Letters

Dear Editor


Cover hijacked!

No Dr Jack on the cover of nose115? Colin Daniel does an okay job, but has nowhere near the powerful punch of the doctor. Is the doctor OK?

Royston Lamond

Cape Town

He’s OK and will be back shortly. – Ed

 I think the nose115 cover illustration by Colin Daniel is really very good. I love the detail and had a really good chuckle at the characters portrayed. I much prefer this detailed style to that of Dr Jack and Dov.

Jack

Illovo

Of one thing we are certain: noseweek readers have opinions – and don’t hesitate to express them. – Ed.

Disgusted!

The African National Congress has noted with utter disgust a report entitled “ANC’s tender touch” published in nose114 [and 115].

The ANC would like to place on record that it has:

No knowledge of the tender mentioned in the article  [a R152m tender granted to Valor IT by the Department of Trade and Industry relating to an upgrade of the information technology employed by CIPRO]

 Not received any money in respect of this tender as claimed in the report.

The ANC calls for an investigation to establish the veracity of the allegations. Action should be taken against anyone found to be guilty of any offence.

We warn against anyone using the ANC’s name for any such purposes.

Jessie Duarte

National Spokesperson for the ANC

We are most relieved to receive your assurance on this point, as, I am sure, our readers will be. We look forward to learning the outcome of the mooted enquiry.
Ed.

Healthy advantage

Delighted to see your article on the Green Point Stadium management contract – although not surprised.

Now take a closer look at the management contract with the Sports Science Institute of SA – initially under the management of Morné du Plessis’ own company, Sports Plan, and then, after he was bought out, managed by SAIL. Morné’s original contract allowed for a share of profits; SAIL was smarter: its management subsidiary, Navitute, gets a percentage of the Sports Science Institute’s turnover.

Seems these healthy guys know how to structure management agreements to their own healthier advantage.

Another Gatvol Taxpayer

Cape Town



Statistical improbability

Heart-warming as it is to learn that Glenrand’s share price had fallen “152% to an all-time low by this January” (nose115), your assertion strains credulity. Had the share price fallen a mere 100%, it would have been on offer at zero. Anything beyond that would have meant that vendors were offering money for buyers to take the shares off their hands. Even for Glenrand shares, that’s unlikely to happen.

I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies, though: at least you did not refer to Glenrand shares suffering a “whopping” 152% price fall.

Bruce MacDonald

Rondebosch

Journalism involving percentages and statistics, you may have noticed, is a cocktail that must be shaken, not stirred. The sentence should, of course, have read: “The Glenrand share price fell 85% to an all-time low of 62 cents by this January.” Anyway, to err is human – so now you know: we’re human. – Ed.



Moved by Baby Michael

As a long-time subscriber, I have frequently been impressed with the exposures you have done that others have avoided. To date, I haven’t put pen to paper, but “Baby Michael” has moved me to write and compliment you on your investigations. I congratulate you on your courage to expose the truth and your ability to entertain people such as myself while doing so.

Stan Anderson

Port Elizabeth

We would be lying if we did not say we are thrilled and grateful for kind letters like yours. Thank you.
–  Ed.

 

♦ In response to the article on Baby Michael in nose115, I wish to correct some errors and clarify my organisation’s position.

Firstly, Ms le Roux is not a “commissioner of Child Welfare South Africa”. Child Welfare South Africa is a national NGO. Ms le Roux is a magistrate in the Children’s Court in Randburg, and by dint of her job, a commissioner for Child Welfare for that district.

Our Maureen Coetzee was not “dispatched to Avril Elizabeth” by the commissioner. She did call on them to explain the legal restrictions on the publication of information on children involved in Children’s Court processes. The Children’s Court is a closed court in which no-one is up on charges; the emphasis is on addressing the child’s needs and, where possible, rehabilitating the family. Information which identifies the child cannot be published without official consent. Details concerning family members of children in care are confidential and it is in most circumstances unethical and illegal for a social worker to share such information, except where required in order to deliver the necessary professional services to the child and family, or by order of a court. Similar restrictions apply to health care workers and psychologists.

Our organisation provides services to parents who abuse their children, with the aim of breaking the cycle of abuse which tends to be perpetuated from generation to generation. Prosecution and punishment is not our function. If one is in the position of regularly having to investigate tragic cases of abuse of children, as we are, it becomes all too clear that these are a continuation of earlier, similar tragedies which befell their own parents in early life. This does not excuse abuse but it does help us to understand it and to find ways to prevent it. In some cases we can help abusive parents to change their behaviour and redirect their lives. But for this to occur they have to be able to trust us. Participating in hate campaigns against them will not help. Cruelly, the children themselves become stigmatised in such processes. Also, these children feel very deeply the negative attitudes of others in society towards their parents.

The provisions in the existing Child Care Act and the incoming Children’s Act regarding the confidentiality of information are there to protect the children. We all need to respect them.

Jackie Loffell

Advocacy Coordinator

Johannesburg Child Welfare Society

True. But “silent diplomacy” has seen two minor girls impregnated – one a case of rape – and two infants seriously disadvantaged – one grievously brain damaged: four young lives imperilled or destroyed. Maybe prison is appropriate in these circumstances? Ed.



Shitty cars?

The comments about “shitty cars”, “poor resale value”, “poor mpg” and other snotty remarks in the “advert” (nose114) about US-manufactured cars leave a bad taste in the mouth; they are definitely not based on facts about current General Motors products.

A few examples: 

  •  GM has received numerous prestigous awards from international judges from around the globe during 2008 and 2009.
  • GM sales worldwide were up 3% in 2007, marking the automaker’s second best global sales in its 100-year history. In 2008, GM nearly doubled its sales in Eastern Europe and was top seller in the 2nd largest car market in the world, China. No company can do that if they sell “shitty” cars
  • When it comes to fuel economy GM vehicles are market competitive. The Chev Cobalt XFE and Pontiac G5 XFE, at 37 mpg, achieve a better fuel economy rating than the Toyota Yaris and Corolla and the Honda Fit.


I am a GM employee, but I am writing this in my personal capacity.

Rudi van Deventer

Port Elizabeth

Your loyalty is admirable. Point is: US car manufacturers have continued to lose market share to imports – and, if all is so rosy, why did they require a multi-billion dollar bailout by the US taxpayer?
Ed.



Give the bank a break

I obtained a Standard Bank credit card for buying things on the internet, but ended up hardly using it. As a result I continued to pay the annual account fees without being aware that the card had expired in October 2007.

When I eventually tried to use the card on 5 May 2009, the transaction was rejected as the card had expired.

Standard’s card division confirmed that my account is “all in order”, but nevertheless rejected my claim for reimbursement of card fees for 2007 and 2008. A small enough matter, but one of principle, nonetheless: I want to know how the bank justifies the fraudulent deduction of fees for a card that has not been valid since October 2007.

R Fabby

By email

This time – can you believe it! – I’m with Standard Bank. You had the approved facility for all that time. But you had allowed your card to expire. Cards expire for very good security reasons, as I am sure you will concede. Either ask for a fresh card, or close the account if you no longer need it. Then drop the matter: you’re wasting everyone’s time and energy. Ed.



Our Mutual friend

Old Mutual had its AGM in London and didn’t set up a South African conference link-up, thereby conveniently avoiding having to answer questions from local shareholders, particularly Allan Greenblo and Theo Botha. Julian Roberts, OM’s group CEO, says the decision not to pay dividends – the big issue – was necessary to cover more losses in the US. Business Report’s headline read: “Old Mutual starves SA unit to pay for US loss”.

Now I checked with the FSB about the status of OM, because I noted that it has been buying up substantial local investment companies lately, namely ACSIS and Futuregrowth. I was told that everything was in order. Is it??

Pam Herr


Sun Valley

My guess? No. – Ed.

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