Letters

Dear Editor


Ansbacher cheques out
Following your go at FirstRand about their Ansbacher “division” (noses96&97), it  will not surprise your readers to learn that Dave King, the scarlet pimpernel of SARS fame, pays his bills with Ansbacher cheques in the name of his wine estate. I wonder if the slow-to-act SARS team investigating him are familiar with these cheques?
Joe
By email
And King doesn’t feature on the bank’s supposed list of Ansbacher clients handed into court either (see nose97). Wonder why? Now see Dear Reader. – Ed.

Nine bent briefs hanging on the...
It was with sadness that I read (nose98) of the unhappy fall of Scottburgh attorney Pierre Cronje. He was one of the few decent attorneys to have acted for me, years ago in Cape Town, before he left for Natal. Eight of my former attorneys have since been struck off the roll for dishonesty involving their trust accounts.
Richard Benson
Pinelands

Hard Cell
Please don’t be so hard on Cell-C. It is not intentional that they promote an environmentally destructive vehicle, also used by the American military to stuff up Muslim countries: it is ignorance on their part. Their marketing department just doesn’t know about the awful reputation of the Hummer. They (Cell-C) are not arrogant – they will apologise and move on to an environmentally friendly promotion. I hope. Actually, many of us hope.
Laurence
Blairgowrie

Making a hash of it
Surely we must give Abdulla Miya (nose98) credit for honesty about his lack of knowledge of the car market. How much can he possibly be expected to know, considering that he was once a client service manager at BMW? One also wonders how much he’s absorbed over the years that his agency Net-hash-work has had the Ford/General Motors account? (He didn’t tell you that?) He’s so modest when he says he’s the MD of a “small fry” agency.

In short: GM/Hummer must be extremely pleased with the Hummer campaign – that Miya got Cell-C to pay for.

By the way, if Net-hash-work can win tons of awards ripping-off South Park (for Opel Corsa), and get away with it ... yup, I’ll never work in this town again.
Lisa Simpson
By email

Is the Fund fair?
The contention (nose98) that the Road Accident Fund has a policy not to make lump sum payments for road accident victims’ future medical cost, but furnishes undertakings in respect of such damages, is incorrect.

The Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996 gives the fund the option to pay the present day value of expenses in a lump sum, or furnish the injured party with an undertaking to pay the expenses as and when the costs are incurred.

Such an undertaking eliminates the uncertainties that are involved in having to adjudicate a final lump sum for future medical expenses.

A lump sum payment more often than not fails to achieve the objective of compensating a person for such damages, as:
 the cash can be used for non-medical purposes;
 medical inflation may increase at a higher rate over the years than the inflation rate used at the time of calculating the lump sum payment;
 advances in medicine may result in treatment being available in later years that was not foreseen;
 the life expectancy applied when calculating a lump sum amount may prove to be incorrect.

But, while an undertaking does have these benefits, the RAF does not have a policy that lump sum payments will not be made for future medical expenses. Each claim is considered on its own merits.
Lyndsey Steele
Senior manager, on behalf of the CEO, Road Accident Fund, Pretoria

Accident or design?
Thank you for highlighting the plight of Mr Walter Mkhize and thousands of other road accident victims (nose98).

For some reason the RAF keeps denying that the issue of Undertakings is official policy. These denials are not borne out by the facts.

I have been representing victims since 1993. In not one of the 1500-odd cases in which I have been involved since 2000, has the fund tendered anything other than an undertaking in settlement of a victim’s claim for future medical expenses.

Judge Kathy Satchwell’s 2002 Commission into the Road Accident Fund, reported that “during August 2001 the CEO of the RAF issued a directive to staff that future medical expenses were all to be settled by the issue of an Undertaking and not by payment of a lump sum.” If that directive has since been withdrawn, then it is only my clients that are being discriminated against by still having undertakings foisted on them.

The policy is obviously working, so why would the RAF abandon it when it’s pleading technical insolvency? How can they possibly deny that they have such policy? Is it pure coincidence that only 3% of victims are getting any sort of relief for their medical and hospital expenses?
Anthony Millar
Norman Berger & Partners Inc, Jo’burg

Let the good times payroll
In nose98, you ask: “Where does the [Road Accident] Fund’s R19m-a-day income go?”
I can tell you where about R5m of it went – in a payroll bungle that delivered an extra R40 000 to R50 000 in the November 2007 pay packets of every single member of the fund’s staff at Sanlam Centre in Pretoria!

Earlier last year the fund’s CEO, Jacob Modise, dangled the lure of performance bonuses if specified targets were met. The toiling staff obliged, but Modise – was it at the urging of his rottweiler, er, manager Lyndsey Steele? – changed his mind.

At the end of November, the 100-plus Pretoria workers were ecstatic to discover the R50 000 salary top-ups. The boss had come through! Not a bit of it.

It was an administrative boob and staff were ordered to repay the bonanzas or risk a visit from the rottweiler. This presented a problem for some, who had already spent the extra cash on lavish Christmas presents and pre-paid holidays.
Cheesed off
Pretoria

Above his station
I read with interest your account of the Hermanus station-site battle (nose98), but express no opinion. I wish only to correct an historical error. Your suggestion that the roots of the drama are to be found back in the days when Sir William Hoy was general manager of the railways are probably right – but your dates are wrong. A Scotsman, he joined the Cape Government Railways in the 1890s. Wisely, in 1901, he married the general manager’s daughter and by 1910 was himself the general manager. The railway from Cape Town to Caledon via Botrivier was completed in 1902. Hoy died in 1930. Your contention that he became general manager in the 1940s would therefore imply he was disinterred for the job – a proposition which, I fear, is not viable.
Murray Wilson
Bergvliet
And why not? I know of many such senior executives. – Ed.

Messrs Delivery
Having let my subscription lapse last year, I then realised that each month I was still buying the mag, as without it I’m simply out of touch. I have Scottish ancestors, know a good deal, and renewed my sub.

And then Christmas came early in the form of a gift pack containing two bottles of fantastic wine from Ken Forrester: I’d won the lucky draw for renewing my subscription! Don’t we all love a freebie!

You both deliver consistently. Thank you for that.
Jeremy Sampson
Illovo

Rendition
Many thanks for the movie invitation to Rendition. We’re already an addicted bunch of noseweekers, but being able to put faces to names adds another dimension.

I expected it to be a fundraiser. In fact, it occurred to me that – heaven forbid – noseweek was in financial trouble. At times during your brushes with the law, I’m sure that was the case.

With all its flaws, Rendition powerfully brought home the full iniquity of the abandonment of due process.

I shall be transferring a small donation towards your costs as a gesture of appreciation.
Henk Rubidge
Sea Point
Thank you! The best gifts are the unexpected ones. – Ed.

Thanks for inviting us to the preview of Rendition.
Contrary to our expectations, it turned out to be a thought-provoking film. 
Bennie and Irma Edelstein
Cape Town

Thanks for the opportunity of seeing how insidiously the US CIA/FBI operate throughout the world. Rendition was a frightening movie. More’s the pity that most people are unaware of, or care less about what’s happening at Guantanamo Bay. Governments tend to play dumb and lie. Now our government, too, has lied about its involvement.
Jo Maxwell
By email


Here’s to Discovery’s good health
For whatever the reason, one sometimes reads negative comments in noseweek about Discovery Health. To balance the scales, so to speak, I wish to note my positive experience and publicly express my gratitude to Discovery Health.

In November 2006, after submitting a letter of motivation, Discovery Health’s ex gratia department approved the expensive year-long treatment I required. In February this year, when it became evident that I required additional and expensive supporting medication, their ex gratia department again came to the rescue.

Their generosity has assisted me in regaining my health and has relieved me of an enormous financial burden for which I am most grateful.
J Rosenmann
Cape Town

Suckered by Rennie and Field
I am one of the unfortunates that got suckered by Rennie and Field (nose98) and nearly lost everything.

My architectural practice was commissioned to do three developments involving them, which resulted in disaster for almost all the professionals and contractors involved. The three projects – two in Mount Edgecombe, and the Scottburgh shopping mall – were begun by a Rennie-controlled and Fedbond/Field-funded company called Wilbat, later changed to G C Rennie & Associates. It finally went into liquidation in the hands of the Craig Family Trust – and ended up belonging to Field’s company!   

Rennie and Field orchestrated the liquidation of the trust thus ensuring that they washed their hands of the R9,6m debt to the professionals and contractors involved in the planning and construction of the Scottburgh Shopping Mall.

I have a letter from Field (Fedbond) personally assuring contractors that “a further bond of R4m was being registered to pay the professionals and sub-contractors”. It turned out to be nothing more than a scam to entice us to do more work without payment in order to complete the centre before Field took it over. The bond was registered, but the funds were diverted!

The professionals involved in the project were not prepared to issue the required certificates of completion and compliance before they were paid. Field claimed it would be easy to “arrange” for all the necessary certificates elsewhere. I brought this to the attention of the Scottburgh Town Council at the time – to no avail. The required certificates have still not been issued and the tenants in the Scottburgh Shopping Mall have been allowed to trade despite the risk they run with regards to insurance or other claims resulting from fire or structural faults. 
Louw Zietsman
Durban

Absa  pays up
In nose98 you reported that Absa had refused to hand over R50 000 promised more than a year ago to the Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children. (The donation was negotiated by the Wits Medical Students Council.)

I have investigated the matter and established that the amount at issue has recently been paid.
Deon Oosthuizen
Absa Group Communications,
Johannesburg

 

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