Dear Editor

Lift your head

It is encouraging that noseweek, with “How Manuel signed away parliament’s rights” and “Anti-globalisation alive and kicking,” (nose43), as well as the editorial “Manuel’s arse” (nose44), is now giving readers insight into the bigger picture.
Such views help overcome the illusion that your reports are simply about aberrations in an otherwise normal world. The point is that the scams are symptomatic of an abnormal, though pervading context of exploitation that dominates the world.
Think how misleading the measure gross domestic product (GDP) is of economic activity. In the name of growth and progress, GDP simply adds up what is spent, but it hides the huge costs in human unwell-being and environmental destruction entailed. GDP leads us to believe, absurdly, that curbing pollution for the sake of public and environmental health is bad for the economy.
In our world, shopping is equated with happiness despite the exploitation that underpins the production process. It is this context that creates the motivation for the gross materialism that drives the frauds and scams.
Keep onto the shysters, but lift your head as well to see where they’re all coming from.
Jim Phelps

What’s Tino’s gripe?

In response to Tino Rupping’s letter: I, for one, enjoy all of noseweek. After reading about Naomi Klein, I bought Fences and Windows – and found a few mistakes about South Africa, which I have informed her of. I read about Sampie Terreblanche and also got his book! I look forward to finishing it – and yes, I have a few problems with this as well! Harold’s “Last Word” is brilliant. What’s Tino’s problem? I know noseweek keeps me informed: all of it.
Tony Wilson

Indian takeaways

Here’s a story to add to the letter “Chinese whispers” (nose44): My husband has had to accept that when he imports gifts from India for his shop, the customs officers will help themselves from each box of goodies.
On average, “their share” equals 1% of the total. When my spouse queried the missing goods, he was told they were samples! So many samples, you could open a shop with them. Suddenly the government wants to open an exhibition of brass goods made in India? Writing to the department about it is like throwing ash into the wind.
Port Alfred

Gobsmacked by nose

Reading all copies of noseweek for the past 24 months has left me gobsmacked. I regard noseweek as a must-read and feel that the magazine requires a stronger marketing drive to create greater awareness of the product.
South Africans have become a complacent lot, showing only selective and sporadic resistance to corruption and decisions (from government) that impact on us daily.
For those who choose not to subscribe to complacency, noseweek provides that spark of activism which is an essential ingredient in any truly democratic society.
It is gratifying that journalists across the country are not only quoting noseweek, but also acknowledge the contribution the magazine has made to exposing corrupt practice in government and business circles.
Adrian Cook
By email

Smacked by cop

After midnight on new year’s eve, while assisting at the scene of a motor accident in Plettenberg Bay, I was hit in the face by a traffic officer who told me he was the most senior officer in Plett.
He objected to being asked to slow down as he approached the scene of the accident. At a meeting on 6 January, he apologised. I accepted the apology. But when he hit me, he broke my glasses, so I put in a claim to the town council for a replacement. The chief of protection services forwarded the claim to the council.
Since then, nothing. The council appears to have chosen to ignore all correspondence on the matter. I was told: “It is a private matter between the traffic officer and yourself and you should take legal action against this officer.” This despite the fact that the officer was on duty at the time.
Does this mean that officials of the Plett town council can deal with the public in an abusive manner and that the council carries no responsibility? An enquiry to another council representative elicited an abusive response.
It leaves one wondering how sincere the council’s promise is to serve the community and promote tourism.
Neville Bews, PhD

Cheque in the post

You have previously dealt with the Courier and Freight Group (CFG) – part of the Post Office.
Now consider this: both Speed Services and XPS are advertising extensively at present on TV and radio. This is odd for a number of reasons.
- They belong to the same company (CFG), but are in effect competing with each other and cutting profit margins while duplicating overhead costs.
- Both are battling and are retrenching staff.
- In this market, advertising rarely brings in additional income.
Taxpayers’ money is supporting these idiotic business decisions.

Join the dots

You stand out as a publication with the courage and tenacity needed for fine investigative journalism.
But we were taken aback by the crude language in your March issue, particularly on page 30 (“Bang, bang you’re dead”).
We realise that your style is to be factual and to pull no punches, but crude language does not enhance your publication.
We realise that you were quoting somebody on page 30, but dots can equally well tell the story.
RCH and CT Garbett

Muckrakers don’t wear dress suits to work. This f…ing job calls for the working man’s tongue – and touch. That said, point taken. – Ed

Moved by Strachan

Thanks for another marvellous issue, though I cried at Harold Strachan’s article “Bang, bang you’re dead”.
Jenny Allebone
By email

Thanks for publishing “last word” by Harold Strachan.
I was a witness to the shooting and the account was mostly accurate. Your illustration, however, was misleading. The policeman who shot him was white. (What a pity that we still have to resort to these classifications.)
Douglas’ knife was not quite a butter knife, but the really sad thing was that if they had just left him alone, he would have been in his usual spot the following day and could have been apprehended when everyone had calmed down.
I gave statements to the police and I emailed a report to the people who should monitor this sort of senseless killing and I have not had a reply on disciplinary action as I was promised.
Thanks for going out on a limb time and again to keep us informed and the rogues on their toes.
Charlotte Hatfield
By email

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