Dear Editor

Universal truth
To add to your editorial in nose142: St Augustine, who lived from 344 to 430 AD, must have had Africa in mind when he asked “In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organised robbery?”

Dave Crawford

Singled out
Why are you always targeting Hermanus? There must be many municipalities where mutual “back-scratching” takes place. This is a well-run town, actually: a “Champagne” place with wonderful weather and people.

And I am pleased to tell you that a lovely, efficient lady, Mary Faure, is now working at the Tourism Bureau so hopefully the nonsense there will end.

Shirley Koster

Why Hermanus? Partly luck of the draw, partly because Noseweek, too, likes the weather there but has found its municipal politics disappointingly tacky for a supposedly respectable town. All the more reason to kick the butts of its councillors if, as you claim, they’re typical of Western Cape small town politicians.– Ed.

Thwarting thieves
I have great sympathy for anyone who tries to combat the rampant cable theft. As fast as it gets installed, some sticky-fingered van­dal is ripping it out and selling it.

My husband spent six months defending the overhead power cable outside our front gate. Every time our dogs barked he’d go out and hide in the shrubbery, waiting to catch them at it. On the occasions that he did, it was my job to call in the cavalry. What a joke. No one ever answered the hotline numbers – why would they? 

Police? Yeah, right.

So for months, while every other stretch of cable was nicked (no electricity for us, too), we fought the good fight to save this bit of public property. Eventually they won, the cable was stolen and now we have a cable (worthless as scrap) that they don’t bother to steal.

Logic says that if the municipality had replaced the valuable cable with the worthless one before it was stolen, they could have recouped some of the expense incurred by recycling the valuable cable themselves, but you have to have a brain to work that out, so maybe it was never an option.

My solution? Find a way of recycling plastic to make manhole covers and railings and some of the other vulnerable stuff. That way at least some taxpayers’ money can be saved, and it’s a green option too!

Christine Kinsman

♦ I refer to your article on the theft of steel in Cape Town (nose142) and Andre Hanekom’s speculation that it is big business.

Resin-based polycrete is about four times stronger than concrete and can be made to any design or shape, including manhole covers and handrails. It has  been used in the  building industry for years and, best of all, it has no scrap value!

Peter Lendrum
Uvongo KZN

Slim facts or fiction?
According to traditional African use, several species of hoodia are eaten fresh as raw food. For centuries they have been used by shepherds and country folk as appetite and thirst suppressants; this has been verified by numerous researchers of traditional remedies.

Hoodia forms a convenient emergency food and moisture source in harsh arid environments in Africa but has now found its way on to the shelves of health shops and pharmacies as an appetite suppressant, for which it traditionally was never used; it was used for survival in times of scarcity to ward off hunger pangs.

However there is help for an ignorant and gullible public: a self-styled activist called Dr Harris Steinman, whose profile describes him as expert in food allergies, is taking up the role of protector and benefactor of the public whom he considers in dire need of his attention when, with messianic fervour, he launches his vicious attacks against natural remedies.

As he is no expert in natural remedies, nor does he seem to have an understanding of their possible benefits, he can only fire from the hip by using procedure (advertising) or emotional blackmail (pharmacists who care) or bullying tactics to deter from their use.

Maybe it is this kind of person who J W Hodge, MD of Niagara Falls, NY has in mind when he describes the medical profession thus: “The medical monopoly is not merely  the meanest monopoly ever organised but the most arrogant and despotic organisation which ever managed free people in this age. Any and all methods of healing the sick by means of safe, simple and natural remedies are sure to be assailed and denounced by arrogant doctors as fakes, frauds and humbugs.

“Every practitioner of the healing art who does not ally himself with conventional beliefs is denounced as a dangerous quack and imposter. Every sanitarian who attempts to restore the sick to a state of health by natural means without resort to the knife, poisonous drugs, disease-imparting serums, deadly toxins or vaccines, is at once pounced upon by these medical fanatics, bitterly denounced, vilified and persecuted to the fullest extent.”

Scary to think that Steinman and I belong to a fraternity described as such! I think I’ll stick with hoodia; not only is there safety in numbers (centuries of beneficial use) but maybe I’ll shed some excess kilos while sitting on my chair instead of walking, hunger-stricken, in search of food in a barren land!

Dr Barbara Zeisler
Glenferness, Gauteng

Our story had to do with the fact that Dis-Chem continues to sell a hoodia gel that supposedly assists with weight loss, despite the fact that the distributor of the product is unable to show that it works. Enquiries show that Dr Zeisler specialises in “bio-energetic approaches that activate the body’s innate wisdom in balancing and healing itself without the need to resort to medication or drugs”.

She is the sole proprietor of Nordman Superior Food Supplements, a firm that, inter alia, sells shark cartilage as a supplement for a variety of complaints including degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis.

Dr Roy Jobson of Rhodes University has lodged an ASA complaint about this firm because it makes medicinal claims about products that have not been approved by the Medicines Control Council.
  – Ed.

“Destroyed by Deloitte” (nose142) made for some pretty scary reading. But the deal was not “unusual” – it was monumentally and mind numbingly stupid.

What possessed these folks to hand over  a million rand without knowing what the value of the business was?

No, Deloitte did not destroy them; yes it probably helped.  Their destruction was unfortunately self inflicted. Whatever happened to “let the buyer beware”?


Familiar rogue
I read with great interest your report about the latest exploits of Riaan Botes. (“Ducking and Diving,” nose141) It reminded me of the time I spent at Boland Bank when this thoroughly unpleasant character appeared from nowhere to be appointed as Chief of Sales – the proverbial class bully appointed as Head Prefect!

It was rumoured that Christo Wiese had specially appointed him to ruffle a few feathers. As the saying goes: Every dog will have his day!

Derrick Combrink
Helderberg Insurance Brokers

Out of order
Was I thrilled to come upon Kelly Picken’s letter (nose139) about her experiences with Mercedes Bryanston.

The dealership that has had my Mercedes since 20 May and has given me no fewer than four different stories as to the problem with my car – and changed their minds regularly as to cost/payment/responsibility etc, then fired my “personal service manager” as I investigated and queried all aspects – is none other than Mercedes Bryanston. Not only that: four emails sent to Steven Crittal of Mercedes Benz SA (the system tells me they were all received and opened) have never even been acknowledged.

Shelley Bennet

Birds of a feather?
I have been interested by the parallel between your articles on the Resilient group (noses136,137 and 138) and the unfolding story of the Leisurenet duo of Rod Mitchell and Peter Gardener.

The similarities between the undisclosed dealings of the directors in the Resilient group and those of the former Health and Racquet executives Mitchell and Gardener, jailed in April, are striking. The only difference is that Leisurenet had a liquidator to go after the errant directors, whereas no one seems to be interested in pursuing Resilient.

Let’s hope it doesn’t need a liquidation to get the regulators’ attention.



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