Letters

Dear Editor


Here for the duration
Congratulations on issue 100. It was a delight reading those congratulatory articles by the Friends of noseweek, and I for one reject with contempt the rumour that they have been rewarded with free subscriptions. I know that Mr Nose gives little for free.

In 1979 [1984 actually – Ed.] I subscribed to a broadsheet [A4 sheet actually] called Nose, which subscription required me to first prove that I was not a member of the Broederbond, BOSS or the Cabinet, and that I had never sued anyone whose name began with a “W”. [Sounds about right.]

After receiving a few copies, I was informed by Nose that it was in dire financial straits and asked to waive the balance of my sub, for which I would receive heartfelt thanks. [Thank you Mr Emdin!] Some years later, the same circumstances arose again [Not true.], and again I waived my pre-paid rights [you did not], although, as I recall, this time I was promised, in addition to the heartfelt thanks, a reduced subscription “in the future”. [You have a wild imagination.] To date nothing. [Except the great value-for-money magazines you paid for.]

I feel I deserve an honourable mention for my endurance and blind faith. A cap or T-shirt (large) with the noseweek logo might also be an appropriate gesture of thanks for such amazing loyalty. The T-shirt slogan should read “Stuff my lawyer – I’m talking to noseweek”.

I look forward to soon receiving a small parcel!

Congratulations once again - and remember those who helped in the Dark Days!
Richard Emdin
(30 years of unconditional support)
Sea Point
Unconditional? Anyway, we have patented your great T-shirt idea and are negotiating with the Chinese government for a mass production deal. Watch the media for our marketing campaign. For every million we sell, we’ll send you a free t-shirt (large). Ed.

Conduct unbefitting
Despite his communist background and intolerant attitude towards the media, I have, until now, been a staunch Tito Mboweni fan. I was stunned to read (nose101) that, like many of his comrades, the Reserve Bank governor resorts to intellectually bankrupt racial stereotyping when he has no coherent argument.
D Wolpert
Rivonia

Forgive me for hearsay
I wish to apologise for my letter [nose101] written in response to your article about Riebeek Kasteel being poisoned. My letter contained allegations for which I myself have no proof. I stated that Mr Johan Vlok sprayed water on his grapes, and the next day he received a letter from Mr Shirmacher stating that he sprayed poison. That was hearsay and I must add that what I wrote was my opinion, and mine alone.

My apologies for any inconvenience caused.
Marené Wentzel
Riebeek Kasteel
To go into battle for a friend is brave. When you face defeat, to concede graciously is wise and, well, gracious. Hope Mr Shirmacher thinks so too. - Ed.

No poisions, no food?
As a new subscriber I enjoyed reading about your struggles in the early years (nose101). Through adversity you have distilled quite a mag, and I am glad to have my small financial part in your food chain.

Just a comment about the Riebeek Kasteel saga: do remember that in today’s political climate farmers are the underdog, although we all rely on them to provide us with produce. If they could get by without poisons, in our incorrect practice of monoculture, I’m sure they would. I moved into a wine-growing valley 13 years ago and suffer all the spraying as well. If it were to get too much for me I feel it’s up to me to move. If more people like Mr Schirmacher move into the country and get their way, we’ll have a beautiful countryside with no produce to eat.
Kobus
Stellenbosch winelands
The law and common sense dictate that even necessary poisons must not be applied recklessly. Honesty and some care and consideration also help. – Ed.

BJAC responds
Parts of your latest article on the St Francis Bay beach saga (nose101) are just not true.
The Beach Joint Action Committee (BJAC) are supportive of the investigation of the PEM system – we offered to contribute towards the cost of bringing out the Danes.

We would much prefer a cheaper system to restore the beach, especially if it means no levies.

The original agreement referred to became redundant a long time ago.

I was at the meeting where Neil Brent gave a presentation. Everyone, including the Kouga Municipality is aware that BJAC fully supports the investigation.

Your statement that we are running around waving the agreement is ridiculous and totally untrue. Vernon Stuurman at the Kouga Municipality will confirm this.

Please stop printing blatant lies; it does not help our objective of fixing the beach and does nothing for your magazine’s credibility.
Mike Wylie
St Francis
What’s the old adage Mr Wylie – Running with the foxes and hunting with the hounds? Ed.

Warning: Beach Un-Trust
Thank you for your latest, most informative article on the beach saga in St Francis Bay (nose101). Your previous articles exposing the underhand dealings of Mike Wylie, his Gauteng-based cronies and his St Francis Bay acolytes have been a significant factor in bringing about the current much-improved position.

Were it not for your exposé, we, the ratepayers of St Francis Bay, could easily have found ourselves saddled with a financial and marine disaster. We also owe Joe Oosthuizen a vote of thanks for originally exposing this sham.

How Wylie, the CEO of a listed company, could have become involved in something so blatantly fraudulent, is a question that his company’s shareholders should be asking. It is now obvious that very little, if any, research was done.

At more than one public meeting which he chaired, I asked Wylie whether we, the ratepayers, had been lied to when we were told, by Tonkin, that the agreement with the municipality was in place and that the dredger had been ordered and that we would be levied. He replied that he had no knowledge of any agreement and that the dredger had most definitely not been ordered.

It now transpires that there was in fact an agreement, and, for him to deny that he was aware of it, is asking just a little too much. Was the dredger in fact ordered? And if so, who guaranteed the payment?

It is interesting to note that Mr Wylie is now approaching the St Francis Bay Residents’ Association asking whether we would consider meeting the debts of the Beach Trust.
We haven’t heard the last of this matter.

“They” are not about to give up and pay the debts of the Beach Trust out of their own pockets.
Basil & Eleanor Carides
St Francis Bay


Ebotse info please
I am a matric pupil at CBC Boksburg and I’m doing a project on the environmental effects of Ebotse Golf and Country Estate (nose100). I have contacted GDACE, Ebotse, ERWAT and Benoni Municipality and nobody is willing to tell me ANYTHING about Ebotse. Could you or any of your readers help me get a copy of the EIA, or any other information?
Luke Rokebrand
By email

All lines lead to Telkom hell
From time to time the phone rings, but when I answer there is nothing but silence. I cannot make calls out because there is no dialling tone. This has been going on for months.

When the thing is working I have tried to report these faults on 10212. A ladylike voice thanks me for calling, tells me to press this or that number and when I do so says “all our operators are busy”. Then there is muzak interspersed with sales pitches for various Telkom products, cyclically for... well, I gave up after the first half-hour. At 83½ life is too short to wait for Telkom.

I wonder whether other readers are experiencing the same frustration with Telkom.
Geoffrey Wiltshire
Bloemfontein
We recently experienced the same problem ourselves when our adsl line developed an on-off stutter. Calling Telkom’s “hotline” led of course to the same 45 minutes of muzak and message hell, with rounds of promises to call back. All the long waits are recorded on our detailed bill. Has Telkom, like Eskom, lost its culture of service or is it just falling apart? – Ed.

Please investigate
As a new subscriber I am not sure whether you have investigated any of these “small loans” organisations. It burns my bum to see how quickly some fellows grow very rich at the expense of those who really cannot afford it. Just take a look at some of the holiday homes on the marina in Port Alfred.
Bev Radue
By email
See next issue.Ed.

Reddam profiting – not IEB
South African private schools appear to be a law unto themselves and there is nowhere to lodge complaints.

I have a child at one of the Reddam House Colleges, which charges parents Independant Examination Board (IEB) fees for grades 10 and 11. When I contacted the IEB, I was told that only grades 6, 9 and 12 had to pay exam fees – there are no exam fees for grades 10 and 11.

The college has been charging these fees for years now.

The response from the college principal is that they decided all teachers must attend IEB conferences, and used these “exam fees” to cover the teachers’ travel and conference costs. According to the IEB this cost is for the school’s account and usually schools would only send a handful of teachers ie, head of departments.

Reddam continues this practice without a single parent knowing the hundreds of rands do not go to the IEB.
Name withheld
By email

All in the family?
So Trevor Manuel’s lawyer is Dines Gihwala. Is it only me, or is there something less than arm’s length about the fact that the Finance Minister’s lawyer is also the curator of Fidentia? The FSB should ultimately take the rap for the Fidentia saga (they granted a license to Mr Brown without getting valid financials from him) and their ultimate boss is Trevor Manuel. The whole thing has huge cover-up potential. Or am I too cynical?
Gregg
Cape Town

FOR THE RECORD


The sun always rises
I read with interest again the article in nose58 about the relationship between Sun International and Western Cape politicians, and thought it worth your recording that it is proposed to amend the Western Cape regulations again, reducing the return to player for casino slot machines from the current 85% minimum, to 80% of turnover, effectively giving Sun International the right to double its share from 5% to 10%.
Allan Scott
By email

Never again, Harold!
Circa 1960 we lived in Cuyler Street, Port Elizabeth. One night we were awoken by an enormous bang, followed by the wail of sirens. Being inquisitive by nature, I went to investigate. In Brickmaker’s Kloof there was much commotion; a man – pointing to the blackened wall of an electric substation – was heard to say: “It looks like sabotage, Sir.” Only recently was I given some back copies of noseweek and read the piece by Harold Strachan recounting his part in that adventure. Kindly tell him I enjoy his column, but should he again wake me in the middle of the night I will come and bliksem him.
Henry Warren
Port Elizabeth

What has Mr Nose been smoking?
Reading Mr Nose on Zorgvliet I’m not sure whether to be amused or annoyed (nose95). I feel your investigative journalism is not well served by this type of slander.

First, a trivial issue: There’s nothing wrong with Sasolburg – but we are not from Sasolburg. The rest of the article is on much the same level. My son Stephan has never aspired to being a winemaker; he has sound business acumen and is the CEO of the Zorgvliet wine division and farm, an effectively run and very successful business.

None of us took a “crash course” in tourism management. We have been operating Zorgvliet Portfolio, a diversified hospitality and wine business, for the past five years.

The noise case initiated by a Zorgvliet neighbour against our family tells its own story; but because the case was still in progress, my attorney advised me that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the merits of the case. But the case was not postponed, as you reported, due to our Jhb lawyer losing his briefcase, but because of court time not being available.

Then the golf course story – untrue! We have never even contemplated acquiring the Stellenbosch Golf Course; never negotiated or even talked with anybody in this regard. Somebody is stringing you along. The reference to Johan Naude is once again too ridiculous for comment.

Your publication is obviously being used as a springboard for a smear campaign by anonymous mischief makers. It could be worth your while to look at the integrity and motives of your informant(s).

I demand that you refrain from publishing any further untrue and slanderous statements about Zorgvliet and my family.
Mac vd Merwe
Zorgvliet
At the time we found the old money, old Stellenbosch snobbery, brought to bear in a village tiff, funny; now it seems to have been just a bit shabby. May we concede ... graciously? Ed.

Bank on Figaji
Your readers might wish to note that your old friend Prof Figaji is now a Nedbank director. Watch this space!
John
By email 

Beware Sarkozy's cosy deals

Midway through his honeymoon, President Sarkozy gets on a plane to Cape Town with bunch of French nuclear salesmen and engineers who have volunteered to advise Eskom on dealing with our power crisis. Next he’s kissing President Mbeki on both cheeks and patting him condescendingly on the shoulder. I smell un rat énorme ici! The last time a French president did that, he was ensuring that his defence industry friends got their cut of the arms deal. First it’s arms and now it is nuclear power!

I was deeply disturbed by Sarkozy’s visit to woo us further into nuclear power agreements. France has had a long and gory history when it comes to their love of nuclear power houses. The love affair stumbled in the early 1980’s as the French public became acutely aware of the health implications of nuclear power plants as well as the diabolical dilemma of dealing with nuclear waste. Chernobyl was the cherry on the cake.

It also sickens me that we are prepared to ingratiate ourselves with a country such as France which has a history of dumping their nuclear waste on poor African countries.

I quote from The Trade & Environment Database case studies: “The  government of Benin negotiated a bilateral deal with the French government to import radioactive and industrial waste in return for $1.6 million down payment and 30 years of economic assistance. Later, the French were forced to cancel the deal because of massive media opposition in France. Seraphin Noukpo, the commandant of the Ganvie (Benin’s only merchant-marine vessel) acknowledged that he transported a shipment of nuclear waste from Le Havre in France. The shipment is reportedly buried in Saklo, also in the Abomey region.” Please, let us stop this modern colonialism and exploitation of Africa.

Could we not look at Spain as a case study rather, where they have employed windmill power in Valencia and Navarre which is environmentally sound. Let us find viable solutions which are sustainable and fair to both our communities and our environment.
Samantha Martin
Bedfordview
Also see editorial in this issue. Ed.

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