Letters

Dear Editor


Uncool school

Whilst thoroughly entertained by the goings on in the expensive Gauteng houses of learning as reported in noseweek of late, I cannot for the life of me see the mystery. Put any of those louts in a suit and behind his father’s desk and you would not know the difference. Elitist schools have for decades been turning out arrogant yobs, well versed in whatever versions of the secret handshake his circle dictates necessary to rise in the corporate jungle. Is it any wonder the lengths the schools themselves will go to, to keep their dirty linen private?
Michael Webb
Rondebosch


Spoilt, selfish brats


noseweek attacks the editor of The Star (nose69) for making a “crawling apology,” when his reporter Alameen Templeton let his “dying mining town” background show when he reported on a boy beaten up by others from St John’s and Edenvale High.
The editor shouldn’t have just apologised. He should have fired Templeton. By saying he is not interested in the “misbehaviour of spoilt, selfish brats from Joburg’s northern suburbs” etc, Templeton openly showed a bitter inferiority complex and his stupidity.
Regarding that story as a whole, is it only posh schools that hold in-house assault hearings, instead of having their boys tried in open court?
I’m sure those four Pretoria boys, charged with serious racial assaults, would have much preferred their school to have dealt with the matter.
Jon Abbott
Ballito


Dragged through the mud


Good on you for your report on the goings on at St John’s College, the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court, and The Star (nose69).
The chilling part of your report is the statement by the headmaster, Roger Cameron, to the effect that the boys involved needed to take responsibility for their actions, but that a delay in the criminal proceedings would have “huge consequences in their personal lives”.
My guess is that the private court is simply to keep the name of St John’s College from being dragged through the mud. It ought to be dragged through the mud.
What Messrs Spicer and Cameron are really teaching the accused is that it is fine to be rich and connected to someone who is rich and connected, who can work the system to make your problems go away. If these youngsters went to court they would have to stand in the dock alone, but doing things the St John’s way will mean in all probability that their mommies and daddies will really be the responsible ones.
I hope that the prosecutor at Hillbrow has the good sense to refuse to acquiesce to this bizarre arrangement.
The Star editor warned staff against bringing the paper into disrepute? The Star is such a lickspittle sycophant of the governing party that it is entirely doubtful that it could be brought into more disrepute.
Scroff from a government school
Muizenberg


Long tradition of thuggery

Your story on alleged thuggery by St John’s pupils (nose71) brings back personal memories of a similar incident, long ago, also involving St John’s pupils.
I was born and brought up in Rosebank, surrounded by the wealthier suburbs of Melrose and Dunkeld. In 1955 I was a student at Wits. One weekend friends and I attended a swimming party at the home of Douggie Rous in Dunkeld West. There one of my friends pulled the swimming costume off Douggie’s sister. Some days later I was standing in the front garden of my Cradock Avenue house talking to my neighbour, Lawrence Rennie – a St John’s old boy – when suddenly two cars and a motor bike arrived, disgorging eight St John’s boys. Rous walked up to me and then assaulted me while his lieutenants restrained me from defending myself. When satisfied, they left. The fact that they had got the wrong person did not appear to worry them, then or later.
So, you see, thuggery is an old tradition at St John’s – older than water polo.
A Clark
Scottburgh


First National Bullshit

I have only now seen your article “FNB’s massive home loan scam” in nose70.
In your editorial you quoted the CEO of First National Bank, Mr Ed Grondel, as saying, “In closing it is incumbent on me to note that under FNB’s tenure not a single affected former Saambou client has lost his or her home because the balances on their home loan mortgage has been incorrectly calculated.”
I am astounded. As a former Saambou client my house was sold in execution on 16 July 2003 for R10. The buyer of my house was FirstRand Bank Ltd.
After the sale I instructed Emerald van Zyl to recalculate my mortgage account in accordance with the home loan agreement and the directives of the Usury Act. The calculation revealed that I had been overcharged R18,680.83. I was therefore not in arrears when my house was sold in execution.
Notwithstanding the fact that Emerald van Zyl informed Grondel personally, in writing, of the overcharge, the bank continued with an application in the Cape High Court to evict me and my family from our home. Their application was successful due to a technical error in the discovery of documentation by my legal representatives.
André Brown
Ceres


Greedy insurance fatcats

Thanks for publishing the interview between Dr David Klatzow and the Life Offices Association (nose70), exposing the machinations of greedy life insurance fatcats. Stealing is stealing, and I applaud noseweek for being gutsy enough to tell the emperor he has no clothes on.
I’ve subscribed to noseweek for my nephew – to reassure him that there are media who uphold the rules of integrity.
Muriel Hau-Yoon
Cape Town

I trust your nephew is as grateful as we are! – Ed.


Masked marauders

Mr Nose’s latest bugging of the insurance industry, “Trust me, I’m a broker” (nose71) is right on the button.
I’m in the process of getting rid of each and every one of my SA assurance policies. I am extremely disappointed with their performance, and believe that I was deliberately misled by every single salesmen who conned me into investing with them.
I believe there is a deliberate attempt to fleece the public and that the profits are there, but being skimmed off somehow. Perhaps invested overseas, beyond our reach? (Old Mutual have a lovely Thameside office which I pass whenever I am in London.)
When I queried the fact that my projected payout figures were getting smaller each year, in spite of the fact that I had an inflation-linked policy, I was told it was because the stock market was not performing well. So, I was investing more and more to get less and less? Correct, I was told.
I think these thieving bastards should be made to wear masks. Then at least it will be clearer who and what we are dealing with.
Monty Paul
East London


Lying and cheating

I always felt that the life insurance companies were ripping off their customers and that we were not always given all the facts! If they were prepared to cheat their own loyal employees (“Liberty Lies”, nose71), then what do they do to their policy holders? One has only to look at the ostentatious buildings that the life insurance industry continues to build and build and build, to guess.
Pam Herr
Fish Hoek


Why bother?

Just to add to your look at the life insurance industry: I have had a life insurance policy overseas for a number of years now. For a similar policy in South Africa the monthly rates are – depending on which company you talk to – between 250% and 300% more.
Why does anyone bother insuring in this country? We’re being ripped off, but then you knew that already.
CV
Johannesburg


Liberty fails to provide

I have read your article “Liberty Lies” (nose71) with great interest.
I bought a Liberty retirement policy in the 1970s and it matured in 1993; my pension in terms of the policy was then linked to an investment in Liberty’s property portfolio.
For seven years I was told the portfolio was not performing and neither capital nor income had increased “very much”. This year, in 2005, I was told the income on the portfolio had actually decreased and that my income from the policy may be reduced because of the alleged decline in income from their properties. Am I to believe this bullshit? Asked by the long-term insurance ombudsman for facts and figures, Liberty have failed to provide anything for over six months. My income from Liberty is so low I actually qualify for a state old age pension – the difference between the Liberty pension and the R740 a month the state pays indigent pensioners.
But I can’t get even that because, for over six months now, Liberty have failed to certify in writing, for the Social Welfare Department, what amount they paid me in April 2003, the date from which I qualified for an old age pension. Again, the ombudsman has been unable to extract the information from Liberty, as required by Social Welfare.
The time has come for a far-reaching commission of inquiry into the insurance industry in South Africa.
Richard Benson
Fish Hoek


Yard baboons of the press

Your article about an Afrikaans press without balls (nose71) makes interesting reading. I cannot agree more. The Afrikaans press has always been the lackey of the government or the powers that be.
The editors don’t have the balls to stand up against anything, if it will disturb their comfort zone. Breyten Breytenbach has a name for the likes of them: “werfbobbejaan” (a tame or “yard-baboon”). While appearing to be a free wild animal, he is completely dependant on the owner of the yard.
Keep up the good work.
Chris Erasmus
Faerie Glen, Tshwane


Changing names

Reading noseweek serves as a useful reminder that all is not well in sunny SA, although, as The Beatles used to sing: “It’s getting better all the time!”
Anyway, in a country where you have a courageous muck-raking press, busily uncovering abuses of power in places high places, as well as exposing the occasional con artists of the Von Bullshit variety, things can’t be all that bad. With Tim James and Harold Strachan to provide the appropriate after-tastes, your magazine continues to give us – your overseas subscribers – our money’s worth!
A subject you haven’t yet raised: according to a report in Norway’s largest morning newspaper Aftenposten on 9 March 2005, the South African capital city – formerly known as Pretoria – has now changed its name to Tshwane.
Indeed? Don’t get me wrong: re-naming of cities (and other place names) to reflect political changes has been known to occur even in the most unlikely places, and there should be no reason to expect post-apartheid South Africa to be different.
This particular name-change does, however, make one wonder what happened to the good ol’ indigenous name of ePitoli, as the city used to be known among the majority of South Africa’s citizens.
How should the new name be pronounced?
And, if other major SA cities are also about to undergo name changes, would those be the traditional (and phonetically easy and pleasing) ones, such as Igoli, iKapa, eTekweni and eBayi for Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth, or are the powers-that-be contemplating new and unfamiliar ones?
Odd Gunnar Skagestad
Oslo (formerly known as Kristiania), Norway


Kebble goes down

Was it just coincidence that your recent revelations about Brett Kebble’s various mutually satisfactory relationships featured so prominently on the cover of nose69 (or soixante-neuf, as they say in Franschhoek)?
Steve Pain
Cape Town

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