Dear Editor

Mkhize plus – a page turner

I’ve just finished a cover-to-cover of nose171 and it’s one of the best; scary with the Mkhize/Zuma story, but nicely softened by the Viv Vermaak, Tom Eaton, Len Ashton and Harold columns, just to round it off.

What a way to start 2014!

Michael Pollock

► There’s a partially unsecured loan of R10m-plus by KZN development corporation, Ithala, to May Mkhize whilst husband Zweli was the  MEC in charge, to buy a farm worth half that amount. Maybe the one in your photo of  Zweli admiring his Nguni cattle? Innocent?

Noname Brand

Mapping the lie of the land

Your KwaZulu-Natal organogram (nose171) looks like a hatchet job to me. Desperate to prove a tribal-cum-regional network, you have included people like Sidumo Dlamini and Cassius Lubisi, whose only association with KZN was through employment in the province. If you have good intentions, why not give your readers a complete organogram of the state so that we can play a “spot the one from KZN” game?

Even Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger builds his team around a group of French players. So what’s your point? Are you suggesting that the people from KZN you’ve mentioned lack integrity? Otherwise why would President Jacob Zuma have appointed them if they are not supportive of his alleged shenanigans? I’m sure there are many senior people in government and business who are not from KZN. Your attempt at proving tribal/regional connections to explain Zuma’s adeptness in the ANC is very unfortunate.

Sipho Ntondo

You have answered all your own questions. – Ed.

Familiar ring to Vodacom tale

There sadly was a familiar ring to your to your article on Stephanie Budlender’s experience with Vodacom (nose171).

Eighteen months ago I was offered a new phone by someone from Rewardsco in Durban, who pretended to be from Vodacom. A new phone was delivered but it was, like Budlender’s iPhone 4, a complete dud. The manager at the Vodacom shop in Cresta, said it was a matter between me and Rewardsco. I pointed out my contract was with Vodacom, but this made no impression on her.

Rewardsco agreed to reverse the purchase. After numerous phonecalls and emails, the junk phone was finally collected four weeks later. But according to Vodacom’s records, I’m still in possession of the phone. Vodacom is quite happy to have an incompetent company act on its behalf whilst taking no responsibility . What Budlender is experiencing is par for the course.

Gerrit Olivier

Bad mileage for Merc

I was most interested and will be following up on your report on Mercedes Benz SA’s cover-up of certain known design faults in some models. I have been driving Mercedes Benzes since 1977 and must admit that it has not been a trouble-free relationship.

My wife and I own three MB vehicles in Melbourne, Australia and in South Africa, we have a 2011 220 CDI which is one of the better cars we have ever owned. (But I wonder why MB SA import cars with 17” wheels, knowing the condition of our roads.)

I must say, when the passenger side electric window mechanism failed for a second time and I took the car to Union Motors in Shelly Beach I was told there was a factory recall for the rear electric windows. Bearing in mind this recall was well outside the warranty period, I was pleasantly surprised.

However, there is a design fault in one of the plastic fittings on the mechanism of the front electric windows on the Vito/Viano – a part costing around R281 for a full mechanism, or R8 for just the plastic parts. The out-of-warranty repair cost me nearly R4,000.

When I got the replaced parts back I noticed they consisted of not only the plastic wheels and plastic clips but a full frame, cables and motor. The motor did not need replacement. Why did MB SA supply the unnecessary items if it was supposedly not a money-making matter? When the same window failed in Malaysia, they replaced only the frame and slides.

Needless to say, I am losing faith in the brand. Maybe at 69 I should re-evaluate my loyalty.  But then, who is better?

Daniel Matthee
Melbourne, Australia

► If there are 12,000 “faulty” MBs on our roads, their owners must be told. The spectre of a broken-down Mercedes in the middle of the Karoo is too awful to imagine.

We goms too, are entitled to that information – just in case we wish to replace our present Volvos and ride in an MB before our last journey in an MB hearse.

Ian Melville
Brenton sur Mer

► The problem of Mercedes-Benz SA failing to protect clients is more widespread than you know. I own a 2007 C180 Kompressor. Two weeks outside of the six-year warranty the engine management light came on. After three visits to NMI Pinetown I was advised that the wiring harness – the flaw you describe – was contaminated by oil from the camshaft adjustment solenoids and these, the seals, wiring harness etc, etc would need to be replaced at a cost of “at least R23,000”. Not amused I took the vehicle elsewhere and the problem was solved  for a mere R3,600.

I hope this scandalous behaviour blows up in MB SA’s corporate face.

Westville, KwaZulu-Natal

After-party audit needed

I presume (hope) that someone from SARS reads Noseweek and will check that the correct PAYE was deducted from the relevant FNB staff for their all-expenses-paid holiday to Iceland (nose170) which was clearly a reward for services rendered. Or will FNB somehow disguise this trip as “training” and not be subject  to PAYE tax?

The Irish call the pound a punt and a bank manager a... so perhaps it was most convenient for their senior management to meet their Irish trainer in Iceland so he could explain to them what a bank manager really is.

That could make Irish sense to a FNB tax planner in Iceland.

Greg Beykirch

Hold Shell accountable

I’ve been told by the executives at Shell that fracking in the Karoo is “100% safe with the new technology at their disposal”. Therefore they should not have a problem signing for personal liability if there is an environmental disaster. I’ve drawn up the contracts but for some reason they’re no longer retuning my calls.

Brandon Challis
Newlands, Cape Town

Pin the tag on the gantry

Isn’t it strange, when the government builds new houses etc for the people they always boast about the achievement under the ANC banner.

Now, with the new toll system, there is no mention of the ANC.

In future let’s only refer to the toll infrastructure as ANC Tag, and ANC Toll Fees and ANC Gantries. Just to give credit where it is due,

William Cooper

One grateful patient

With reference to the three patients’ bad experiences with Drs Percy Miller and Jules Preddy, I would like to relate my experiences with these doctors. I first consulted Dr Miller 12 years ago when I experienced numbness in my hands which was related to a disc problem in my neck. I was operated on with great success.

In the past two-and-a-half years I started experiencing serious lower back problems which slowly affected my ability to walk. Dr Miller treated me with pain injections, admitting me to hospital as it was necessary to do the procedure under anaesthetic.

However it became evident that, as the injections were no longer easing the pain, it would be necessary to operate and a date was set for 1 November 2013. Dr Miller was more than informative, no matter the number of times I saw him with a list of questions. He was never in a rush, answered all my questions, explained the procedure many times, and when I decided to go ahead with surgery, ensured that every possible test was done, so that he knew exactly what state of health I was in. I am 72 years old and a little overweight. I was diagnosed with Stenosis of the Spine.

A week before surgery I read your article. I immediately went to see Dr Miller, and after much discussion, the operation went ahead. The problem was greater than they had anticipated and I only have praise for Dr Miller and Dr Preddy. The post-op care was exceptional. Dr Miller kept my wife and daughter informed when they  saw him outside the ICU every morning and evening.

With regards to the staff at Dr Miller’s rooms, at no time did I find them hostile, in fact they were always very helpful, perhaps it is a case of “treat others as you wish to be treated”.

I am now walking without pain, it is a whole new experience. Thank you,

Percy Keith Johnston
Edleen, Kempton Park

Pleased to hear it.Ed.

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