Socialist conspiracy of silence?

Your report on the extent to which South Africans are dependent on social grants (Nose201) reminded me of a report Emma Hurd did on Sky TV back in 2013 about a pregnant woman in Port Elizabeth who was drinking in excess in order to damage her unborn baby, so she could claim the disability grant on it, which is higher than the standard child grant. That case did rather sharply contradict socialist claims that child grants are not a reason why poor people have children. There was no follow-up in the media, prompting the question: was this news we were not supposed to know?

Ian Hurst
Groot Drakenstein

While there probably are cases of such cruelly irrational behaviour, ordinary human reasons – that don’t require a financial incentive – undoubtedly account for the vast majority of infants born to rich and poor alike. – Ed.

Moroccan all over the world

In Nose201 where you describe how an innocent man was persecuted by SARS, you report that “Hicham Gamroni, a flamboyant Moroccan ... mentioned he and the late Jackie Selebi had received military training together at an ANC training camp in Russia”.

No history of the ANC nor Umkhonto weSizwe mentions any Moroccan links, still less a Moroccan sharing their military training.

If this claim is true, will the Moroccan ambassador to South Africa and the Moroccan security services be interested in questioning Mr Gamroni?

Keith Gottschalk

• Surely Mr Dozetas could find a legal “investor”, similar to the kind that supported the “Call Me vs Vodacom” case, and take the state to the cleaners for this? The magistrate found malicious prosecution so there must be a strong case. This sort of behaviour needs not only to be nipped in the bud but to be investigated to find out who was behind it. I guess it could all be pinned on Mr Selebi now that he is unable to answer for it.

Questing Mind

The SARS folk that did the actual dirty work are the ones who will have to answer for it. – Ed.

In defence of Jansen

Dear Alison Gwynne-Evans [Letters, Nose201: “Prof Jansen’s imperfect opinion], you are clearly one of those people who feel that their opinion, no matter how misguided, and despite the actual facts, is so utterly superior that anyone or everyone who has a different opinion, is not only wrong and ignorant, but must not be allowed to express it.

And you only reported your well-thought out and considered opinion to the Advertising Standards Authority and Broadcasting Complaints Commission? I am sure the ANC Central Committee, and a plethora of compliant institutions such as the SABC would welcome your thoughts on the matter.

Clive Varejes
Gallo Manor

Swingdoor attorney

Re Kangaroo cowboys go wild on the West Coast” (Nose201): So Debbie Ntombela is Tormin’s swingdoor attorney! I remember her well – she took over as Department of Mineral Resources Regional Manager for the North West from Koos Komane, who went to jail for his corruption (amazingly enough)! She was not much better – won a few court cases against the DMR under her custodianship. And again when she was promoted to head office. Not surprised to see her name here in this context!

Ian Ashmole
By email

Hell to pay at Telkom

In March I received a call from Telkom offering a 24-month package with increased internet speed. (I already had an existing service.) I accepted and went to the Musgrave branch to fill in forms. I was told the modem for the improved service would be delivered a few days later. Well, I stayed home on the specified day and no modem appeared. Another date was given, and again I stayed home for nothing.
When I called the Telkom customer line to find out what was going on, I got different stories: one agent told me to visit a Telkom branch and restart the process; another said to go get the modem myself. At that point, completely dissatisfied, I requested a cancellation form, which I handed in at the same branch where I had signed the contract. I heard nothing for several weeks, eventually phoning in to be told cancellations were “taking a very long time”. Then, on my April bill, I was charged R1,430 for cancellation, despite still being charged for the non-delivered service. So I logged a complaint.

In response I received this sms: “Dear customer, please contact Ncumisa regarding the dispute you logged. The DSL is not removed yet and you need to confirm the cancellation”. I called the East London number given, but Ncumisa said she was busy and would call back. She didn’t, and none of my numerous subsequent calls to her were answered. Back on the customer care line, I was told that only Ncumisa could deal with the situation. Another agent made the staggering suggestion that each time Ncumisa saw my number appear on the screen she did not answer. Various agents and supervisors were unable to help, and it got to a point where any call to the customer line got the busy signal. I suspect my calls were being blocked.

So there it is: since April Telkom has charged me for a service linked to a modem that was not delivered – and, furthermore, has billed me for cancelling something that never existed. Attempts to get this all rectified have been hugely time-consuming (never mind stressful) and got nowhere. At this rate is there any point in my approaching the Telkom ombudsman?

Simon Milliken

To all those readers who over the past year or more have sought to befriend or link up with me on LinkedIn or Skillpages and suchlike – and have received no answer: thank you, I am flattered, but I regret I am unable to accept your invitations as I simply cannot man all these social media channels. The 100-plus emails I receive daily and the occasional venture on to Twitter are already more than I can handle. So thank you, but it has to be ‘no thank you’.

Martin Welz

On First Creeping into a
Poem by Dylan Thomas

I might be slime and Calcite shale,
The common stuff of man and snail,
But yet my consciousness is pure.

One principle I know for sure:
The force that curls my spiral shell
Unwinds the universe as well.

Gus Ferguson


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