Dear noseweek, I am buying my friend a subscription to save him from the embarrassment of loitering around the magazine racks at CAN, frequently moving questionable titles to see whether noseweek is misfiled behind them. Now he can pace the stoep at home like Penny and I do.
Denis Gordon, Franschhoek
MURDER OF SIMON LAW
Dear Sir, Now that noseweek has published the second part of the Jenkins story, I am glad to see that the rest of the media in South Africa are finally taking an interest. Corruption had so thoroughly permeated much of the old white business regime that people like David Jenkins felt they would always be above the law, allowing them not only to mislead and threaten officials with impunity but, ultimately, to arrange the murder of an ex-partner who represented a danger because he knew too much. I find Jenkins’s attempts now to imply that Simon Law had other shady business contacts, or that he was ‘not a nice businessman’ and was ‘solely motivated to make money in any shape or form’, utterly despicable. Anybody who knew Simon would know that this is nonsense. Simon made more real friends and brought more joy to the lives of others in his short 35 years than Jenkins ever will, no matter how much money he makes. I now have a wood of more than 60 trees growing at our home in Kent, each planted by a friend of Simon’s at the memorial service held a year after his death. I have always been enormously frustrated that Jenkins continues to lead the life of Riley in SA, when Simon Law, the man I loved, was cut down in his prime by two paid thugs. Would you ever consider publishing a clear statement from me that I know that Jenkins was the power behind Simon’s murder? I realise that you have to consider your libel laws, but could you not just attribute it all to me and let me worry about the libel?
Tarn Phillips, London
See page 5
THIEVES AT LAW
Sir, I refer to nose26 and various letters regarding the legal profession and in particular, the Law Society of the Cape. The society’s modus operandi is initially to receive correspondence from attorneys’ victims, then to turn a blind eye to the most carefully prepared evidence of their members’ near-criminal ineptitude. The neatest is when they advise the victims to seek more legal advice (meaning get yourself still deeper into shit)! Finally they simply tell the ripped-off public to fuck off with time-proven clichés such as ‘It seems that the matter is finalised’, ‘We trust you understand and appreciate our position’ or – when things get too hot for comfort – ‘We consider this correspondence now closed’.
When, in November last year, I complained about my attorney, N Albertus, to the Law Society, its legal officer, Lewis Wiener, wrote to advise me that ‘Negligence per se does not amount to unprofessional conduct in terms of the rules. Any damages which you may have suffered will have to be recovered by way of instituting action against the attorney. The Society does not have the powers to order compensation.’
The subject of my complaint had been properly instructed by me to recover damages and costs from a party who crashed from behind into my car in stationary traffic. There was a witness who offered to testify for me as to what he saw. Seven months later, attorney Albertus turned up 45 minutes late for court, forgot to bring my photographs, and did not subpoena my witness (contrary to his assurances until the day before court). Next day he arrived late for the magistrate’s ruling.
This farce resulted in a ruling with costs against me. A few weeks later, the messenger of the court turned up at my home with a warrant of execution in the amount of nearly
R7 000 for the defendant’s attorney’s costs, which I had to pay immediately. My attorney had not forwarded any account, any letter of demand, summons, judgement or letter of execution – but, apparently, that’s not against the society’s rules.
Next I got a notice from my attorney inviting me to attend the taxation of his account (for services he did not render). This amounted to another R6 000 and after a concerted effort to convince the Wynberg taxing master of my attorney’s dereliction, the amount was reduced by R450. The subject was, of course, not present during this shot-gun job. A few days ago I received not an account, but another summons – this time for the costly shit the bastard caused me. The peaceful day I hoped to have on 20 February last year has cost me – three months without a car – R12 000 to have my car repaired – R1 800 for summons to defendant – R2 000 for a rental vehicle for one week – R7 000 for the defendant’s attorney – R6 000 for my hired ‘help’. Dis fokken lekker in die nuwe Suid Afrika, if you are one of Dullah’s kêrels.
A J Hanekom, Kenilworth
Sir, Your exposé on crooked attorneys reminds me of the words of Shakespeare in Henry VI: ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.’
One is surprised that the organised legal profession has not reacted with the same degree of alacrity as you have. I want to challenge noseweek to investigate why. It takes great courage for Mark Hess to blow the whistle on H Mohamed and Associates and it would be unfortunate if noseweek goes cold on the issue.
As a lawyer myself, with a special interest in human rights/constitutional law, I abhor any act of dishonesty or impropriety on the part of professionals, especially those who are placed in positions of trust.
Saber Ahmed Jazbhay, Durban
VARTY CANNED FOR THE KILL
Dear Sir, Having read Gareth Paterson’s book in which he describes the horror of ‘canned’ lion hunting, I was ready to agree that something needs to be done to control the situation better in South Africa. I was not prepared, however, for the canned hunting I was exposed to on a recent visit to Londolozi. On a night drive, we saw two kills happening right in front of us, within a space of five minutes. Normally, I would consider this a rare privilege, but this time I felt distinctly uncomfortable. The reason for this was that the prey, young impala, were completely blinded by the film lights of John Varty and the rest of his crew, making them sitting ducks for the stalking lions, but providing excellent footage for Varty. Varty has already tarnished his name in certain quarters, because of his escapade with the lion he returned to the bush before it was properly habituated, causing its almost immediate death. It would appear that ‘film footage at all costs’ applies to other forms of game as well.
In discussion with the rangers afterwards, they said they were disgusted as we were. At Londolozi, the rangers make a point of switching off their spotlights when lions are stalking game, to not compromise either the lion or the game being stalked. But the rangers feared retribution if the issue was raised.
The Varty family still owns the land, which is leased to Conservation Corporation, and they fear he might retaliate by denying them traversing rights off-road. Indeed, Varty has already gone to the extent of declaring parts of the reserve off limits to guests at certain times, when he is filming. I am writing this letter to express my absolute disgust at what I saw. Perhaps some publicity will shame Varty into stopping this despicable practice.
Jack Bean, Bishopscourt
AIDS / HIV
Dear Sir, A disease that no one continent selects 90% of its victims among men (60% of whom are homosexual) while on another continent attacks heterosexuals of both sexes indiscriminately is a very strange disease. According to the US Army, which routinely screens all recruits for HIV, there is an almost equal distribution of the virus between men and women in the US. Yet AIDS in that country, despite the direst predictions, has stubbornly remained (and stabilised) within its original, predominantly male risk group. A virus that, according to US estimates, is so sparse in sexual fluids that it takes an average of a thousand contacts with infected partners to contract the infection – yet, in some countries, is claimed to be spreading at a rate to equal Europe’s Black Death – is a very strange virus.
(This risk estimate was supported locally when a group of children were found playing with medical waste, including hypodermic syringes. Our local medical authorities, as reported in the Cape Times, sought to reassure the parents by pointing out that even a fresh needle stick from an AIDS patient would incur risk of only 0,3%. That’s one chance in 330 for fresh blood, which makes the US figure of one per thousand for semen seem plausible). Your recent article seeks to attribute the prevalence of AIDS among non-African homosexuals to anal intercourse. Another plausible explanation is their (until recently) almost universal use of nitrite inhalants. Known as ‘poppers’, they are used to facilitate anal intercourse through their muscle-relaxing properties.
According to dissident virologist Dr Peter Duesberg the regular use of poppers over many years could well destroy the immune system and produce all the symptoms of AIDS. Duesberg, an eminent retro-virologist, has consistently been refused research funding to test his hypotheses on the cause of AIDS. He has, however, written a fascinating book Inventing the AIDS Virus (obtainable via the Internet from Amazon Books).
As a layman it is difficult to take sides when medical experts disagree. The mainstream theorists have often been wrong in the past. The many contradictions and anomalities in the HIV-causes-AIDS hypothesis deserve an airing -–and some answers, noseweek is to be congratulated on its contribution to this overdue process.
A Todd, Pinelands
Dear Sir, I wanted to compliment you on your AIDS article – even if I disagree with some of the statements made in it – and to contribute to the debate about the nature and causes of AIDS. Instead I am driven to enlarge on the other issue that featured in nose26: whistle-blowing and hiding the truth.
I am head of the Department of Public Health at the Eastern Cape’s Cecilia Makiwane Hospital and in charge of 18 clinics and other community health services around the hospital. I am also secretary of health of the PAC of Azania and have been speaking out in that capacity on health issues for a long time. Since last October I have been concerned that the Minister of Health has refused to make short-course AZT available to pregnant mothers who are HIV positive. Babies born to these mothers have a 50% chance of being born HIV positive. It is currently accepted medical opinion that by administering a short course of AZT to the mother in the last month of pregnancy, the number of HIV-positive babies born to HIV-positive mothers can be halved, to 25%. Since the majority of HIV-positive babies die before the age of five, this must be a cost-effective way of dealing with the problem. As PAC spokesman, I announced in April that we planned to take Dr Zuma [then health minister] to court and charge her with negligence and even man-slaughter for denying such children the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution. Since it had been clear Dr Zuma had no intention of changing her policy – and that children are dying of preventable illness as a result – we decided to put pressure on her to think again. I was interviewed by the Daily Dispatch on 15 April. Within a week the Secretary of Health in Bisho, Dr S Stamper, advised me that I faced several charges under the Public Service Act (Act 103 of 1994) stemming from my comments in the article. The gist of the charges is that I publicly criticised the Minister of Health and disclosed information gained in the course of my employment, viz, that AZT would not be administered to pregnant women.
It was allegedly not my duty to disclose such information to the public. I am said to have prejudiced the administration of the Department of Health. Among the alternative charges is an allegation that I ‘failed to loyally execute the policies of the government of the day in the performance of my official duties’ and ‘failed to execute my duties in a professional and competent manner’. I have taken legal advice but am much more concerned about the issue of suppression of information and the discouragement of anyone who might try to expose deficiencies in the public services. The PAC has long condemned the ‘condom culture’ approach of the minister and insisted that the answer to AIDS lies mainly in the realm of eliminating migrant labour, poverty, malnutrition, landlessness, female illiteracy and massive urbanisation. So it was refreshing to see those factors mentioned in your AIDS article. I look forward to your piece on AZT and AIDS.
Costa Gazi, Amalinda
See our next installment on the HIV-AIDS controversy on page 6 for a contrary view on HIV and pregnancy. – Ed.
BAREND DU PLESSIS’S HOME
Dear Sir, In nose26 a side comment was added to the effect that I was ‘now living in Switzerland’. It would seem that this time Mr Nose did not really have his nose to the ground! The truth is that I live in South Africa as I always have and as I prefer to do.
Barend du Plessis, Johannesburg
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