Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

Search results for: Thabiso Sthembiso Msomi

7 The Impact of Access to Finances on Survival of Small and Medium Enterprises: The South African Perspective in an Covid-19 Era

Authors: Thabiso Sthembiso Msomi


SMEs are the main engine of growth in most developing economies. One of the main factors that hinder the development of SME is access to finance. In this study, we explored the factors that hinder the growth and survival of SMEs in South Africa. The capital structure theory formed the theoretical underpinning for the study. The quantitative research design was adopted and data was collected from retail, construction, manufacturing and agriculture sectors of SMEs within the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The modified version of the Cochran formula was used to determine the sample size as 321 SMEs and analysed using the five-point Likert scale. The purposive sampling technique was used to select owners of SME. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for the data analysis through Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) to determine the factor structures of items employed to measure each of the constructs in this study. Then, the Cronbach’s alpha test was conducted to determine the reliability of each construct. Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) was used to determine the adequacy of the sample size. Linear regression was done to determine the effect of the independent variables on the dependent variable. The findings suggest that the main constraints facing South African SMEs were the lack of experienced management. Furthermore, the SMEs would fail to raise customer awareness of their products and services, which in turn affects their market access and monthly turnover. The study recommends that SMEs keep up-to-date records of business transactions to enable the business to keep track of its operations. The study recommends that South African banks adopt an SME accounting and bookkeeping program. The finding of this study benefits policymakers in both the private and public sectors.

Keywords: small businesses, access to finances, COVID-19, SMEs survival

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6 Synthesis, Structural and Magnetic Properties of CdFe2O4 Ferrite

Authors: Justice Zakhele Msomi


Nanoparticles of CdFe2O4 with particle size of about 10 nm have been synthesized by high energy ball milling and co-precipitation processes. The synthesis route appears to have some effects on the properties. The compounds have been characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Mössbauer and magnetization measurements. The XRD pattern of CdFe2O4 provides information about single-phase formation of spinel structure with cubic symmetry. The FTIR measurements between 400 and 4000 cm-1 indicate intrinsic cation vibration of the spinel structure. The Mössbauer spectra were recorded at 4 K and 300 K. The hyperfine fields appear to be highly sensitive on particle size. The evolution of the properties as a function of particle size is also presented.

Keywords: ferrite, nanoparticles, magnetization, Mössbauer

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5 Anion Exchange Nanocomposite Membrane Doped with ZnO-Nanoparticles for Direct Methanol Alkaline Fuel Cell

Authors: Phumlani Msomi, Patrick Nonjola, Patrick Ndungu, James Ramontja


A series of quaternized poly (2.6 dimethyl – 1.4 phenylene oxide)/ polysulfone (QPPO/PSF) blend anion exchange membrane (AEM) were successfully fabricated and characterized for methanol alkaline fuel cell application. Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles were introduced in the polymer matrix to enhance the intrinsic properties of the AEM. To confirm successful fabrication, FT-IR spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance (¹H NMR and HMBC ¹⁵N NMR) were used. The membrane properties were enhanced by the addition of ZnO nanoparticles. The addition of ZnO nanoparticles resulted to a higher ion exchange capacity (IEC) of 3.72 mmol.g⁻¹and a 30-fold ion conductivity (IC) increase of the nanocomposite due to no (zero (0)) methanol permeability at 30 °C and increased water uptake. The QPPO/PSF/2% ZnO composite retained over 80 % of its initial IC when evaluated for alkaline stability at room temperature. The maximum power output reached for the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) constructed with QPPO/PSF/2%ZnO is 69⁻², which is about three times more than the parent QPPO membrane. The above results indicate that QPPO/PSF-ZnO is a good candidate as an anion exchange membrane for fuel cell application.

Keywords: anion exchange membrane, fuel cell, zinc oxide, nanocomposite

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4 Framework for Decision Support Tool for Quality Control and Management in Botswana Manufacturing Companies

Authors: Mogale Sabone, Thabiso Ntlole


The pressure from globalization has made manufacturing organizations to move towards three major competitive arenas: quality, cost, and responsiveness. Quality is a universal value and has become a global issue. In order to survive and be able to provide customers with good products, manufacturing organizations’ supporting systems, tools, and structures it uses must grow or evolve. The majority of quality management concepts and strategies that are practiced recently are aimed at detecting and correcting problems which already exist and serve to limit losses. In agile manufacturing environment there is no room for defect and error so it needs a quality management which is proactively directed at problem prevention. This proactive quality management avoids losses by focusing on failure prevention, virtual elimination of the possibility of premature failure, mistake-proofing, and assuring consistently high quality in the definition and design of creation processes. To achieve this, a decision support tool for quality control and management is suggested. Current decision support tools/methods used by most manufacturing companies in Botswana for quality management and control are not integrated, for example they are not consistent since some tests results data is recorded manually only whilst others are recorded electronically. It is only a set of procedures not a tool. These procedures cannot offer interactive decision support. This point brings to light the aim of this research which is to develop a framework which will help manufacturing companies in Botswana build a decision support tool for quality control and management.

Keywords: decision support tool, manufacturing, quality control, quality management

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3 Quaternized PPO/PSF Anion Exchange Membranes Doped with ZnO-Nanoparticles for Fuel Cell Application

Authors: P. F. Msomi, P. T. Nonjola, P. G. Ndungu, J. Ramontja


In view of the projected global energy demand and increasing levels of greenhouse gases and pollutants issues have inspired an intense search for alternative new energy technologies, which will provide clean, low cost and environmentally friendly solutions to meet the end user requirements. Alkaline anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AAEMFC) have been recognized as ideal candidates for the generation of such clean energy for future stationary and mobile applications due to their many advantages. The key component of the AAEMFC is the anion exchange membrane (AEM). In this report, a series of quaternized poly (2.6 dimethyl – 1.4 phenylene oxide)/ polysulfone (QPPO/PSF) blend anionic exchange membranes (AEM) were successfully fabricated and characterized for alkaline fuel cell application. Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles were introduced in the polymer matrix to enhance the intrinsic properties of the AEM. The characteristic properties of the QPPO/PSF and QPPO/PSF-ZnO blend membrane were investigated with X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) scanning electron microscope (SEM) and contact angle (CA). To confirm successful quaternisation, FT-IR spectroscopy and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) were used. Other properties such as ion exchange capacity (IEC), water uptake, contact angle and ion conductivity (IC) were also undertaken to check if the prepared nanocomposite materials are suitable for fuel cell application. The membrane intrinsic properties were found to be enhanced by the addition of ZnO nanoparticles. The addition of ZnO nanoparticles resulted to a highest IEC of 3.72 mmol/g and a 30-fold IC increase of the nanocomposite due to its lower methanol permeability. The above results indicate that QPPO/PSF-ZnO is a good candidate for AAEMFC application.

Keywords: anion exchange membrane, fuel cell, zinc oxide nanoparticle, nanocomposite

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2 The Role of Non-Native Plant Species in Enhancing Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

Authors: Thabiso Michael Mokotjomela, Jasper Knight


Intensification of agricultural food production in sub-Saharan Africa is of paramount importance as a means of increasing the food security of communities that are already experiencing a range of environmental and socio-economic stresses. However, achieving this aim faces several challenges including ongoing climate change, increased resistance of diseases and pests, extreme environmental degradation partly due to biological invasions, land tenure and management practices, socio-economic developments of rural populations, and national population growth. In particular, non-native plant species tend to display greater adaptation capacity to environmental stress than native species that form important food resource base for human beings, thus suggesting a potential for usage to shift accordingly. Based on review of the historical benefits of non-native plant species in food production in sub-Saharan Africa, we propose that use of non-invasive, non-native plant species and/or the genetic modification of native species might be viable options for future agricultural sustainability in this region. Coupled with strategic foresight planning (e.g. use of biological control agents that suppress plant species’ invasions), the consumptive use of already-introduced non-native species might help in containment and control of possible negative environmental impacts of non-native species on native species, ecosystems and biodiversity, and soil fertility and hydrology. Use of non-native species in food production should be accompanied by low cost agroecology practices (e.g. conservation agriculture and agrobiodiversity) that may promote the gradual recovery of natural capital, ecosystem services, and promote conservation of the natural environment as well as enhance food security.

Keywords: food security, invasive species, agroecology, agrobiodiversity, socio-economic stresses

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1 Influence of Species and Harvesting Height on Chemical Composition, Buffer Nitrogen Solubility and in vitro Ruminal Fermentation of Browse Tree Leaves

Authors: Thabiso M. Sebolai, Victor Mlambo, Solomon Tefera, Othusitse R. Madibela


In some tree species, sustained herbivory can induce changes in biosynthetic pathways resulting in overproduction of anti-nutritional secondary plant compounds. This inductive mechanism, which has not been demonstrated in semi-arid rangelands of South Africa, may result in browse leaves of lower nutritive value. In this study we investigate the interactive effect of browsing pressure and tree species on chemical composition, buffer nitrogen solubility index (NSI), in vitro ruminal dry matter degradability (IVDMD) and in vitro ruminal N degradability (IVND) of leaves. Leaves from Maytenus capitata, Olea africana, Coddia rudis, Carissa macrocarpa, Rhus refracta, Ziziphus mucronata, Boscia oliedes, Grewia robusta, Phyllanthus vessucosus and Ehretia rigida trees growing in a communal grazing area were harvested at two heights: browsable ( < 1.5 m) and non-browsable ( > 1.5 m), representing high and low browsing pressure, respectively. The type of animals utilizing the communal rangeland includes cattle at 1 livestock unit (450kg)/12 to 15 hectors and goats at 1 livestock unit/4 ha. Harvested leaves were dried, milled and analysed for proximate components, soluble phenolics, condensed tannins, minerals and in vitro ruminal fermentation. A significant plant species and harvesting height interaction effect (P < 0.05) was observed for total nitrogen (N) and soluble phenolics concentration. Tree species and harvesting height affected (P < 0.05) condensed tannin (CTs) content where samples harvested from the non-browsable height had higher (0.61 AU550 nm/200 mg) levels than those harvested at browsable height (0.55 AU550 nm/200 mg) while their interaction had no effects. Macro and micro-minerals were only influenced (P < 0.05) by browse species but not harvesting height. Species and harvesting height interacted (P < 0.05) to influence IVDMD and IVND of leaves at 12, 24 and 36 hours of incubation. The different browse leaves contained moderate to high protein, moderate level of phenolics and minerals, suggesting that they have the potential to provide supplementary nutrients for ruminants during the dry seasons.

Keywords: browse plants, chemical composition, harvesting heights, phenolics

Procedia PDF Downloads 55