Dear Editor

Spot the difference

Your cartoon figure enjoying a cushy prison experience on the cover of nose140 looks disconcertingly like Trevor Manuel. Do you know something we dont know? Are you trying to break the news really gently? What surprises does nose141 have for us?




Bausch and Lomb, a recognised pharmaceutical company, sells eye vitamins called Ocuvite, that contain similar ingredients to Solal which was criticised in nose139. They claim dietary studies show that their vitamins assist in eye health and may prevent macular degeneration.

A dangerous stage in science seems to have been reached where organisations like Quackwatch (with fundamentalist beliefs intolerant to anybodys perceptions but their own) have taken it upon themselves to criticise, ridicule or demonise anything outside their ambit of understanding, especially if it concerns supplements, while companies like Bausch and Lomb escape their myopic vision.

Robust human trials on various drugs and their manufacture have resulted in untold misery and death through the side-effects (every fourth person taking properly prescribed drugs, according to FDA stats) while natural products and supplements have to date not caused a single death world wide (also FDA stats).

Scientists who promote intolerance and create doubt in the mind of the public by publishing one-sided and biased views, are creating the impression that nature needs the approval and validation of scientists.

Dr Barbara Zeisler

By email

Dr Harris Steinmans response: Bausch and Lombs claims about the product are based on very little evidence  certainly not sufficient to support them.

Requesting adequate evidence that these ingredients/products work is not to ridicule or demonise complementary medicines, nor to support fundamentalist beliefs or Big Pharma products. My principles are simple: to ensure that consumers health is protected and that they are not unwittingly paying for ineffectual products.

Consumers may blindly believe in a product as a result of advertising and therefore not seek out other forms of treatment that are of proven benefit.


A few comments on the Victory for Vuyo story in nose138.

 In Grade 10 at age 18, after having failed twice sounds like a man not too keen to learn: definitely a disruptive influence.

♦ There are many structures that he could have followed to resolve his issues, starting with his mother and the headmaster.

♦ Maybe if hed studied he wouldnt have had an issue.

♦ If the school took him back, he would matriculate at 20  not an ideal age to be at school with 13- and 14-year-olds. I most certainly would not want him at my kids school.

♦ Schools need to protect the youth and one way is to get those who cannot make the grade to move on.

♦ He ended up in this muddle of his own doing: he lost his leg, messed up his life and now the taxpayer has to fork out to help him.



You might have had a point or two, except there is no evidence to suggest Vuyo was a disruptive influence. As for his age: in countries such as the UK and Kenya, adults are actively encouraged to attend school, where the presence of a 65-year-old is said to have a beneficial and calming influence in a classroom of teenagers. Surely being chased down a school corridor by an incensed teacher intent on a physical assault so terrifying that Vuyo leapt from a balcony to escape cant be excused?  Ed.

Catch of the day

Your story about FNB getting all confused about the cost of forex transactions got me worked up all over again (Fob Off  nose140).

The treasurer of a body I serve as chairman recently tried to cash a cheque, as shes done for many years, at her local FNB branch in Randburg. FNB refused, saying cash cheques can now only be cashed at the branch where the account is held. Since she works a long way from that branch, well have to make some other arrangement for our funds.

Most banks seem to have systems that enable any branch to verify the account balance and signatures on the cheque, but that would be giving customer service.

Of course, with only around R375,000 in that account, it might just be that were too small fry for them to care.

Henry Watermeyer


Sick trick

To what lengths will medical aid funds go to avoid paying out claims?

At the end of January I went for my annual pap smear checkup. I paid the doctor then submitted my claim to Medshield for reimbursement. The first time they rejected the claim they said my gender was incorrect! I sent a copy of my ID book and resubmitted the claim.

The second rejection stated that the ICD codes were incorrect but they were not at liberty to tell me what they were or should be.The doctors rooms confirmed that the codes were all correct and contacted Medshield who agreed.

I resubmitted the claim. The third rejection stated insufficient funds in savings. We do not have a linked savings account as this is a hospital plan (Core Plus option) and it should be covered under their Always There programme. Again I resubmitted the claim, quoting from their benefits book: Pap Smear (1 per female beneficiary 13 years and older per year).

The reason for the fourth and final rejection was wait for it  Misprint in brochure. Always There programme not offered on this scheme. Please also note the disclaimer on the brochure on page 8: These benefits act as a summary and do not supersede the Annexures, Scheme Rules, Membership Rules and Scheme Protocols.

Shirley Woodward


High and mighty

Your reports on the in-competence of  and ripoff charges by  certain Mercedes Benz dealerships (noses138,140) are supported by my own experiences.

The Mercedes dealership, John Williams Motors in Welkom, quoted almost R20,000 to replace the shocks on my ML 500. In the end I bought a set on eBay and had it fitted, all for R6,000.

Separately, I asked them whether I could change the tyre size on my car, and for a quote to replace my spare key. Three months later, still no answer. Thanks for nothing MBSA.

(Apparently it is easier to get a license for an automatic weapon than to get a spare key made.)



Dead yet not buried

I was interested to read the article, Computer Says No in nose139.

A couple of years ago my daughter rear-ended her vehicle whilst driving her BMW in rainy weather at moderate speed. The main damage to the BMW was some crumpling of the fenders, bonnet, grille area and bumper. It definitely looked repairable, so we were shocked that it was declared a write-off.

Some months later, my daughter saw her BMW  perfectly restored  parked in Sea Point. It seems that insurance companies sell written off vehicles to new owners.

I am sure that this practice is perfectly legal and done by all insurance companies, but one suspects insurance companies sometimes do what is more advantageous to themselves rather than to the insured.

Jim New

Cape Town

Box bullies

In November 2009 the Sunday Times reassured me I need have no fear about all the summonses and final notices for TV licence fees between 1991 and 1995, but even if they have no legitimacy, theyre scary.

I have a file of their veiled threats since 2002. They dont read letters. When you phone, they understand perfectly and will fix it but dont  the TV was rented.

How much are They raking in from all those final notices, letters and, lately, smses? Is it easy to get peoples cellphone numbers from Big Brother (please try). Who is getting paid at Rica? Who is scamming whom and with whose collusion? Do They ever take people to court? They are Van de Venter Mojapelo Inc, PO Box 953, Randburg. Tel. 0878054900 Fax. 0867306350 email: sabc@vvm.co.za. Their sms reply number is vvminc  tel: 0878054941.

I do wish you could find a great septic tank in which to dump them.

E Kranenburg


See noses123 and 128 for all we have managed to establish so far about this dubious operation.  Ed.

Chapter and verse

In slow-moving traffic, I noticed a rear windscreen sticker on the car in front of us, which read: Pray for Our President Zuma, Julius Malema, and Robert Mugabe. Psalm 109:8.

My husbands Bible was on the dashboard. He opened it to Psalm 109  and burst out laughing. It reads: Let his days be few; and let another take his office.

Let us all bow our heads and pray.


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Submitted by : Brigitte Schutte on 2011-06-30 16:25:10
Dear Noseweek

do you have insight as to why Vodacom services are so bad and unrelaible at the moment?

Calls being cut-off mid sentence, calling a number you call a million times a day only to be told "the number does not exist", no network coverage, going directly to voicemail when calling a number, delayed sms sending.

Editor's Note
No insight. But they seem to make a ton of cash on dropped calls.


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