Congratulations on securing a Sanlam Financial Journalist Award! Its always wonderful when hard work is recognised.
Metropolitan Asset Managers (MetAM)
Your claim (Editorial, nose103) that Our national electricity grid is controlled by an obsolete computer system (bought 30 years ago from the Swiss), based at a national control centre is dead wrong.
Had you read the March 2008 issue of Energize, journal of the SA Institute of Electrical Engineers, youd have known that The official handover of the newly commissioned energy management system (EMS) at Eskom Transmissions National Control Centre in Germiston, took place on February 28.
The contract, encompassing the design, manufacture, configuration and implementation of the system, was awarded in September 2004 to Alstom Protection and Control, the main contractors and project managers of the project, Areva T&D Automation, the French designers and manufacturers of the system, and a group of four local specialist engineers known as the Power Network Optimisation consortium.
Dont you think you should make some effort to get your facts right?
Some effort we did make but on this one point clearly not enough! We are humbled (and mightily relieved!) to learn that, as regards Eskoms central control system, our information was out of date and wrong. Thank you for correcting us. Regrettably, as for the rest of our extensive Eskom survey, we were right on all points. Ed.
Your lead article and, in particular, your article about Eskom (nose103), confirms that affirmative action and black economic empowerment have failed this country dismally.
When the old National Party government handed over the reigns the country had an excellent infrastructure. Now, 14 short years later we have Eskom, pot-holed roads, dilapidated railways, broken sewerage works, contaminated water supplies, inefficient hospitals, crime and corruption everywhere.
The solution is simple: cancel all affirmative action and BEE programmes at once, because they are NOT working, and bring back those whites who were unnecessarily sidelined and forced out of government service.
I take it youre praising those good old days when the broken roads, dysfunctional services and crime were safely tucked away where most South Africans lived in the townships and Bantustans. Ed.
Ubuntu what Ubuntu?
In your last edition you make mention in your article on Eskom of the shortage of trained and experienced air traffic controllers in South Africa.
Toward the end of 2007 I heard a programme on Radio 2000, hosted by an HR Manager from ATNS, the company that trains, employs and manages ATCs working in our country.
long with many of my other pale-faced brothers, I am unable to find respectable and intelligent employment in my own country, so rather than sit down and moan, I contacted them with the intention of acquiring these highly sought after skills. I was in for a shock.
At first, all at ATNS denied any knowledge of the radio broadcast, had no idea who the woman hosting the show could possibly have been and, much worse, could not tell me a thing about any of their courses. Im of German stock and determined. Seven calls and three emails later, I finally found someone who actually could give a damn, and spoke what sounded like English, albeit with a patronising tone.
After repeating myself ad nauseam, I was able to ascertain how mischievous and underhanded these people really are. Despite their critical shortage of new people, they simply refuse entry to any of their training programs to white people and proudly so. Remember this organisation is run with taxpayers funds and is an equal opportunity employer well, in principle anyway.
How do they exclude candidates who happen to be white apart from feeding you a bullshit line when you call to enquire? They wont allow you to pay cash for your own training they dont want R535 000 in cash for a one-year training course! All applicants are forced to apply for state-sponsored bursaries. Thats the trick: rather than bluntly refuse whites access and be labelled black racists, they force all applicants to apply for bursaries, and yes, you guessed it, bursaries are ONLY given to black students.
It makes me want to vomit at the thought that I pay tax from which they receive subsidies; I am a South African citizen, born in this country; rather than bemoan affirmative action, I am willing to re-train in mid-life; they require as many as 35 ATCs NOW! And yet this bunch of racist ticks scarcely showed me the courtesy of a reply.
Drunk is best
I object to Robert van der Valks insinuation that I and others are undiscerning half-drunk Bok supporters (nose103). May I assure him that when I watch the Boks, I am very discerning and completely drunk.
Get a life Rob
For his bitter and twisted analysis of Springbok rugby (nose103) Rob van der Valk only looks at results since 1992. Why? Springbok rugby has been around a lot longer than that. Historically, only against the All Blacks do we have a negative win/lose ratio and it only turned negative post 1992, largely due to the effects of the isolation period.
General opinion at the recent world cup was that the Springboks were the best team on show and that coming from New Zealanders: keeping calm in tight situations, good conditioning (yes Rob, BIG is better!), peaking at the right time, good defensive tactics etc are part of coaching, Rob. Didnt Nick teach you that?
Who stands to gain from the delusion that were amongst the very best? Van der Valk asks.
Maybe hes the delusional one only when/if Nick Mallet is involved with SA rugby again, will Rob remove the splinter from his eye.
Dont insult us
Why not congratulate Jake White and his side, who overcame overwhelming odds to win the World Cup despite the attempts by SARU and the politicians to sabotage them? Yes, we played our traditional game, but that is our strength and its as South African as sunny skies, braaivleis and biltong. Yes we were lucky; but you insult the intelligence of the average rugby supporter if you think we dont know our poor winning record against the top sides. We watch the games you know.
Why not provide some solutions like you did in your book Nic and I? Isnt it time for some quality people such as Nic Mallet and Morne du Plessis to engage with SARU and become part of the solution. What about it Rob?
Rob van der Valks cock-eyed analysis of how the Boks won the World Cup smacks of sour grapes they won, end of argument. They got the luck of the draw by demolishing England something that most rugby analysts were saying would be near-impossible a year earlier.
No other team in the world runs onto the field hampered with the political baggage the Boks do.
Lets have some more of the investigative reporting that has kept me buying noseweek for many years. The post-match bar-room drivel I can hear pretty much anywhere!
Dont be so touchy. We thought it just as well to remind our readers that were part of the real world, where not only banks, lawyers and politicians get the beady eye, but rugby, too gets debated albeit over a couple of beers. Ed.
Kenaf a solution
I refer to your articles on hemp (noses102,103).
There is a thriving R120m natural fibre operation in the Natal Midlands, called Sustainable Fibre Solutions. See www.kenaf.co.za for more about the plant Kenaf (hibiscus cannabinus), which we are processing into natural fibres in a state-of-the-art factory, financed by the IDC and Seardel.
Kenaf is very similar to Hemp (cannabis sativa) in appearance and has similar applications. Thus whilst we heartily agree that industrial hemp should be deregulated there does exist a very viable alternative. Readers are welcome to contact me for further information.
Sustainable Fibre Solutions
Kenaf is indeed a great addition to the stock of environmentally-friendly fibre crops, and we wish you every success but we would dispute that it is a substitute for hemp or has as many non-fibre uses. Ed.
You may be interested to know that George Washington was not only a slave owner (a lot of people know that) but a hemp grower. I quote from Wikipedia: In the 1760s, he dropped tobacco (which was prestigious but unprofitable) and shifted to hemp and wheat growing and diversified into milling flour, weaving cloth, and distilling brandy.
David P Kramer
A heavenly tree
Your article on that oak tree in Bryanston (nose103) had me all emotional. Hans Crescent was where I grew up.
My parents, Nena and Pat Foley were of Irish descent, so named their house Bundoran Gaelic for a little bit of heaven.
I remember being able to run or ride my bike for what seemed like miles on that property with its rolling lawns and orchard. I remember sitting watching everybody dance as my brother turned 21. He would often have his friends over and Id watch them fix their cars under the trees.
My mother tended the garden and it was she who planted that oak tree. When it was small my parents would put a thatch blanket around it in winter to shield it from the frost, and I would then hide in the thatch. I would collect the leaves at this time of year as they were so beautiful. That garden kept my mother going. She was well into her eighties and my father had long passed away, but she stayed on to attend her garden. I have such happy memories of the place that I have never been past there since my mother died: I do not want to see the changes.
Greg and Cara must be very special people to protect that tree think of how it shades you and how it was protected. I am so happy that one of the trees that my parents planted still stands. I hope their lawyer neighbour, too, will come to understand and see beyond his complaints: you should all be friends and live a peaceful life knowing that the property was once home to a very happy family who still hold those memories dear.
We bought a stop neighbours dogs barking machine advertised in noseweek. It works! Dogs OK, were OK and neighbour OK!
P J Smit
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