Letters

Dear Editor


Making no bones

About the goings-on at the old Gordon’s Bay cemetery (nose109): There are so many holier-than-thous who claim to have been working in the interests of the community to “tidy up the place” – but you do not throw away headstones and human bones when you do a little tidying up.

The shocking truth is the total lack of respect bestowed on the remains of people who gave their time and energy working in Gordon’s Bay for Gordon’s Bay people – for people who never even gave them a thought. That particular cemetery even had a municipal road going through it. The municipal trucks and sewerage lorries drove through the heart of the place, over the graves, to park behind it. Some of the graves had wheel tracks over them. In the 1980s, when my husband Danie and I were mayor and mayoress, we made an issue of the cemetery. But the Town Clerk at the time,  Mr Charles Steyn, and most of the municipal heads of departments involved with these issues, simply ignored the mayor’s instructions.  

We were in a difficult position at the time as we were not sure how many town councillors were on our side. 

We asked that old rusty apartheid signs be left to fall to pieces; that way they would simply “fade away”. Sure as hell, the very next day those officials and Mr Steyn were out erecting new apartheid signs, in total violation of the mayor’s instructions. Around every corner these people were working at embarrassing us – deliberately and with malice.

When you are poor and uneducated and emasculated how do you fight back? You cannot. You just continue to place shells on the mounds that you visit now and then. Silence becomes you as the pain makes you hard and helpless.

Carol Miller

Gordon’s Bay

Diamond regulator lying

I refer to your article on the SA diamond and precious metals regulator, who appears to be abusing his powers in order to put individual white jewellers out of business (nose108). I am a goldsmith and sent in my application for a licence some time ago, but it was declined because of my “lack of BEE status”.

The regulator is lying outright to the public: I know of a few jewellers that have closed their workshops after their permits were declined because they could not afford to have BEE partners.

I myself am also not able to comply, so will probably either emigrate or have to find another type of work.

I also sell machines and train jewellers in CAD design, but that part of my business has just about come to a standstill because everyone is waiting to see if they get licences.

Eve Maree

Pretoria

Child abuse: fix system

One’s gut response to your report (nose108) on the case of the abused child is: lock up the parents and throw away the keys! But that isn’t going to do anything to stop this sort of thing. People are charged and punished on a regular basis for child abuse, yet it continues.

What is clear is that the system failed to ensure the child’s rights in terms of Section 28 of the Constitution, which states: “Every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation”, and “a child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child”.

All the criminal justice system is focused on is finding culprits to punish.

In my opinion the child’s best interests would have been served if, upon a charge of assault being laid – and if immediate removal of the child to a place of safety was not considered essential – there were a legal compulsion to place the family under close supervision.

There should have been compulsory medical examination of the child at regular intervals and repeated unannounced home visits by a supervising officer or social worker.

There should be routine forensic audits of such cases in order to identify any system faults which require legislative changes – with reporting to the relevant ministers, whose obligations are spelled out in Section 28.

That airplane crashes are so uncommon is not because human errors don’t occur or because those who make them are punished – but because when something does go wrong the system is modified to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Max Klein

By email

Youth pastor cleared

As a follow-up to the rather biased article you published in nose102 [about discord and schism in the Durbanville Methodist congregation], I would like you to note that, as expected, the youth pastor who had been suspended [by the minster of the congregation, and who was then arrested by the police] after he was accused of sexual misconduct has been found innocent in court.

Your article failed to address the real issue behind the story: Why does a 15-year-old girl accuse someone of such a heinous crime? Was it a cry for help? Is there a problem at home? The child’s behaviour has been overtly sexual from a very young age. This is not normal, and perhaps we are failing her by concentrating on the wrong story and by not hearing what she was really trying to tell us.

Rebecca

Durbanville

Thank you for bringing these developments to our attention. We are happy to record them. – Ed.

Should we be tolled?

Can you please tell me where the money goes to that we pay for toll roads?

I have been told that the concessions for the toll roads – built with government/taxpayers’ money – have been given to BEE individuals. What is the truth?

We travel a lot to KwaZulu-Natal and the toll roads there are not in a good state of repair and the alternate roads are even worse. It seems that toll roads are cash cows which are given to “friends”.

I have decided that whichever of the opposition parties that will take up the issue of toll fees will get my support.

June Fletcher

Sandton

Hemp: put that in your pipe!

I wrote to you previously (nose105) about industrial hemp, so thought you may like an update.

I have written to all the relevant people in government with regard to this subject and they are as rude as they are ignorant: not one department even acknowledged my emails.

At the moment the ANC is so focused on trying to outdo COPE that I suppose  queries from tax-payers are really quite irritating! So I really had to laugh out loud and hard when I heard they had not registered for the local by-elections.

How stupid was that? About as stupid as not listening to the people who contribute to the taxes.

Mind you, the person in the street, the hard-working, everyday man or woman  has already seen the writing on the wall. They will not be taken in by free T-shirts, a free meal and a bus ride.

Stop the grants and bring back subsistence farming – and get that industrial hemp growing, I say.

How difficult is that?  What a load of plonkers!

Well that’s me done for another six months.

Sue Barnes

Jukskei Park

Apologise or else

We refer to an article in nose108 under the headline “Rocky relationship manager” [in which noseweek told how Clarry Odell’s “relationship manager” at FNB, Garden Route branch, assisted his estranged partner, Ruth Bartie, in withdrawing R170,000 from his bank account and then, within minutes of his verbally informing said manager that he was withdrawing any authorisation he might previously have given Ms Bartie to operate his account, and while he was in the bank writing that instruction, the bank manager hurried to assist Ms Bartie in withdrawing a further R30,000 from the account, via the ATM at the bank’s front door. Ed]

We act on behalf of June Bartie. The insinuation in your article that she acted fraudulently and in co-operation with her bank, to steal Mr Odell’s money, is devoid of truth. The article has defamed our client’s good name and has damaged her reputation. 

Our client demands an apology to be published in the next issue of noseweek.

We believe that it would have been fair if our client had been consulted before publication and a balanced version of the events had been published.

If we do not get confirmation by close of business on 23 December 2008 that such an apology will be published, we will take the necessary further steps.

Eckert Brand

Cilliers Odendaal, Attorneys

George

Why is it that lawyers, right off, adopt that “I am master of the universe” tone – to the point of being belligerent – in their letters? While it likely strikes terror in the hearts of weaker recipients, here it tends to provoke a knee-jerk f.u.2 response – which we will sensibly, on this occasion, contain.

We did not insinuate that Ms Bartie had committed fraud or had stolen Mr Odell’s money. In fact our story states that, technically at least, she had Mr Odell’s written authority to operate his account. As clear, though, is that she withdrew a substantially larger than usual amount from the account without his prior knowledge or consent, and that the bank manager assisted her in withdrawing a further substantial amount when both she and the bank knew that it was contrary to his wishes and without his consent. This has nothing to do with whether any claim Ms Bartie might have had against Mr Odell had merit or not.

Our readers will have gathered that there was some dispute between Odell and Bartie about money and other issues – which we did not go into; what interested us, and was of wider interest to our readers, was the bank manager’s uncooperative attitude and lack of loyalty to her client. In any case, by the time we sought Ms Bartie for her comment she had long departed for Ireland without leaving a forwarding address. We note that you do not offer a “more balanced version of events” – which we would have been happy to publish.Ed

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