Bench marred

Your domestic violence article (nose146) disturbed me – especially the realisation that such cowardly malice gets past experienced magistrates.

Rob Johnston


Proctor’s petard

Those 83 Joburg advocates facing a fraud inquiry for double dealing/billing brings to mind the joke about a 49-year-old lawyer who dies and when he meets St Peter at the pearly gates complains that he died too young. St Peter remarks: “that’s funny, according to your billable hours, you are 79”.



You go, girls!

Reading your article on Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu (nose146), one is left with the impression that South Africa has two self-anointed princesses in cabinet: Sisulu and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Both have shown little ability to contribute anything of value to their portfolios, while displaying a great talent for self promotion and the spending of taxpayer funds.

Both should go while something can still be salvaged from their shambolic management.

D Wolpert


See The cold flash of corporate steel in this issue Ed.

Castle is king

you describe the Castle of Good Hope as the second-oldest building in South Africa, beaten by the Posthuys in Muizenberg.

After doing some online research I could find no substantiation for this interesting revelation. I would love to learn more.

Marthinus Strydom

By email

It’s a moot point but your query prompted us to delve deeper. The leading authority on old Cape buildings, Hans Fransen, agrees with you. Although both were constructed around the same time, he says the evidence suggests that the castle is the older of the two. Ed.

Policy? Honestly!

I’m an insurance broker and think that the Carprehensive product (“Tripping over the fine print”, nose146) is totally unacceptable.

Most vehicle claims are for partial and repairable damage. Insurance limited to total loss – as with this policy, for which only part of the value was paid – is completely inadequate.

Problem is, this insurance policy will sell (and be actively marketed) to unsophisticated people who do not understand that they are getting very little cover.

In June, Cover magazine ran an article by Short Term Insurance Ombudsman Brian Martin, headlined “Beware the Carprehensive policy!”

In it he stated: “The Carprehensive policy currently extensively marketed on TV and which is underwritten by RMB Structured Products, differs significantly from a traditional comprehensive motor vehicle insurance policy and, in reality, offers little protection to consumers.”

He suggests that those who cannot afford comprehensive insurance would be better served by taking simple balance of third party, fire and theft insurance, or even just third party insurance instead.

Surely the name “Carprehensive” is misleading, sounding as it does like “Comprehensive”?

Perhaps I should report them to the Advertising Standards Authority?

Doug Bailey


A major banking group running a major rip-off of the poor and unsophisticated – again. Ed.

Great trek!

Everyone knows that Noseweek is a difficult nut to crack so I was delighted when a friend phoned me (I hadn’t yet received my copy) and informed me that Canvas Under The Sky has been reviewed by you (nose146).

I dashed out, bought a copy (couldn’t wait for GPO) with great trepidation and read your review.

I was and am blown away. Terrific! You have captured and understood exactly what I wanted to achieve.

I don’t hold out that this is a great literary masterpiece, but do hope that it does open people’s minds to the fact that the Voortrekkers were human beings of (hot!) flesh and blood – not soulless wooden beings who only understood the Bible.

Many thanks for the review. Many many thanks for your understanding.

Robin Binckes

By email

Ask a silly question

the question to be debated, after reading “Drowning in a sea of corruption” (nose145), is: “If not polygraph testing for MPs, then what?”

If voters were to ask politicians to have annual medical check-ups (paid for by the state), the overwhelming response would be “Yes”.

Ask them to have an annual one-question “corruption” polygraph test (paid for by the state), my guess is the overwhelming response would be “No”.

We would all like to know that the people we’ve elected to represent us are honest.

Trevor Strydom


Vintage Bullard

What a pleasant surprise to see that the author of a piece in nose145 is David Bullard.

As pleasant as it was, both by read and taste, disappointing to note on the next page that it was merely an advertisement. (Good idea Mr Walker!)

Can we hope Mr Bullard might drop in “for lunch” again some time soon?

P Lewis


Why not? Ed.

Street cheats

Having noted your stories about Nissan dealerships (noses140,141), here’s how Nissan fooled me and possibly many other owners:

My 2005 Nissan 350z went in for a service as usual to McCarthy Nissan, Gateway. I informed them of a brake shudder, after it had clocked barely 15 000km.

On collecting my car, I was given a bill for R26 000. Each brake disc cost R11 000 and a set of pads an extra R4 000. I was told they were special “Brembo” units that are factory supplied.

Begrudgingly I paid. The issue continued to bug me. Being of a curious nature and a bit of a fidget, I decided to have a look at these amazing pads. I removed the wheel and pins on the calipers, then the pads – only to find Ferodo markings. These supposed racing pads of high pedigree, fitted by a reputable and big Nissan dealer in Durban, were actually a local copy!

I found I could buy them from Midas for R800. Why was I charged R4 000 for them? More important, why pass off cheap pads as high performance pads? Surely that’s fraud?

I took the car back, caused a massive stink and had the correct pads fitted.

I sold the car shortly afterwards, too afraid to ask what other parts where in fact pirated copies of the originals.

Just had to get that off my chest.

Hegan Moodley


Luck of the draw

I was a victim of two of the Pretoria advocates named in your article, who took on a few too many cases on the day – one apparently for us and another against us in the same matter.

I agree, too, that it is not only the advocates who should have to respond. Maybe the attorneys involved – who should well know that the advocate can only take one case at a time – should also be asked to explain why they permitted these shady guys to act in this way.

Rob Thomson

By email

Because the attorneys, too, collected an extra (wasted) court day’s fees. Ed.

Throwing stones

Your story “Bigger than Brett” (nose145) suggests that the JSE is failing in its role as regulator. In a letter published in Business Day on November 1, one Nigel Payne shows an almost evangelistic zeal to prosecute white collar crime. His zero tolerance approach is commendable, and it is clear he believes justice has to be done – and be seen to be done.

This kind of hard-line approach is what’s needed to eradicate commercial crime. Pity the JSE doesn’t see things as Payne does. But, hold on a second, Payne is a director of the JSE and chairs its risk management committee that is supposed to ensure the bad guys get brought to book.

In his letter, Payne wants to throw the book at hapless parliamentarian Yolanda Botha – and everyone else “in a position to prevent this abuse and failed to do so”. Strong words, considering the JSE was in a position to rein in Resilient (the subject of your story) but has failed to do so.

He ends by criticising the ANC for not living up to its “promises on corruption”, implying some kind of hypocrisy or double standards.

So what about the JSE? Looks to me like Payne may be throwing stones in a glass house.




Crystal ball

The recent debate about whether former judge Willem Heath has gone nuts, or whether he is just peculiarly malleable – this all arising from an interview he gave City Press – brought to mind that Noseweek cover on which he featured more than 10 years ago. He is pictured with a finger to his scalp, declaring: “As I remember it, they placed one of the electrodes about here.”

How do you always manage to be so ahead of your time?


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Submitted by : Fritz Fourie on 2012-01-25 19:26:26
Part of the justification used by the SAAF for chartering the two planes to shadow the presidential jet to the US is that the jet just had a major service done in Switzerland and this was the first longhaul flight. I've yet to see anyone in the press asking how the plane came back from Switzerland.


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