Letters

Dear Editor


Give PBMR a chance
Your editorial about the Pebble Bed Modular Nuclear Reactor project (nose105) raised many questions but provided few answers.

The scientific advisor to Areva, the French nuclear company in direct competition with PBMR, says his technology is better. Well he would, wouldn’t he? [Maybe – which is why we pointed out the connection. He does, however, also give the comparative figures. Ed.]

He also said that PBMR technology is great for generating heat. Now isn’t that what all nuclear power stations do to produce steam for the turbines? [Yes, but not ten times more heat than is required to convert water to steam!]

You commented that we might as well have windmills. But they only work at about 25% efficiency, and that’s nowhere near good enough for base load electricity supply is it? [Good enough for Germany, which generates 16% of its electricity needs with windmills.]

I’m not an engineer, so you can probably blow big holes in my logic [Yup!], but, as the song goes: “They all laughed at Christopher Columbus.”

I believe that we should invest in the PBMR as a potentially safer, viable power source. I suggest that there are vastly more “seductive hints” (or should that be Thints?) of enormous profits involved in the current technology from the French than there are in the pioneering work being done on PBMR. [Can we settle for “as many seductive hints”?]

South Africa led the world in developing the Fischer-Tropf oil-from-coal technology used by Sasol, also at great expense. It was a great success. Why should the PBMR not also be?
Nigel Fox
Kyalami

Afgri's parting money shot
Here we go again – yet another senior executive dropping his pants while lining his pockets (nose105).

It’s outrageous that in this day and age, in a country which expects to be taken seriously in the international business arena, Afgri can tolerate and, by implication condone, the behaviour of its MD, Jeff Wright, by agreeing to pay him such an enormous retrenchment package (R6m – and he gets half a million rands in leave pay?!).

This is tantamount to rewarding him for his immoral deeds. He’s no better than Tony Yengeni!

While the country lumbers from one crisis to the next, men like Jeff Wright get away with their shennanigans with impunity. No wonder the country’s in a sorry state!
Ruth Edwards
Al Satwa, Dubai

Buchanan Boyes beneath whores
While there surely are some good people in the legal profession and the banking sector, many of the stories you have published suggest that the inference on the cover of nose105 is an insult to the whores.
Valdy Jensen
Sunland, Eastern Cape

Why insult whores?
Not once have you published an article in which it is claimed that an ordinary honest person has been ripped off by a whore, clearly proving that they are in a completely different class to the shrewdsters to be found in banking and the legal profession.
If you are looking for suitable company for lawyers and bankers, better to look amongst the politicians.
Lukas
By email
We have reported on a case involving an allegedly devious whore – but only once! See Sex, lies and videotape in nose31. – Ed.

What have you been smoking?
Your suggestion (in a footnote to my letter in nose104) that kenaf is not as versatile in its uses as cannabis/hemp, is right: you definitely can’t smoke kenaf!
Robin Kemp
By email
I gather you’ve tried.Ed.

Goodbye Investec
I have recalled all of the family funds from Investec (noses102,103&104) and asked for them to be placed elsewhere. The only small snag is the “small” fee that it costs to move the portfolio. Oh well, lets just call that my patriotic duty!

Liz Hammond
Middelburg, Mpumalanga
It’s great to meet someone of principle! Have you noticed how, of late, Investec Asset Management have frantically been advertising how good their performance has been over the past five years? True, but have you also noticed how they say nothing about their charges – and “penalties” that get deducted when you want to call up your investment?Ed.

Congratulations on your superb investigative articles on Investec. May tumbrils and the guillotine enjoy a return to the justice system.

Please keep your teeth deeply sunk into their arses.
Roy de Vos
By Email

I feel very sad for pensioners who are preyed upon by bloody bastards/directors who steal SO much money. Is this the explanation for how so many are getting rich so quickly?
I would like to stick a hot pole up their arse, it makes me so angry!
Anton
Welgemoed

With reference to Investec’s multi-billion rand pension rip-off (noses103&104) – going back to nose24 of October 1998 we see the same names, same performance; didn’t stop them then, why should it now?
M Schonland
By Email

Eskom's sackful
The suddenness of the Eskom crisis is very strange – almost as if someone in their investment division has lost a sackful on derivatives/futures type trading.

It wouldn’t be the first time for a parastatal. Is this why they ran down the coal stocks – and suddenly want increases bearing no relation to coal and construction increases? When one thinks of how quickly they received approval in principle [for rate increases and massive projects], what they told the government must have been terrifying. Never say never.
Mike Morgan
By Email

Slacktivism
Moans about the current state of the nation bring to mind a recent Urban Word of the Day (www.urbandictionary.com):
Slacktivism – The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem; e.g. signing an email petition to stop rampant crime is slacktivism.

Want to really make your community safer? Get off your arse and start a neighbourhood watch!
Sophia
Pretoria

U-Care scam
Congratulations for exposing the U-Care scam.

Who would agree to signing a monthly debit order for R125 if they knew that only 20% of this (R25) was actually going to the nominated charity? Surely unsuspecting donors are not told that 80% of their money is going to the “sales” people and those who run this despicable scheme?

I was horrified to read that Harvest Aid, Radio Tygerberg and the Pretoria hospice were not at all concerned that their donors are being ripped off in this way. That a so-called Christian organisation like Radio Tygerberg can justify this is irresponsible in the extreme. And the other two organisations have more than sufficient appeal to donors to raise the money they need at a fraction of the 80% which this is costing.

The average cost of fund-raising, across non-profit organisations, is between 10% and 40% – at the outside!
Terry A Murray
Cape Town
These are hardly unsuspecting donors! The’re using charity as a figleaf to disguise their greed-driven purchase of a lottery ticket in a cash pyramid from which they hope personally to profit a great deal more than the charities. Ed.

Shock and Horror

Recently, after a stroll around the Bristol (UK) suburb of Clifton, we ended up at a nice enough looking eatery called Piazza di Roma.

But then, looking over the menu, my eye fell on the address. (See picture above.)

Shock. Horror! Surely our London ambassador should prevail upon the UK authorities to change racially offensive street names in their country, as we are doing in the Fatherland?

Tony Beamish

Mas de Panis, France




Land Rover: worst by far
In 2003 I purchased a new Land Rover Discovery TD5. After 12 months Land Rover replaced the vehicle with a Discovery V8, due to a suspension arm snapping on the TD5.
But the replacement vehicle has been a nightmare – the Discovery has broken down and needed to be towed no fewer than eight times. It has spent at least two months this year in Sandton Land Rover’s workshop, with repairs exceeding R150 000 so far.

As I write it’s being towed to the garage yet again, where it will undergo a complete engine strip-down – it is suspected that a new engine will have to be installed, at a probable cost of around R100 000.

Land Rover South Africa have backed off, saying the dealer must sort it out. And the dealer says he can only get R100 000 for the monster, where the book value, I believe, is about R150 000. Says a lot about the resale value of Land Rovers.

So all that remains for me is to expose Land Rover’s appalling product quality, matched only by their total disregard for their customers.

If I am not mistaken, their new TV campaign talks of dependability and reliability. But I seem to recall that some time back a customer resorted to taking out a full-page ad about Land Rover being the “worst 4x4 by far”.

I know of two friends who have had their Land Rovers replaced, also because of major problems or defects.
Rob Dodds
Bryanston

You didn’t know? Land Rovers are not intended for motoring, they are sold as hobby kits for car maintenance enthusiasts who like to spend their weekends in overalls, on their backs – underneath their vehicles with a set of spanners.Ed.

The new art of agreement
Our system of justice seems to be so bogged down in red tape and postponements that corruption has been allowed to get completely out of control.

It seems that big money buys big legal help, and big legal help knows just how to tie the courts into knots. The Zuma case is a noteworthy example. Why object to the raids on his home? Why not let the evidence from Mauritius be presented to court? His constant applications objecting to evidence being presented suggest that this man has a lot to hide.

It is with dismay that I read that “selective” treatment has been meeted out to Mr Zuma: As a high profile politician who should have set an example, Mr Zuma has instead “reached an agreement” with SARS and paid a R300 penalty for failing to declare his income. Now he wants tax evasion charges dropped.

If that is the stance that SARS is now taking, we can all evade declaring income and, if we get caught out, simply cite the “Zuma Deal” and expect SARS to drop all penalties. What is good for Mr Zuma should surely apply to all taxpayers?

The man in the street is sick and tired of corruption, but no-one in power does anything about it. No wonder the country is rotten to the bone.

What would this country do without people like you who expose the hidden truths?
Ian Stewart
Knysna

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Submitted by : TJH Hammond of DAINFERN on 2008-08-12 13:38:53
Land Rover: worst by far
I really feel for Rob Dodds, but your comments sum it up.
In the spirit of your recent exposes: "What do attorneys, bankers, whores & purchasers of Land Rovers have in common?" "They know what they are doing is wrong, but they still do it!"

Tom Hammond.

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