Gumede is still adding up damage to reputation

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Robert Gumede, Gijima’s executive chairman who bankrolls the ANC, was not a man of idle threats, he cautioned yesterday in regard to his claim of more than R1 billion against the Sunday Independent, a sister paper of Business Report.

Gumede has yet to issue a summons, although more than two weeks have passed since he told the public of his plans to sue.

The fallout is over a story the newspaper published last month singling out Gijima and Gumede as subjects of an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit, which was authorised by President Jacob Zuma.

The story said Gijima had a R360 million contract with the Department of Land and Rural Development.

Gumede said he had not yet quantified the damage the story had caused his reputation. “I’m tired of apologies from newspapers. My wall is full of apologies,” he said on the sidelines of his company’s interim results presentation.

Eileen Wilton, the chief executive, said the company had not yet been contacted by the investigators and the department’s top five projects were being probed. The project, dubbed “Vulindlela”, happened to be on its list. Gijima is digitising more than 600 million documents, title deeds, survey maps and farm books from the 1700s and scanning these in to online storage platforms “character by character“.

Gijima, meanwhile, has overcome its own challenge related to the project. It has applied to court to liquidate the subcontractor who worked with the company after discovering he was “hopelessly insolvent”. When a shareholder yesterday asked how the subcontractor was contracted without a due diligence, Gumede replied that the aide was hired before Wilton’s appointment. “Could it have happened today? Definitely not.” page 15

Woolworths

Woolworths’s Waterstone store in Somerset West was awarded a grand prize for design at the Association for Retail Environments in Las Vagas, in the US. Woolworths was the only winner from South Africa and shared its prize with stores in the US, Chile, China, Turkey, Italy, Singapore and France.

It was chosen among stores such as Restoration Hardware, Karl Lagerfeld, Apple, Under Armour and Whole Foods Market. This is proof that supermarkets have become more than just aisles, tills, refrigerators and branding – it is also all about design and sophistication. And, in some instances, it has become about sustainability and green stores.

The Woolworths Waterstone store was recognised for its intuitive layout, which included simple and consistent signage, and raw and natural materials. According to the association, custom gondolas of concrete, steel, brick, tile, oak and reclaimed wood were some of the items taken into consideration.

Shops within a shop, such as a sushi counter, butchery, fishmonger and a stylish café, kept the store’s original boutique feel.

Talking about local competition, a journey along William Nicol Drive in Bryanston, north of Johannesburg, gives you a clue to what store design is all about. Everything in that part of town is super, bold and screams design.

Pick n Pay has its flagship store on the road, which the retailer says represents a new era in sustainable retailing through the integration of world-class retail.

A Checkers supermarket is also featured and claims to have the best wine and cheese section.

The managing director of food at Woolworths said the Waterstone store reflected the concept of food market of the future. The winning store also featured a number of green design elements, such as natural light from skylights and a system that automatically dims the lights in bright conditions.

Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Asha Speckman and Nompumelelo Magwaza.


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