Letters

Dear Editor


KORTBROEK COVER ‘NOT FUNNY!’

noseweek covers are always something to look forward to. However, nose 37 has pushed things too far. There is a fine line between humour and insult. As a staunch Sharks supporter I take offence at seeing “Kortbroek” adorned in the sacred black and white (even if Bobby Skinstad is about to rip his head off). Not only does the choice of colours clash with your analogy, but showing “Kortbroek” as any sort of team player is entirely inappropriate. I am considering legal action.
SEAN SEGAR, Stanbic, Johannesburg

Satire, rugby and politics are contact sports: when the whistle goes you rush for his balls, twist his neck and stomp on his head – bugger the colour of his jersey! Ask Tony Leon. What’s that you were saying about legal action? – Ed.



ASMALS APART!


I am deeply committed to ensuring that noseweek maintains its fabulous record for accuracy. Issue 37 was largely devoted to the arms issue. One of the characters you referred to is Mohamed Enver Asmal, “sure to be related to Kader”. Why this coyness and parenthesis? I have consulted all my ancestors, friends and distant relatives. No relationship of any kind can be traced, maternally or paternally. There is, therefore, I presume, no guilt by association.
KADER ASMAL, Minister of Education

Innocent as pleaded. However, while we are on the subject of accuracy, our honoured correspondent misquotes our inaccuracy: our report stated that ME Asmal was said to be related, which clearly implied that it was untested rumour. Hence the “coyness”. – Ed.



ENGEN ETHICS ‘LAUGHABLE’


A recent circular letter entitled “Introduction of Engen Ethics Line”, from Engen’s Group Procurement Manager, takes the moral high ground on bribery, corruption and theft. What a laugh. Contrast it with treatment meted out to a friend who, after matriculating at SACS, gave Mobil/Engen 32 years’ loyal service: He was retrenched seven months before his earliest retirement date. Engen then cut his pension by 30%, claiming this was in accordance with its rules – and neither Engen nor the Pensions Adjudicator was prepared to bend these rules. Why should anyone think of loyalty? Engen doesn’t know the meaning of ethics.
AM WESTON, Claremont


ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF SA?

In 1993 the concept of an Islamic Republic of SA sounded far-fetched. The inordinate power now wielded by this sector in government and the ruling party is out of all proportion to the national demography. The bigger, Christian, coloured community has simply no say! How about an equity plan?
CAPEY, Grassy Park


CROOKED ATTORNEYS


I wish to congratulate Mr Justice Pete Combrinck for speaking out against attorney fraud and theft (The Natal Mercury, Nov 11). During the year 2000, attorneys stole more than R350m from their clients’ trust accounts. Many more millions were stolen from their clients’ road accident claims and from the Legal Aid Board and deceased estates. Not to mention the fraudulently padded bills for incompetent service. And yet not a single attorney is in jail. Why? Are the police afraid to arrest them? We’re sick and tired of attorneys getting special privileges and being immune to prosecution. The Asset Forfeiture Unit should attach the assets of these thieves [as suggested by Mr Justice Combrinck]. The Law Societies should be closed down as they’ve failed to protect the public. What about consumer rights? When are we going to get an independent ombudsman?
SNOWY SMITH, Fair Civil Law, Durban

STANDARD’S CREDIT-CARD LEVIES

In 2000 Standard Bank’s list of fees was contained on a single page. There was no charge on credit card transactions. Its new 2002 Pricing Guide is a four-page, grab-you-by-the-balls whopper. The tactic is to swamp you with info so you miss the detail, inter alia that there is now a R2.20 levy on every credit card purchase! Perhaps it’s time to ask what our Standard Bank “Lets Screw the Public” board of directors are getting in their company Christmas stocking. Where does a pauper bank? Perhaps at Grandma’s Under the Mattress Bank?
SOON-TO-BE EX-STD CLIENT, Wynberg


12 HOURS IN AN SAA SARDINE CAN


“South African Airways offers specious leg room, fine food, award-winning SA wine, top class entertainment and complimentary drinks.” So said the internet advert. On Aug 31, SA Flight 220 Cape Town to London lacked fine food or spacious leg room, and the entertainment was inaccessible. The minced chicken was stretched with some unpleasant gelatinous substance. The seating was intolerable. According to the plan for a 747/400 on SAA’s website, the last row is 70. I was seated in row 76. My knees were squashed, and eating a meal involved elbowing the other passengers.
Individual entertainment consols are provided, presumably to distract passengers from their discomfort. However, the wiring for them is housed under the seats in protective plastic casings which reduce legroom even further. I could not fit my feet under the seat, and was forced to sit with one foot in the aisle. And my handset was not working! No one willingly sits for 12 hours in a sardine can. SAA is alienating loyal customers and creating a bad impression on first-time visitors to South Africa. Most importantly, the seating puts the safety and health of passengers at risk. In the event of an emergency, how would passengers assume the correct braced position for impact, or get life jackets from under seats and don them without colliding? The mind boggles at the prospect of frightened people struggling to extricate themselves from tiny seats to move to exits. According to the SAA website, the mission is “to be the carrier of choice in the market we serve”. This mission and the seating of 747 400s are incompatible.
DR SUSAN COOPER, Ottawa, Canada


NOSEWEEK ARTICLE ‘SEXIST’


Your article “Young drunk violent dead” (nose37) was fascinating, if macabre – but the writer’s sexism made a poor vehicle. The writer insinuates that death by strangulation is something women bring upon themselves because of their “sharp tongues”. When the statistics on death by strangulation among women appear, you comment in parenthesis: “(Didn’t we predict it?!)”. Finally, in a crescendo of right-wing indignation, the writer suggests an unimaginative solution to the problem of unnatural deaths in SA: “arresting and punishing those responsible for all this murder and mayhem”. My disbelief gave way to anger, then embarassment. I (usually) recommend noseweek as a fine read, only to encounter a piece both flippant and demeaning. Reassure me!
MARINA BANG, Hong Kong

Death by violence is a serious business. Perhaps so serious that some (non-pc) flippancy was required to see us through all those ghastly statistics. (I’m male and washday is suicide day for me.) Sorry if our lack of good taste was rather too obvious that time. We can’t always be perfect! As for the “right-wing sentiment”: surely arrest and punishment are at least part of the solution? Perhaps even the most gratifying part for the family of the victims – which is all our article intended to suggest. – Ed.



NOSEWEEK’S GOT IT ALL


Do we have Kellogg’s All-Bran to thank for a regular noseweek? Whatever the formula, and whether or not it was “We got it all this morning”, it’s great to see you on the shelves regularly once again. I cancelled my subscription when I got fed up with the long wait between issues and became a cash buyer. Happily, thanks to the new noseweek regimen, I’m back on board!
GERTRUDE COOPER, Constantia

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