Judges must court honesty

Reading your “Lennie the Liquidator’’ article (nose177) makes one seriously wonder about our judiciary and our legal system: whether the powers-that-be are not indirectly somehow benefiting from the “engineered” misfortune of others.

It smacks of Mafia-style crime syndicates that can only be eradicated by forceful action and a judiciary alert to the growing lack of ethics in the legal profession. Judges who are naively trusting of the senior counsel that appear before them quickly become part of the problem.

Until now, it seems, there has been no real will to address the problem, I suspect because of the benefits to be derived by various players from the current situation.

What is most disturbing about the Brakspear case is that not one court official, attorney, advocate or judge appears to have bothered to check the authority of the purported claimant or demand proof of the alleged loan debt before agreeing to a liquidation order against a respondent who has denied liability and on the court record, in writing and under oath, alleged the claim is fraudulent.

By corrupt means the onus is then placed on the innocent party to appeal the case and prove that no such loan was ever received – presuming he or she can find someone willing to fund the legal assistance required to present and argue the evidence in court. (Not to speak of having to run the risk of his own attorney “bungling” the case, either through incompetence or corrupt design.)

The same situation exists in the banking sector, where banks attach property in terms of mortgage bonds that they have long since secretly securitised and ceded to third parties and to which they therefore no longer have any legal claim.

The courts keep on issuing these illegal attachment orders, by the hundreds, without any proof having been offered or questions asked. From the high incidence of these cases one must deduce that many judges are naively trusting of banks and the over-paid lawyers that represent them. This is tantamount to judicial prejudice in the banks’ favour. Either that, or the lawyers and judges are deliberately blind to the illegality and therefore avoid asking the obvious, fundamental questions.

On the rare occasion that a victim of the fraud has the knowledge and funds to appeal, well, that just helps the lawyers maximise their fees.

All this begs the question: How does an ordinary mortal defend themself against this apparently court-endorsed fraud? The cases quoted are but the tip of the iceberg, as can be seen from your articles.

In short, the whole system is rotten to the core. When Ian Brakspear wins his case, various state agencies, various attorneys (including “Africa’s largest law firm” ENS) and possibly even some members of our judiciary could face large damages claims and the destruction of their careers and (ill-deserved) reputations. As they should. If he does not, it will signal the total moral disintegration of our justice system.

Peter Nolting

On dodgy drugs…

You’re doing a great service in pointing your readers to Rxisk.com where adverse effects of pharmaceutical drugs can be found and reported (nose177).

People rely on self-regulatory bodies for their safety in the remedy field but such bodies are worse than useless, giving the false impression that they are protecting the public meanwhile they only promote their own interests.

I noticed years ago that whenever I took Paracetamol (Panado) for pain, I would suffer transient depression, intestinal discomfort and rectal bleeding for a couple of days afterwards. When I mentioned this to GPs or specialists they acted deaf. I reported the adverse effects to the Medicines Control Council and received this reply on 30 November 1992 (22 years ago):

“The MCC is well aware of the adverse effects of excessive intake of Paracetamol (Panado). The matter is currently being investigated and it is foreseen that restrictive measures might be taken. With regard to the specific side effects experienced by you, the report will be forwarded to the section of Council where each case is investigated individually.”

The amount I was taking was minimal and not anywhere near “excessive intake”, yet I suffered noticeable harmful effects. Nevertheless the MCC did not investigate my case and no restrictive measures were ever taken.

On 28 May this year an article entitled “What’s wrong with the world’s favourite painkiller” appeared in New Scientist, citing a study done on Paracetamol by Michael Doherty of Nottingham City Hospital, UK. His results showed that this “safe”, widely prescribed over-the-counter medicine, which is used for minor aches and pains – and given to children because it is on the first rung of the World Health Organization’s “analgesic ladder” – is as unsafe as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and less effective.

The teams of medical and pharmacological professionals, who have set up Rxisk.com, deserve the Nobel Prize for advances in the field of medicine. Their site will put an end to the “safe and efficacious” false advertising that leads to needless, excessive use of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.

Mary Fanner

Not for us to reason why

Your article, “When is a house an eyesore?” (nose177) suggests that the City of Cape Town, in its dealings with Alex Bleker, is not acting reasonably. That’s just one case. There are thousands of others involving unreasonable behaviour at every level of government. No explanations are ever forthcoming – after all, you cannot give a reason for something that is not reasonable, can you? As a result, citizens and visitors alike incur huge inconvenience, often at great cost.

So I draw the attention of readers to the following extract from Chapter 2 of the Constitution, which sets out the Bill of Rights. Section 33 reads:

“Just Administrative Action:

“(1) Everyone has the right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.

“(2) Everyone whose rights have been adversely affected by administrative action has the right to be given written reasons.”

Surely it means just what it says: Citizens should be able to demand, and be given, written reasons for what the authorities do, or fail to do. And, if the reasons are not forthcoming, or are not reasonable, citizens should be able to get the courts to compel the authorities to be reasonable.

The problem, of course, is that the journey through the courts is a long and expensive one. Perhaps we long-suffering citizens should pool our resources, and our grievances, pick on an issue, and mount a test case. That way the Constitution may yet prove to be worth the paper it’s written on.

Ron McGregor
Mowbray, Cape Town

Forewarned – in the nick of time

I have just purchased an article entitled “Something blue at Something Fishy” that appeared in 2006 (nose84) from your website for R30, and it has turned out to be the best investment of my life. It has saved me from losing thousands unwittingly in an extremely clever (and well planned) scam.

What I read in that old Noseweek story was almost word-for-word what happened on 7 June this year when I received a call on my cell regarding a “lucrative business opportunity”.

Because of the meticulous and detailed way “Bev” had told her story in Noseweek, I immediately realised that I was dealing with the same person/group/syndicate. And this happened only a few hours before my scheduled meeting with exactly the same buyer (“Mr Ashley Williams”) regarding exactly the same goods (“ostrich and crocodile skin goods”) as replacement for exactly the same previous middleman (Mr Brown)!

I am so glad there are people out there like Bev and John who decided to go the extra mile and were brave enough to expose the scam in Noseweek. Their decision has had a positive effect in my life – eight years later.

I have already contacted the SAPS and hope that I can further contribute and continue with the process Bev and John started so many years ago.

Would the real Bev and John please contact me? I would like to thank them personally. Thanks also to Noseweek for making all this possible.

Stefan Snyman

Requests to contact Mr Snyman may be sent to editor@noseweek.co.za for forwarding to him.

For the best, advance to Lexus

Thanks for exposing Mercedes-Benz SA. (noses138,139,140,171,172&173.) I was considering buying the E250, but now, f**k ’em, I’ll be buying a Lexus.

Len Palmer

Wise man. As far back as 2011 (nose140) MercedesBenz SA was revealed to be lying through their teeth about major design faults that were costing unsuspecting customers vast sums to fix; nothing has changed. German engineering clearly isn’t what it once was, so now they’re having to rely on customers’ being blinded by the romance of their marque – or lies and stubborn denial.Ed.

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