Online classified job application results in rape and death

online classief sites a new risk dangers rapeRecently there has been a number of reports about a woman who died after being gang raped after she applied for a job at a local Pick-n-Pay via Gumtree. Gumtree is the most popular online classified ad website in South Africa. When comparing it to Junkmail and using rankings you’ll notice they get more traffic than both of those combined.

Now to the case at hand, applying for jobs via classifieds. This is big business. It’s one of the few ways that newspapers still make money. It’s also the online service charged for by, the biggest online classified site on the Internet. This is not unusual or risky behaviour because looking through the classifieds for what you need, whether a job or a place to stay is part and parcel of our culture. It is a valuable service that used to be the mainstay of the print media, and now online has changed that forever. Online classifieds are free in most cases, easy and quick. You can also search from your cellphone as many have a mobi version like Gumtree.

When applying for jobs I’ve always gone through “legitimate” sources like recruitment agencies, LinkedIn and newspapers like Sunday Times. There has been times when I looked at jobs available on Gumtree and found it almost overwhelming. It is not easy to do quality control on this website because the volume of posting is so great. Sadly the outcome for this woman when applying for a job was rape and death.

It is clear this site was abused by people with an evil intent. Does this qualify as an invasion of her privacy or does it also point to some negligence in her own decision making processes? Only time will tell what the police uncover since they have opened a case to investigate this matter, as they should being the law enforcement our country so badly depends on with it’s high crime rates and murder statistics. All I know is that it reads like a very sophisticated syndicate of rapists in operation who will go as far as posting job adverts on an online classified website to lure their victims.

The same advice for first meetings from online dating sites would apply in the case of avoiding the same thing happening to you from contacting some for a job via Gumtree or any other online classified website:

  • Call them back on a landline (office) because a company that only has a cellphone is suspicious.
  • Look at their website to see what they do, and what they say about themselves.
  • Tell someone where you are going, and if you can take someone with.
  • Ensure the first meeting takes place in a public place where there is other people around.

What else can you do to keep safe when interacting with people via online classified sites like Gumtree, Junkmail or Vottle?


Dollars and White Pipes

Dollars and White Pipes movieHey I know I’m a few years behind in noticing this movie. My friend Ra-eef Wicomb brought this to my attention today. So here’s the write-up from Video Vision, the main production company, and the trailer from Youtube follows below:


Dollars And White Pipes, the stylish Cape Flats film produced by Videovision Entertainment will have its international premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival where it will be featured in its “Focus On World Cinema” category. The Festival takes place from August 26 to September 5. Dollars And White Pipes, which is written and directed by Donovan Marsh, is based on the true life story of Bernhard Baatjies who grew up in the Cape Flats suburb of Hanover Park. Marsh wrote the script in collaboration with Bernard Baatjies.

Dollars And White Pipes is the feature film debut of director, Donovan Marsh who is known for the popular television series Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and MTN Gladiators. Marsh also directed the award-winning short film, Dead End for Videovision Entertainment.

Dollars And White Pipes is a rags to riches story which follows Bernhard journey from the drug and gang culture to emotional and moral independence as he overcomes issues of race, education, addiction and racketeering and finally becomes a well respected and law abiding business entrepreneur – which he still is today.

Dollars And White Pipes is an inspirational and original South African story and we are delighted to having its international premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival,” said producer, Helena Spring. “We are thrilled to have made a film that reflects a true life story that is incredibly motivating and very uplifting. Bernhard has emerged as a positive role model for all South Africans. We are also pleased to be continuing our relationship with M-Net’s local production initiative which began with association with Yesterday,” added Spring.

Director, Donovan Marsh commented, “Five years ago a man I didn’t know sat down next to me and told me his life story. For two hours he enthralled me. I told him I was going to make it into a movie. He laughed. Today we are the best of friends and Dollars and White Pipes is the incredible story of his life and a fascinating glimpse into a unique South African sub-culture. I am delighted that Dollars and White Pipes will be featured at the Montreal World Film Festival affording international audiences an insight into the life of Bernhard Baatjies.”

Dollars And White Pipes is a Videovision Entertainment production in association with M-Net and stars a host of Cape talent, among whom are Clint Brink (Generations), Joey Yusuf Rasdien, Shaun Arnolds, Genevieve Howard and Nikki Nelson. The film is produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring, executive produced by Sanjeev Singh and Sudhir Pragjee, written by Donovan Marsh and Bernhard Baatjies and directed by Donovan Marsh.

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Breakfast with Angela Ludek, aka WildAngel

About 3 weeks I met someone with whom I believe I share a spiritual connection. I cannot explain it in words. Freud came close when he described this type of feeling as uncanny – strange or mysterious, esp. in an unsettling way. And Carl Jung helped me understand how we met when he in turn coined the phrase synchronicity – the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. Well what am I going on about here?

Let me take you back to the days of SABC1’s Simunye Grooves days. Angela Ludek was one of the original presenters during programming. And she later moved to Goodhope FM, also owned by the SABC. She has worked with Lovelife organisation in the past to raise awareness on safer sexual relationships between young people. At the time she was at Goodhope FM, she was based in Cape Town, although she is Joburg-born and bred. I had just interviewed Jeannie D, one of the young new stars in the South Africa media landscape. So I got an invite to the launch of a new television commercial directly supervised by the now infamous Pop Idols judge, Randall Abrahams.

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Ramon Thomas ends association with DBS Human Capital


I am in the process of issuing a letter of demand against directors, Nia Maritz and Peter Jeffrey as well as their company DBS Human Capital (Pty) Ltd ( for non-payment for organising the Women4Women conference on 5 October 2007 and work done in preparation of the next conference to be held on Friday, 24 October 2008 in Cape Town. While preparing for the 2nd conference to be held later this month a dispute about payment arose between us.

My attorneys have instructed me not to published any details until they have reviewed the list of demands and checked all the facts with everyone involved in 2007 and 2008 conferences.

What is a letter of demand? Read more here.

Ramon Thomas


27Dinner talk, Mutual-Aid between African Bloggers

Thank you very much to Dave Duarte and Max Kaizen who have both supported my drive to create stronger relationships between South African bloggers and those bloggers from the rest of Africa. This has nothing to do with with the Xenophobia attacks, although it will restore tremendous goodwill that has always been there in the blogging community – most South African bloggers may not have been aware of this until this talk at the bi-monthly 27Dinner event in Cape Town.

I delivered for me one of the most important messages since I began blogging in 2003. I have taken up the cause of bringing blogging to the masses and also using these platforms to enhance entrepreneurship. We can never have enough collaboration or communication between. Through a series of experience and travels I have met and become friendly with many bloggers in South Africa as well as the rest of Africa.

The journey for me started back in 2006 when I attended the inaugural Digital Citizens Indaba. I am returning to Uitenhage via the Garden Route and will blog more about the background to this project this weekend…

Anyway here’s the Presentation, cleaned up a little bit from 27Dinner in Cape Town:

Mutual Aid Between African Bloggers


Live-Blogging the Gartner Africa Symposium 2008

For the next few days I am live-blogging the Gartner Africa Symposium at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Here’s what you can read more about on my NETucation business blog:

The Economist Intelligence Unit has declared 2008 to be the year of the emerging market. They are not alone in this prediction. Emerging economies present companies with some of the biggest opportunities for growth this year. And this doesn’t refer just to China and India.

In fact, the three most buoyant economies in the world are on the continent of Africa. In 2008, sub-Saharan Africa as a whole is predicted by The Economist to grow at a rate of 6.3%, with South Africa growing at 5% (reported at 3.7% on on 8 February 2008). The world is no longer dependent on the developed economies – which will grow only 1.8% in 2008 – to bring growth to the rest of the world. It is precisely because of, rather than in spite of, the challenges facing growth in Africa that the potential returns are great. The ICT sector is both a foundation and an agent of this growth and plays a critical role in solving developing world problems in a sustainable and profitable way.

In Cape Town, from 18 – 20 August 2008, at this year’s Gartner Africa Symposium, you will learn about the tools, technologies and management techniques to position your company to take advantage of this growth in emerging markets, while maintaining the fundamentals of efficiency.

On of the people I am looking forward to meeting in Johnny Clegg, especially after I have been to one of his shows in Johannesburg. He will be delivering the guest speaker today, the opening day at 11h45am.


Dr John Demartini works with South African Police Services

Dr John Demartini embraces Police Officer in Cape TownOver 600 senior police men and women flocked to the Montecasino Ballroom in Johannesburg and a week later a further 600 to The Westin Grand CT Arabella Quays to hear human behavioural specialist Dr John Demartini speak about ways in which they could empower their positions as police men and women in South Africa.

This Demartini Institute initiative, partnered by The Star (Independent Newspaper Group) and The Community Policing Forum (CPF), was designed to inspire and empower the people who play such an integral role in protecting South Africans. This is the second presentation to the SAPS, the purpose of the first talk was to inspire vision whereas this second talk was designed to address practical steps to assist the SAPS take their inspiration into action.

Dr Demartini pointed out that they (the police) are at this talk which means they truly care and are receptive to innovative ideas. “You obviously have a vision to protect society or you wouldn’t have joined and sustained your police service and whether you realize it or not your very presence makes everyone become more accountable,” he said. He likened their fight against crime to moving a large boulder. It is tough at first, but the boulder starts moving slowly and it eventually gains great speed or momentum. ”You can create or build almost anything through persistent action and by momentum and this can be applied successfully to crime fighting.”

Dr Demartini said life is designed to be challenging and only through challenge can we grow. He explained that focusing on problems alone is futile and that great things can be achieved by concentrating efforts on solutions and by taking accountable actions. Dr Demartini shared that in most of his talks and interactions in South Africa, in his experience the majority of South Africans are truly behind the police force and are grateful for their persistent efforts and accomplishments. He urged them to hold onto their vision of possibility, have clear objectives and apply prioritized actions that have a high probability of achievement and make sure that their vision is bigger than any criminal’s. “If man can set foot on the moon through one man’s vision, you can, as a collective force, change the crime statistics in South Africa,” he said.

Special thanks go to:

Montecasino and Dalene Devereux in Johannesburg and The Westin Grand CT Arabella and Martin van Oordt in Cape Town for assisting this crime combating drive by arranging and sponsoring the talk venues and to Gear House (Kelvin) and Integrity Sound (Alex) for sponsoring the sound equipment. To Commissioner Naidoo, Commissioner Reddy and DCP Daniels for their time, trust and permission to activate our vision of empowering and inspiring police men and women in South Africa. To Moegsien Williams, Editor of The Star (Independent Newspaper Group) for activating the opportunity and assisting in the coordination of these events. To Lionel and Geoff Green from the CPF for their invaluable insights. To Tracy O Brien for the introductions that made this all possible. Most importantly, thank you to the men and women in South Africa who dedicate their lives to the service of South African society, you are the heroes within South Africa and your actions make a difference in the lives of many every day.

A Special Note:

When someone believes in you, you increase in self worth and rise to the occasion. Long-term visionaries know to stay the course. They don’t focus on how things aren’t being done; they wisely look at what is being done and what can be done. They are solution orientated, not problem focused. As a nation, hold a vision for South Africa, don’t let outer forces deter your vision and actions towards it; look for what is working; acknowledge the heroes; be grateful for the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect and serve South African society. When you see the genius in another, you have the power to awaken the genius you see. Acknowledge the heroes and show your gratitude, for when you are grateful, you get more to be grateful for.


UCT GSB study shows youth entrepreneurship improving but still room for improvement

Alan Hammond, editor of Skillsportal website and Jacqueline Kew, a GEM researcherThe latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) study, conducted by the UCT Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), based at the UCT Graduate School of Business, has found that more South African youth are developing the confidence and potential to become entrepreneurship superstars.

The key findings show that the youth (categorised as those in the age categories of 18-24 years and 25-34 years) have a positive attitude towards opportunity-oriented business activities and a willingness to work with others towards achieving their objectives.

According to Dr Mike Herrington, Director of the UCT CIE and research team leader of GEM South Africa since 2001, the window of opportunity is open and ready for accelerated youth entrepreneurship development.

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Finally made it to Cape Town 27Dinner

Ramon Thomas and Dave Duarte @ 27Dinner in Cape TownLast Friday I finally made it to 27Dinner in Cape Town. This particular event was oversubscribed, which is a healthy sign for any event organisers and sends a positive message to all the participants. It reminds me when someone said, the geeks shall inherit the earth 😉 This is really a superb way to meet the most prolific bloggers around South Africa. I have been recommending the students from my blogging seminars, including many from the PR industry, to attend these events. And they have done so with great feedback.

The Wild Fig restaurant, which has served as venue for several previous events, is an awesome retreat from the insantiy of Primi Piatti, the venue of choice in Johannesburg. Even though it took me about 30 minutes of driving around Observatory it was well worth it in the end. The first people to arrive was Dave Duarte and Max Kaizen, the hunter of genius. Does anyone else know they brother and sister?

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TEDAfrica 2008 suspended, a temporary setback for South Africa

According to an email from Chris Anderson, the curator of the TED Conference, TEDAfrica due to be held in Cape Town at the end of September 2008 has been suspended. This news has also been posted on the TED Blog where I have already posted a comment and I encourage you to do so as well. This is a sad moment for Africa and more so for South Africa, which would have been the 2nd country to host the amazing TED Conference.

Last year I was blessed and honoured to attend TEDGlobal in Tanzania as a Blogger and Fellow. There were many, many connections and friendships established at this conference. George Ayittey described it as the most important conference about Africa at the beginning of the 21st century. And I agree wholeheartedly with him on this statement because never before has so many experts NOT politicians come together in support of Africa. There was a real sense of urgency among the speakers as the the aid vs investment debated heated up over the four days in Arusha.

Anyway why is this a setback for South Africa? We need to shift the focus from all the crap from Eskom, crime, Jakob Zuma, Zimbabwe and more. TEDAfrica in Cape Town would have been a dream come true for me because it represent an affirmation in our country and continent’s direction. The momentum built with the launch of the Next Einstein event in Cape Town, is a testament to the African’s ability to cope under the most severe circumstances. The students from the AIMS 2008 graduation represent the hope for future generations. So I held my breath when I first heard of the TEDAfrica announcement. But now we need to stand together more than ever before. The people on the TEDGlobal group on Facebook and members of the TED discussion group on Google need to find ways of following up and following through with promises made in Tanzania.

Remember we are the Cheetah’s and not the Hippo’s! Cheetah’s do not ask for permission from government to create value and opportunities for others. We are entrepreneurs and we stand on our own feet and make our own decisions. My dream would be that we can finally launch the annual African Bloggers Conference and an bi-annual TEDAfrica, maybe hosting the first one again, as originally planned in Cape Town in September 2009. In the mean time spread the word about TED Talks.