Dear Editor

Nonsense and roses

It’s nonsense to say, as Cyril Ramaphosa does, that we can disregard the capital cost of nuclear power “because it is an investment”. Once the investment comes on stream, the accumulated capital cost needs to be paid for out of consumption. In the end it is the people who will have to pay for it. Zuma would never understand this basic economics but Cyril at least should.

Rod Gurzynski
Cape Town

► Cyril loves to surround himself with flowers, but especially with roses. Rose lovers are good people, full stop.

Ludwig Taschner
‘Dad would be embarrassed ‘

What very sad reading (nose179) that our dad’s affairs – our family business – is now in the public domain. Dad would be ashamed, embarrassed and outraged. How disappointing.

Ashleigh Bagnall
Cape Town

► I supported the application to have my elderly father, Dennis Bagnall, placed under curatorship. Unfortunately a lot of things do not go into court papers if deemed superfluous. It was very simple from our side: our dad was incompetent, at physical and financial risk and needed a curator. It was [Bagnall’s daughter Shelley] Ms van Acker who produced the lengthy, irrelevant, expensive, unnecessary and rambling objections.

Old folks are at risk of being abused (financially and otherwise) by people who do not always have their best interests at heart. A curator protects them from this. I suggest you add this perspective to future articles.

Andrea Bagnall

► In the not too distant future the judge [who ordered Bagnall be placed under curatorship] will be elderly and, with judgments such as these, she too might find herself cast out from familiar surroundings and placed in a care home.

Heather Cassingham
Cape Town

Seeing through the fog

Ten years ago Mike Fogg, who featured in your Kyalami story (nose179), tried to sell his plan to develop the old Roy Hesketh motor racing circuit in Pietermaritzburg, by assuring locals that his property would also serve as recreational space.

For years, people have walked, exercised dogs and cycled on the land, which is adjacent to a nature conservancy. Yet now Fogg threatens trespass charges against anyone who does not pay a R10 entrance fee (R100 per month) to walk or cycle on his stretch of veld and tarmac.

Whatever his role in the murky financial dealings around Kyalami, he clearly has a very short memory and no social conscience.

Christopher Merrett

Nightmare landlords

I have just read “Nightmare tenants ruin landlords” (nose178). By contrast, I have a “nightmare” landlord, Francois September, from whom I rented a unit in the Il Villaggio complex in Douglasdale for six months, up to the end of May last year, for which I paid a double deposit of R17,000.

More than a year on I am still waiting for my deposit to be returned. At first, September kept promising he was expecting money and as soon as it came, he would pay me back. This was despite a stipulation in the lease that the deposit be kept in an interest-bearing trust account. A year down the line. I am no further on.

September is an SAIPA-registered accountant, who advertises “integrity, ethics, excellence, professionalism and people”. This obviously does not apply to his tenants.

Denise Brown
Kirstenhof, Cape Town

Crumbling building standards

A house in an upmarket estate recently collapsed in Gauteng, killing a number of workers. This brought to mind my five-year-long experience with the National Home Builders Registration Council when I built a house in an “exclusive estate” in Hillcrest, Durban. 

Although I paid the obligatory levy to NHBRC, I received a sub-standard house that I am still fixing. Among  features that fell below acceptable standards were: (1) the floor, which was 10cm too high, with the result that upbraids and windows did not fit, and since the roof was already on, had to be chipped out, compromising the slab; (2) a big roof problem (it had to be re-done) with water that poured in and ceilings that collapsed; (3) second-hand door and window frames that were untreated and harboured termites (they are being replaced).

The estate is Langford Country Estate; the contractor was Graham Mockridge – who subsequently worked for Stedone Group; the Engineer who passed the floor was Richard Mondon, and the developer, Tony Bosman.

I saw Master Builders interviewed on eNews following the collapse of that Gauteng house, and got annoyed because this is not an MBA matter; quality control is the responsibility of NHBRC which collects a percentage of the house price as a quality assurance, and then manages to tiptoe away from disaster and accountability. See their website at www.nhbrc.org.za .

Glenda Caine
Hillcrest KZN

Competing on inefficiency

On 19 November I asked Absa Bank to return the title deed to my property, as I had paid off the bond. Absa replied that they had instructed ENSafrica, which confirmed on 5 December that documents cancelling the bond would be lodged at the Deeds Office in the first week of January.

On 28 January ENS said they had only then received the title and bond deed from Absa, and had forwarded lodgement instructions to their Cape Town attorneys.

Nearly six months later, on 2 June, ENS advised me that the bond had been cancelled on 27 May and an account for legal fees was attached. I paid and emailed back the proof.

On 28 July I sent yet another email to Absa asking why I had not heard from them. To date, still nothing.

Gerald Schaffer
Cape Town

Give us a square deal, Vodacom

Is it Vodacom policy that there is no need to respond to, or even acknowledge, client correspondence? That has been my experience.

I have a problem with poor reception. When I recently visited Cellucity, Port Elizabeth, the assistant produced a map of the city which shows that I reside in a so-called “red zone” where reception, mobile and internet, can be “expected” to be very poor. The first I’d heard of it. It means I have been sold a device or service under false pretences. At no time during the purchase transaction was there even a hint that I might be getting less than a full service from Vodacom. Poor reception means that data is consumed at a high rate of knots when downloads are aborted, I am often off the air and internet connections are often disrupted.

Another complaint is that when I tried to buy data time this week via my phone – as advertised by Vodacom – it proved impossible and I had to take a trip to Cellucity to have a portion of my airtime purchase converted to data.

How about Vodacom just giving customers a square deal at a fair price and telling them straight what they get and pay for?

Andrew Tainton
Port Elizabeth

Opt-out outlaws

I received an sms from 1Life, including their FSP number – asking me to call someone for their Women and Children with Cancer insurance, and giving me the option to opt out. By law, they may not do this because before they send an sms they must:
1. check that you haven’t asked to opt out from their marketing before;
2. check whether you are registered on the National Opt Out Database; and
3. provide a free Opt Out option.

While the sms sender can check the first two, the third they cannot do.

Only Vodacom has some form of reversible opt-out system, but I (as a Vodacom user) don’t know how that works. They also don’t want to do a free opt-out sms option because the recipient could punish them by sending a zillion smses which would cost them a little, or, if enough people do it, a lot.

I am registered on the Opt Out Database, which means 1Life didn’t check this before they sent their sms, which is illegal. This is all Consumer Protection Act  stuff and everyone in these industries knows about it.

Now, there may be nothing in the National Consumer Act about smses, but there is a ban on door-to-door selling, or arriving at your door unsolicited. Surely, when an email or an sms arrives unsolicited, it is gate-crashing my private space?

I wish to remind readers to register on the National Opt Out Database (Google it, it’s easy to find).

Christelle Rheeder-Weale
By email

More than a good read

What a very pleasant surprise to receive two bottles of wine as a gift from Noseweek. I guess if I’d read the “small print” in the August edition I would have seen my name! The pleasure was actually increased when I looked it up. Thank you.

I must express the delight with which I receive Noseweek every month, it is probably the only magazine I read from cover to cover. 

Amanda Peffers
Hout Bay, Cape Town

Cleaned out

I became a victim of hacking this week and had my Nedbank bank accounts cleaned out. It went together with an unauthorised Vodacom sim swop. Any advice how to handle these issues?

Jan Venter
By email

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Submitted by : Juanita Le Roux of Randburg on 2014-09-27 00:46:46
Hi Jan Venter, I bank with Nedbank and recently my credit card was cloned. Not a cent went off my account and the service was superb. I am not sure about hacking though. and for future reference, when you are next in your banking account, click on admin at the top and change your payment limit to one rand. The time spent to change this every time you make a payment is worth your while. and as you know, only possible via cell phone communication with Nedbank. A bit late with this advice but I discovered this myself only a few month ago. Good luck.


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