Letters

Dear Editor


On the prowl

Your article on Zuma and the Chinese tiger (nose139) ignores the more interesting and significant facts.

China’s Sovereign Fund is reported to be worth about $3 trillion – the dollar profits from sales in the USA almost certainly paid for in paper dollars, not in commodity money – silver and gold. That’s despite having spent a king’s ransom investing in US Government Bonds, property and assets of whatever kind. They still have that $3-trillion problem.

They have to find a profitable home for it – hence their buying elsewhere (even in the RSA) whatever they can and need – with those same US paper dollars. Oil from the Sudan, timber, minerals and food… The Olympic extravaganza consumed a little but not nearly enough.

Some readers may be interested in Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke’s $9 trillion “quantitive easing”. By paying that so-called “paper money” to distressed banks, insurance outfits (such as AIG) and sundry businesses, such as GM, as well as lowering the interest rate to next to zero, they put all that “money” into circulation, hoping the public will spend it and borrow – creating more debt to pay the banks more interest – to buy more Chinese goods. And just maybe, hopefully, some US production!

Pitt

East London

It’s a hectic game of musical chairs; we just have to be careful that we don’t end up the ones without a cushion when the music stops. – Ed.

Speedy departure

Reader Kelly Picken refers to her experiences at Mercedes Bryanston, and mentions that the work was eventually done by her “father’s mechanic” at a much lower cost (nose139).

I have parted with huge amounts of money to Mercedes Bryanston, and would dearly like to get the contact details of “Dad’s mechanic”. Can you help?

Greg King

By email

Number provided. See also MTN tackles scamster in this issue Ed.

Despite all the ranting about Mercedes, I wish to say that I have nothing but praise for Mercedes Benz Claremont, where I have always received excellent service.

Geoff Stroebel

Constantia

Lucky man!Ed.

We have a Merc sedan and a Vito and we love them. But having read Noseweek, I’m afraid it’s a case of “hey-ho, hey-ho, it’s off da merc I go” – they give you a good car but rip you off when things go wrong. They deserve to see their market share go south.

Can you tell readers which is the best value car? With Noseweek’s unbiased approach and genuine quest for the truth, it would be valuable information.

Marc de Chalain

Durban

A Noseweek motoring section... now there’s a thought!Ed.

P for prejudice

Enough with the disparaging “poofter” comments (Editorial, “Things are not what the seem”, nose139). Sounds like someone at Noseweek Towers needs to update their prejudices beyond 1975. I’d like to point out that I am both a poofter and a Noseweek subscriber; and my house doesn’t look anything like Robert Mugabe’s.

David S

By email

As a regular Noseweek reader you will know that homophobia is not one of our faults. “Poofter” was retrieved from antiquity for its offensive sound as an – admittedly risky – ironic reference to Mugabe who has ugly prejudices related to gays and any number of other classes of persons.

I had hoped that would be clear. – Ed.

Frackastrophy

It would be a pity to see the old F-word (nose138) marginalised by the new. Fracking  has certainly got the land in a tizz (see nose139) – but it’s not new to South Africa.  In the mid-80s, the Department of Water Affairs imported a hydraulic fracturing machine, as the old method of throwing a stick of dynamite down boreholes (true) proved to be both disastrous and dangerous.

This machine has stood idle in a yard in Pretoria for more than a decade.  Testing the technique in the Karoo and elsewhere showed hydraulic fracturing could not change a poor borehole into a good one, but it did improve the yield of some very weak boreholes to yields that could support stock farming or small communities.

Admittedly, this work was done at depths less than 100m below ground, while Shell aims to go to 2,000m and more.

Roger Parsons

Pringle Bay

 

As usual, congratulations, most especially on the Shell fracking report. We are all up in arms to stop this catastrophe.

Pat

McGregor

 

Touchy tender

The City of Cape Town would like to correct inaccuracies in your article “Something Fishy” (nose139), in which it was alleged that the city “illegally” awarded a R400 million IRT tender to ICT Works, although their bid had been disqualified. This is not true. The awarding of this tender was legal and the bid was not disqualified.

At the tender opening session, the official in charge could not initially locate ICT Works’ offer form and the bid was declared non-responsive. However, before the session closed, the official examined the tender more carefully and located the relevant form. Although representatives from Lumen Technologies (Lumen) had left the session, this inspection took place in the presence of all relevant officials while the meeting was still open to the public. The ICT Works bid was found valid before the meeting was adjourned. It was not “revalidated” later as suggested. 

The city acknowledges a communication error after the tender opening session – and apologises for this – but this had no bearing on the tender’s validity. Lumen enquired about the status of ICT Works’ bid and were incorrectly informed by a city official [Ian Bindeman, the city’s manager in charge of tenders, no less Ed.] that it had been disqualified.

However, on realising his mistake, the official wrote to Lumen [nearly a year later, as we reported Ed.] advising that the tender was indeed valid. The city’s Chief Financial Officer followed up with a written explanation.

Despite this, Lumen lodged an appeal to the City Manager, who consulted two lawyers for their legal opinion – both of whom reached the same conclusion independently: the administrative errors were not material and would not have affected the outcome of the tender.

City officials met with Lumen representatives to answer their questions. The entire process was transparent and it is unclear why the article suggests that no one from the city provided answers.

Lumen submitted a defective tender for the same bid, but they failed to tender for the operational costs for years 2-6 of the tender period and made unauthorised amendments to the Schedule of Quantities. These significant failings forced the city to declare the bid non-responsive.

The city takes the allegation of intimidation very seriously and appeals to the complainant to report this to the City Manager in order that it can be investigated. The city is not aware of any such incidents by its staff or consultants.

All tender processes are strictly adjudicated and the minutes of these meetings and reports tabled are available to the public. The article suggests that the Auditor General “crack the whip” to impose propriety – yet every step of the tender process has been transparent and fair.

Kylie Hatton
Media Manager

City of Cape Town

Your account of the tender opening session does not accord with the account provided to us by others actually present – see our original report.Ed.

 

Into the f*ray

Even here in Poland the arrival of Noseweek is a highlight of the month.

I’m actually writing to correct an error in the concluding sentence of your amusing essay (in nose138) on the word fuck – namely that in Afrikaans it appears no longer to signify the sexual act, its original meaning.

The standard Afrikaans dictionary, HAT, lists it not only as a verb and a noun signifying the act of intercourse, but also meaning the person with whom one performs the act, as in “She’s my fuck”. Interesting; I’ve never actually heard it said.

By the way, fok is a handy example of a word that occurs in both Dutch and Afrikaans, while not having exactly the same meaning in both: in Dutch it means to breed animals. In Holland no-one is likely to be seriously offended if he is referred to as a kippefokker – which is simply a chicken breeder.

Fanie Olivier

Poznan, Poland

All the way from fucking Poland!Ed.

 

Nose138 was fabulous and gave me something to laugh at in these bad news days!

To add to the vocab:

Fuckheads – those are my neighbours,

Fuckwits – they are the Management.

By the way, my spellcheck queried fuckheads but not fuckwits… seems someone was here before me!

Pam

by email

 

Pro-probity

Next time you ask your readers for ratings, could you please add a box that reads “frustration levels at corruption and incompetence within government and corporates”?

Thank you

Amber Land

 

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Submitted by : Dennis Hammar on 2011-05-26 16:03:00
Please can you investigate, the City of Cape Town's Preferential Procurement Policy. This also applies to the Western Cape Government, and probably all provinces in the country. I sent the following to the City of Cape Town: 

At present, and for several years, your policy looks only at HDI and PDI Equity Ownership, as well as Women Equity & Disabled Equity Ownership in assigning preference points on tenders (besides price).

Surely this should be changed? 

SMME companies such as ours are doing our best to meet BBBEE requirements. In our case we are contributing in areas of Employment Equity, Procurement, Socio-Economic Development and Enterprise Development. We have been audited by a Registered SANAS BEE Verification Agency as a Level 3 Contributor to BEE, however, this is not being taken into account when it comes to tendering for City or Western Cape business because we have 0% HDI and PDI Equity Ownership.

The response I received was the following, from Danie Steyn, Manager: Supplier Management:
 
The City of Cape Town (CoCT) has not implemented the BBBEE due to the fact that there is a conflict with the PPPFA and we are, as all other local authorities, waiting for the relevant government bodies to pass the necessary legislation to align these ACTS. (Attached letter from National Treasury has reference with specific reference to Item 4 (4.1 & 4.2)

(NB: I can supply you with a copy of the letter dated 18/4/2007, if you wish)

Based on the above you will have to agree that the CoCT are bound by legislation.

 CoCT viewpoint is that the responsibility rests with the vendor to supply the City with all vendor detail needed to allow business transaction between the two parties. It is therefore the responsibility of the vendor to obtain their own HDI status and BBBEE verification certification. 

Please be aware that CoCT utilize Quadrem, administrators of the Western Cape Suppliers Database, to evaluate and issue the HDI Score of an organization. It therefore advantages to register on the Western Cape Suppliers Database, to claim HDI rating that are utilised during CoCT procurement adjudication processes.

Wishing you all the best with your business endeavours.

Regards

Danie W Steyn

I then responded, as follows, on 23 March 2011:

Good morning Mr Steyn

Thank you for your response to my email.

According to the letter from National Treasury, the revised PPPFA was supposed to be finalised and submitted to Parliament for consideration by June 2007 - nearly 4 years ago! Do you have any idea where this stands at present? And what is being done to speed up the process, in particular as it relates to point 3.4 in the letter?

We have been registered on the Western Cape Suppliers Database (through Quadrem) for several years, as are many companies which claim 100% HDI Equity Ownership.

From our experience as a Supplier, we believe the currrent policy of greater preference being given to 100% HDI owned companies can, and probably does, lead not only to abuse, but also to inflated prices.

There is nothing to stop a trading company being formed (as a front company) that is 100% HDI equity owned, which is then preferentially treated in the procurement process, but which quotes on goods it in turn obtains from any other company. It then marks up the prices to make a profit. If the City of Cape Town dealt directly with the original supplier, it would probably save substatially on these inflated costs. This also applies to all other municipalities where the same procurement policy is used.

I feel there should be urgent action taken to speed up the implementation of point 3.4 so that the BBBEE Scorecard becomes the basis of evaluating suppliers, and not ownership. What is the point of a company such as ours going to the effort of doing everything to achieve a good BEE score, not to mention the cost of being independently audited, if it does not help our cause when being evaluated as a supplier to Public Entities?

I would appreciate it if this valid concern could be forwarded to the relevant responsible person at National Treasury.

I have had no further correspondence since the above.

Dennis Hammar
dbhammar@mweb.co.za

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