Dear Editor

Arms wrestling
What a movie your lead story about the ANC’s role in the cover-up of apartheid’s rotten secrets would make! Since nose131 and now nose132 I have trawled the media to find the obvious follow-up stories – but nothing. It was described as “probably the most serious case of sanctions busting and money laundering yet recorded”, so it boggles the mind that it’s not front page news everywhere.

This is exactly why the ANC wants to muzzle the media. (Most already have been – clearly.) They’ve perfected what the Nats started, learned from their mistakes in being found out with the arms deal and, no doubt, are looking for another round of deals. They’ve done the navy and the air force. A little birdie happened to mention the army is next in line for some new toys. Keep it coming Mr Nose. Tell us all.
Belinda Shaw
Hout Bay

Then there’s Eskom and Hitachi – and R500bn-worth of nuclear power stations! And steel deals. And oil deals. And Vodacom shares. And, and, and... If you had all that on your commission/kickback/BEE agenda, would you be wanting to do anything for the press and the people – other than to tell them to shut-the-fuck-up?Ed.

When are we going to have the names – like who the Gnome is and who the other conspirators are – or are you aiming to keep us in suspense? What intrigues me most is why the ANC haven’t blasted this whole affair wide open and tried to recover these huge amounts. One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know they’ve got lots to hide.
Karkloof, KZN

Great Transnet Robbery
In your last issue, SA van der Spuy of Cape Town (Letters nose132) related how Transnet had upped its profits by robbing its own pensioners, as a consequence of which the value of his pension has halved since 1996.

With that in mind, your readers might also wish to note that Transnet’s latest annual report reflects that acting CEO Chris Wells was paid over R10m in salary and various other forms of remuneration over the last financial year – an increase of more than 40% on an already massive salary.

In addition, Transnet under Wells’ stewardship recently awarded striking workers wage increases of more than 11% – some three times the inflation rate.

While pensioners continue to be short-changed, it seems that executives and staff are well looked after in this state-owned entity.
D Wolpert

It has been duly noted in the little black book. – Ed.

Hot foot
As an insurance broker who has specialised in marine and transit insurance, I read your article “Hot Wheels” in nose131 with some interest.

I find it hard to believe Time Freight’s claim that they had no insurance. In their letter they repudiate the claim “because the cargo was insufficiently or not correctly packed for road transportation”. Not too many laymen keep those phrases on the tips of their tongues, but the Institute of London Underwriters Cargo Clause A has an exclusion which relates to “loss, damage or expense caused by insufficiency or unsuitability of packing or preparation of the subject matter insured” – which suggests there may have been a policy.

I advise my clients not to rely on transporters’ insurance unless they have proof that appropriate cover is in force AND that premium payments are up to date. (But then, I’ve also had an instance where the road haulier had insurance, but when the truck and its load went up in smoke, pocketed the entire insurance payout and disappeared.)
Terry Ortlepp

Day of Bhekining
Once again Bheki Mashile has hit the nail on the head when it comes to life on a commercial farm in South Africa. Having once farmed myself, I can relate to the experiences of having to deal with the peculiar and frustrating tendencies of the local populace.

Bheki, keep up your sterling efforts at exposing fraud, graft, theft and corruption in your part of this beautiful country. I hope that you live to a ripe old age and can one day tell your grandchildren how you helped improve the lives of the residents of Barberton. 

It’s a pity that we can’t get a copy of your esteemed journal here in KZN.
Nick McConnell

Bheki, the empire beckons! Ed.

Poor me
Despite its claims to being “the warmest place to be”, the Durban City Council displays racist bias when it comes to extracting payment from debtors.

Some years ago I challenged the methodology around the now defunct JSB/RSC levies, as it prejudiced enterprises with a high turnover/low profit model and those who derive their income from commission, like estate or travel agents.

The courts were not interested and I ended up with a judgment against me of R260,000.

The Council are extremely pro-active in chasing up this debt but show no interest in recovering the R200m owed by hostel dwellers and R600m from township residents for arrear rates and water (of which R160m is written off).

I can only assume that it is because I am a white person/business and have a fixed address and perhaps some assets.

So much for our non-racial, democratic society.
Tony Ball

Our readers will know we have little sympathy for the Durban council – but perhaps it makes more sense to collect from people who might pay, rather than waste more money trying to collect from people who can’t?Ed.

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