Benson enjoys bipartisan praise Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Ask Rep. Holly Benson, R-Pensacola, if she’s been sailing lately, and she’ll give a rueful and wistful laugh. She notes the questioner must be reading her member page on the Florida House of Representatives Web site which, among other things, lists her hobbies as guitar playing and sailing.But that information was posted “back when I had time to have hobbies,” Benson said.A check of her legislative activities shows why the municipal bond lawyer from the western Panhandle has little leisure time. First elected in 2000, in her second term she was appointed chair of the special House committee that oversaw the transition of funding from county to the state for trial courts to carry out a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1998.That intense two-year effort, stretching over the 2003-04 sessions involved balancing the needs of judges, lawyers, clerks, public defenders, state attorneys, and court users amidst the normal partisan pressures of the legislature.Benson poured herself into the job, at the end winning praise from Republicans, Democrats, and all the other players for her fairness, mastery of the details, and efficacy of the final plan — worked out with the Senate — for making the funding transition.Benson credits the help of others for the success.“The nice thing is we have incredible members and incredible staff and if you do your homework and ask the right questions, you can find creative solutions to problems,” she said.With the Article V funding, everyone had the same goal, she added.“Florida has an incredible court system that is the envy of other states and it was a wonderful opportunity to work with all sorts of people to make the courts work,” Benson said. “We shared a common goal of preserving this outstanding court system and, with any luck, enhancing it. And so we worked together to do that.”Since that undertaking, Benson has also played leading roles in procurement reform for the state and this year’s Medicaid reform that will use HMOs to try to reduce costs for the state while maintaining quality.Benson’s work in the legislature has been widely praised. Her work on the Article V funding earned her a special recognition award from the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges, as well as plaudits from the Florida Association of Counties and the Florida Association of Court Clerks/Comptrollers. She has also received several awards from business and medically-related groups.Despite recent accomplishments, challenges will persist for the state, both generally and specifically for the legal system.“Florida continues to have unprecedented growth and we will continue to be pressed to meet the needs of all these Floridians,” Benson said.She noted there have been conflicts between the courts and lawmakers, and expects those may continue but also expects those frictions don’t have to have a negative impact on either branch of government.“The court system will continue to evolve to meet the very diverse needs of our state that range from all sorts of societal pressures. In Miami Dade, they’re expected to be able to interpret 85 languages on any given day. You have the mentally ill who continue to clog our jails and court system on any given day,” Benson said.As for relations between the courts and lawmakers, she noted that “[Bar President] Alan Bookman is a constituent and we’re going to work on that. Chief Justice [Barbara] Pariente has done an outstanding job of continuing to build legislative-judicial relations.“We all believe in checks and balances but we will continue to play important roles in developing good policies for the people of Florida,” Benson added.She said her legal training was good preparation for legislative work. Benson has filed for a fourth term, which will be her last under the state’s term limit provisions. And plans after her House service? “Right now, to be a bond lawyer,” she said.Benson is an advocate for other lawyers to get involved in the legislature.“Having a law degree is a real asset in interpreting bills quickly,” she said. “I have been consistently impressed by the caliber of lawyers with whom I serve.”And for lawyers who might be considering a run, Benson had this advice: “Serving in the legislature is one of the most meaningful things you will ever do.” Kottkamp follows Lincoln’s lead Jan Pudlow Senior Editor Growing up in Indiana and hearing all those stories about Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood in the Hoosier state left its mark on Jeff Kottkamp.“It left an impression on me since I was five that I not only wanted to be a lawyer, but I wanted to be in public service,” said Kottkamp, a personal injury lawyer in Ft. Myers who has been a state representative since he was elected in 2000.“I was one of those children that when the others wanted to go out to play, I wondered what we were going to do in Congress.”Now that 45-year-old Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, is chair of the House Judiciary Appropriations Committee, he is focused on funding the full 66 judges the Florida Supreme Court has certified the state needs.“For several years, we didn’t create any new judges. The phrase ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ rings true for many people. The backlog is making it harder and harder for judges to get cases to trial. It is important to fully fund the need for judges,” Kottkamp said.“Along those lines, in doing so, it’s important to send the message that the legislature has the proper view of the judiciary, which is that it is a branch of government and not a state agency.”For Kottkamp, it doesn’t matter whether those new judges are elected or appointed. He just wants to make sure the legislature funds the positions this session.Another important issue on the radar screen for lawyers in the civil arena, Kottkamp said, is joint and several liability.“One approach may be what was attempted last year, which is outright repeal. That approach has very little support in the Senate. I cannot possibly say how that will come out. This is a typical issue where term limits come into play because you have all of these legislators not in office when the legislature took up joint and several liability the last time, in the late ’80s,” Kottkamp said.“way of background, what everyone points to as the poster child of the problem was a case in the mid-’80s when Disney World was found 1 percent at fault, but because no one else in the case had any money ended up paying the whole 100 percent. The legislature stepped in and said, ‘Someone with one percent fault can never be found 100 percent liable.’ They fixed the problem in the late ’80s. But a lot of legislators don’t know that.“That’s one of those things where you have to work hard in educating legislators on the full spectrum. And that’s why it is important for lawyers to run for office. Other legislators know you practice law and rely on you in many respects to explain the law,” Kottkamp said, just as he relies on Rep. Paige Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda, a doctor, when he needs insight on medical issues.A graduate of the University of Florida College of Law, Kottkamp clerked for two “brilliant” federal judges, the late Sidney Aronovitz, father of former Bar President Tod Aronovitz, and Joe Eaton, a senior judge in the Southern District of Florida.Kottkamp said his career as a lawyer-legislator is “incredibly rewarding and fulfilling” because “every day is different and exciting, and I get to do some neat things.”One thing he is especially proud of is working with Attorney General Charlie Crist on passing a civil rights bill in 2003, which Kottkamp said “will make a lasting impression on people’s lives.”Kottkamp served on the Bar’s Journal and News Editorial Board, and was president of the Lee County Bar Association in 1998.Those experiences, he said, gave him “an important view of everything that the Bar does beyond the day-to-day practice.”The legislature needs more lawyers, he said.“If other attorneys in the state are considering public service, I would strongly encourage it. A legal education and experience from the practice of law is a tremendous benefit to be able to sort through the incredibly complex issues.”He serves on the Lee County Republican Executive Committee and is a member of the Sanibel-Captiva Republican Club.Kottkamp is also affiliated with the Christian Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Florida.Among his awards are The Florida Bar “President’s Legislative Award” in 2004, the Christian Coalition of Florida’s 2004 “Faith and Family Award,” and the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers “Legislative Leadership Award” in 2005.In 2004, he was honored by the Florida Supreme Court Trial Court Budget Commission for “exceptional service to the trial courts of Florida during the transition to state funding mandated by Revision 7 to the Florida Constitution.”He is married to Cyndie Kottkamp, and they have one son, Jackson. February 1, 2006 Regular News Lawyers in the Legislature
DES MOINES — Democratic candidate Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor, has been criticizing the role Iowa and New Hampshire play in the presidential nominating process. He’s planning a town hall forum next Tuesday in Des Moines to discuss the issue.“There’s no reason that Iowa and New Hampshire that hardly have any black people or people of color should always go first,” Castro said during a conference call with reporters yesterday.New Jersey Senator Cory Booker told Iowans yesterday that if he fails to get enough support in qualifying polls, there will be a billionaire on the stage for the televised debate later this month, but no black candidate since with California Senator Kamala Harris dropped out of the race this week. Castro hasn’t qualified for the debate either“My concern is not the presence of any one candidate on the debate stage only,” Castro said yesterday. “We need to change the whole game.”Castro is not a fan of the caucus process.“There’s no reason that a caucus system that makes it harder for working people and people with disabilities to participate should be what we begin with,” Castro said. “We need to work to reform how we elect a president in the first place.”Later today, Castro is among the candidates who will participate in a forum in Waterloo that’s sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The Iowa Farmers Union is hosting a forum in Grinnell this afternoon where several candidates will speak.
(updates via @Airtel_Ug #MujjeTulumbe)FULL TIME: Uganda 0 Burkina Faso 090’+3 Moses Oloya misses another. He connects inches wide off Massa’s header. Still goalless.90’+1 Burkina’s captain Kabore sent off for second bookable offense.90′ Masses misses as header hits post, but he was offside. FIVE minutes of added time.86′ Tense moments with game still tied 0-0. Change for Burkina Faso – Traore Isidora off, Adama on80′ Burkina Faso come very close as Onyango misjudges his chest. The quick shot is inches over the bar72′ Substitution for Uganda In-Yassar Mugerwa Out-Farouk Miya70′ Huge miss by MIYA with only goalie to beat66′ Moses Oloya in, Emmanuel Okwi out. Uganda 0-0 Burkina Faso60′ Another freekick for Cranes but the ball is too deep for anyone to react.56′ Burkina Faso win their first corner but it is cleared. The Cranes immediately resume attacking.48′ Geoffrey Massa misses a glorious chance to put Cranes ahead following a nice delivery from Mawejje.47′ The second half takes pace….Uganda 0-0 Burkina Faso2ND HALF starts Uganda 0 Burkina Faso 045+’ Halftime. Uganda 0-0 BurkinaFaso42′ Burkina Faso claim a penalty but the referee is not convinced. Still Uganda 0-0 BurkinaFaso39′ Okwi cleverly beats his marker and is taken down. Cranes freekick near the box.30′ minutes: Still no big chances to report from this one, apart from a couple of Joseph Ochaya corner kicks28′ Cranes put on another exciting attack but Mawejje’s cross goes wide.25′ Another corner for Cranes as we continue to build pressure.24′ Okwi makes a great delivery from the right;Miya is just shot to reaching the ball with a header. Uganda 0-0 BurkinaFaso15′ Uganda with lots of pace upfront…Mawejje hits the woodwork, ball bounces out8′ Uganda 0 Burkina Faso 0…. Miya in early raid, comes close00 Game kicks offKICK -OFF 7pmStarting Line up: Denis Onyango (G), Denis Iguma, Joseph Ochaya, Isaac Isinde, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Farouk Miya, Khalid Aucho, Geofrey Massa, William Luwagga Kizito, Emmanuel Okwi and Tonny MawejjeSubstitutes:Robert OdongKara (G), Mike Azira, Yassar Mugerwa, Moses Oloya, Timothy Awanyi ,Godfrey Walusimbi, Erisa Ssekisambu****Build up to gameMATCH PREVIEWCranes at final training at Namboole last night. PHOTO VIA @OFFICIALFUFAThe feeling in the Cranes camp is that they could have got a better result than they did in Ouagadougou on Saturday and are determined to do something about it today.“We are not crybabies. We shall definitely stage a fight in Namboole,” vowed FUFA president Moses Magogo after the 1-0 defeat by Burkina Faso. He added that “with the performance of the boys on the night, it is just a battle lost, not the war.”Despite arriving 12 hours after the Stallions, the team looked back to their rhythm in final training yesterday at Mandela National Stadium.Magogo had maintained that the result had only made them much more determined to win the return home game. “I love the spirit of the players thinking it is Namboole or never. The morale is even higher now.”Tight GroupThe way the group is set up now, with three teams at 6 points, it is now clear that it is Namboole or never in the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers – mathematics aside.Victory today, will give Cranes the much needed 3 point cushion going into the last two games, all of which they can win – if they have their heads high.Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is likely to be bolder in this game, and could add Emma Okwi to a much bigger attacking line to seal this.The match will also be played in honour of former Cranes goalkeeper Abel Dhaira who died of cancer in Iceland.The IBV Vestmanaeyjar player was diagnosed with abdominal cancer late last year. He last appeared for the Cranes in 2013.President Yoweri Museveni yesterday revealed that the government will help the sports fraternity return his body, bringing to rest fears that a massive funds drive would have to first be made as the family could not afford the costs.This was the starting XI vesus Burkina Faso on Saturday:Denis Onyango (Goalie) , Denis Iguma ,Joseph Ochaya ,Murshid Juuko , Isaac Isinde, Khalid Aucho , Kizito W Luwagga , Tonny Mawejje , Geoffrey Massa (captain) , Faruk Miya ,Godfrey WalusimbiSubstitutes : Robert Odongokara (Goalkie), Hassan Wasswa , Timothy Awanyi ,Mike Azira , Moses Oloya , Emma Okwi and Hamis Kiiza.Group D P W D L F A PtsB. Faso 3 2 0 1 3 1 6Uganda 3 2 0 1 3 1 6Botswana 4 2 0 2 3 4 6Comoros 4 1 0 3 2 5 3Other AFCON 2017 QUALIFYING matches.Times in GMTMalawi v Guinea 1230Lesotho v Seychelles 1300Rwanda v Mauritius 1330Ethiopia v Algeria 1400Niger v Senegal 1400Namibia v Burundi 1500Togo v Tunisia 1500Liberia v Djibouti 1600Angola v DR Congo 1600Gambia v Mauritania 1630Egypt v Nigeria 1700S. Africa v Cameroon 1700Sudan v Ivory Coast 1800Share on: WhatsApp
–30– ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 15, 2015)–With scintillating fractions to run at, favored Bench Warrant flew from far off the pace to take Sunday’s $75,000 Baffle Stakes by a neck under Tyler Baze, as he bested seven 3-year-old rivals in getting 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:12.43.Trained by John Sadler, Bench Warrant was last as the field crossed over the main track at the top of the stretch, and with pacesetter Serbian Syclone setting suicidal splits of 20.91, 42.20 and 1:06.15, the complexion of the race changed completely with a sixteenth of a mile to run.“When they were 15 or 20 lengths in front of me, I knew how fast they were going up front,” said Baze. “I just had to have confidence. Even though they were spread out turning for home and it got tight for a second, he went right through there and made the hole we were running for. He’s only going to get better with more distance.”Bench Warrant, who was a close fourth in the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente Stakes Feb. 1, was off at 9-5 and paid $5.80, $3.80 and $2.60. A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Street Boss, Bench Warrant got his third win from six starts and with the winner’s share of $48,300, he increased his earnings to $177,060.“When I saw that first quarter in 20 and four, I felt pretty good because this horse has a lot of heart,” said Sadler assistant, Larry Benavidez. “We’d like to keep him running down the hill, but I don’t think there’s anything for him for a while…I’d say he’s still getting better at racing. He’s a neat horse.”Ridden by Flavien Prat, Pain and Misery was mid-pack early and made the lead a sixteenth out when Serbian Syclone faltered but could not hold off the winner and finished second, one length in front of Diamond Majesty. Off at 10-1, Pain and Misery paid $8.60 and $4.60.Diamond Majesty, with Rafael Bejarano up, rallied from far back to be third, finishing 1 ½ lengths in front of Jazzy Josh, who had been forwardly placed early. Off at 9-2, Diamond Majesty paid $3.60 to show.There was just one winning ticket in Sunday’s Pick Six and it was worth $118,674. The ticket was purchased in Nevada, according to Santa Anita Director of Pari-Mutuels Randy Hartzell.First post time on Presidents’ Day, Monday, is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. Santa Anita will offer one dollar beers, hot dogs and sodas throughout the day.
UPDATED: COMMUNITY ALERT: Gardai have issued a warning about a man in an agitated state who may be in the following areas this evening:* Lifford* Castlefinn * Ballybofey/StranorlarIt follows an incident in the Brockagh area in which a man picked up a hitch-hiker in an agitated state.The man reported the incident to Gardai who have issued an alert.It is understood the man has mental health issues. He is tall, in his 30s, wearing a black hoodie and black jeans.He should not be approached under any circumstances.Anyone who has come across this individual should dial 999 or call Gardai at their nearest station.The alert follows reports to Gardaí about incidents earlier in the day. COMMUNITY ALERT: GARDAÍ WARNING ABOUT ‘AGITATED’ MAN was last modified: October 26th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:castlefincommunity alertgarda warningLifford
Chelsea face the champions at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in Rafael Benitez’s first game as Blues boss. Test your knowledge of the history between the two clubs by seeing how many of these five questions you can answer correctly.[wp-simple-survey-76]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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
FA Cup drawAll four west London clubs have been drawn at home in the third round of the FA Cup.Chelsea will host Watford, now managed by former Blues midfielder Slavisa Jokanovic. The two sides met in the third round in both 2009-10 and 2003-04, and the fifth round in 2008-09.QPR play Sheffield United, last season’s semi-finalists, at Loftus Road – a repeat of a third-round tie from 2009-10.Both Brentford and Fulham were drawn at home to fellow Championship opposition. The Bees will entertain Brighton, who they beat 3-2 at Griffin Park earlier in the season, while Fulham host Wolves, hoping to avenge the 1-0 defeat they suffered in August.Michael HarrimanThe QPR full-back has had his loan deal at Luton Town extended until 10 January. The 22-year-old has made 10 appearances for the League Two high-flyers and been on the losing side just once.Jamie Sendles-WhiteQPR’s 20-year-old centre-back has returned to Loftus Road after his loan spell at Mansfield Town was cut short. The Northern Ireland under-21 international played eight games for the Stags after joining in October and was due to stay at Field Mill until early January.ChelseaThe Blues have agreed a deal for their development teams to continue to play at Aldershot Town next season. Chelsea’s Under-21s have played at the ESS Stadium for the past 18 months, while the Under-18s’ successful FA Youth Cup run last term began at the Conference Premier club’s ground.QPR LadiesIn the second round of the FA Women’s Cup, QPR have been drawn away to Eastbourne Town of the London and South East Regional Premier Division. Two leagues separate the two teams, who will meet at the The Saffrons on Sunday 11 January.Lyle Della-VerdeThe Fulham winger has been ruled out for at least three weeks with ankle ligament damage, ending his loan spell at Bristol Rovers. The 19-year-old was hurt during a Conference Premier match against Wrexham last week. He made seven appearances for Rovers but will now go back to Craven Cottage for treatment.Dennis MarriottThe former Middlesex bowler, who took more than 80 wickets for the club between 1972 and 1974, has died, aged 75. The left-armer was one of a relatively small group of players to have represented both Middlesex and Surrey.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
8 May 2008Pretoria-based Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has secured an export contract to supply right- and left-hand-drive models of the popular Ford Ranger pickup truck to African markets.In a statement this week FMCSA said that it began exporting the right-hand-drive variants from April and will follow with exports of left-hand-drive vehicles from July onwards.The company expects to manufacture approximately 10 000 Rangers for export at its plant in Silverton, outside Pretoria, during the remainder of the year.This number will increase to 24 000 Rangers for export in 2009, and to approximately 40 000 Rangers by 2010, raising the company’s total export volume to 60 000 vehicles per year.“This is another important contract for Ford of Southern Africa, and clearly shows the confidence Ford Motor Company has in our world-class workforce and their ability to produce vehicles of international standards and quality,” said FMCSA chief executive Hal Feder.“It also further highlights our ongoing commitment to expanding our operations and export component in South Africa.”The contract would assist the company in preparing for the export programme of Ford’s next generation global compact pickup in 2011, by enhancing the plant’s manufacturing capabilities.FMCSA recently announced it would invest more than R 1.5-billion to expand operations for the production of the next-generation pickup truck and Puma diesel engine.Apart from the Silverton plant that assembles Ford, Mazda, Volvo and Land Rover vehicles, from passenger vehicles to commercial truck ranges, Ford also has an engine plant in Port Elizabeth, which is the company’s global producer of the 1.3-litre RoCam engine which it exports together with the 1.6-litre RoCam engine to Ford plants in India and Europe.The company also uses its Port Elizabeth plant to manufacture catalytic converters for export, with Ford pointing out that South Africa had become a centre of excellence in the field, with the city acting as a hub for the catalytic coverter industry.“This announcement further highlights South Africa’s capabilities in an increasingly competitive global market,” said Feder. “The automotive sector plays an important role in the South African economy and we will continue to develop our significance both locally and as a strategic export base for vehicles, engines and components for Ford Motor Company.”SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
2 March 2010Johannesburg residents took a break from their busy schedules, donned their Bafana Bafana jerseys and kicked back with the rest of the country on Tuesday to celebrate the 100 days countdown to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.BuaNews spoke to some of the South Africans who gathered at the 100 days countdown celebration on Maude Street, Sandton, on Tuesday.Thami Makhaya, wearing his Bafana jersey and sporting a vuvuzela, spoke of the long road to 2010, beginning with the country winning the bid in 2004 to host the World Cup.“This World Cup will unite this country,” Makhaya said. “I think once people realise just how big this event is, they will look beyond the differences and unite as South Africans to show the world what we can offer as a nation.“We have travelled a long journey as a country, and this is an opportunity to take yet another step forward.”The Khan family of four, who where dressed up for the occasion, said they came to Maude Street to support their country.“It is important for us be part of this historic occasion … All of Africa is supporting South Africa,” said Suraya Khan. “The World Cup is already a success, because it has shown that Africa is capable.”2010 will undoubtedly go down in the history books as one of the country’s most memorable moments, she said.For Josef Mkhabinde, the World Cup is about the legacy it will leave behind. “It’s what Africa has been dreaming about … I approach the tournament with confidence. Our stadiums are ready, our transport and security plans have been fine-tuned.“I can assure you we will not disappoint,” Mkhabinde said, “because we are a loving nation.”The world will descend on South African shores on 11 June – more than six years after the country was chosen as hosts – to witness the world’s greatest sporting event being held on African soil for the first time.Source: BuaNews
Creator of Nguni Juices Norman Mpedi in his factory. Workers collect fruit in the veld for processing. The umviyo fruit is rich in vitamin C and fibre. (Images: Norman Mpedi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Norman Mpedi +27 82 267 3053 [email protected] ARTICLES • Paying it forward with goat farming • Teaching people to work with nature • South African wine farms invest in biodiversity • SA’s burgeoning berry industry Emily van RijswijckThanks to canny survival skills learnt in the bush, former Umkhonto we Sizwe soldier Norman Mpedi has made a drastic career change and launched successful organic juice manufacturing operation Nguni Juices, using wild indigenous fruit harvested in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.It all started when Mpedi could not find work in the South African National Defence Force following the disbanding of Umkhonto we Sizwe. At this stage he often used to think back to times when he and his fellow comrades survived solely on what was available in the Angolan bush. Sometimes this only amounted to edible wild fruits growing in abundance.He recalls: “We ate this fruit, the umviyo, sometimes for up to three weeks at a time and we survived.”Untapped potentialUmviyo is the isiZulu name for the wild medlar or Vangueria infausta, a wild fruit similar to the better-known marula (Sclerocarya caffra) or Mnguni in isiZulu. Nutritionally, it’s as rich in vitamin C and natural fibre as the latter.In juice form it is an almost unrivalled high-energy natural supplement. Knowing this, Mpedi knew there was untapped potential in this source and started to investigate it further.“No-one had this idea before,” he says.This was back in 2003 and Mpedi began tackling the challenges of researching various indigenous fruits and their potential for juicing, and finding financial assistance for his start-up venture. He also had to register his product and patent his juice with the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office.With the help of specialists in the field from the University of Johannesburg and Pretoria, his final product was tested for nutritional quality and taste, and finally given the thumbs-up.“All my products are organic and completely free of chemicals,” says proud Mpedi. His products are currently only available at selected tourist and health shops, at some fruit and vegetable outlets and certain petrol stations.Mpedi is still looking for additional capital to fund expansion.RecognitionIn the meantime, his efforts have not gone unnoticed. In February 2011 Mpedi got a personal mention in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s annual budget speech.Gordhan related how Mpedi, Mlondolozi Kosi – with his ICT training centre in Willowvale in the Eastern Cape, and Antonio Pooe – with Exactech Fraud Solutions in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – are small business operators setting an inspiring example for others.“Small businesses are an important source of jobs. Businesses that employ fewer than 50 workers account for 68% of private sector employment,” Gordhan said at the time.Mpedi employs about 12 workers at his factory in Mokopane in Limpopo. As the fruit ripen in summer, his busiest times are from January until March when he employs additional local people to help with harvesting.In 2007 he was a finalist in the small companies category of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Technology Awards, and in 2008 he was recognised by the Industrial Development Corporation for his research on indigenous foods.In the new year Mpedi hopes to branch out into other products, such as alcoholic ciders from the same fruit.In addition to umviyo, he harvests monkey oranges and a plant known as utshwala benyoni, also known as white birds brandy, because when birds eat it they “become very noisy and lively”, Mpedi says.This plant is used as a natural enhancer in the fruit juice as it has a minty flavour.“Next year my business will grow even more, for sure,” he adds.