Can you dance, sing, act, play a musical instrument, do acrobatics or do have a special act?
Solo, or in a group, do you think that, if trained and encouraged, you have what it takes to build a career in the performing arts?
If so, you may eventually become part of the growing Tshisa Talent Agency which places professional performers with guest hosting establishments and event organisers.
The 2015 Tshisa Talent Competition to uncover new skills starts next week!
You will need to REGISTER at the Community Halls from 6:30 pm:
Mon 2nd Feb – Crags
Tues 3rd Feb – Green Valley
Wed 4th Feb – Bossiesgif / Qolweni (Bicycle Shed)
Mon 9th Feb – Kranshoek
Tues 10th Feb – New Horizons
Wed 11th Feb – Kwanokuthula
Auditions follow at the end of February and Round Two takes place in March before the Grand Final in April.
This program is proudly sponsored by the National Arts Council and provides a platform for performing artists in Bitou to develop their skills and stand a chance to win great prizes in the grand finals in April. For more info please contact Stuart 083 423 0083 Stu – when they register could you ask them to prepare songs that will have commercial appeal ie not just gospel which has a limited market? And can they dress the part!



Monday 2nd February 2015
Downton Abbey Series Five – Episode 1 of 8
Downton Abbey is embroiled as usual in post-war politics
Romance and even a fire in the stately home
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Angela Embleton 044-533-1437

Tuesday 3rd February 2015
Italian Conversation
09H45 at 12 Challenge Drive
Co-ordinator: Brenda Hardy 044-533-5489

Wednesday 4th February 2015
The Dark Ages – An Age of Light – Episode 1 of 4
Landmark series by Waldemar Januszczak about an artistic era
He explores great artistic achievements of early Christian Art
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Angela Embleton 044-533-1437

Friday 6th February 2015
French Conversation
10H00 at 7 Glennifer Street
Co-ordinator: Merle Decot 044-533-5879

Friday 6th February 2015
Mah Jong : Ancient Fascinating Game
13H30 at Formosa Garden Village Small Dining Room
Co-ordinator: Ameila White 044-533-0113

Disturbing reasons why sugar is bad for you

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. It can have harmful effects on metabolism and contribute to all sorts of diseases. Here are 10 disturbing reasons why you should avoid added sugar like the plague.
1. Added Sugar Contains No Essential Nutrients and is Bad For Your Teeth You’ve probably heard this a million times before… but it’s worth repeating. Added sugars (like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients. For this reason, they are called “empty” calories. There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar… just pure energy. When people eat up to 10-20% of calories as sugar (or more), this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies. Sugar is also very bad for the teeth, because it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth . Bottom Line: Sugar contains a lot of calories, with no essential nutrients. It also causes tooth decay by feeding the harmful bacteria in the mouth.
2. Added Sugar is High in Fructose, Which Can Overload Your Liver In order to understand what is so bad about sugar, then you need to understand what it is made of. Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars… glucose and fructose. Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. If we don’t get it from the diet, our bodies produce it. Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it. The thing with fructose is that it can only be metabolized by the liver in any significant amounts. This is not a problem if we eat a little bit (such as from fruit) or we just finished an exercise session. In this case, the fructose will be turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it. However, if the liver is full of glycogen (much more common), eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn the fructose into fat. When repeatedly eating large amounts of sugar, this process can lead to fatty liver and all sorts of serious problems. Keep in mind that all of this does NOT apply to fruit. It is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit. There is also massive individual variability here. People who are healthy and active can tolerate more sugar than people who are inactive and eat a Western, high-carb, high-calorie diet. Bottom Line: For people who are inactive and eat a Western diet, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver.
3. Overloading The Liver With Fructose Can Cause Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease When fructose get turned into fat in the liver, it is shipped out as VLDL cholesterol particles. However, not all of the fat gets out, some of it can lodge in the liver. This can lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), a growing problem in Western countries that is strongly associated with metabolic diseases. Studies show that individuals with fatty liver consume up to 2-3 times as much fructose as the average person. Bottom Line: Excess fructose gets turned into fat, which can lodge in the liver and cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
4. Sugar Can Cause Insulin Resistance, a Stepping Stone Towards Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
Insulin is a very important hormone in the body. It allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. Having too much glucose in the blood is highly toxic and one of the reasons for complications of diabetes, like blindness. One feature of the metabolic dysfunction that is caused by the Western diet, is that insulin stops working as it should. The cells become “resistant” to it. This is also known as insulin resistance, which is believed to be a leading driver of many diseases… including metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular disease and especially type II diabetes . Many studies show that sugar consumption is associated with insulin resistance, especially when it is consumed in large amounts . Bottom Line: When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which can contribute to many diseases.
5. The Insulin Resistance Can Progress to Type II Diabetes When our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, the beta cells in our pancreas make more of it. This is crucial, because chronically elevated blood sugars can cause severe harm. Eventually, as insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand of producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down. At this point, blood sugar levels skyrocket and a diagnosis of type II diabetes is made. Given that sugar can cause insulin resistance, it is not surprising to see that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages have up to an 83% higher risk of Type II diabetes . Bottom Line: Because of the harmful effects of sugar on the function of insulin, it is a leading driver of type II diabetes.
6. Sugar Can Give You Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is characterized by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells. Insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth. For this reason, many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer . In addition, the metabolic problems associated with sugar consumption are a known driver of inflammation, another potential cause of cancer . Multiple studies show that people who eat a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of getting cancer . Bottom Line: There is considerable evidence that sugar, due to its harmful effects on metabolism, can contribute to cancer.
7. Due to its Effects on Hormones and the Brain, Sugar has Unique Fat-Promoting Effects Not all calories are created equal. Different foods can have different effects on our brains and the hormones that control food intake . Studies show that fructose doesn’t have the same kind of effect on satiety as glucose. In one study, people drank either a fructose-sweetened drink or a glucose-sweetened drink.
Afterwards, the fructose drinkers had much less activity in the satiety centers of the brain and felt hungrier . There is also a study where fructose didn’t lower the hunger hormone ghrelin nearly as much as glucose did .Over time, because the calories from sugar aren’t as fulfilling, this can translate into an increased calorie intake. Bottom Line: Fructose doesn’t cause satiety in the brain or lower the hunger hormone ghrelin nearly as much as glucose.
8. Because it Causes Massive Dopamine Release in The Brain, Sugar is Highly Addictive Sugar can be addictive for a lot of people. Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain . The problem with sugar and many junk foods is that they can cause massive dopamine release… much more than we were ever exposed to from foods found in nature . For this reason, people who have a susceptibility to addiction can become strongly addicted to sugar and other junk foods . The “everything in moderation” message may be a bad idea for people who areaddicted to junk food… because the only thing that works for true addiction is abstinence. Bottom Line: Because sugar causes a large release of dopamine in the brain, it can cause addiction in a lot of people.
9. Sugar is a Leading Contributor to Obesity in Both Children and Adults The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for fat gain disaster. It leads to decreased satiety… and can get people addicted so that they lose control over their consumption. Not surprisingly, people who consume the most sugar are by far the most likely to become overweight or obese. This applies to all age groups. Many studies have examined the link between sugar consumption and obesity and found a strong statistical association . The link is especially strong in children, where each daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a whopping 60% increased risk of obesity . One of the most important things you can do if you need to lose weight is to significantly cut back on sugar consumption. Bottom Line: Because of the effects of sugar on hormones and the brain, sugar dramatically increases the risk of becoming overweight or obese.
10. It Ain’t The Fat… It’s SUGAR That Raises Your Cholesterol and Gives You Heart Disease For many decades, people have blamed saturated fat for heart disease… which is the #1 killer in the world. However… new studies are showing that saturated fat is harmless . The evidence is mounting that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease via the harmful effects of fructose on metabolism . Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL (very, very bad), raise blood glucose and insulin levels and increase abdominal obesity… in as little as 10 weeks . These are all major risk factors for heart disease.
Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256

German Shepherd Training Advice On The Very Best Age To Bring Home A New Puppy

Do individuals still think they need to get their fresh puppy home around the “mysterious” 49th day?

Typically, breeders who have been from their backyard and about the block are pretty educated. But first-time customers, especially, appear to possess this issue of being over-marinated in mythology. Or perhaps it’s just a matter of very good old B.S. confusing brains.

So exactly where did this mysterious “49 days and never a minute later” concept that spreads throughout a lot of brand-new puppy selling come from? The initial mention of it in common materials made an appearance in 1961. The final sentence in Chapter three of a book by Richard Wolters said, “…get and begin your dog at the proper time-seven weeks- that’s 49 days old.” And in an additional location within the same chapter, in bold italics for emphasis, no much less, Wolters said, “Purchase your puppy and get him or her home at the precise age of forty nine days!”

Quite possibly what prompted his imagination and caused his cosmic leap to “the particular age of forty-nine days” was a report that appeared in 1959 called, “The Relationship involving Delayed Socialization and Trainability in Guide Dogs.” This particular document proposed that guide dogs experienced the right amount of attachment to people to turn out to be guide dogs when the typical age at Parting from litter mates had not been less than seven weeks. Or maybe it was a report printed in 1961 named, “Crucial Periods in the Social Growth of Canines.” Or it might have been the guide printed in 1965 called, “Genetic makeup and the Social Behavior in the Dog.”

Wolters describes all these works within his guide, which means that he seemingly found the 49-day notion from their work in some manner. However nowhere in all their written and published work do they declare to acquire the pet dog at the “specific chronilogical age of 49 days.” Wolters apparently added two and 2 and came up with 49. Precisely what did they seriously uncover?

A particular finding quite important in the 49-day time period was basically that pups within a particular litter may easily be different in developmental age by a week in just about every direction, although are all born inside of one or two hours.

This signifies that by the point the pup actually reaches 49 days since entry into the world, it may be anywhere between 42 and fifty six days old developmentally, relative to all other puppies within the entire population of pups whelped on the very same day, even to puppies from the exact same litter. And it really is the neural, physiological and bodily development, not the precise chronological age not minutes elapsed since popping in to the world that’s crucial in the behavioral stability or deficiency of it in pups, and later on, in grown-up pet dogs.

7 weeks is only a chronological age, merely the amount of days. Developmentally, it is an average which says that naturally, 95 per cent of any populace of household k9s at 7 weeks following birth will likely be around six and 8 weeks old developmentally.

Examine any litter closely and fairly each and every week with regard to behaviour dissimilarities and you’ll notice astonishing variability. You may see a few pups that are precocial, a few delayed. Just what 1 puppy does at a given age, a few did 3 days in the past and others will not do until next week.

Thus a person can certainly see that this sad to say prevelant misconception, on better evaluation, bears significantly closer analysis. http://www.topschutzhundtraining.com/ will be especially interested in correct knowledge.•

What is scar tissue?

Scar tissue is formed as part of the normal healing process. It inevitably forms whenever our body’s tissue is damaged. Most people understand scars that form as a result of a cut, as they are easy to see, but scar also forms internally when we injure our muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Unfortunately, scar tissue is not as functional as the tissue that it replaces. Normal tissue in the body has a consistent form and our healthy skeletal muscle tissue is formed of collagen that sits in a striated fashion (lined up parallel to one another). It allows for normal contraction and flexibility.
When scar tissue forms after injury, our body produces collagen excessively. The initial production of granulation is necessary to provide tensile strength to the injury site. In certain circumstances, the granulation leads to contraction of the scar and to poor structural organisation of the components of regenerating muscle and scar tissue. This leads to a lack of flexibility in the tissue and often this poor structural organization can cause pain and dysfunction.
We like to use a paint brush as an example. If we take the correct steps to store the brush after use, we can pull out the brush and use it easily for our next project. The brush starts out as a soft, supple parallel group of bristles that can bend easily in many directions. If we simply let the bristles dry, they start to bind to one another and the brush loses its flexibility and function. The brush cracks and bends irregularly. At this point more care is required to rehabilitate the brush and get it back to work. Hence early diagnosis and treatment of the brush is a necessity. It is important to know that all injured tissue will develop scarring to some extent. When the scarring prevents normal function of the affected tissue or joint, pain or restricted function exists. This is why we encourage all of our patients to have their injuries assessed, to receive advice in the early stages of injury and to have a proper treatment regime started.
Please consult your personal physician or physiotherapist for more detailed information concerning specific injuries or illnesses.
Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256

Easy excercises for couch potatoes

If you have trouble finding the motivation to break away from the television and exercise, try couchersizing—staying on or near your couch and exercising during commercial breaks. Why bother? As I write in the December 2013 Harvard Health Letter, a growing body of evidence links the amount of time spent sitting to illness and even death. “Minimizing long periods of inactivity, like exercising during commercial breaks, can help reduce the risk of injury and may even help you live longer,” says Kailin Collins, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
You can work many different muscle groups while seated upright on a couch. Want to get your heart rate up, work the oblique muscles on the sides of the abdomen. To whittle your waist, try twisting your torso from side to side for the length of a commercial break. You can even exercise while lying on the couch: with your legs extended, squeeze the quadriceps on the front of the thigh for a count of 10, then relax. Repeat several times. Try leg lifts while lying flat to build abs, or side lifts to strengthen hip muscles.

Here are more ideas for the couch potato set. Consider trying some of these exercises during the typical three-to-four-minute TV commercial break.

Sit to stand

Why it helps: This exercise works the quadriceps in the front of the thigh and gluteal muscles in the buttocks, which helps protect your ability to get up from a chair, out of a car, or off a bathroom seat. “In addition, it’s possible to use repeated repetitions of this exercise to get your heart rate up,” says Collins.

How to do it: Go from sitting to standing to sitting again, 10 times in a row. Rest for a minute, then repeat.

Calf stretch

Why it helps: “Keeping your calves optimally flexible can keep your walking stride longer, reduce your risk of tripping over your toes, and reduce your risk for common foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis,” says Collins.

How to do it: Sit on the edge of a couch with your feet flat on the floor. With one leg, keeping your heel on the floor, lift and point the toes toward the ceiling, so that you feel a stretch in your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds, then do the same with the other leg, three times per leg.

Stand on one leg

Why it helps: “Balance gets better if you practice it, which can decrease the risk of falling,” says Collins.

How to do it: Holding on to the back of a chair for stability, lift one heel toward your buttocks. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, three times per leg. To improve your balance on unsteady surfaces, try this with shoes off on a balled-up beach towel.

Shoulder blade squeeze

Why it helps: “This can help prevent that rounded, shoulders-forward posture that can develop from many years of sitting, especially at a computer,” says Collins.

How to do it: Pinch your shoulder blades together, but not up (don’t shrug). Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat 10 times.

Hand squeeze

Why it helps: “Keeping your grip strong makes it possible to turn a door knob, open a jar, and grasp a gallon of milk,” says Collins.
How to do it: While seated upright, hold a ball (the size of a basketball) over your lap with both hands, then squeeze the ball as if you’re trying to deflate it. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times, rest, then do another set of 10 repetitions. You can also improve your grip strength by squeezing a small rubber ball in one hand.

Does Your Family Really Want a Dog?

Look at that adorable little face! Can anything warm your heart as quickly and completely as the tiny soft body of a puppy… any puppy? Their little bodies nuzzle right up to you. Their little eyes melt your heart in a second. Who doesn’t want a puppy? How wonderful they are; unconditional love, unlimited cuteness, too adorable for words.
This article was not intended to discourage you, but rather to help you prepare for this new addition and make sure this is the right decision for your family. There are several things to consider as your family discusses the possibility of getting a puppy.

1. The first thing is that every puppy becomes a dog within 1-2 years depending on the breed. You’ll have up to 2 years of puppydom and up to another 13 or so years of adult dog. So don’t think about how a puppy will affect the family. Think about how a DOG will affect the family; a much bigger, not quite so cute, likely not well-trained dog. So before you go looking for a puppy, spend some time with adult dogs of the breed you’ve chosen and see if you’re still interested.

2. The second thing to consider is the expense of having a dog. Costs will vary depending on the size, the breed, and the health of the dog. There’s the initial cost of your new pet. A truly responsible dog owner will NOT support puppy mills. Watch for future articles about puppy mills. It suffices to say that puppy mills exist only because people buy the puppies. No customers, no business, no more torturing and abusing dogs. So you’ll either get your puppy from a reliable breeder or from a rescue shelter. There will be a cost associated regardless of which you choose. Most rescue shelters charge approximately $500 regardless of the breed. Rescue shelters are non-profit. This fee pays for food and vet bills to spay or neuter our furry friends. Occasionally dogs require surgery or other medical attention. You can see that this figure is by no means an absolute. The purchase price from a breeder will vary depending on the breed of dog and the breeder.

So many of the costs are dependent on the decisions you make. Will you use a dog crate for house training or when no one is home? What sources will you use for training; books, videos, training lessons, a combination of all three? Will you provide your pet with just a bowl on the floor or a water fountain which constantly circulates the water ensuring your dog has fresh water at all times. You could spend up to $2,000 in your first year for basic essentials; licence, collar, dog walking leash (perhaps a couple of different kinds), water bowl, food bowl, food, toys, dog bed, grooming equipment, dog crate, gates and fences for the yard, vet bills (puppies need check-ups, dental checks and vaccinations just like your children did), flea treatments, heart worm medication, some dogs require professional grooming every 6-8 weeks, any behaviour training supplies.
After the first year, depending on your dogs’ health, you can expect to spend between $500 and $2,500 each year for basic maintenance; again this amount has a lot to do with the breed of dog you’ve chosen. This does not include additional carpet/furniture cleaning as a result of inevitable pet “accidents”. There is also the cost of replacing “doggie chewed” items like children’s toys, nic nacs, shoes, wallets, purses, pillows, bedding, and other items your dog naughtily entertained him/herself with. This also does not include medical emergencies like your dog eating chocolate, or aspirins, or other poisonous items, or any accidental injuries that may occur.

3. Next, examine your lifestyle. Dogs are incredibly social animals. Your dog, just like your children, will require large amounts of quality time. (No wonder people get their pets confused with their children. There are so many similarities.) It’s irresponsible to bring a dog into your family and then leave him/her alone for 10 hours every day. Think about how many hours will your pooch be left alone each day? Remember to include after school or work activities like baseball, soccer, hockey, karate, ballet, tennis, overtime work hours, etc. in your “away” time.

How many people are in the family? What age are your children? Toddlers or smaller children may not be a good combination with a larger, more aggressive dog.

Puppies have little bladders and need to go out about every 1 to 2 hours; adult dogs at least 3 times a day. That’s just a “potty” out.

Your dog will also need exercise. All dogs need exercise! Think in terms of 30 to 60 minutes each day for all dogs. Beyond that you need to take your specific pet into consideration for additional exercise needs. Ignoring this means that your dog will be bored and may start behaving badly. How much more exercise depends on the breed. Border Collies, Jack Russells, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels, Boxers, Irish Setters, and Huskies, typically herding dogs to name a few require at least an hour of vigorous exercise at least twice each day.

Many dogs require mental stimulation in addition to the physical. This is playtime and training time and it’s equally important as physical exercise. Time… time… time. If you can’t commit to this for your dog, you will want to consider a breed that is less demanding. Shih Tzus, Pugs, Poodles, Basset Hounds, and Beagles require much less of an exercise commitment. Will your children be able to help you walk the dog each day? Will they be able to handle a large dog or perhaps a smaller dog would be more suited to your family? Or perhaps this isn’t the right time for a dog.

I cannot impress upon you enough how important it is to seriously consider these points before making a decision. Think of this as important a decision as having a baby. You can’t “try it out and see if it works”. If it doesn’t “oh well” and do away with it. It’s not fair to you or your family, and it’s not fair to the dog. Perhaps you’re reading this and logically thinking “She’s right. I don’t have the time, or the money.” But still your heart is yearning for a dog. There is a solution. Offer to babysit someone else’s dog while they go away on vacation. If that works out well, try fostering a dog. Fostering means that you will care for a “rescued” dog until a forever home can be found. Because this is a temporary situation, once your “charge” is placed, you can choose not to take any more, if you decide that having a dog is not the right thing for your family. This is a great way to “test the waters”; to see if your family is truly ready for the responsibility of having a dog. You’ll learn a lot about training and how to deal with dogs and at the same time you are offering a tremendous service to our wonderful canine companions.
Remember to hug your dog today.•

Jurisdiction of the CCMA to adjudicate benefit disputes expanded

The confusion that has existed for years between employers and employees over the scope of what the term “benefits” in section 186(2)(a) of the Labour Relations Act entails has finally been resolved by the Labour Appeal Court in Apollo Tyres SA (Pty) Ltd v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (2013) 34 ILJ 1120 (LAC).

This case also dispelled the fallacy that in order to have an unfair labour practice claim against an employer there has to be an employment relationship in existence at the time that the employee declared and referred an unfair labour practice dispute to the CCMA.

Until very recently, the position in South African labour law was that the Labour Relations Act only allowed an employee to refer an unfair labour practice dispute relating to employment benefits to the CCMA if such benefits were provided for in the employee’s contract of employment, the employer’s conditions of employment, collective agreement or any applicable legislation. If the benefits in dispute could not be traced back to any one of these categories, such a dispute would be classified as a dispute of mutual interest which could only be pursued by way of industrial action, and the CCMA would not have the necessary jurisdiction to arbitrate such a dispute except to conciliate it. A dispute of mutual interest is a dispute where an employee wishes to assert a right which he does not have in terms of any legislation, policy or employment contract, for example, an increment or bonus when there is no provision for such in the contract of employment. The reason for this distinction is based on the view that a wider definition of the term “benefits” could undermine the employees’ right to strike which is constitutionally entrenched.

The issue for determination in the Apollo case at the CCMA was whether an employee’s entitlement to claim benefits under an early retirement scheme fell within the ambit of the unfair labour practice provisions. Due to a decline in trade Apollo Tyres was forced to start with an early retirement scheme for monthly paid staff between the ages of 46 and 59 years. After being told that she did not qualify for the scheme, Ms Hoosen resigned and referred a dispute to the CCMA, claiming that the company’s refusal to pay her the amount specified in the voluntary retrenchment scheme amounted to an unfair labour practice relating to the provision of benefits. Apollo Tyres argued that the CCMA lacked jurisdiction to arbitrate the matter as the voluntary retrenchment scheme was not a “benefit” as contemplated by the Labour Relations Act. The commissioner however ruled that the company had committed an unfair labour practice by not admitting Ms. Hoosen to the scheme, and ordered Apollo Tyres to pay her the specified severance package.

The Labour Appeal Court considered the matter and held that the retirement benefit in Apollo Tyres had been offered to all monthly paid employees between the ages of 46 and 59. The employee was 49 and was paid a monthly wage. Apollo Tyres also had a discretion as to whether or not to grant the benefit. The issue was whether that discretion had been exercised unfairly, for example, whether the employer had acted arbitrarily, capriciously or for no justifiable reason. The Labour Appeal Court concluded that Appollo Tyres had shifted the goal posts and had provided no credible reason for not granting the employee an early retirement package. The court accordingly held that Apollo Tyres had perpetrated an unfair labour practice by excluding the employee from the early retirement scheme and dismissed the appeal with costs.

In arriving at its decision the Labour Appeal Court enunciated the following important legal principles:

A proper approach is to interpret the term “benefit” to include a benefit to which an employee is entitled (from contract or from legislation, including rights judicially created) as well as an advantage or privilege which the employee has been offered or granted in terms of a practice subject to the employer’s discretion. Those judgments in which a contrary approach was adopted are accordingly wrong.
Employees who wish to use unfair labour practice jurisdiction to claim a right to be promoted, receive training or be granted employment benefits, do not have to prove a right to be promoted or trained if the fairness of the employer’s conduct is challenged.
The concern that a wide definition of “benefit” will undermine the right to strike is no longer justified.
Disputes over the provision of benefits fall into two categories. Where the dispute is not based on an allegation that the grant or removal of a benefit is unfair, strike action is the remedy. Where the dispute concerns the fairness or otherwise of the employer’s conduct, it can be adjudicated through arbitration.

The Labour Appeal Court went further and held that there are at least two instances of conduct by an employer relating to the provision of benefits that may be subjected to scrutiny by the CCMA under its unfair labour practice jurisdiction:

The first instance is where an employer fails to comply with a contractual obligation that it has towards an employee. In this instance, an employee would still only be able to refer a dispute to the CCMA for adjudication if such a dispute is based on a right or benefit contained in the contract of employment, or alternatively in law.
The second situation is where the employer exercises a discretion that it enjoys under the contractual terms of a scheme conferring a benefit. In this instance, even where the employer enjoys a discretion in terms of a policy or practice relating to the provision of benefits, such conduct can be scrutinized by the CCMA.

As a result, the term “benefit” in the Labour Relations Act has now been expanded to include not only existing advantages or privileges to which an employee is entitled to as a right, but also those advantages and privileges granted in terms of a policy or practice over which the employer has a discretion. Employers should thus exercise extra care when exercising their discretion and implementing policies relating to benefits.

This judgment may also be seen to have potentially opened the floodgates for referrals by unsatisfied employees to the CCMA regarding privileges and advantages awarded by an employer at its discretion. Importantly thougth, the unfair labour practice jurisdiction cannot be used by employees to assert an entitlement to new contractual terms such as new benefits, new forms of remuneration or new policies not previously provided for by the employer.

It is clear that employers faced with having to exercise a discretion as to whether to grant certain benefits or not must exercise such discretion in a fair, transparent and justifiable manner to avoid falling foul of the unfair labour practice provisions of the Labour Relations Act.•

10 Ways to Tell Good Pain From Bad Pain

1. Ankle Strains and Pains
From landing awkwardly during squat jumps to twisting unnaturally in Zumba class, your ankle often pays the price for missteps. This can cause mild to severe sprains of the ligaments on the ankle’s exterior. For any sprain, avoid walking on it and treat it with rest, ice, compression and elevation. If it’s simply sore, it may be due to tendonitis, says Gausewitz. “Rest and ice it. You can’t really work through it.” Biking, rowing and swimming are better choices than weight-bearing exercises. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: If you can’t keep weight on your ankle, see a doctor for X-rays. This is especially important if combined with tenderness felt when touching the bone on the outside of the ankle, which could indicate a fracture.

2. Knee Pain
Knee pain can occur suddenly or begin as a crunchy sound and turn into a chronic ache that hurts while climbing stairs. For the most part, knee injuries are rarely an emergency unless you’re lifting heavy weight and tear something. Pain while walking down stairs, for example, is often due to patellofemoral problems, during which you feel discomfort behind the kneecap and a grating sound in the knee if the leg is extended straight. You can work through it by avoiding exercises that trigger the pain (such as lunges and deep squats) and modifying exercises such as squats by squatting only within a pain-free range of motion. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: Hearing a pop at the time of the injury, significant swelling within the knee or buckling or locking of the knee can indicate a serious injury and should be checked by a sports-medicine doctor. These symptoms indicate a possible torn ligament or meniscus tear.

3. Hip Pain
Hip pain should never be ignored. The location of hip pain helps suggest the cause. Pain felt in the groin usually comes from the hip joint itself (the ball-and-socket part of the joint) or the femoral neck (the top of the leg bone). Repetitive activity can cause bursitis and pain on the outside of the hip, and a pain in the buttocks may be nerve-related or result from a lower-spine condition. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: One worrisome symptom with hip pain often occurs in both young and perimenopausal women engaging in long-distance running. Pain in the groin that increases toward the end of a run, especially if it is coming on earlier and earlier and taking longer to go away, could be a sign of a stress fracture in the femoral neck. This injury may require surgery and should be checked by an orthopedic doctor.

4. Lower-Back Pain
For mild pain, avoid exercises that make the pain worse, such as incline treadmill workouts (keep it flat), bent-over rows (do seated rows), high-impact aerobics and overhead shoulder presses. Simple treatments like rest, ice and stretching are often enough to resolve the pain. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: Pain accompanied by nerve symptoms such as numbness or tingling down the leg and weakness indicate that a herniated disc may be causing pressure on a nerve root.

5. Mid-Back and Upper-Back Pain
Lifting weights and feeling a twinge between your shoulder blades may simply be a sign of bad lifting technique. Lifting too quickly can also cause a tweak of the spine, although sometimes neck problems create referred pain to the shoulder blades. Be sure you’re using the correct weight to allow you to perform your repetitions with proper form. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: See a doctor if you experience sharp, stabbing pain or have difficulty breathing, It could suggest a more serious condition, such as a thoracic herniated disc. In some cases, pain between your shoulder blades accompanied by chest pain and breathless may be a sign of a heart attack.

6. Shoulder Pain
If you feel pain in your shoulder or a sudden heavy catch or snap while lifting something overhead, you may have strained or injured the rotator cuff muscles responsible for stabilizing the shoulder. It may start out as a simple impingement syndrome, one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. This occurs when the shoulder blade puts pressure on the rotator-cuff muscles. Arthritis or bursitis may also be behind the pain. For simple strains, ice, avoiding overhead activities, anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections usually resolve the problem. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: If your shoulder feels as if it’s coming out of the socket or you experience severe pain and swelling, you may have a tear or other serious injury and should be evaluated by a doctor. Some cases may require surgery.

7. Achilles Tendon Pain
Jumping around on your toes in aerobics or high-impact classes can cause pain in the Achilles tendon. This is the largest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscle to the heel. Most ‘good pain’ refers to a muscle that gets sore. Any pain around a joint that’s around for a few days is normal. If you notice pain and swelling near your heel that worsens with activity, you may have Achilles tendonitis. Ice, rest and stretching the calf muscle will help. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: Swelling and symptoms that worsen with walking, especially uphill or on uneven surfaces, may be signs of a partially torn Achilles. Other signs may arise while walking on stairs, running, jumping, hopping or when performing heel raises. See a doctor immediately — delaying treatment can result in a shortening of the torn tendon. Surgery may be required.

8. Elbow Pain
Even if you’ve never played golf or tennis, pain on the inside of your elbow, called golfer’s elbow (medial epicondilitis), and pain on the outer elbow bone, called tennis elbow (lateral epicondilitis), are common overuse injuries. A muscle weakened from overuse can develop microscopic tears in the tendon resulting in inflammation and pain. Resting the arm, anti-inflammatories, changing your grip and using a stiffer tennis racket can help. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: Your doctor may recommend surgery for extreme cases if the pain does not improve with traditional treatments after six to 12 months.

9. Foot Pain
If you feel pain in the middle of your heel or along the arch while running and it’s particularly painful when you first step out of bed in the morning, you may have plantar fasciitis. This inflammation of the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot occurs on the underside of the heel and increases the risk of knee pain over time. It can take a long time to get rid of. If you suspect plantar fasciitis, avoid speed work and hill training. Massage, anti-inflammatories, supportive footwear, and ice can also help. “Flip-flops offer zero support and can contribute to plantar fasciitis symptoms. Take preventive measures by gradually increasing training mileage, replacing worn running shoes and running on soft surfaces instead of asphalt or concrete. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: If the pain lasts for more than a few weeks, see a sport podiatrist. Treatments include orthotics, cortisone injections, splints and anti-inflammatories.
10. Shin Pain
If you run the same route every day or recently took your run from the treadmill to the asphalt, your shins may become painful. Pain may start in the front of your ankle and continue up to your kneecap in some cases. Shin splints can cause pain during your run as well as afterward. Shin splints refer to an inflammation of the bone usually caused by overuse. Decrease your mileage at the first sign of shin splints — they could lead to a stress fracture if left untreated. Ice, rest and anti-inflammatories help. SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: If, after modifying your mileage, icing and resting, the pain does not decrease or subside, seek medical attention. In some extreme cases, shin splints manifesting as severe stress fractures may require surgery.

RESEARCHED BY : KÁTIA C. ROWLANDS – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256

Dog Tricks: Where To Start

When it comes to teaching your dog new tricks this can be great fun for all involved. You can start off by doing something simple like weaving in and out of your legs or fetching some article by name or teaching your dog to shut a door.

There are a few people that find it is demeaning to the dog by teaching them tricks but I can assure you that dogs love learning and especially being appreciated and by learning to do something new it will cover both of these needs. Whatever you going to teach your dog both of you will benefit from the experience and it will be a time that you will learn more about each other.

Suggested Tricks could include:

• Close the door
• Roll over
• Catch
• Give a paw
• Open a box
• Find members of your family or toy by name
• Bark on command
• Weave through your legs
• Jump over objects
• Crawl under a low object or a chair

With any trick, split it into small sequences and teach each one a step at a time. If the task is complicated start with the last sequence first and then add the previous element to the beginning and build up from there. This method is called reverse chaining. It is excellent as it helps the dog learn as he always ends with the familiar part. Rather than waiting until the whole sequence is learnt reward every step for getting closer and closer to your goal. Each step you are asking a little more of your dog.

The use of clickers can work extremely well as you are able to reward your dog at the correct time even if he is still some distance away from his goal. While tricks can be fun they can also be a benefit to anyone that is disabled and not being able to pick something up off the ground or fetch some sort of aid to help the disabled person.

There are many people that are sight impaired that use seeing eye dogs that had started just like you are with simple to learn tricks and then graduated to more advanced training. The whole process should be imaginative, have a think of what your dog enjoys and develop this to include a whole collection of tricks.

The dog will enjoy learning something different and will certainly enjoy all of the praise in getting something right. All that is needed is a dose of persistence and time invested in her training and by doing this you will be rewarded. •