Dear Editor

Dear Sir
At least one I T professional (myself) found nose’s article on Y2K (nose 23) to be the first refreshingly non-hysterical article on the subject to have appeared in the media. A lot of people are making money fanning the flames of hysteria on this issue.
Your article, while perhaps downplaying the dangers, was a lot closer to the truth. The Y2K issue, as you point out, is almost exclusively a mainframe issue – and, more precisely, an issue for old or badly written COBOL software running on such mainframes. Most modern operating systems use epoch time, that will be free fo problems well into the next millenium. The Securities Industry Association has run simulations of the Y2K rollover to determine whether the New York Stock Exchange will be affected, without any significant problems. Similar tests have been done in the US on air traffic control systems, with similar results.
But these success stories don’t receive much media attention – after all, bad news sells much better. Once again, noseweek has proven itself right on the money.
Dr Graham Wheeler
Cape Town

Dear Sir
We address you at the instance of our client, Mr EG Thorne, Deputy Director of Human Resources, City of Cape Town, and refer to the article “Green for Top Secret” in nose22. The article canvasses allegations involving the South African Association of Municipal Employees (SAAME). It alleges that the Council has taken up a “protective attitude” in respect of SAAME and cites the example of our client committing perjury [in the Industrial Court]. Before making and publishing these allegations, your publication did not interview Mr Thorne. Our client denies that he perjured himself. Our client deposed that an earlier judgement of the Industrial Court [in which it ruled that the Council’s closed shop agreement with SAAME constituted an unfair labour practice and was, therefore, illegal] was being adhered to. Our client was under the bona fide impression that there was such compliance.
He was not aware that applicants for employment were not being advised that they were not compelled to join either one of the two [racially exclusive] unions who were party to the previous [unlawful] closed shop agreement. By giving our client the opportunity to respond, your publication could, for instance, have established that because of his race Mr Thorne was not eligible for SAAME membership. You have published an article which is wrongful and defamatory in respect of our client. As a result, our client’s reputation has been damaged and he has suffered damages. Your article also impacts on his career. Our client demands that you publish a retraction of the allegations pertaining to him, as well as an apology. Failure to do so in your next issue will result in him taking appropriate action against your publication.
Yours faithfully
L Blignaut
Silberbauers, Attorneys
Cape Town
See pg 8, then take a Disprin and, if necessary, call us in the morning. – Ed.
P.S. You have contrived to let us know that Mr Thorne is, well, not a so-called “white” person. Surely not in order to solicit sympathy for his incompetence or dishonesty?

Dear Sir
The PAC notes with considerable concern that the Council for Nuclear Safety approves of a plan to double the storage capacity for high-level nuclear waste at Koeberg. We are told that there is “hardly” any chance of a nuclear accident.
Koeberg was established by the apartheid regime to be the basis of a nuclear weapons programme. Today, it is no longer necessary because we have given up our nuclear weapons. Cahora Bassa is on stream. We have abundant sources of hydro-electricity via our neighbours. And we have abundant coal resources to tide us over until we develop more environmentally friendly methods of power generation.
The Koeberg reactor is less than 20km from Cape Town and the Cape Flats would be wiped out by radioactive fallout in the event of an accident. (Chernobyl is the classical example of nuclear devastation.) Koeberg is a dangerous and expensive toy that must be wound down and then closed. The PAC calls on the ANC government to take this vital action. Plenty of jobs can be created by developing alternative and sustainable sources of energy from the wind and sun. This process must be started now. Tomorrow is much too late.
Costa Gazi
Secretary for Health and Welfare
Pan Africanist Congress of Azania

Dear Sir
I jubilate over the May noseweek which arrived here recently. It’s such good stuff that I am hard pressed to give you all the compliments you deserve.
Laurence Potgieter

Dear Sir
Based on the facts of the Compuquote vs ABSA Case, which reveal a cynical disregard of the very ethics mentioned in ABSA’s own mission statement, an argument could be made that the whole group (and other perfidious relics of the old order) needs to be investigated. The only way to break the stranglehold these immoral, Broeder-dominated corporations have on the SA economy, is to institute stringent, American-style financial controls, and to go after the top management with criminal investigations.
Julian King
Washington, DC

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