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