Letters: Dear Editor

Fun and Hilarity
Yes, I have subscribed to noseweek for many years. Yes, I do so for the investigative and exposé articles.

But I also enjoy some of the more social humour/chit-chat. I don’t know that much about wine, save that it’s wet and pleasing, but I still enjoy the column and I usually get a lot of fun from Hilary’s column, which apart from light relief, is well and pleasingly written.
Geoff Marock

Can’t get enough
I’m 27 and live in Durban. I’m not in business; I’m just an ordinary guy that works a seven to 4.30 job. I was introduced to noseweek by my brother about a year ago. Now I cannot get enough of the nosey nose. It saddens me that most of the people I talk to have never heard of it. As a result I’m always a step ahead when it comes to information.

When it comes to rooting out corruption, I must applaud you. Your work exceeds that of all law-enforcement agencies in South Africa. Keep doing what you do!
Mduduzi Njoko
Quality Dept, Feltex Fehrer, Durban

Feeling Blattered by Fifa
In a TV debate with noseweek editor Martin Welz (“In the public interest”, SATV3, Sunday 13 May), the publicist for the organising committee for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Tumi Makgabo, claimed that allegations of top-level corruption in Fifa were none of the South African organising committee’s concern and, by implication, should be none of our concern. Which might be the more convenient approach for her.

But as a tax-paying citizen, the issue of possible corruption within Fifa’s executive is very relevant to me. I hope the organising committee can guarantee that not a cent of the money from Finance Minister Trevor Manuel will land up in questionable hands.

Now that I know what I know (thanks to noseweek), I want to know what steps the organising committee have taken, or are taking, to ensure that none of the money lands up in Blatter and friends’ back pockets.

I am in favour of our country hosting the event, provided the stadia do not turn out to be white elephants for years after the event and provided no money ends up in under-cover deals.

The media is too often used as a convenient scapegoat to avoid dealing with the real issues.
Louise Cook

Absalutely NOT Fabulous          
Rian Malan’s preview of Suresh Roberts’ upcoming book on the thoughts of Thabo Mbeki (nose91) was an eye-opener.

One wonders whether Roberts’ contract with Absa includes a commitment by the latter to “promote” the distribution of the finished product? Having spent R1,4m on it, Absa might be tempted (or persuaded) to use their client database to ensure wide publicity for their investment. The possibility that this might further ingratiate them with the presidency and their government-linked customers will, of course, never have crossed their minds!

Nevertheless, having read Malan’s preview of the manuscript (albeit a work-in-progress) in noseweek, the Absa powers-that-be will be more cautious about how they proceed from here: by promoting the book, the bank would not necessarily be making the heart grow fonder of either Roberts or Mbeki – or of Absa. 
John S Magill

The Great Ronnie Roberts Hoax
The following letter appeared in Business Day. We thought it may be of interest to our readers.

[Business Day editor] Peter Bruce, in Thick End of the Wedge (April 23), rather amusingly hedges his bets when he writes that noseweek “apparently” has a copy of the manuscript of my forthcoming book, Fit to Govern: The Native Intelligence of Thabo Mbeki. Bruce misdescribes it as Fit to Rule, a working title from two years ago.

The scale of the hoax that has been pulled on noseweek editor Martin Welz will provide light relief around my book’s launch in June.
Ronald Suresh Roberts
Cape Town
Light relief? We live in hope. Regrettably, however, that early manuscript with its revealing “working” title was definitely no hoax – except on its funders Absa, maybe. But readers be warned: check out a library copy of Roberts’ soon-to-be launched Mbeki book before you rush out and buy a copy – just in case you end up the victim of an expensive hoax. – Ed.


Keep out of the Kitchener
Enjoyed your radio chat (on Cape Talk and 702) with Modise following your piece (nose91) about Fifa and the 2010 World Cup; loved Rian Malan’s piece on the book that hasn’t arrived – and dread the day Harold Strachan’s too old to write. Not so sure about “Kitchener” on De la Rey, however. Herbert, are you suggesting a connection – by descent or sentiment – to THAT Kitchener? ... cos you rather lay to waste a very well written song, a song that, like those old Boers, will keep resurrecting long after your words are forgotten. What you miss entirely in your musical appreciation class is that the song calls upon a type of hero we sadly lack today.

In his book Commando, Denys Reitz gives Koos De la Rey a pretty good review. He was not a professional soldier, but was without doubt a fine leader. Maybe an Afrikaner songwriter has recognised that the time has come for heroes who aren’t pop singers, politicians or sports stars.

The irony that Bok Van Blerk is probably now a pop hero himself is not lost on me. His fame will no doubt come back and haunt him as fame tends to do. (Imagine nobody listening to a word you sing until you’ve sung De la Rey ...or having to sing it when you’re 64!) For now, though, I would wish him lots of luck. I wouldn’t have minded if someone had handed me a song like that when I was young and ambitious!
Nick Tayor
Still in Verlorenvlei

Although he has, in recent times, been known to venture forth to Lambertsbaai to perform at the Kreeffees, where, we are told, he eventually managed to bring the drunken, rowdy crowd to maudlin silence by singing a couple of verses from ... De la Rey. – Ed.

Putting a sock in it
Your “De la Rey under analysis” (nose91) reminds me of Herman Charles Bosman’s story, The Rooinek.

“Then he walked up to where we were standing, Oom Schalk Lourens said. He was dressed just as we were, in shirt and trousers and veldskoens, and he had dust all over him. But when he stepped over a thorn-bush we saw that he had got socks on. Therefore we knew that he was an Englishman.”

Brilliant strategy of yours to employ 2nd Earl Herbert Kitchener of Karton, K-PRT, K-SOEK as de la Rey analyst and musical expert. Only thing is he should have left his socks at home.
Piet Erasmus
Ja-nee, Oom. Signing THAT name may have been K-ksoek, but his ability to recognize a slampamperliedjie when he sees one suggests he doesn’t always praat K – or wear socks. – Ed.

Boer bashing boor
Why doesn’t Herbert Kitchener rather listen to Mandoza instead of self-inflicted torture beyond endurance listening to Bok van Blerk? I hope he feels better after his detox bout of bile retching and Boer bashing.

If “Kitchener” was a nom de plume, it was a most unfortunate choice. Unless the author meant to remind us that, when it comes to Boer bashing, British “fair play” is an extremely flexible concept: flexible enough to justify genocide.
AC Schaap

Zuma and De la Rey
So your rookie expert on De la Rey shares the same name as the much spat-on Kitchener of Anglo Boer War concentration camp notoriety! There is wisdom in Jacob Zuma’s words after all: Bring my Umishimi Wami!
J Coetzee
Cape Town
I can think of a couple of despicable Coetzees. Should I be getting you into my gunsights for that? – Ed.

Bend it like Kaya
The presidential broadcast on Kaya FM and YFM you refer to under the headline “Thabo’’s Voice” in nose91 NEVER happened.  It was pulled from us on Friday 13 April at 1600 [after noseweek went to print] when the Government Communications and Information Service informed us that this broadcast should never have been brought to us in the first place, as the Presidency has an agreement with the SABC.

John Perlman was never an issue as we had not hired him at the time anyway.  Kaya FM suggested Tim Modise as a compromise for the brands of Kaya FM and Yfm as we were at odds about who should facilitate the Imbizo.

There was no direct mention of [the withdrawal of government] advertising per se, and I object to the alleged fact that “Kaya bent over”.  After lengthy negotiation we agreed to take part in this broadcast, which would see the President being brought to our studios on 14 April.

Listeners would be able to phone in and ask their questions live (obviously having been screened by our producers to ensure that the questions would add value to the imbizo. This is a standard practice). 

Somewhere things fell through the cracks and this issue really does not deserve the attention it is now getting. 

We insist on a retraction of this grossly inaccurate and sensationalistic article that borders on pure fiction in it’s interpretation.
Charlene Deacon, MD,
Kaya FM, Johannesburg
Per se, methinks the lady protesteth too much. – Ed.

Beyond our Kenny
I am appalled by your vicious attacks on Andrew Kenny (noses90&91). These articles could serve as text book examples of dirty debating tactics.
A Todd

The hole truth
Thanks for your exposés of the Free Market Foundation and the climate change denialists. It shows how the PR industry operates to manipulate minds.

I’m particularly pleased you have exposed Andrew Kenny, whom we encountered in trying to save St Lucia from strip and dredge dune mining. Kenny was, it seems, employed by RBM (the strip mining company, owned by Rio Tinto) to purvey the view that mining would be good for the dunes, and everybody else, and that mine dump revegetation was actually dune rehabilitation.

The St Lucia victory was possible through the work of thousands of fine people, and the historical moment. Nelson Mandela himself signed the petition against the mining, and for the permanent protection of what is now the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

The PR forces of corporate power have grown stronger and more cunning, and governments more corrupted by them, but the struggle goes on. More strength to noseweek.
Jim Phelps
It appears Kenny can be relied upon to put his mouth where the money is. – Ed.
Not that Naas
In an article about the Freemarket Foundation in nose89 you refer to a Naas Ferreira and speculate whether it might be the same Naas Ferreira that sued you many years ago. It is not.

I am the Naas Ferreira that sued you, but I am not on the committee that is the subject of the article.

Because of the degrading connotation, I obviously object. I expect an apology.
Naas Ferreira
You are right. We were wrong. Sorry. – Ed.

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