Jacob Zuma's KZNempire

Jacob Zuma's KZNempire

Some call it the Zulu empire, some call it the Durban mafia. Noseweek's latest organogram – a work in progress – shows in startling detail how Jacob Zuma has sought to hold all the levers of power by deploying KZN friends and associates to a myriad positions of power and influence, at all levels of government, everywhere ...

Posh people - Rough language

Posh people - Rough language

Within one of Joburg’s swankiest apartment blocks, a drama of Shakespearean proportions is unfolding, with a cast of characters well known to the city’s monied intelligentsia.

Glenhof Gardens, in Riviera, Johannesburg is described by estate agent and former trustee Russell Fischer as “home to a fortunate few” offering a “very special lifestyle”. But despite its gracious walls, marbled walkways and lobby chandeliers,  a vicious war rages between the trustees and an owner which has kept lawyers lawyering for years, and has flared into unholy name-calling and even a physical encounter-or-two in the basement parking area.

Social activist and research fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation, Claudia Braude, has compiled thick lever-arch files containing the “extensively documented history of trustee non-compliance with their fiduciary duties and abuse consequently directed at members of the body corporate seeking such compliance”.

The offending trustees include three legal heavyweights: attorney Michael Young (chairman of the board of trustees), former judge Lewis Goldblatt and Israel (Olly) Gordon, retired senior partner of one of Johannesburg’s worthiest old law firms, Wertheim Becker.

“I’ve been intimidated, harassed, verbally abused and physically assaulted twice, and this because I have had the temerity to ask questions and wish to see documents that as an owner I’m legally entitled to see.

“They are bullies who think the law doesn’t apply to them.”...

Motorsport boss sold hot Porsches

Motorsport boss sold hot Porsches

Silence reigns.

Money went missing after luxury cars were sold on commission – but the NPA is taking ages to act.

Motorsport South Africa, the national governing body for motor racing, issued an extraordinary press release on 1 November 2011 about “allegations surrounding Motorsport South Africa’s (MSA’s) Chief Executive Officer Francois Pretorius…” It said, “Until there is a criminal prosecution against Mr Pretorius, or he is convicted in a court of law, his appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of MSA is supported by the Board.”

The MSA recklessly regurgitated the line Jan Francois Pretorius had fed it. First, they should have asked him why, if he was squeaky clean, had he found it necessary to appoint “attorneys and counsel” to deal with the matters and cooperate with the police.

And they should also have paid more attention when Noseweek journalist Paul Kirk asked questions about the shenanigans of their new CEO. Kirk told them on the day before they issued their press release that Pretorius had been arrested and what the allegations were. Instead of answering Kirk’s questions they issued their press release and then referred him to it.  

Mandela's legacy betrayed

Mandela's legacy betrayed


‘The first thing that strikes one as one reads the pages of Nelson Mandela’s speeches, letters and transcripts collected in No Easy Walk to Freedom is that he and his generation of ANC and ANC Youth League leaders were political giants compared with the current cohort. During the ‘dark times’ of apartheid, the Mandela generation was far more visionary, intellectually astute, open to new ideas and far wiser..."

Respected author and political commentator William Gumede demonstrates just how far the current leadership has strayed from the ANC’s vision under the old guard.

Mercedes SA profits from hidden design flaws

Mercedes SA profits from hidden design flaws

A tiny, but critical, design flaw in certain models should have been corrected, or at least have been pointed out to owners. Instead Mercedes SA chose to stay mum, do nothing – and profit from the massive repairs that eventually were required when the flawed part failed.

Service Campaign Bulletin No 2009100001 issued to all Mercedes-Benz Centres worldwide in December 2009 revealed that the German manufacturer Daimler AG had found a small but serious design fault in the C230 Kompressor series.

In a seven-page explanation couched in impenetrable technical jargon, Daimler quietly informed its dealers (not their customers) about the problem and how it should be rectified – obviously hoping to avoid a fuss and an inevitable slew of law suits. It later transpired that nearly 200,000 cars were affected in the US ... and thousands more in South Africa. Daimler recommended that the flawed part be replaced with a redesigned part as each car came in for its next service. Daimler would cover the cost.

Mercedes SA ignored the circular, lied about it when confronted – and left their customers to carry the can ...

Independent pharmacies: hunted to extinction

Independent pharmacies: hunted to extinction

Sophisticated new prescription delivery service has advantages – and disadvantages.

When last did you go to an independent pharmacy, one that wasn’t located inside a Clicks, a Dis-Chem, a Checkers or a Spar? They are a dying breed, losing out to the chain stores that establish dispensaries as loss leaders aimed solely at attracting customers.

Because older pharmacists are seen as bad for image (and maybe more expensive) chain stores tend to poach most of the newly qualified chemists, luring them with start-up salaries that the independents just can’t match...

Vodacom's phoney deal

Vodacom's phoney deal

A Vodacom customer is not amused after Vodacom reneged on a special deal.

Business consultant Stephanie Budlender of La Lucia visited Vodacom’s website to see what cell phone packages were on offer, as she knew her upgrade was overdue. She found just what she wanted at a great price: an iPhone4 that came with a R199-a-month package. She was particularly pleased, since her daughter had just emigrated to England and had an iPhone. iPhone-to-iPhone, they would be able to talk to one another “face to face” on their phone screens.

Budlender clicked on the upgrade option, but it flashed the response “not eligible”.  Imagine her delight when, two weeks later, she received a call ...

Bachman overdrive. Tender is the balsamic glaze

Bachman overdrive. Tender is the balsamic glaze

I have a confession to make. I have probably exterminated more animals than Melissa Bachman. I love animals. I love loving them as pets. I love admiring their majesty and diversity. I also love them when they are drenched in a Spur Bar­B­Q sauce or draped over me as a leather jacket, especially when it is paired with some well­fitting Levi jeans. So writes Vivienne Vermaak, who after years spent "earning a living", returns to Noseweek's pages.

Look, I do not have the guts to personally stalk and kill the animal like Bachman. I am happy for others to slay them and present them to me in neat little plastic packages or on a plate with a side-order of chips...

UPDATE: Rhodes squatter continues to squat

UPDATE: Rhodes squatter continues to squat

Noseweek readers will be familiar with the frustrations of hotelier Nigel Owles who lives in the hamlet of Rhodes in the northern part of the Eastern Cape. He sold his business in 2009 to smooth-talker Pieter van Wyk for R4.69 million. But a tranquil retirement has eluded him for the past four years; Van Wyk failed to pay up, then refused to vacate the premises.

UPDATE: Told you so

UPDATE: Told you so

Told you so (in October 2012): Now the Public Protector, too,  has found Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson guilty of maladministration and improper and unethical conduct.

UPDATE:Deal on the cards for Bompas Rd development

UPDATE:Deal on the cards for Bompas Rd development

Stuart Grant, owner of the controversial development at 1 Bompas Road, Dunkeld, Johannesburg, which featured in nose170, has offered the objecting neighbours a compromise whereby he reduces his plans by one level and moves that bulk – about 450m² – to the west side of his building. By the time of going to press, however, the deal had not yet been concluded.

Grant, incensed by Noseweek’s report, vehemently defended his investment, saying he had lost more than R2 million due to “unnecessary delays” caused by “people in this neighbourhood who don’t know what they’re talking about”.

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

It is becoming clear that the cost of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s (Zanu-PF’s) July electoral victory is the loss of the financial credibility built up by Tendai Biti of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who was Finance Minister in the coalition government for its past four years.

And the government of Mozambique is on a credit binge and is taking on billions of dollars’ worth of loans. Its newfound creditworthiness is based on wealth from mineral resources and on debt relief. Much of the new debt is expensive commercial credit at high rates of interest and it is being used to finance projects of doubtful utility but dear to the heart of President Armando Guebuza and Frelimo.

The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff

Zweli Mkhize is a rising star in the ANC – and certain influential people think he has the makings of a successor to President Zuma. As Number One’s star dims and ANC deputy president Cyril ...
 
Jacob Zuma's KZNempire

Jacob Zuma's KZNempire

Some call it the Zulu empire, some call it the Durban mafia. Noseweek's latest organogram – a work in progress – shows in startling detail how Jacob Zuma has sought to hold all the levers ...

Posh people - Rough language

Posh people - Rough language

Within one of Joburg’s swankiest apartment blocks, a drama of Shakespearean proportions is unfolding, with a cast of characters well known to the city’s monied intelligentsia. Glenhof Gardens, in Riviera, Johannesburg is described ...

Motorsport boss sold hot Porsches

Motorsport boss sold hot Porsches

Silence reigns. Money went missing after luxury cars were sold on commission – but the NPA is taking ages to act. Motorsport South Africa, the national governing body for motor racing, issued an extraordinary ...

Mandela's legacy betrayed

Mandela's legacy betrayed

‘The first thing that strikes one as one reads the pages of Nelson Mandela’s speeches, letters and transcripts collected in No Easy Walk to Freedom is that he and his generation of ANC and ...

Mercedes SA profits from hidden design flaws

Mercedes SA profits from hidden design flaws

A tiny, but critical, design flaw in certain models should have been corrected, or at least have been pointed out to owners. Instead Mercedes SA chose to stay mum, do nothing – and profit from ...

Independent pharmacies: hunted to extinction

Independent pharmacies: hunted to extinction

Sophisticated new prescription delivery service has advantages – and disadvantages. When last did you go to an independent pharmacy, one that wasn’t located inside a Clicks, a Dis-Chem, a Checkers or a Spar? They are ...

Vodacom's phoney deal

Vodacom's phoney deal

A Vodacom customer is not amused after Vodacom reneged on a special deal. Business consultant Stephanie Budlender of La Lucia visited Vodacom’s website to see what cell phone packages were on offer, as she knew ...

Bachman overdrive. Tender is the balsamic glaze

Bachman overdrive. Tender is the balsamic glaze

I have a confession to make. I have probably exterminated more animals than Melissa Bachman. I love animals. I love loving them as pets. I love admiring their majesty and diversity. I also ...

UPDATE: Rhodes squatter continues to squat

UPDATE: Rhodes squatter continues to squat

Noseweek readers will be familiar with the frustrations of hotelier Nigel Owles who lives in the hamlet of Rhodes in the northern part of the Eastern Cape. He sold his business in 2009 ...

UPDATE: Told you so

UPDATE: Told you so

Told you so (in October 2012): Now the Public Protector, too,  has found Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson guilty of maladministration and improper and unethical conduct. ...

UPDATE:Deal on the cards for Bompas Rd development

UPDATE:Deal on the cards for Bompas Rd development

Stuart Grant, owner of the controversial development at 1 Bompas Road, Dunkeld, Johannesburg, which featured in nose170, has offered the objecting neighbours a compromise whereby he reduces his plans by one level and ...

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

It is becoming clear that the cost of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s (Zanu-PF’s) July electoral victory is the loss of the financial credibility built up by Tendai Biti of the Movement ...