Letters

Dear Editor


Shareholders to blame

Your article about Gold Fields and South Deep [All that glisters, nose202] is directed at the GFI executives and all the money they have earned while the South Deep mine has been losing money. Agreed this type of issue should be addressed, but the people that should be addressing it are the shareholders (and, perhaps, the employees who face retrenchment in the value destruction process).

Across South Africa we often see value destruction in companies while the directors continue to be paid handsomely. This will continue for as long as they know they can get away with it – and the shareholders are too apathetic to do anything about it.

The ultimate blame lies with the shareholders, who have the power to remove executives who continually lose money for them. Next time, write: Gold Fields shareholders approve more value destruction for fourth year in a row…

Shane Hunter
By email

Undervaluations under scrutiny

As a professional valuer I found your article “Valuation Scandal” (nose202) not only very interesting but also extremely worrying. I am also a principal estate agent specialising in commercial property and have a comprehensive database of commercial properties throughout the Tshwane Metro.

I specialise in commercial property valuations in the area and can confirm that an alarmingly high number of municipal values of commercial properties in the region are under-valued, if the required valuation criteria as prescribed in Chapter 5 of the Municipal Property Rates Act No 6 of 2004 (MPRA) are applied. Clause 46 (1) of Chapter 5 clearly stipulates that “Subject to any other applicable provisions of this Act (MPRA), the market value of a property is the amount the property would have realised if sold on the date of valuation in the open market by a willing seller to a willing buyer”. The Act also clearly stipulates in clause 3(3)(a) in Chapter 2 that “A rates policy must treat persons (entities) liable for rates equitably”.

There are far fewer commercial properties in any municipal area than residential ones and it is understandable that mass appraisal techniques are applied when valuing residential properties. However, there is no reason why a municipal valuer should not deal individually with commercial property valuations by the tested conventional methods.

Also worrying, is that continued annual rates tariff increases, especially for commercial properties in the Tshwane Metro, have resulted in municipal valuers being reluctant to value them strictly in accordance with the Act. This became apparent to me not only from market information on my own database but also when one of the chief municipal valuers at the Tshwane Metro told me he values low to avoid trouble. From this I deduce that, should commercial properties be valued strictly in accordance with the Act, many owners would object to paying the resulting higher rates and appeal their municipal property values. Municipal valuers would be constantly subjected to legal scrutiny by top lawyers, spending endless hours attending to such appeals and facing potential humiliation, as was Robert McLaren’s experience.

Maybe if the municipal rates tariff for commercial properties was lowered, the municipal valuers could be more inclined to value in terms of the requirements of the Act. As a matter of interest, the Tshwane Metro commercial/business property rates tariff applicable from 1 July 2016 is 0,03362 cents in the rand compared with 0,018287 in the Johannesburg Metro.

Gerrie Minnaar
Principal Professional Valuer
CRI Properties C.C
License Partner of Engel & Völkers
Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd
Ashlea Gardens, Pretoria

The fact that Johannesburg’s rates tariff is a third of Tshwane’s does not appear to have been any incentive to value high-value commercial properties in Johannesburg more accurately.

I note you exclude corruption as a possible reason for the consistent failure by the politically well-connected contractor, eValuations, to value high-value properties belonging to the political elite, the ultra rich or major corporations, properly – or at all.


If they are not taking backhanders for the favour, maybe, as you suggest, they simply fear their entire system will not stand up to the legal scrutiny that only the rich can afford – should they be provoked. See update, Who are the racists? in this thissue.Ed.

♦ You report that the Johannesburg Rates Appeal Board has granted a costs award against a Good Samaritan who uncovered falsely low property valuations (nose202) prompts me to ask: Is there not one lawyer who subscribes to Noseweek who will offer to take, pro bono, this costs award on judicial review to seek to get it reversed?

This will be a public service, enabling the objector to resume acting in the public interest.

Keith Gottschalk
Claremont

Dozetas revisited

Please note and be readily advised that both your reporter Alan Elsdon and Mr Jacob Dozetas are not telling the full and correct truth in relation to the allegations and contentions made about me in the article “Destroyed by SARS” (nose201). Let me place the true and correct facts and circumstances on record:

• I was working for Dozetas on a commission basis for one year. I never met the late Jackie Selebi nor did I ever speak to Selebi about Dozetas, as alleged or at all.

• I never undertook any military training in Russia. In fact, I was studying in Russia for a short period of time.

• Never in his lifetime did Selebi ever ask me for money.

• Six months ago Elsdon emailed a false and incorrect statement with numerous untruths and incorrect facts and circumstances, he asked me to sign, such that Dozetas would be able to obtain and extort money from SARS and from SAPS. [He said he wished to sue them for wrongful arrest and prosecution.Ed.]

• I refused to sign such a statement and continue to refuse to sign same because it contains a multiplicity of untruths, incorrect statements and submissions. It would appear that Elsdon and Dozetas have written this article about me due to my reluctance to agree to sign the statement.

I am sorry for what happened to Dozetas with SARS and SAPS. However, I am not prepared to tell untruths and to testify about things that are not correct in each and every respect. Please be informed that the other things that Noseweek and Elsdon say about me in the article are correct and all my WhatsApp messages to Dozetas are 100% true.

I wish to categorically place on record that I am a man of class, style, stature and good and sound moral value. I will never sell my integrity, dignity and good name at all, whether for money, fame or otherwise. I have an impeccable reputation in South Africa and everybody will remember me for such a reputation.

I am sorry that my previous relationship with Dozetas turned sour, but it had to happen for some mysterious reasons which are beyond my understanding, comprehension and control.

I am currently not living in South Africa, but I will come back to the beautiful South African paradise, in due course, to restore my pride and dignity against all and any malicious fabrications, untruths, propaganda and the like, levelled against me.

Please find below nice and royal pictures of myself, which are much better than the previous one that Elsdon copied from an old issue of the Sandton Chronicle. You might consider using them in publishing a suitably worded retraction article in your next edition of Noseweek.

Hicham Gamroni
Morocco (by email)

It’s a pity you chose not to respond to Alan Elsdon’s entirely professional and proper requests for your comments before our article was published. If you had, your comments would undoubtedly have been included. Faced with your refusal to comment, we published your earlier WhatsApp responses to Dozetas’s messages on the subject. And, faced with such serious allegations, any reasonable person would have expected an immediate, explicit denial from you if they were false. But in your response to Dozetas, it is noteworthy that you made no direct reference to his request for written confirmation of your alleged dealings with Police Commissioner Selebi, but simply apologised “for harm that I caused you”. If you thought that by simply ignoring it, the problem would go away, you were clearly wrong.

On your planned return to South Africa, I am sure the whole of Sandton eagerly awaits your arrival to once more set standards for taste and style in those hallowed malls.
– Ed.

Love and life


Since when does an “investigative publication” need to devote five pages to a non-issue [a profile/interview with famous South African writer Andre Brink’s widow, in nose202]?

Shurely (as your friends at Private Eye would say) there are scandals and political matters more deserving of the efforts of your team? I subscribe because I want to know the real lowdown on these!

Rather keep on digging up the dirt.

Peter Albert
Milnerton

Criticism duly noted. I have also noted that many readers enjoyed the piece. Maybe the occasional reminder in
Noseweek that some people still manage to live by decent values is in order?Ed.

Helkom


May I suggest to Simon Milliken (“Hell to pay at Telkom,” Letters, nose202) that he contacts Hello Peter (hellopeter.com). I’ve had most of my issues with large, obdurate organisations solved by using the website. Even Telkom responded. It only took two attempts!

Pam Herr
Sun Valley

It's gratifying to report a success story.Ed.

To be or not to bee

Here’s another sort of scam that has been perpetrated on some kindhearted people. Last year on John Maytham's show on Cape Talk radio I heard this guy, Greg Aberdeen, talking about what sounded like a worthwhile project: crowd funding for beehives in the Western Cape. You gave money and in return, received honey down the line.

I paid in June 2015, and again in September, thinking this was a good cause. Well, surprise, surprise, no honey. Excuses, excuses, and then the stories. Every time you asked what was going on there was some reason… Aberdeen now seems to have disappeared and is apparently a serial crook, though unusual for his choice of victims: eco soldiers.

Penelope Gracie

Sea Point

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