Sunday Independent 2021-11-28

The Sunday Independent is a weekly English-language newspaper. The Sunday Independent focuses on daily national, local and international national news and analysis. Its leader and opinion page offers a platform for readers to submit their views on topical news.

South Africa
Independent Media Pty Ltd
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3 Min
automate or perish: municipal operating system must deliver

Wesley Diphoko If there was ever a time for local governments to automate and deploy technologies to enable service delivery, it is now. South Africa has just completed one part of enabling service delivery, in the form of appointing leaders. The key part, which involves operations, will be the hardest to execute. In the same way that Covid-19 accelerated adoption of technology, service delivery challenges should accelerate the development of technologies within municipalities. This is even more important when societies are anticipating challenges related to indecision over internal leadership conflicts that might lead to poor operations and service delivery. The critical part of local government that will be left to run operations will be the middle management who are professionals, such as engineers and accountants. The sad reality is that…

4 Min
oura ring - the ultimate health wearable

Among its accomplishments to date, Oura (which is pronounced like “Aura”) deserves a spot on any list of crowdfunding projects that have turned into real businesses. In August 2015, Finland’s Petteri Lahtela and Hannu Kinnunen – both of whom had backgrounds in technology and health – launched a Kickstarter campaign for a ring that was primarily devoted to helping people improve their days by sleeping better. By the standard of the rings they’d later release, their first-generation version was a bit of a bulky blob. But it spoke to enough people to raise $651 803 from 2 383 backers. The following year, Lahtela and Kinnunen rustled up $5.3m from investors, mainly in the US, to continue to build the company. Harpreet Singh Rai, an Oura user and investor, became president…

2 Min
why sems matter for your start-up

PROFILING or segmenting a target audience is one of the mainstays of marketing for small businesses. Since the late 1980s, business owners and marketers have classified members of their target audience according to the Living Standards Measure. Since those formative years, the term has expanded to include “lower LSM” and “higher LSM”, perhaps with many of us not really understanding how to distinguish between them. How LSM is defined LSM, as a market research tool, is a determinant of socioeconomic class, based on standard of living and disposable income. It segments individuals into 10 groups, with LSM 1, including people who have the least disposable income and LSM 10 being the people with the greatest financial means. What many do not know, is that LSM ranks people based…

3 Min
lessons from china for dealing with corruption

THREE important pieces of public policy discussions with profound implications on what policy paths South Africa follows caught and occupied my attention last week. These contributions lay bare the default policy position South Africa has taken and the disastrous autopilot posture Cabinet has assumed. It is ending in tears. The first is a contribution by Michael Sachs, a former treasury policy official, who opens with a column, The chronic position of the country’s public finances continues to worsen, which can be seen in several metrics in the Conversation paper. The second is the webinar which the principal of the National School of Government, Professor Busani Ngcaweni arranged. This was addressed by Chinese Professor Zang Weiwei on the concept of Civilizational State. The third was a webinar, in which I was…

3 Min
retailers giving their final push for black friday, cyber monday sales

Dineo Faku BOTH ONLINE and brick and mortar retailers pulled out all the stops to attract foot traffic to their outlets for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday bonanza, bolstered by the faster-than-expected recovery of the economy due to the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. A study conducted by the Bureau of Market Research, on behalf of Capital Connect, said retailers could expect to ring up around R11.3 billion in additional sales over the period of November as consumers splashed out on Black Friday deals, up from R10.3bn a year ago. The R11.3bn was, however, significantly below the R15.4bn generated in 2019. In terms of specials, Shoprite, South Africa’s biggest retailer, led the way by offering deeper discounts from Thursday until today with up to 50…

4 Min
adele’s 30: the psychology of why sad songs make us feel good

Simon McCarthy-Jones ADELE’S new album, 30, is finally available. Last month, hundreds of millions of us streamed its first single, Easy On Me. This song evokes feelings not easily put into words. But we can probably agree it is a sad song. It isn’t obvious that we should like sad music. Sadness is usually a feeling we try to avoid. Yet, sad music pulls us in and lifts us up. But, why does hearing sad music feel so good? The biology of sad music Let’s start with biological theories. When we experience real-life loss, or empathise with another’s pain, hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin are released within us. These help us cope with loss and pain. They do so by making us feel calmed, consoled, and supported. Feeling…