Letters

Dear Editor


ON THE COVER
Meet some of the Nedcor board members who approved the allocation of “phantom options” worth R195m to 16 executives as a bonus kept secret from shareholders: (left to right) Prof Michael Katz, Chris Liebenberg (chairman), Richard Laubscher (CEO), and Mike Levett (also chairman of Old Mutual plc). The scheme was cancelled when Sunday Times columnist Steve Mulholland cried foul!


ON THE TRAIN


Can your readers help me unravel something? The other day on a train from Bournemouth to London, two men sat next to me, one black, one white. During the journey the white man addressed the black man as the chairman of a South African public affairs committee. The white man came from a computer company in the Southampton area and was very excited. He rang a colleague on his mobile phone to explain that there was a big deal about to go down in South Africa for touch-screen technology (computers allowing you to pay car tax and tv licences in post offices).
The committee chairman was going to help their company secure the tender. They would have to hurry, though, because the bids would close in 10 days time. However, this was okay because the chairman was flying back to South Africa that night. He had undertaken to get copies of the other five bids, which the Southampton company would then simply undercut. The bids would be shortlisted to three. Their company would be one of these and then they would be awarded the contract. All the committee chairman wanted was a new home, schooling for his children and an offshore bank account.
These were discussed in detail, including fees for the bank accounts and how his home could be bought without any trace to him. At the end of the conversation the committee chairman assured the computer man he would not regret the deal and mused: “You know there are certain times in life when everything comes together. This is one of those moments and I feel I must grasp it. You will not be disappointed.”
The two men then signed heads of agreement on the train, either for this deal or something else – perhaps the personal deal.
Is there any chance of finding out whether a deal of this nature is going through and, if so, who this committee chairman might be? I’d recognise him if I saw him again.
JCB, London

A full set of noseweek back issues will go to the first reader able to identify the chairman in question! – Ed.


LINKS UP A SILKEN SLEEVE


Yusuf Surtee is a 30% shareholder in the IT company, SEMA (South Africa) that has been chosen as the IT supplier to Cell-C. SEMA is a French company with close links to arms companies. Vive Le Yusuf!
ANON, ANON

Indeed! See the letter reproduced above. If I were Mr Mandela, I’d discreetly drop that line in silk shirts. They’re starting to smell. – Ed.


Please answer these two questions.
1. In a notice of the annual general meeting of the Automobile Association, I note that a
Y Surtee is listed as a Director of the AA. Is this the silken-shirt supplier Yussuf Surtee who featured in your organogram [nose32]?
2. Is Andre Stander of the notorious Stander gang of the 1980’s really dead? In the mid
1990’s when I was a guest in a suite at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, a sober, unknown policeman told me in a whisper that Andre Stander is alive and well. He said he was from the police unit that investigated police crimes. That night I hardly slept. The occurrence still haunts me today. Was Stander’s “death” in Fort Lauderdale in 1985 a police cover-up?
Koos Botha, Pretoria

1. Yes! See previous letter. He’s also a director of Vodacom. Which only goes to show it’s who you know, not what you know, that counts in the world of big business.
2. We don’t know. Maybe he didn’t exist to start with, and the real plot was … forget it, you don’t want another sleepless night! – Ed.



ARMS AND THE MAN


Congratulations on your subpoena – Or whatever you’ve been threatened with!
Now you know you’ve hit a raw nerve! Good luck!
THE MOUSY MANDARIN, Cape Town


The ANC is summonsing the innocent.
It is the cabinet who should be interrogated for info on the arms deals.
Good luck and shake them off!
TB, Johannesburg


ANOTHER TONY, ANOTHER MERC?


Your Tony Leon cover hit the mark more than you imagined: I hear an admirer has given him a lovely new Merc. Another Merc, another Tony! He has hurriedly put it in the party’s name to avoid Yengeni-type enquiries.
WJ, Johannesburg


WHAT GOES ‘OINK OINK’?


I’ve never had such fun as I had reading noseweek. To say what you want and damn the rest! What utter bliss!
As for the rudeness of BMW drivers: I’ve figured it out. It’s where they buy their cars. Here on the West Rand, everyone with a good job on the mines has bought his first-hand-second-hand Bee-em from For(s)dicks. That explains it nicely.
Also, Germiston can’t claim sole proprietorship of that hairstyle. It originated on the West Rand, where it is alive and well and seen in Westgate – next to Forsdicks!
SANDY DE BEER, Supplements Editor,
The Citizen, Jo’burg

See page 24 – Ed.



What’s the difference between a hedgehog and a BMW? A hedgehog has the pricks on the outside!
JIM IRVINE


YANKING SAA’S CHAIN


It was with relief and a sense of vindication that I read your article on Coleman Andrews. Unfortunately, the nation will pay for what he has done to SA’s national air carrier.
The SA government appears to have done its best to sell off, or wreck, our international transport links. Safmarine was sold to the giant Danish container company A P Moller (Maersk), whose intentions remain doubtful. Then we bring in Andrews, a man with a history, to sell off part of SAA to his cronies at SAirGroup – and launch a carboot sale of a fleet of aircraft that have served the country’s freight and passenger needs very well. Where on earth are we heading?
As a trading nation SA must have reliable transport to move that trade. We want to join the global economy, yet we sell off the means to sustain links with our trading partners. Last year Andrews sold off SAA’s wide-bodied Airbuses and replaced them with narrow-bodied Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Why? What we have bought are just stretched old 737-200s with screens and gadgets added to make them look hi-tech. The Airbuses we sold, on the other hand, are versatile and equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
My association questioned SAA Cargo about this decision. Chris Greenside, SAA Cargo Manager at the time, conceded that the decision had been taken by SAA’s board – without consulting SAA Cargo – and with no regard as to how cargo volumes would be handled once the Airbuses had left service. Our specific concern was cargo capacity from Johannesburg to Cape Town. SAA’s argument was, apparently, that more (smaller) planes doing more flights would provide the same cargo-carrying capacity as fewer flights with bigger, wide-bodied planes had done.
Which is, of course, not true. The Boeing 737-800 is a belly-loaded aircraft which, as you pointed out, cannot handle air pallets/containers. Cargo is loose loaded into the belly hold, with limits on package size, and with all the problems of cross tainting of commodities, double handling, damages, pilferage and lack of cooling for frozen cargo.
Given the cargo-capacity problems of the 737-800 , the idea is now that most cargo w ill be road feedered down to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth etc. Not a peep has been heard about this from the government, whose transport strategy is stated to be that cargo should be taken off SA’s abused road network! I had these questions put to the Transport Minister in Parliament last August:
1. Were stakeholders consulted about cargo specifications of the new fleet? The
minister’s reply: Cargo clients were not consulted because negotiations surrounding the purchase were sensitive.
2. Were alternative air-freight arrangements considered, based on current and
anticipated future demand? The minister’s reply: As the Boeing 737-800 will be operating additional frequencies, there is no need to introduce alternative air freight arrangements to cover anticipated demand.
What sensitivities was the minister talking about? There has been more in the press about SA’s arms deal than about these aircraft. This is a commercial purchase, so why should there be sensitivities?
In Cape Town we already see the unfortunate results of this bad aircraft choice. Cargo space is at a premium. What will happen in two years’ time when we want to fill a new conference centre with hundreds of delegates – and fly in all their exhibits?
What about the much-mooted ship-repair and movie industries, both punted as saviours of the local economy? These need good passenger and cargo links – now tenuous at best.
One last point: what is it with this firm of consultants, Bain & Co? They’ve been through SAA and SARS and seem to be the flavour of the week.
In the book Dangerous Company Bain is described as being “the consulting industry’s most secretive firm” and is nicknamed “the KGB of management consulting”.
To quote the book: “From the outset, Bain cloaked his new venture in the kind of secrecy reserved for Central American airlines under contract to you-know-who.”
An interesting choice by our boys in Pretoria!
GAVIN COOPER, Chairman
SA Association of Freight Forwarders, W Cape


About the Yank: follow the trail and check the role of Kennedy Memani, [Minister of Public Enterprises] Stella Sigcau’s advisor at the time of the SAA deal, who subsequently had a Bain franchise!
QINISO


AIDS, HIV AND AZT


The common factor in the many diseases that define the Aids syndrome is a heightened level of nitric oxide and oxygen radicals, as well as deficiency in glutathione molecules. These symptoms need not – and in all probability are not – caused by a particular virus, such as the postulated retrovirus, HIV.
It is scientifically established that a heightened level o f oxygen radicals and nitric oxide is caused by repeated infections (for example from repeated injury, contaminated water, or semen in unsafe intercourse).
The deficiency of glutathione molecules is related to malnutrition, to chronic hepatitis and to certain drugs (eg chemo-antibiotics). Retrovirals (such as AZT) do not have any therapeutic effect. Studies and animal trials since 1990 demonstrate that these cytotoxic drugs are only to 1% incorporated into the cell nucleus, far below the level that would be needed to inhibit retroviruses. The drugs do, however, destroy both healthy and infected cells and severely damage the mitochondrial DNA, resulting in damage to the bone marrow, the brain, the muscles and other organs. The producer of AZT, Glaxo, conveniently attributes these negative side-effects of the drug to the HIV retrovirus.
See www.virusmyth.com for SA attorney Anthony Brink’s challenge to Glaxo to clearly state the effects and side-effects of AZT.
Details of alternative Aids therapies, based on research at medical institutions in Germany, Switzerland, the US and Australia, can also be found at www.virusmyth.com and at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Anyone needing information on Aids-defining illnesses and treatment should contact us.
FELIX A DE FRIES
Study group for Aids therapy, Zürich Switzerland
Tel./Fax 09-41 1 401-3424
e-mail: felix.defries@bluewin.ch


We note the latest developments on “cheap Aids drugs to South Africa”. In our book, World Without Aids, we predicted two years ago that some form of pre-planned, outwardly philanthropic and highly-publicised move from the pharmaceutical industry would then elicit a grateful response from the generally naïve masses. So far, it all seems to be going according to plan.
An alternative summary of the situation can be found on our website at www.whatareweswallowing.freeserve.co.uk/africa.htm
Steven Ransom, steve 1 @ onetel.net.uk


BIDDULPH RISES


I suppose you are aware that the man who apparently lied in the David Hersch-ABSA case, Biddy Biddulph, has risen to a prominent position with the Life Offices Association running their electronics business. When I asked the executive director of the LOA what he was doing there, he said that nothing in the judgement, which they had “studied carefully”, indicated that the judge had said that Biddulph had perjured himself.
DAVE CRAWFORD, Fairways

Note the LOA’s careful choice of words. They have no shame. Biddulph undoubtedly lied – but then, of course, he lied on his bosses’ behalf, making him a loyal employee! – Ed.



US RENEGES ON KYOTO


This is a call for Civic Action Against the US Government’s rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty signed by more than 100 countries (including the USA!) to agree on gradual reduction of carbon emissions.
Now the new government of the United States, the world’s major air polluting country, has turned its back on attempts to regulate carbon-gas emissions.
Most scientists in the field agree that increased carbon emissions are modifying our planet’s climate. Whatever the eventual impact, it is clear that we cannot wait and see – and only then try to repair the damage.
This earth is the only one we have.
The US population (4% of the world’s population) is responsible for the emission of 25% of all carbon gases! Those of us having no electoral say in the US have decided we will exercise our “consumer-vote” to make the US accept its responsibility. Until the US Government revises its current policy on this issue, we intend not to buy goods either imported from the US or manufactured by US companies, if an alternative is available. Join the action!
· Get more information on the subject (eg on the web-site mentioned below) and discuss it with others, especially with your children.
· Take stock of those US products you are currently buying – and stop buying them!
Some examples: avoid US-branded soft-drinks (Coke, Fanta, Pepsi, etc); move away from US-branded fast-foods (McDonalds, KFC, etc) and look for alternatives to US cars (GM, Ford, Chrysler), etc.
Email your declaration of support for the action to: KyotoAction@SayNo.NL
You will find many informative articles on the debate at www.guardian.co.uk/globalwarming
GUY BROUCKE, Pretoria


NOT CRICKET!


I am a South African living in the UK.
Recently my son and a friend, both pupils at Kings College School in Wimbledon, received approval to undertake an U15 cricket tour to Cape Town. Kings College were introduced to a travel company in Durban specialising in school tours in SA, which has become a very popular destination for UK schools. The name of the company was Sport Cullis, run by Carol and Mike Fewster.
Sport Cullis was paid R140 000, and the boys were due to depart for SA on the 19th of October 2000. But, once the money was received in Durban, nothing further was heard from the Fewsters. I have now heard that Sport Cullis has gone into liquidation.
Thirteen young cricketers have lost the opportunity to visit our country and the good name of South Africa has yet again been tarnished by unscrupulous operators.
I have since discovered that a company called Educational Services and/or Eduserve Travel, based in Durban and operated by … you guessed it … Carol Fewster, is offering opportunities to schoolchildren to tour both to and from SA. The headmasters and bursars of all the UK schools meet regularly and when the subject of tours and South Africa comes up, we now know what to expect.
SIDNEY BENSOHN, London


EXCITED


I have lived in far northern Botswana for 8 years and I am always excited to receive a copy of noseweek. I applaud your ability to keep “old news” vital and the perpetrators of new crimes under the magnifying glass.
DESMOND GREEN, Botswana

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