Letters

Dear Editor


Formula for success
Joburg’s assistant town planning enforcement chief Alan Wheeler claimed he knew nothing about the stash of objections to the Theodosious’ Lone Hill development (nose93) – but shortly thereafter was suspended for taking bribes from developers, then quickly resigned. You don’t mention where he went: he became sporting manager for off-circuit racing at Motorsport SA – based near Kyalami.

The Theodosious got involved with Kyalami when two roguish shareholders – former world motorcycle champion Jim Redman (Golden Products, Sierra Ranch...) and inept former bike racer Mike Fogg (who has a string of dodgy deals in PMB and elsewhere to his name) grasped the opportunity to cash in their 40% shareholding -- which they'd bought with loans from Imperial Bank. (Now Imperial Bank is suing Redman and Fogg for repayment -- and for breach of contract for selling out to the Greeks, rather than first offering the shares to Imperial as they had allegedly undertaken to do.)

But it’s your Woolworths reference that I found most interesting. While still in his teens, a modestly talented, British-born race driver called Stephen Simpson won a few junior category races in SA. He then moved to the UK, where his success level was rather less than spectacular. He was called up to race the South African A1GP car in its first season there, but did not make it into the second.

In May/June he announced his switch to a junior US series known as the Indy Pro Series – the title is more impressive than the horsepower output – with sponsorship from Kyalami!

Just why an SA race track, with no international events scheduled, would sponsor a car in a junior US series with no TV audience to speak of was a mystery – until your Greek piece suggested a possible answer.

Simpson’s sponsorship appears to have been negotiated at about the same time that the Theodosious announced plans to develop yet another shopping mall – on Kyalami.
And Cape Town-based Paul Simpson, Stephen’s father, is Woolworths’ head of real estate development.

So: 1. Daddy Simpson does deal with Greeks putting Woolworths into their controversial Lone Hill Mall as very desirable anchor tenant.
2. Stephen’s Kyalami sponsorship is announced within the same time frame as the Greeks announced plans to “redevelop” Kyalami, which, they are no doubt trusting, will also open with a Woolworths.
Coincidence?

Caliban
Durban

We called Woolworths, who assure us that their lawyers have assured them that all is legal with their shop at Lone Hill. They say they know nothing about motor racing. But, within hours we get two unsolicited calls: the first from JCI/Investec spin doctor Brian Gibson, who announces that he has been hired by the Theodosious to explain to the world what misunderstood but honourable gentlemen they are, and to offer his assistance in the event of a follow-up.

Call two comes from another PR-man, Robert Synge in England – he’s been hired to tell the world what a great guy Stephen Simpson is – and to offer us his assistance should we be considering doing a follow-up on his client. So much synchronicity! – Ed.


Net greed
Dr Johan Botha is a very special doctor if he thinks his colleagues will suspend dealings with Discovery (Letters, nose93).

Most doctors are firmly entrenched in an incestuous relationship between medical aids, hospital groups and medical practitioners. It’s all about greed.

An example: a friend of mine recently went for an insurance medical and was advised to see a cardiologist – who wanted him booked into the Netcare Umhlanga Hospital for the check- up. (Netcare is SA’s largest hospital and doctor group). When requesting permission from his medical aid, he was asked what was wrong. He could not answer and permission was refused. The cardiologist ranted that he’s going to report the medical aid to the authorities ... but eventually the tests were done without booking into Umhlanga Hospital. They consisted of a urine test, an x-ray and an ECG.

Netcare and their doctors obviously wanted to net an extra R5000 for an unnecessary day in hospital. On that rare occasion they lost out.

Dave Bennett
Westville

The medical aid fund in your case was clearly not Discovery. My own GP is in a large CT Southern Suburbs practice. In the reception area a notice declares that the practice will not accept directives from Discovery Health. The reason? When they wished to have a patient, in extremis with viral encephalitis, admitted to the nearest hospital, her medical aid, Discovery, refused permission and insisted that she be redirected to the more distant Christiaan Barnard in the city – a Netcare facility with whom Discovery no doubt have some confidential financial arrangement. – Ed.

Scary pines
Congratulations on the serious matter of the pineapple “scare” (nose93) – you were first once again! I now wonder how Pick’nPay can sell very nice pineapples for only R2.99 each? Can’t someone have samples analysed, in case we’re ignorantly consuming lead, cadmium etc...?
Marie Roux
Ceres

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Beautiful revelations
It was great to see Chris and Silke Erasmus and their Temple Beautiful brought into the open (nose92). And a little concerning that there are still people who support them. I do not wish to reveal details of my encounters with this man – but your story has closed the book for me on something I could not put out there myself.

Thank you.

A new noseweek reader
Cape Town

Cosmic foo-foo
The Temple Beautiful (nose92) brings to mind Voltaire’s utterance: “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty a ridiculous one.” The road less travelled is now a five-lane highway for cosmic commuters, hell-bent on enlightenment. With Chris Erasmus at the helm, Odyssey has mutated from the home-spun, earnest little rag of the ‘70s to a glossy rag bloated with advertising: New Age healers beam out at the reader with botoxed serenity, offering panaceas for an age of rampant materialism.

A lot of what passes for “spirituality” seems merely to prop up the ego and endorse unhealthy levels of self-absorption.

N A Newsome
Kenilworth

Gross confusion
In the ongoing Dlamini versus ABSA saga (nose93), reference is again made to “the attorney firm of Bloch, Gross of Pretoria (a firm which was closely linked to S A Hefferman)”. As I previously pointed out, there is no such firm. The firm is Bloch Gross & Associates Inc, of which Ernst Serfontein is the director. Nathan Bloch and myself are not associated with the firm of Bloch Gross & Associates and/or Bloch Gross & Associates Inc.
It would be appreciated if you would kindly make reference to this fact in your next issue as both Nathan Bloch and myself have been embarrassed as a result of the references to the firm which appeared in your last two issues.

Solly Gross
Gross Papadopulo & Associates, Pretoria

We are not to be blamed for the confusion arising from carelessly selling your practice with your names still attached to it. – Ed.

Sweet by another name
Shame on you for referring to Ronald Suresh Roberts as “Shuga Mon”! Is it because he comes from a sugar- (and rum-) producing island? That’s as childishly rude as refering to a Free Stater as a “mealie-muncher”.

IT
Johannesburg

No. It’s because he is so sweet. – Ed.

De La Rip-off?
I have been wondering for some time why the song De La Rey rings bells for me. Then it came to me: some years ago I visited 32 Battalion’s Buffalo Base, and during a major parade the troops sang a whole raft of their very moving marching songs, which I recorded with a hand-held recorder. One of the songs was called Generaal, Generaal, Generaal. Sure the timing is different but the song, obviously composed by an unknown black soldier, seems to me to be the “Afrikaner” song in question. You can hear it on our web site www.galago.co.za under details relating to The Buffalo Soldiers by Col Jan Breytenbach. I would be interested to hear your music commentator Herbert K’s views.

Peter Stiff
Johannesburg

I’ve listened to the song on your website – and you’re right, there is a remarkable similarity. There need not be a direct influence; both songs – “yours” and DLR – use pretty standard melodic clichés (though I find yours more interesting!). But it certainly is a fascinating coincidence ... – HK

Cheating NoseArk
There is yet another untruth about me, in nose92. In a letter, Jim Phelps writes that I was “it seems, employed by RBM” to “purvey the view that mining would be good for the dunes [at St Lucia]”. The noseweek editor adds his endorsement to this view. But I’ve never been employed by RBM, never earned a cent from RBM, never had anything to do with RBM and never campaigned for RBM on the mining of the dunes.

In April, noseweek claimed I did not answer Robert Kirby’s challenge to me. I did, and my letter was published in the Mail & Guardian. When I sent noseweek evidence, it wasn’t published. This means noseweek is lying.I believe in complete openness. I have challenged the cowardly author who hides behind the nom-de-plume “NoseArk” to a public debate on the matters on which he or she attacks me and others. In this debate we would both give full disclosure about our identities, our qualifications and our funding. There has been complete silence on this challenge.

Andrew Kenny
Noordhoek

The debate on energy and global warming in our NoseArk column is public. We simply give as good as we get, Mr Kenny.

I do apologise, however, for omitting to publish your correction about Kirby – an oversight.
Funding? Had you said “my cheque is in the post” we might have talked about funding. For the rest, maybe your opinions, once seen as cleverly, amusingly “maverick”, have, over the years become so inappropriate, self-indulgent and predictable that others now just find them irritating ... and boring? – Ed.


Birds of a Kenny
My main memory of Andrew Kenny and the St Lucia dune mining threat comes from his sensational article, “The Rudest Boom Town in Africa,” Sidelines, December 1994, in which he wrote in favour of the mining and against the conservation proposal. He claimed to speak for “poor blacks,” who, he said, wanted the mining, and against “rich whites,” who, he said, didn’t. Since this simplistic and indeed distorted view of the issues was similar to the propaganda the mining interests used, it gave those working to save St Lucia the impression he worked for them. As I said, he seemed to work for RBM — we knew at the time he was an engineer at Mondi, another of the so-called “Big 5” industries in Richards Bay — big, amongst other things, in their destructive environmental impacts.
Jim Phelps
Empangeni

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