Wits University Appoints CEO Of Tech Hub Tshimologong Precinct

Updated on 4 October 2017

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Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (4 October)

Wits University has announced the appointment of Lesley Donna Williams as the CEO of the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct.

Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Habib, says: “Through Tshimologong, Wits is enabling the development of a new generation of digital technology experts, innovators and entrepreneurs. The Precinct is providing space for our country’s most creative young minds to develop the new digital technologies that are crucial to South Africa’s economic growth and international competitiveness. As CEO, Lesley has been mandated to ensure that this initiative achieves its full potential.”

Lesley Williams describes herself as being: “enthusiastic about collaboration with particular passion for shaping the future of business that contributes to social innovation and enables participatory leadership.” She has spent 17 years actively engaged in setting up and running collaborative work spaces and associated programmes. In 2010, she established “Impact Hub Johannesburg” as the first Impact Hub in Africa and now one of over 100 Impact Hubs in major cities around the world. Impact Hub is a community of spaces, people and programming with an impact mission. She has served on the global Impact Hub Association Board. In 2011 she was named by the Mail & Guardian as one of its “Top 200 Young South Africans”.

Professor Barry Dwolatzky, Head of Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and founder of the Tshimologong Precinct says, “I’m really excited to welcome Lesley as our CEO. She brings a wealth of experience and boundless energy and enthusiasm to this important strategic initiative. Going forward my own role will be to support Lesley and her team in various ways with a particular focus on growing strategic relationships both locally and internationally.”

SA Revenue Service Pays R62 Billion In Tax Refunds

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) said on Tuesday that more than 2.7 million taxpayers had submitted their tax returns since the opening of the tax season in July and that it had paid over R62.1 billion in tax refunds

This is an increase of 3.6 percent compared to last year’s figure this time. The Tax Season was launched by finance minister Malusi Gigaba at Orlando East branch in Soweto on 3 July.

Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane expressed appreciation to taxpayers and the team of over 14,000 Sars employees committed to providing excellent service.

“As Sars we are thankful for the level of compliance amongst taxpayers who make it possible for the State to carry out its mandate. Also, we are proud of the passion, commitment and dedication displayed by SARS employees to provide excellent service throughout the country,” Moyane said in a statement.

Sars would like to remind taxpayers that e-filing is the quickest and easiest method of meeting one’s tax obligations,” he said.

Sars said it had refined its approach to provide the best possible service to taxpayers as the tax season is the busiest period on the organisation’s calendar often accompanied by long queues.

The revenue services contact centre to date has handled 1.69 million calls of which 324,651 have been call-back and helped with eFile requests.

As at the start of tax season to date, 49.28 percent of taxpayers have used the Sars e-filing channel while 50.9 percent filed at a branch. Over 2.5 million taxpayers have visited a Sars branch countrywide as of 1 July this year. (via African News Agency)

Fintech FICA Specialist A Finalist In Accenture Innovation Index Awards

Fintech startup, ThisIsMe, announces that it has been selected as one of three finalists in the Accenture Innovation Index Awards, for its Fast FICA concept. The company also recently announced that it had been selected to participate in this year’s Gartner’s Innovation Programme.

The Accenture Innovation Index provides an in-depth analysis of the country’s current state of innovation and rewards forward-thinking businesses that are disrupting industries. Winners of the 2017 awards will be announced at the Accenture Innovation Conference. The event will see the world’s leading innovators, outliers and disruptors converge on 17 October 2017 in Johannesburg.

ThisIsMe, led by co-founders Juan Furmie and David Thomas, enables businesses to reduce fraud, automate FICA/KYC checks, improve onboarding and increase revenue while providing an on-demand, seamless customer experience.  This fintech business can complete the FICA process in under three minutes – an African record.

It attracted $2.5m in funding in 2016 and has processed more than one million verifications. It is expanding into African and international markets and counts Sanlam and Silica as customers. It was also ranked one of the best global regtech companies by the CB Insights team in 2017.

It’s not only financial institutions that require FICA systems. Businesses in property, retail, eCommerce, SMMEs, gambling and many other sectors require efficient FICA processes.

Production Losses As Result Of Bird Flu Outbreak In The Western Cape An Estimated R800 Million

Early estimates suggest an outbreak of avian influenza has led to production losses of around R800 million in the Western Cape, Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said on Monday.

In a statement, Winde said there were at least 36 confirmed cases of avian flu. Seventy ostrich farms were under quarantine and more than two million birds had either died or been culled.

“The Western Cape is the worst affected province in South Africa. In some regions, poultry production farms are clustered in a specific area. In other provinces, cases have occurred at locations far removed from these hubs,” said Winde.

“In the Western Cape, the outbreak has hit the Paardeberg area, the region with the highest concentration of poultry farms.”

The MEC said a joint operations centre (JOC) has been established to respond to the outbreak and a recovery plan, involving various stakeholders, is being put into effect.

Environmental Affairs, Local Government and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the provincial disaster management centre (PDMC) was assisting in “managing the crisis”.

“A big part of what we’re busy with currently includes looking after the wellbeing of affected farmworkers. In this regard, the departments of Social Development together with DOA are leading the process. SASSA and Labour are also on board,” said Bredell.

“In addition, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Waste Management Unit is ensuring the safe disposal of carcasses on affected farms. These are some of the major initiatives at the moment.”

The JOC would request the National Disaster Management Centre to declare the outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu a provincial disaster.

In addition, the JOC would also facilitate a process of getting financial and training schemes in place to assist workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the outbreak. (via African News Agency)

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