Letters

Dear Editor


Re Arms and the Man (nose31).

A perfectly good story ruined by your inability to differentiate between ‘Zenzile’ and Zanele? When will you mlungus learn that, not only do we look different from each other, but our names have meanings too?
NATHALIE KAUNDA, nkaunda@icon.co.za

This is another of those occasions when we wish we were black – very black - to hide our blushes. – Ed.



Since you’re clearly still as busy as a mole at springtime, nosing around gun emplacements and secret military checkpoints/chequebooks (Ah! Said Mole as he smelt the sunshine), I am confident that all will be revealed in time. To me it sounds like Ronnie Kasrils, who I am sure is dyslexic or can’t add, just had no clue and the rest just struck a stupid deal, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and all. The arrogance is beyond belief.
PATRICK MCLAUGHLIN, Cape Town


Laundering the dirt on Coega’s track


I would like to correct some misconceptions contained in your article on Coega (More dirt down the track, nose31). First, the proposed Coega development addresses the long-term strategic requirements of the SA economy. It is not an investment for the next five years, but for the next 50. While Durban may be closer to Gauteng, the future capacity of that port is severely limited. It will reach full capacity within the next five years. It is the government’s job to plan for 20 years down the track, not just for tomorrow. P&O Nedlloyd’s involvement in Coega should be seen as a vote of confidence in the long-term growth of the SA economy. Second, the commitment of the Anglo-Dutch Consortium of P&O Nedlloyd and TCI Infrastructure (TCII) to develop the Coega Container Terminal and Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) is effectively a direct foreign investment in the SA economy. Local expertise will be used to create local jobs, using foreign money to develop infrastructure. In addition, the Coega IDZ initiative aims to position the Eastern Cape as an international destination for inward investment in the manufacturing industry, and for exported goods and services. Coega is ideally tailored to facilitate development of export-oriented industries such as the automotive industry. The stimulus it will provide to the economy cannot be underestimated. Third, to emphasize the proximity of Durban to Gauteng as a reason to oppose the Coega development is disingenuous. The limiting factor should be the time taken to deliver the goods to an end point. It is obviously the intention of any carrier to provide an efficient rail system to facilitate rapid and secure transport of goods to and from a port, and Coega will be no different. However, it is the cost of ship delays due to lack of port capacity that impacts most severely on importers and exporters, and which Coega intends to avert. We would appreciate if in future you checked the accuracy of your information with the relevant parties, such as ourselves, to ensure, for example, that you get our name right.
NIGEL PUSEY, MD, P&O Nedlloyd SA

Anglo-Dutch Consortium of P&O Nedlloyd and TCI Infrastructure’? I’m afraid, ‘Nedlloyd’ will have to do. You clearly understood who we were talking about. Your letter is, however, most valuable for what, by implication, it confirms: that, while you expect us to take the ‘long-term’ view – since Coega is unlikely to be profitable for the next 50 years (if ever) – your consortium is not prepared to do so. You have, as we reported, taken the precaution of requiring Portnet/Transnet/the SA taxpayer to guarantee your turnover and, therefore, your profits from day one.
You say Durban harbour’s approaching full capacity? No problem. The existing PE harbour is currently operating to only 45% of its capacity! As for the PE rail system – are you suggesting that Spoornet may be prepared to spend billions (which they haven’t got) on a new, dual line from Gauteng, in a bid to make your small investment viable? Clearly there’s lots more insanity down this track! – Ed.



Re: Mr J Modise


We refer to your letters column headed ‘Shake-up or Shaikdown’ (in nose31). You were advised that your prior story was scurrilous and defamatory. Inasmuch as you persist in referring to our client, your further defamation is aggravated and will in due course be drawn to the attention of the presiding judge seized of the matter.
You are aware that the allegations of and concerning our client pertain to a current investigation and potential commission and, accordingly, our failure to respond to your allegations in more detail are to be seen in the light of the sub judice principle.
BEDER-FRIEDLAND INC, Jo’burg

We gather that you’re ‘aggravated’, but please take a deep breath and then try writing in plain English. Commission? Sub judice? Is your client afraid that anything he says might incriminate him? For still more aggravating information about the arms procurement fiasco, see pages 7 and 10. – Ed.


M-Tel’s insurance isn’t sexy


I was not surprised to read about M-Tel’s dubious insurance ‘service’ (nose31) as I have first-hand experience of their dishonesty. In May 1995 I bought a cellphone and a 24-month contract from M-Tel. I never terminated this contract, but let it run on after the expiry (losing out on a free phone upgrade). All the while I was paying M-Tel over R40 monthly to insure my phone. In January 1999 my wife put the phone down on the counter at her gym. A moment later the phone was gone.
By this stage, my insurance payments had covered the cost of the phone, and more. When I filed an insurance claim with M-Tel, they refused to give me a replacement phone, saying there had been ‘no break-in or forced entry.’ I was therefore not covered for one of the most common forms of cellphone theft. I later discovered I could have insured the phone against all risks as part of my household insurance with Santam – and that they would have charged me substantially less. Now I was upset. Complaining to M-Tel got me nowhere, so I wrote to the Cape Argus, who covered the story. When they asked M-Tel for comment, they claimed I was lying, and that I had rejected their offer of a replacement phone!
Yes, M-Tel, I like paying for insurance and then refusing to accept it when I have stuff stolen, and then lying to the newspapers about it. The story didn’t end there. I had to cancel my contract – and M-Tel insisted on 30 days notice, charging me several hundred rand more for two months of non-existent ‘service’ (which would have easily covered the cost of a second-hand replacement phone).
Needless to say, I will never have anything to do with them again.
GRAHAM WHEELER, Cape Town


MASTERBOND: I’M NOT GUILTY,’ SAYS KAHN


In nose31 you state: ‘When Attorney-General Frank Kahn received the first Masterbond report [in 1986] the scheme had taken in R10m. He did nothing. When it collapsed [in 1991] the total had reached R615m.’ I was not Attorney-General between 1986 and 1989 and did not deal with this matter. The files clearly indicate that the then Cape Attorney-General, Adv D J Rossouw, received the reports in 1986, dealt with the matter and decided not to prosecute on 4/7/1989. The files were later handed to the Nel Commission of Inquiry. In relation to George Philippaki, I interviewed him together with advocates Prins and Atkinson and Brig Visagie during October 1991. At this stage I was in the process of setting up the IDSEO office and there was a possibility of my heading the office in Pretoria. (Hence Philippaki’s recollection, quoted by you.) Instead, however, in December 1991 I became Acting Attorney-General of the Cape and left the investigation to advocates Prins and Atkinson, who thereafter became members of IDSEO. They inform me that in June 1992 the Nel Commission was established and all the files were given to advocates Klem and Botha at the Commission. The latter have informed me that in 1993 they consulted Philipakki in Greece and, furthermore, during the Brits, Winkler and Jonker trial, evidence was taken on commission from him in Australia in October 1994.
The allegation that there appeared to be no follow up on his allegations is, therefore, incorrect.
FRANK KAHN, Director of Public Prosecutions: Cape of Good Hope.

We find the accused not guilty. You are sentenced to another five years of hard labour, with 20 lashings of whipped cream to be administered by the lady corporal of your choice. And don’t ever again let us hear you say ‘I don’t read noseweek.’
So old Broederbonder ‘Niel’ Rossouw was the guilty party! We should have guessed – Ed.



EDUCATED OPINION


Congratulations on your Febrary edition! As regards military and education spending, see the cartoon in the March edition of Educator’s Voice.
Kind regards and solidarity.
HASSEN LORGAT,
National Media Officer South African Democratic Teachers Union (in my personal capacity)

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