Dear Editor

Survé’s hypocrisy

Thanks for another great issue with news that is independent in the true sense. I have just subscribed to a print copy, as well an internet version so that I can catch up on past editions!

Thanks for the wider perspective in the excellent editorial on the Rhodes statue issue. 

As for exposing some of Iqbal Survé’s hypocrisy, I wondered whether it was coincidence that Independent Media broke the Rhodes excrement story. Its owner, Iqbal Survé, broke ties with the UCT at the end of January, accusing the institution of lack of transformation.

Funny how, soon afterwards, Independent Media reporters just happened to be on campus to capture the exact moment of excrement throwing. Independent Media then fuelled the subsequent protest by championing it on their front pages day after day until it gained a momentum of its own, with some destructive consequences.

How good it would be if we could all wake up in a non-racist, inclusive South Africa, as in Mmusi Maimane’s dream.

Thanks for the uplifting and informative article about this inspiring man. An astute and principled leader with moral authority and courage is just what our country needs.

Sandra Hewitson
Cape Town

Keep talking

Today I became a Noseweek reader. (I found a copy in a friend’s loo, and went out and bought my own copy). I am disillusioned with the Cape Times, but will not stop reading it, mainly because I want to know what everybody is thinking.

Recently, for example, there has been a fertile discussion between Crain Soudien, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and Xolela Mangcu, Associate Professor of Sociology, also at UCT, about academic freedom and the role of a university.

Apart from these topical discussions on issues confronting the community, one wants to keep a tab on how the opposition (the ANC) sees things. And we need to keep open the channels of communication at all costs.

Conditions in this country do not permit us to tell each other to shut up. We need to keep talking through thick and thin. At the moment, perhaps all we have is our amazing ability to communicate. Let’s do it!

Irma Liberty

A future of tolerance

Mmusi Maimane (Profile, nose187) sounds like the right type of person to lead the DA, and to lead the country. He represents a future of tolerance and interracial understanding, with the right mix of decent education.

But, he has one thing wrong: don’t pray for the country, pray for the unenlightened who, like sheep, still vote ANC. It is they who need the prayers.

Roger Webster

Serial squatter

Subsequent to your interviewing our serial squatter, Matt Ndlovu, (nose187) we managed to “convince” him to move out of his own accord. The coward ran away and left his children to pack up and transport their belongings to who-knows-where.

We are continuing litigation to ensure that he can never return, and, will be selling his assets to defray legal expenses and loss of rental and utility payments. The house has been completely vandalised and will be inspected by an insurance assessor soon, pending major repairs

Clive Bruyns

Now see Editorial and story Prince of pot in this issue.

Steinman a selfless champion

Regarding Dr Barbara Zeisler’s letter in nose186: For one who has apparently taken the Hippocratic Oath (Hippocrates 460-370 BC) and who then states that “scientific medicine is only approximately 100 years old”, she is confusing the public.

For Dr Zeisler to attack the bona fides of Dr Harris Steinman is unfortunate. He is much admired by his colleagues working in human allergies and does so much to target “snake oil salesmen” who prey on the gullible public. He is a member of the Allergy Society of South Africa.

For a number of cases he has paid for his own air tickets to fly to Joburg and devoted much time to appear before the Advertising Standards Authority. For this, he is not paid.

The inadequacies of the ASA have been obvious for some time, but an attack by Zeisler on an ex-judge who is chairman of the ASA is uncalled for.

Having been a GP for 32 years, I can only say that it is incumbent on us to protect our patients against the untruthful claims of so many “snake oil salesmen” – a surprising number of whom have degrees and are permitted to practise medicine.

Dr Joan Lewis

Defy’s defects

Why oh why do people still suffer such aggravation? I read the Jaron Tobias story about Defy in amazement. If a consumer wants to make a real difference, then use the Consumer Protection Act for what it was intended – defective new goods. The option to claim a refund, a replacement, or repair, is Jaron’s.

Always choose a refund, then buy another unit (even if it is identical, as this is a new transaction). End result: the retailer has been inconvenienced with the paperwork due to the manufacturer’s defect. If that happens often enough they will either reduce their product lines or change suppliers. The manufacturer is left with a second-hand unit that must be collected and returned to the factory (at a cost), or sold at a reduced price. Both options hit where it hurts most – the bottom line.

When enough consumers do that, companies like Defy will either bend over backwards to help or their top dogs will be where they should be – awaiting unemployment payouts. Either way, the consumer is spared emotional and financial harm.

Kevin Martin

Glenwood, Durban.

♦ Some time ago my fridge packed up and was taken to Defy, PE, for repairs. After a couple of inquiries I was told they couldn’t help because the guy working on my fridge was in America! I eventually got hold of the regional manager and was given a new fridge – after three months!

My Defy upright freezer has given problems from the day I bought it and the Defy microwave was repaired twice under guarantee; I now no longer rely on Defy – I buy Samsung.

J Els

♦ There’s no defending Defy’s lack of response to complaints, but I wonder why Jaron Tobias bothered with them at all. Let the retailer, Hirsch’s, resolve the problem. If they had delivered a second faulty product from the manufacturer, I would have insisted they give me another make, and they would have done so. They have enough purchasing power to sort the problem out with Defy, so let them!

H E Robinson
Westville, Durban

♦ Even the Defy website is defective. Not only does it take ages to load, but the company profile has absolutely nothing on who the management is. However, from this article one can deduce there is no proper management.

Richard Bennett
By email

♦ We will not be specifying Defy in our residential projects unless we see a concerted effort by them to put this perception right and improve their appalling customer service.

A R Katz, Architects
Oranjezicht, Cape Town

Insurance chancers?

Re your article “No fire without smoke” (nose186). It seems some insurance companies don’t only want to avoid paying claims but also go to dubious lengths to intimidate people into paying money not legally due. 

Last year I had an accident in an area where roadworks were in full swing involving multiple cars from three directions. My insurance settled and I thought that was the end of it until I received an email from an “Uninsured Recoveries Consultant” at Telesure, saying: “Please that this matter has been discussed with your insurance and therefore advised that your claim for them to cover for the loss of your negligence on the above date has been rejected as by you could not keep proper control of your vehicle that resulted in your vehicle colliding to our clients vehicle.” (Exact wording)

This was followed by a letter of demand and a specific threat of judgment and a warrant of execution.

I referred it to my broker who responded: “I have confirmed with Zurich no rejection was given on the basis that my client was negligent. I don’t know where you got your information from. Our client was not the cause of this accident and therefore will not be held liable.”

One wonders if this type of behaviour is simply about trying their luck or possibly even illegal?

Colin Mitchel

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