silos by making data more readily accessible.  Bertram said that “There is greater efficiency to be gained by storing the data in a single location and providing the capabilities for all involved organizations to slice and dice from that one location–that is the cloud–than it is to continue to replicate the data, which will only introduce complexity and poor data quality into business processes.”last_img read more