Dear Editor

Reddam: nose not the judge
In an immature democracy the rule of law is of particular importance, including the necessity for matters sub judice to be left to be tried by the courts and not by the media, the public or the mob, as is happening increasingly in our country. In the UK, unless things have much changed in the years since I left, you would have run the risk of being sent to jail without trial for your editorial on the fracas on Main Road, Claremont, in which Andrew Merryweather sustained serious injury.

As to the refusal of parents or staff of the school to talk to yourselves, why on earth should they? I have a teen-aged granddaughter at Reddam who, unsurprisingly, has a different version of the event and its background. I have advised her to wait for the court hearing where witnesses and accused will be examined and cross-examined and she can then accept or criticise the verdict. I suggest you do the same.

In the meantime I suggest you do some real investigative journalism and finger the people behind the sale of drugs and alcohol to teenagers on Main Road in Claremont.
Geraldine Goncalves
Newlands, Cape Town

Our democracy might be immature, but our legal system

is not; it’s simply decadent: you’re likely to get at least as much justice from the media and the mob as you’ll get from the courts – only you’ll get it soon enough after the event to still know what it’s about; you won’t be tortured by having to make dozens of court appearances spread over years –  and then be presented with a legal bill that makes any sentence look ridiculous.

As for your last suggestion: might this be what it’s really all about: rich teenagers behaving badly after being left free to “cruise” amongst the purveyors of drugs and liquor on Main Road, Claremont? Now that’s something to think about!

You reckon we’d have been sent to jail without trial in the UK? How old are you, for heaven’s sake?! – Ed.


Merryweather case
Why not print the telephone number of the concerned parent, Pierre? I’m sure there are noseweek readers who would love to phone him, to assist in relieving him of his burden of guilt. After the 200th call he might let us know his surname and be more willing to assist, seeing that he did not bring up his children to behave like this.
Mike De Klerk
 By email

You see what the lady says about the media and the mob. Maybe hold off for a while. Also see next letter - Ed.

Father distraught
The Pierre who called Groote Schuur hospital three or four times is Pierre Thackwray – a religious man who was obviously freaked by what his son, one of the accused in the Merryweather case, might have done.
 Cape Town

Now we know who it is, we have every reason to hope he and his son will do the right thing. –  Ed.

Why the silence?
Most of the unfortunate Somali refugees suffering persecution in Cape Town (nose86) appear to be Muslim. Why doesn’t the Muslim Judicial Council step in and resolve some of the issues? And where is the Chamber of Business in all this? Attacks on Somali businesses are rampant and “the local traders also declared their intention to persuade the Somalis to raise their prices.” Isn’t free enterprise a “sacred” tenet of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry?
Pam Herr
Fish Hoek

Transnet well exposed
Thank you for the excellent story exposing the blatant and disgusting fraud enactd by Transnet against its pensioners of the Second Defined Fund (noses86 & 87)! Please give us a “follow up” soon.
Dennis Cronje
Somerset West

Gobodo to hell
In your article “Kebble trouble – it just won’t go away” (nose86), you refer to “a well-known national firm of accountants and auditors, Gobodo”. We would like to set the record straight:
Gobodo Incorporated is a national firm of Chartered Accountants as well as Registered Auditors. We are a reputable firm providing professional services in strict compliance with the regulations governing the Auditing Profession. All of our directors and shareholders are respected members of good standing of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. The firm and its directors are members of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) as well as the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (ABASA).

As of 17 March 2003, Gobodo Forensic & Investigative Accounting, the company your story refers to, ceased to be a subsidiary of Gobodo Inc, and is in no way related to us. We are currently pursuing our legal options and rights regarding the use of the name Gobodo.

We trust that this letter provides clarity on the misconception that was created in your article.
Sathie Gounden
CEO, Gobodo Incorporated

The misconception was not created by our article, it resulted from your firm’s carelessness, first in engaging with such a shady partner, and then in disposing of a controversial subsidiary without first ensuring that it did not continue in business, let alone continue to use your name. You appear to have had reason to want to dissociate yourselves from Gobodo Forensic as long ago as March 2003 and sneaked away from the problem, happy to dump Gobodo Forensic on an unsuspecting public. By our reckoning you deserve all the bad publicity you get. - Ed.

Disrespect surprising
I commend your magazine for standing for the truth, as in your editorial in nose85. But I object to your reference to the people depicted in the cartoon as “African savages”. As an African (whatever that means) I take offence when any person of African descent (dead or alive) is referred to as a savage. I believe that it is the same disrespect to Africans that populists cling to when dismissing cogent arguments about their failings in their incumbent positions as either State officials or pretenders. I think an apology would be appropriate.

We thought we had adequately enough placed our use of the phrase in its historical context to allow us to use it to lend ironic bite to our criticism, but if you are still offended, we do, of course, apologise. - Ed.

Swanepoel Scumbag
Your article on Chris Swanepoel (nose86) was on the mark.

I’ve known Chris since childhood – he was a close friend of my father’s. Two years ago he telephoned me and spent an hour telling me about the misfortunes he had been through. I felt very sorry for him. He told me he was bringing a new product to SA from South America – Elicina, a natural cosmetic cream – and wanted me to assist him in having packaging and product inserts printed. (I am part owner of a printing company). We have a strict policy not to open accounts without a credit check, but, because of my long relationship with Chris, and despite my partner’s disapproval, I pushed through the job.

When it came time for Swanepoel to pay, the excuses started. He even told me that he’d only pay me after I printed more work for him. When we threatened him with legal action, he laughed at me, saying he would tell the courts that everything in his home belonged to his wife. This subsequently happened.

After a heated argument on the telephone, he invited me to meet him “like a man” and sort it out on the street. The gutless coward never pitched.

I can write off the bad debt as experience, but I feel sick for this poor family friend conned into entrusting him with his entire life’s savings. There are too many such scumbags around, and I salute you for exposing them.
Andre Bam

SABC takes on the dead
About six years ago I bought a property from the estate of the late Mrs MM Noteboom.
For three years thereafter I dutifully returned SABC licence payment requests with a note mentioning that Mrs Noteboom was deceased and therefore not too interested in paying her TV licence. I have just received a red envelope with a logo of an hourglass on the back and the warning ‘YOUR TIME IS UP’.

This year’s request for Mrs Noteboom to pay her licence, balance now standing at R2651.90, is accompanied by the threat of legal action should payment not be made.

I was wondering how much it is going to cost the SABC to institute proceedings against a deceased person? I’ll keep you up to speed on what happens next.
Maria Hofmeyr
Cape Town

The SABC and their extremely wealthy debt-collecting lawyers are amongst the institutions who believe computers are a substitute for people with intelligence, so they no longer employ any of the latter. We await your next report with morbid fascination. - Ed.

Banks law unto themselves
Maybe I woke up late in life but it seems to me banks are above the law, simply because they are financially powerful. All that remains to defend us, I have been told by a sympathetic cabinet minister, is noseweek.

As a mechanical engineer I created wealth for our country by, amongst other things, designing and bringing to production the very visible Giant Inflatable Slide now being manufactured in China, and the South African version of the Poolcover. I have transformed various inventions into wealth creating machines.

I was doing my job well – until  an unqualified Nedbank employee interfered. A former state prosecutor, he got a job as a risk manager at Nedbank. With no business experience, he promptly “judged” and “sentenced” me, peremptorily withdrawing my long-established overdraft facility, effectively removing me from the economy in a humiliating manner. Directorship is not allowed when you are ITC-listed.

Realising their blunder, the bank’s executives set out to silence me at any cost. The story reads like a script for a horror movie: you would not imagine how they have extended themselves to prevent the truth from surfacing.

A solution might be to emigrate – the world is short of engineers – but my nature is to persevere. Can you help the citizens of our country against horrors like this? Presently I am employed by the largest gold producer of our country and the CEO personally utilises my expertise to improve efficiencies.
Kobus Prinsloo

We are investigating this and other,  similar stories and will report in due course. – Ed.

Welcome to robberland
After Carte Blanche’s expose of baggage theft at OR Tambo Airport, lo and behold, my case gets opened on a flight from Cape Town and things get stolen. When I report this to the baggage handling section, I am told they accept zero liability as baggage is transported at my risk. My question: when DO they address a very obvious theft problem in their baggage control area? It must make a profound impression on foreign travellers when their first introduction to good ole SA is having their luggage stolen on arrival.
Bob Bartholomew


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