Dear Editor

Jail for incompetent surgeons

My response to Port Elizabeth’s heart surgeon fiasco (nose170): What happens to other professionals who fail the competency test in their profession?

They get fired! If through their incompetence someone dies, those responsible, including the complicit hospital management, should be criminally charged and face the prospect of jail.

Who, may we ask, is to decide whether more people’s lives are going to be endangered by a “professional” bungler?

By email

FNB execs’ Icelandic freebie

I totally agree with your sentiments with regard to those FNB executives’ all-expenses-paid holiday trip to Iceland (nose170). The practice has been going on for years.

What really is annoying and outrageous is the fact that in addition to that freebie trip enjoyed by the Exco of Core Banking Solutions (and I’m sure many other divisions), these executives will also expect and be awarded a cash performance bonus and/or share options or maybe both.

Somebody, somewhere pays and at the end of the day the shareholders lose out because of the reduced bottom line in profits. An absolute disgrace!

Charles (FNB Pensioner)
Parkview, Johannesburg

And what about the customers?Ed.

► I have had an ongoing battle with FNB collections department regarding a judgment they incorrectly took against me.  

I am in the financial services industry and cannot have this.  But even after a year of struggle and calling Laurie Dippenaar’s office it is still unresolved.  I am sure that this must happen to many people and the attitude of the bank is totally unreasonable.  

After reading your article about FNB management’s lovely year-end incentive holiday (nose170) I feel that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Teresa Carstens
By email

Resist bunnyhuggers

Thanks for publishing my previous letter (nose170) and for Adam Welz’s response. While I do not agree with his arguments in support of the contention that human-caused emissions of CO2 are the cause of global warming, please don’t get the idea that I believe in the indiscriminate burning of fossil fuels; I think that we should be going hell-for-leather to save them, as they are much too valuable just to burn.

But, we need to do so for the right reasons. At the same time we should not allow ourselves to be hijacked by the bunny-huggers and greenies: as sympathetic as I am to their feelings, they often go overboard and win political concessions which make no technical sense and cost a lot of money.

As an electrical engineer, I can say with confidence that a lot of the current renewable energy technology is not nearly as good as many people make out or wish it to be. Wind power, except in areas where there is a huge amount of very strong and constant wind, is a waste of money. Wind fluctuations need to be backed up by steam (coal, oil or nuclear) generators, which are kept idling, or only partially loaded so that they can instantaneously pick up the shortfall of the wind power as it fluctuates. This is the worst and most inefficient way to operate steam generators. I do not believe there are any commercially viable wind sites in South Africa, but building a few wind farms is a sop to get the greenies off the politicians’ backs and score brownie points.

Solar heating is an excellent way to use the sun and in South Africa should be used much more. The highest domestic demand for energy is water heating and big savings can be made here.

Solar electricity is still not an economic proposition except for remote areas where small amounts of power are needed. The development of this technology is moving quite fast, but, the last time I looked, it cost almost as much energy to produce the solar cells and batteries as they would give back in their working life. The amount of energy that can be produced by the cells diminishes quite quickly over time and they need to be replaced, as do the batteries. In any event these are domestic-size technologies and will not provide the gigawatts needed to power our heavy industry.

Southern Africa’s big opportunity lies in harnessing the Congo River and using high voltage DC transmission to transmit the energy over large distances. But politics is killing that idea.

Richard Becker

Fracking: is it ANC’s stake in Shell?

It’s a pity there is not more emphasis on the falling prices of renewables such as solar and the rising prices of fossil fuels when evaluating the politics and industry of fracking. The crossover of these two prices has already occurred and poses the question as to why the government heads in the direction to promote fracking, and my belief is that it is the ANC’s major stake in Shell.

Those opposed to fracking in South Africa should hit Shell right where it hurts and stop purchasing fuel from Shell.

Jeremy Westgarth-Taylor
Cape Town

Much mileage from small snag

You ran a letter in nose167 from a Derek Poole in which nasty, untrue allegations were made about me.

A few facts: Poole bought his Scooti golf cart from an agent in Johannesburg. After he reported having problems with it, I, in good faith, said I would pay for the unit to be sent to Cape Town to be checked out. I found a controller problem and replaced it, as per the guarantee. I serviced the unit and it was running perfectly. I informed Mr Poole I would be sending the unit back to him.

He told me he had purchased a new golf cart and would refuse delivery of the unit. He then asked me to sell it for him and I said that, as it was winter in Cape Town, sales were slow and I would rather return it to him.

He refused, then started getting rude and threatening. I offered him an amount of around R4,000 for it. He then went to the Small Claims Court.

I verbally withdrew the offer and informed him his cart was ready for collection. Further, the phone number he allegedly called, 021 531 4117, was disconnected about six years ago and has never been on any paperwork of Scooti. My telephone number is 072 143 0554.

Mark Hodson

See next letter.Ed.

I will hunt down Scooti man

I refer to the letter “teed off” about Scooti’s failings in nose167. I was also a sucker caught by Mark Hodson. I bought one of these scooters from Technopharm in Rustenburg. After a period of three years I had trouble with it and was told by the owner of the business that he no longer stocked spares or sold these units.

He recommended I contact Mark Hodson for the spares. This I did and had a charming fellow answer the phone, namely Mark, who recommended that I replace the controller which was faulty. He said he had stock but I would have to deposit R1,840 into his account at FNB Mowbray, which I did, on the promise that I would receive the spare within a week.

After phoning numerous times and promises of it being posted, still no parcel. After being told that the Post Office had sent it to another town, he eventually sent me one which was second-hand and did not work at all.

I have in the meantime had another one sent to me direct from China by the manufacturers at a cost of R1,023 including airfreight. I have not been able to trace Hodson or get him on the phone. I am always told that the number does not exist any more.

I will one day be coming to Cape Town and will make it my business to track him down.

Jan Stark
Bushman’s River Mouth

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