Heard on the street

2019-05-10 15:00


Online courses offer a number of benefits to South Africans because the location and size of campuses is not a barrier. Students can study on a smartphone, tablet or computer – from anywhere and at any time. This is great for people who are employed because it allows them to study after hours or on weekends. Studying through an online course is also usually more affordable.

Lectures are filmed and can be distributed to thousands of students, rather than just those in a classroom. To help further reduce these costs, Capitec has launched educational offers as part of its Live Better Benefits programme.

Francois Viviers, the executive of marketing and communications at Capitec, says: “We’ve partnered with Educate24 and GetSmarter to offer our more than 11.5 million clients the opportunity to study further and build new skill sets.

“We’ve seen a growing demand for these online short courses, which allow people to study from anywhere and seize opportunities at their current employer or even apply for better jobs. It’s part of helping our clients to live better.”

Capitec clients get 50% off Educate24 courses and R4 000 off GetSmarter courses. These offerings have saved students R636 385 over the past 12 months.


Online studies can be done from the comfort of your own home, local library or coffee shop at a time that suits you and your busy schedule. This flexibility not only makes it possible to study while permanently employed, but can also lead to cost savings.

According to a study by Wits University, students not living in the same suburb or city as the institution spend about R500 a month to travel to and from campus. Not having to travel means that you could save R6 000 a year.


Online institutions like GetSmarter partner with leading universities such as the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Wits to select, design and deliver premium online short courses with a data-driven focus on learning gain. This means you have the credibility of a renowned university brand on your CV. Courses span a variety of fields, including digital marketing, operations management and bookkeeping.


Did you miss a class or forget what a lecturer said? Online courses, like those offered by Educate24, allow you to revisit any section of the course that wasn’t clear. Your course can be accessed any time you need to refer back to it. If you have queries about any part of the work, you receive personalised attention from your course lecturer. Once you send your query, a response is guaranteed within 24 hours.


Tertiary education is necessary training for the modern working world, but tuition fees and other must-haves can cost a lot. With online study, not only will you save money on travel and textbooks, but course fees will also be more affordable. And lower costs mean that accessibility is increased to allow anyone the opportunity to upskill themselves.


The SA Revenue Service (Sars) and the Office of the Tax Ombud signed a historic agreement to forge an effective working relationship that will deliver excellent service to the taxpayer.

This will effectively create a single platform for the two institutions to engage with each other on matters of mutual interest without conflicting with their respective mandates, particularly on corporate and operational issues.

Tax Ombudsman Judge Bernard Ngoepe welcomed the signing of the memorandum of understanding, describing it as a step in the right direction. He added that he hoped it would bring an end to the undue delays in the finalisation of taxpayers’ complaints.

“The signed memorandum does not mean we will not diligently deal with taxpayers’ complaints against Sars. We remain an independent institution and will continue to execute our mandate fairly and impartially. We are committed to maintaining a balance between Sars’ powers and duties on the one hand, and taxpayers’ rights and obligations on the other,” he said.

Ngoepe further stated that he was “confident that the memorandum of understanding will benefit taxpayers and strengthen both institutions in the execution of their respective mandates”.

If an agreement cannot be reached, the parties will consult the minister of finance, whose decision on the matter will be final.

The tax ombud’s mandate is to review and address any complaint that concerns a service failure or a procedural or administrative matter arising from the unfair application of a tax act and the Customs and Excise Act by Sars.

The tax ombud may only review a request if the complainant has exhausted the available complaints resolution mechanism offered by Sars, unless there are compelling circumstances for not doing so.

Maya Fisher-French
Personal finance journalist
City Press
p:0117139001  e:
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December 8 2019