Letters

Dear Editor


Jolly Rogering for FirstRand pirates
Well done Mr Nose. FirstRand battle won, may it also signify the war will be won too.
Don Pearce
by email

Congratulations on your investigation into those FirstRand pirates.
Theuns Delport
Tiger Brands, Germiston

Please do not be tempted to accept any offers to buy out noseweek before you’ve published that list; they’re sure to be from some tax-dodgers’ consortium. No matter that the offer may be overly-generous, bank-guaranteed and payable offshore in a tax-free haven; simply laugh it off.
JS Magill
Knysna
Do we absolutely have to? Oh, alright then. – Ed.

Came across this wonderful advert for Standard Bank Achiever Plan while driving along Oxford Road near Killarney the other day.

Wonder what SB spends per annum on its image?

Think they need to have a chat with the agency that is advising them on the medium used.

Mike Said
brandStrategy, Sandton


Congratulations Mr Nose, on having FirstRand’s urgent interdict application dismissed, with costs. We look forward to reading another riveting exposé in the next noseweek.
Your dogged persistence should serve as inspiration to those who still believe in a free press, and a wake-up call to those who harbour skeletons in their closets.

It is through your inimitable style of investigative journalism that we are able to identify and pour appropriate scorn on those skelms that might otherwise escape detection.
Bob Broom
Bedfordview


I loved your battle with FNB. Another issue that reveals them for the unethical scoundrels they really are – their practice of forbidding lawyers who accept conveyancing work from them to act for anyone against them.

This creates an ethical dilemma, as FNB has the money to tie all the decent lawyers in the country to their services, and effectively force other parties to use less than proper legal representation – as you were.

You had the skills to state your case, but most people don’t have those skills.
I see Mr Nose’s stick poised to stir up yet another hornet’s nest.
Nico
by email
Absolutely. See The ones that got away; FirstRand's wizard of fraud; Those names A-Z; Clients spill the beans; The Offshore trusts and Unlisted:Anne Pratt – Ed.

Heartiest congratulations! May your list of subscribers double.
Brian Utterson
Monzi,
Zululand

Congratulations on a great result re FirstRand; sorry about your not printing the names right away – I was so looking forward to Thursday! The two pri*ks Adrian Gore and Barry Swartzberg are responsible for wrecking the medical aid schemes as we knew them.
Patrick Masobe seems to be getting things back under control but it’s a pity they were legally allowed to enrich themselves at the expense of the older members of the other schemes.

They need to go to prison for a while; that may sober them up and make them realise they aren’t immortal.
Len Palmer
Joburg
Thursday has arrived! See he ones that got away; and beyond. – Ed.

Heartiest congratulations on taking on the Goliath of FirstRand in Court – and triumphing. This is heady stuff indeed.
Ranjit Purshotam

Cheers!
Henry Tours
Morningside

More than a month after noseweek exposed FirstRand’s “Duisberg” tax fraud, and two weeks after your successful court battle with the bank, the Financial Mail carries a huge article on the FNB/Ansbacher/Duisberg saga – with no mention of noseweek.
The burning question is: would they have carried the story if the whole business had been discreetly dealt with behind closed doors, with maybe a few greased palms, as is the norm in SA today?

I am sure you must often feel that you are up against a brick wall, but you surely must smile when, a few weeks/months after you’ve done an exposé, the mainstream media run with it and you are vindicated.

I salute you.
Tony Ball
Glenwood, Durban
Yes, we smile. Especially when they then cover their backs by describing us as “scurrilous”. – Ed.

Congrats. Again! The case had my son at the court house in Cape Town, me with two radios on different stations, and my daughter, at a large finance house in Jersey where she works, on Skype.

What a day. Lots of bigwigs shivering in their boots till your copy hits the street.
Duncan Gohl
Roodepoort

Congratulations. First again! Look after yourselves: this country – the world – needs people like you lot at noseweek. I’m nominating you for the Star of Africa, Order of the Southern Cross (first class and with knobs on).
Nokwenza
Ceres
PS: How soon do you think Cecil John’s statue will be replaced by Thabo Mbeki looking North?
Just as soon as we get our gong (with knobs). – Ed.

Dear Mr Dippenaar,
You and I have had a cordial relationship since our first meeting at a report-back at St Andrews School in Bedfordview some years back, so I am sure that you will not take offence at my asking you a few questions through the medium of this fine magazine.
I notice that FirstRand Bank took noseweek and Martin Welz to court to prevent them from publishing a list of clients that benefited from one of your business arrangements. I was astounded that the bank were advised to pursue this risky course of action. Who gave you such terrible advice?

Were your public relations department on leave as this fiasco was unfolding?

You once informed me that you had summarily fired much of the deadwood when you took over as FNB head honcho (it’s one of the few times I have seen you smile).
Do you plan to fire/chastise/discipline/demote any/all of the parties involved in this action? The amount of free publicity noseweek has been given is truly stupendous, and I thank you. It was even on Sky News this morning.

I know that secretly, or maybe not so secretly, you are an admirer of the plucky stance taken by this last bastion of press freedom and fearless investigative journalism. I hope Mr Welz has the grace to thank you in the next edition. Have you thought of founding an award for good investigative journalism?

Mr Welz would I am sure be a worthy first recipient.

One last thing, my father always advised me never to pick a fight with men who buy ink by the barrel.

Any chance of a preferential rate on my overdraft?

Yours until my overdraft is cleared,
David Klatzow
Cape Town
PS: I noted with admiration your attempts to fight crime, which collapsed recently after the murder of David Rattray. It is so wrong of the lower orders of government to put pressure on those of us who wish to make a difference. Anyway, the printer who printed all the pamphlets made a few bob out of the exercise, so, as the Bard put it: All’s well that ends well.

Following your report on Ansbacher’s R200m loan “structure” for Jens Montanana: Is it potentially newsworthy that David Pfaff, financial director of Datatec [Montanana’s company], is brother to Rand Merchant Bank CEO Mike Pfaff?
Joe
Jo’burg

My computer spell-check renders Ansbacher as Ambusher.
What do they know we don’t?
Henry Tours
By email

Too kind to Absa
Your articles on how Absa bank screws its clients are written in a tone that’s too kind.
In all my years as a consultant fixing businesses, one of the biggest causes of the predicament has been Absa. They promise “today”, pull the plug “tomorrow” and discount the client’s assets with their attorney friends “together”.
Albertus Ziervogel
Cape Town

Damelin shall set you free
I read your recent exposé of Damelin’s educational courses with interest. Today I have received in the mail (as part of the Old Mutual’s Rewards programme) a voucher from Damelin which “entitles the bearer to a FREE Damelin career assessment to the value of R500”. I am 66 years old but young at heart. Do you think I should take up the offer?
Arthur G Clarke
Tokai
It could provide an hour’s break from the tedium of the Seniors Club; it might even finally explain what went wrong in your career 50 years ago. – Ed.

Mandela “art”
I had just read your article on Mandela art in the US (nose96) when, walking in the Rocks, a tourist area in Sydney, I saw a huge poster with Mandela’s photograph at the entrance to one of the art galleries in the same street as the Australian Museum of Contemporary Art. It is presented as an exhibition of Mandela’s (prison) art. I did not bother to enter, but I did wonder. Possibly another enterprise of your “Australian-based South African”?
Carolina van Zyl
Visiting Australia, based in China
The same! So noseweek reports to the world – and the world reports to noseweek! – Ed.

Web language virus
I heartily endorse Marike Roth’s comments about the standards of language, spelling and grammar on the Internet (WebDreams, nose96). The problem does not only apply to the Internet, but also to business and private correspondence, advertising, television titles, printed comments, and radio – not to mention the latest Mephistophelean invention: the SMS.
Jean Elferink
Cape Town


Roth wrong on Esperanto

Marike Roth bemoans the fact that the “old forms and formalities” of written communication are being supplanted [on the Internet] by a shorthand form which “is rapidly becoming about as useful for nuanced communication as Esperanto”.

She clearly does not know Esperanto. It offers an incredible game of nuances for all kinds of communication and writing.

You can start learning Esperanto at www.esperantofre.com/eroj/ilo01a.htm or other popular web pages, like www.lernu.net and www.esperanto.net. You can even find a book to read in Esperanto at www.esperantofre.com/book.
Enrique, Fremont
California, USA

Esperanto finer than Roth
Marike Roth is misinformed. Esperanto, the Universal language, has in fact the facility to join words together to make finer meanings that are unobtainable in the English language.
John Adams,
Victoria, Australia.
Ja-nee. – Ed.

Ombudsman alert
Annette Doherty’s letter (nose96) about marketing of funeral policies refers.
The Ombud for Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) has jurisdiction to investigate complaints relating to the rendering of financial services. It includes complaints about advice given the providers of such services, and the rendering of an intermediary service with regard to funeral policies, long and short term insurance policies, retirement annuities, forex and other investments. The Ombud does not, however, investigate complaints about investment performance.

The person mentioned by Ms Doherty may approach this office and the matter will be investigated further if it falls within this office’s jurisdiction.
Natu Ranchod
Assistant Ombud, Office of the Ombud for Financial Services Providers, Pretoria
This is the first voluntary, positive reaction we’ve had to a story from an official in months/years/ever. You are an officer and a gentleman. You have made our day! Thank you. – Ed.

Dragon scam
There is a scam artist operating in Cape Town called Nick Gaunt who sells pirated software to unsuspecting suckers like me. He has a website called www.dragonsolutions.co.za, and sells pirated copies of the Dragon Speech recognition software. I was unable to upgrade the product Dragon Solutions sold me, because it is not an officially recognised version. I have spoken to a real agent for the software who has tried to get the Fraud Squad to act but it is not happening.
Micheline Logan
Johannesburg
Dragon Solutions and Fimex both claim to be official suppliers of Dragon products. However, brand owner Nuance acknowledges only Fimex on its website, as the official South African partner/supplier. – Ed.

Will they be back for Christmas?
It’s a long time since we have heard anything about our army’s activities, past or present, in the DRC and, possibly, elsewhere.

Have they been recalled, and, if so, in what circumstances? Were any journos attached to (or “embedded” with) our chaps? If not, why not? And what has been the cost to the oppressed SA taxpayer? To whose benefit, if anybody’s?

One would have liked to hear of selfless interventions, or even heroic highlights, of an orderly and professional body of men and, maybe, women. What we do seem to have heard of are some vague allegations of sexual impropriety and not much else.
Surely our taxpayers and patriotic citizens in general deserve better than this, having shelled out so much dough?

Besides, isn’t it about time we started organizing Christmas packages for our forgotten army Up North?
Hugh Farquharson,
Forest Town, Johannesburg

Wormin’ talk
Your article “The worms turn” (nose96) is incorrect in stating: “So far no South Africans have begun marketing worm poo itself”.

Fertilis is a brand name for “worm poo” made from dairy cow manure in 60m-long trenches. The product has been in existence for over a decade.

It is true that without a large advertising budget, we’ve had to depend on word of mouth to get people to accept that earthworms produce one of the best fertilisers on the planet.
We have concentrated our efforts in Gauteng, but are now also distributing in KZN, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.

We also had a stand at last month’s Natural and Organic Show in Cape Town.
Our story may not be as dramatic as in the US with lawsuits (as per your article), but we are the “small” people who face the potential wrath of the large chemical manufacturers.
Unlike the eco vehicles that were invented decades ago but which were quickly “disappeared” before they could really get established, organic fertilizers are here to stay and grow.

Most “earthwormers” know of and about each other, through EIGSA – Earthworm Interest Group of SA – which has about 1000 members. You can contact us at earthwormer@absamail.co.za.

I trust this gives you good food (fertiliser) for thought.
Carmen Nottingham
Muldersdrift

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