Letters

Dear Editor


Unhealthy procedure
It appears that Discovery Health (nose135) has various degrees of authorisation for medical procedures; perhaps they should code them – say a 3 being definite, a 2 being greater than 50% probability of approval; and a 1 for a less-than-50% probability that Discovery will agree to pay, come tomorrow morning.

What absolute bull! Are they remunerating staff for refusing claims, as is now common practice amongst health insurers in the USA?

Dr Watson
Johannesburg

  • Your articles on Discovery were very interesting, the second one also being somewhat alarming. I have heard that Discovery is going to be hard-arse this year, when it comes to approving claims.

One should ask them if they’re going to put their internal rule book on their website, in the interests of contractual probity.

Richard Bennett
Genesis Group Benefits,
Illovo, Jhb

Wrong about copyright
On the subject of copyright to church music (nose135), as a church musician let me give you some facts: if a composer copyrights his or her piece, they and their estates are entitled to royalties on every sale and performance of the piece until 50 years after their deaths. (Cliff Richard and others are trying to have the law in the UK amended to increase that to 100 years.)

For a composition to be performed or sung, it needs to be printed and made available. When a piece is rearranged, the person who does the arranging and/or publishing is also entitled to  remuneration.

For ease of access to a bigger repertoire, churches today use data projectors rather than printed songbooks. But that results in fewer books being sold, depriving the composer/poet/publisher/arranger of income. The Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) and the Music Reproduction Licence (MRL) were introduced so that churches can legally photocopy music (hence the music reproduction licence) and/or words (hence the CCLI) printed on a sheet or displayed via a data projector instead of having to buy published hymn books.

Where I was church music director, we used music from a variety of hymn books, published over decades. That would have meant each parishioner would have needed a supermarket trolley to bring all their hymn books along each Sunday!

Of course not all music used in a church is covered by these licences – the person holding the copyright must contract with CCLI/MRL to represent them. Once a year every church is required to make a declaration of the music used and the number of regular parishioners. The annual fee from all churches is then divided amongst the contracted-in composers, obviating the purchase of hymn books. That sounds fair and reasonable.

Dr Chris Molyneux
Simon’s Town

  • I was shocked about the issues discussed in “Good copyright, bad copyright” (nose135). In business, my only bad experiences have been with very religious groups. Religion does seem an easy way to make money. I had a good client in Joburg, an accountant of a large business. He resigned to join one of these churches as the financial director and sort of partner, and told me he could never hope to earn the same type of money anywhere else.

Bev,
Plettenberg Bay

It has to be one of “those” churches. Ed.

Crookery pokery
The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has noted with concern the article in nose135 relating to crookery in hospitality training and the false claims made by a Dr Herbert Derendinger.
The university have never been associated with this person, either directly or through its affiliation with the former Technikon Pretoria.

The university has instructed its attorneys to act swiftly to stop this person from making any further false claims.

The courses offered by TUT are all registered on the National Qualifications Framework and accredited with Saqa and not with Theta as he claims.  Secondly, the qualification he is referring to is in professional cookery; TUT has not at any stage (pre- and post-merger) offered a course in professional cookery.
 
The university’s Department of Hospitality Management offers a course in Hospitality Management from a National Diploma up to B. Tech level and a joint Master’s in Tourism and Hospitality.  TUT has never offered the subject at doctorate level.

It needs to be emphasised that the National Diploma is a three-year qualification.

It is extremely sad when young people are lured into costly scams such as the one that was highlighted in noseweek. Should these students still be interested in furthering their studies in professional cooking, an option for them would be to apply at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) who are in the same association with TUT in offering Hospitality Management, however, they also offer professional cookery.

I wish Mr Barnard and the other students who were victims of the scam better luck and success in their future endeavours.

Willa de Ruyter
Tshwane University of Technology

Conservation cruelty
Not only does the Western Cape government need to establish a rescue plan for wild animals affected by veld fires and other natural disasters; they need to see how it will correlate with the onerous permit restrictions imposed by Cape Nature Conservation.

We are currently dealing with a Barrydale sanctuary where CNC will not entertain the release of indigenous wildlife further than 100km from the sanctuary. This is a factor leading to the extermination by CNC of over 50 indigenous primates at the centre – some by shooting with no silencer.

More specifically, the sanctuary may technically not receive or rescue wildlife from further than 100km away. Other Western Cape sanctuaries are bound by similar conditions which, they maintain, are impossible as there are no nearer viable sanctuaries. Add to this the flat-out, obstructive denial of access to information by this provincial department.

Imagine if there were a veld fire similar to the horrific one in Australia – how would the imposed permit restrictions affect potential rescue operations, since most wildlife would not be given sanctuary and safety, simply because of distances?

It is about time the Western Cape cleaned up provincial departments, making them transparent operations, concerned for the heritage entrusted to it. The lack of accountability, transparency and vision leaves many connected to conservation deeply disillusioned.

Despite the well-argued lip service by the likes of Gareth Morgan, the DA’s political will to address environmental concerns at grassroots level appears to be lacking. In Bedfordview, a DA ward, they openly pander to illegal developers at the expense of our green lungs – then treat residents who dare to object in a dictatorial, rude and unprofessional manner. As Beverley highlights (in Letters, nose135), what then is the difference between them and the ANC? Very little.

Samantha Jane Martin
Bedfordview

  • It may be an expensive exercise but if a rhino is worth R500 per gram, then to spend a few bob saving its life should be economical.

It would be simple to dart all the rhino population, drill a large number of 2mm holes into the horn and insert a potent supply of arsenic or some other long-lasting organic poison akin to curare (poison used on arrows) to make the horn resource singularly undesirable.

To help save the animal, the horn could also be colour-coded, rather like the purple in methylated spirits, to warn would-be slaughterers that this supposed aphrodisiac or medicine is seriously undesirable.

We have a lot of very clever graduates at the CSIR and something along these lines should be a doddle for them to concoct.

John Bewsey
(Pr Eng),(Pr SciNat),CE,CSci,
By email

Another dissenter
Thank you for the job that you do. The articles that I’ve read in noseweek are different and in depth – and have been an inspiration to me.

I now plan to launch a weekly magazine of my own in Gauteng, called Heresy. It will be published online and in print, and the first issue will appear in February.

I will keep encouraging my friends to read noseweek for insightful articles.

Bakoena Manoto
Johannesburg

Thanks for the compliments and our best wishes for your new venture!Ed.

Forearmed
In your November 2010 editorial (nose133) you drew a parallel between how, two centuries ago, it was customary for chieftains in British Caffraria to be paid off in brandy and trinkets by European traders for delivering up their own or neighbouring tribesmen into slavery or other forms of economic exploitation – and how, more recently, European arms traders have similarly exploited the moral and intellectual weakness of South Africa’s leaders and its dominant political party.

There was no need to seek a historical parallel: European arms dealers, in fact, treat the South African government and ruling party in exactly the same way they treat all governments and ruling parties in Europe. They wish simply to drag South Africa down to Europe’s level.

As for the “impending catastrophe”:  eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Anyone who has lived in the USA will testify that after two centuries of democracy, their newspapers each month report the arrests or impeachments, prosecutions and jailings for corruption of parliamentarians, provincial legislators, mayors, police chiefs, judges, and prison heads.

Thanks to the vigilance of noseweek and other whistle-blowers, and to our Bill of Rights, we will succeed at the same eternal struggle as other democracies do.

One of our prime arms deal corruption suspects, BAe, has already been fined under new anti-corruption laws that did not exist two decades ago. The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act will also make life more difficult for rascals.

And I will be subscribing to noseweek for life!

Keith Gottschalk
Claremont

 

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