Letters

Dear Editor


Suitable spot

The White River Concerned Citizens Com­mittee supports the proposed Waterval, White River, site for the new Mpumalanga University campus.

Although we do not for one moment, approve the manner in which this land was acquired, we acknowledge it is now state-owned and should thus be used to benefit the greater White River community. The campus would enhance the town’s reputation for schools of academic excellence.

The site is in easy commuting distance of dormitory areas from Hazyview to Kyanamazane and Kabokweni and it is close to many feeder schools serving former homeland communities, a proximity that would trigger a continuous stimulating interaction between the university and the schools.

Naturally the planned upgrade of the White River KMI Airport road would have to be implemented and the financing of other services coordinated with the municipality – not insurmountable obstacles for such a prestige institution.

Paul Clark
Chairman, White River Concerned Citizens

See A tale of two varsities in this issue.Ed.

Two for the price

After struggling to find a copy of nose150, why do I now get two for the price of one – the missing issue packaged with the May issue I’ve just bought?

I’m surprised nose151 contains neither explanation nor apology. Did a last-minute threat of legal action stop the presses?

J C Mould,
ex MD, Sunday Times

We appreciate your concern. See Editorial in this issue.Ed.

Lurking dangers

Whilst enjoying the cover cartoon of your May edition, I thought something was missing – till it struck me: somebody so clinging to his traditional beliefs and values (multiple wives, ritual slaughters, leopard-skin adornment etc) would also be scared of the Tokoloshe and his bed would have been raised, standing on bricks, empty paint tins, etc.

Johan du Preez
Robertson

No, on designer-branded, gold-plated bricks. Ed.

Chasing windmills  

We refer to a letter written by “Donald Quixote” regarding the new energy-saving building regulations.

The National Regulator of Compulsory Standards (NRCS) proposed the wording of the regulation to the Minister of Trade and Industry. The regulations were duly published on 9 September 2011 and became effective two months later.

The NRCS consulted with relevant government departments, CSIR, Agrément, SAIA, Construction Industry Development Board, SABS, industry stakeholders and prominent consulting engineers prior to publication of the regulations for public comment.

Comments received were duly considered. SABS followed the same procedures in its drafting and publishing of SANS I0400:XA and SANS 204.

To state that one individual has influenced decisions in the above process to further industry interest is ridiculous and amounts to chasing windmills.

Hans Schefferlie
Executive Director , Association of Architectural Aluminium Manufacturers of SA

Rose-tinted rules

During the discussion at the SA Glass and Glazing Association meeting, the presenter said profits and turnover would increase due to the new energy-saving building regulations – which I found a little mercenary, considering our population demographics (see nose151).

But it is obvious that RDP, low-cost, sub-economic and economic housing will not proceed in terms of the new regulations reported on by your correspondent; because of cost criteria: “when the penny finally drops” the government will simply ignore its own regulations. 

The government does not have the mental capacity to foresee the implications of its promulgations, programmes and policies. (E-tolling is a typical example.) The fact is, we have two distinct worlds in South Africa: a Third World which simply cannot comply and a First World that aspires to comply.

Our regulations must be adapted to suit both realities – not only one of these vastly different societies.

People protesting about sewage in front of their shacks couldn’t care less about double glazing.

Intentions might have been good, but the process is questionable.

Barry Gould
Capco, Durban

Packing for Mangaung

Your editorial “Drowning in a tsunami of corruption” (nose151) reads well to any non-ANC voter – not the ones who need to take note and who have the power to turn into reality your “first hope that Mangaung will see Zuma and his corrupt cohorts packing”.

I suspect most of your readers are not ANC supporters, so how do you get the message to those who continue to support the ANC and who live in the hope of a miracle that will never be? That’s the challenge we face in South Africa. On that note, well done Dr Siva Pillay.

Max Leipold
Hermanus

Right of way?

If the toll-road interdict really holds water, why is Sanral still selling etags? I thought the interdict included a whole review of the collection model.

Sounds as though it’s yet another smokescreen and it will be business as usual after the six-month period. Either that, or Sanral is still the arrogant company that it always has been.

William Cooper
Sandton

Saving Siva

I have serious concerns about the continued health of Dr Siva Pillay (nose151) – not only is he doing an excellent job but he is exposing the poor (crooked) cadres who have been in place in the Eastern Cape for too long.

As a taxpayer, I would be more than happy to see funds channelled into serious security for Dr Pillay, rather than seeing good money thrown after bad for our “spooked” president and his cronies.

John Binns
Cape Town

Landmark case

The historic houses of Port Elizabeth’s Donkin Row, a renowned national monument and landmark for tourists, have now been so altered that they will soon no longer be distinctive or original.

The original lattice and distinctive wood balconies, many still with original wood from the 1860s, are being sent to the scrap heap. The service alley behind the houses, clearly representing the history of the built environment, is no more; the backs of the houses, with their kitchen chimneys, structural and yard walls and windows are gone, to be replaced with “modernised” replicas of the front facades!

All of this is illegal.

Each house had unique and subtle differences which the previous owner,  Dr Nic Woolfe, lovingly and painstakingly researched and retained for future generations. Now this restoration work, completed just 10 years before the present owner, Irish developer and property speculator Ken Denton, bought in 1998, is almost totally destroyed.

Where does the newly reformed local heritage authority (ECPHRA) fit in and when and how will they deal with this flagrant disregard for the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999?

This should be a landmark case worthy of the most drastic and ruthless legal action by ECPHRA: enforced reinstatement of these grade-two listed buildings within defined timeframes – or else expropriation.

The South Africa Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) also needs to back the local authority and empower the municipality to stop errant property developers.

Number 55 Donkin Street was well renovated in 2009, and then “redone” this year. Clearly it is cheaper to fix them all in a “simpler style”. This would not measure up to any acceptable heritage standard for any self-respecting country.

Other  local developers are taking full advantage of the lack of law enforcement by demolishing Victorian and Edwardian houses  or at least think they are entitled to do so very soon.

Various houses, such as houses in Walmer and Central: Numbers 12/14/16 Cape Road, the oldest house in PE (Jonathan Board’s Farmhome – 1824); Girdlestone Road (South End); old settler homes in Theescombe and Bushy Park, to name but a few, are in imminent danger of demolition or collapse. Others are already gone,  among these, graded buildings and national monuments.

 “Colonial” built heritage is merely the face of a far greater problem, the destruction of all of our cultures. The destruction of heritage objects and structures across the cultural divide means destruction of  the points of reference which define who we are and the stories of our different pasts. 

I must add that there are responsible developers, who have seen the value of their properties and have taken the moral high ground by respecting the laws of our land. Through this, they acknowledge the custodianship of the history of our city for us. We salute you!

Estate agents, the local building inspectorate, local government, members of the public and the police service all need to be informed and remain vigilant – as they have a role in making sure the law is enforced – and prevent this destruction for monetary gain.

Andrew Reed
Port Elizabeth

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Submitted by : Roger Patheyjohns of Port Shepstone on 2012-06-11 08:42:07
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Upon further investigation, I was told that e statements will be sent monthly only, and if I want to check my accounts at any time, I must register for internet banking, at a cost of about R 90 /month.

I feel that ABSA are making misleading statements in an attempt to lure more people into internet banking, and the advertising campaign should be withdrawn immediately.

Roger Patheyjohns
Port Shepstone

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