Letters

Dear Editor


Wise up to the graft, eThekwini

eThekwini Municipality is too busy buying up Rainbow Chicken farms with ratepayers’ money to sweat the “small” stuff, such as the growing mafia extorting payoffs from the contractors on every second construction site, as described in “KZN’s growing extortion mafia”, (nose211).

Jenny
Via Twitter

Airport bungle ANC-style

In nose211 you report that ANC politicians forced the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) to build King Shaka International Airport without a feasibility study and against all commercial logic. Isn’t that how all @MYANC planning is done?

Herbert du Plessis
Via Twitter

• And it’s a nightmare to get to King Shaka International Airport. I have to allow at least four hours to travel from Pietermaritzburg to get there just in time for a flight.

Linda Barron
Pietermaritzburg

Jail food emits whiff of nostalgia

It was with a lot of nostalgia that I read the article “Out to Lunch” (nose210). In about 1976, I played in an Under-16 inter-provincial baseball tournament in Pretoria. Our accommodation was provided at Voortrekkerhoogte – as the military base was then known – and all our meals were enjoyed at Pretoria Central Prison.

We rated the food to be of a really high standard – based on our own home-style cooking experiences.  As youngsters, we all had our own take on what the prisoners who were preparing and serving the food to us, were in jail for – escalating up to the chef being a murderer!  (We never got to know exactly for which crimes they were incarcerated.)

Thanks for the note, Trudie, we will take a trip to Pollsmoor Prison’s Idlanathi eatery to see if it compares with my memories of 1976.

John Binns
Cape Town

Health crippled by corruption

Last month (nose211) you quoted the president of the Health Professions Council, Dr Kgosi Letlape, describing medical aid schemes as “a crime against humanity”. No, my dear colleague, it’s not “the introduction of the medical schemes” that brought the health service to its knees. It is the maladministration and corruption of the Department of Health.

The minister is hell-bent on his NHI, which he seems to think is a magic wand that will fix all health services. He doesn’t seem to know that it works the other way round, namely, first fix state hospitals, clinics and medical faculties. Only then can you think of introducing something like an NHI.

While the NHI is currently at the white paper stage, it’s as well to remember that the most useful white paper comes in rolls, and this one is not even double ply. His NHI plans are destined to go the same route as the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, I must congratulate Dr Letlape on making the right choice for the care of his relative – one of those dastardly private hospitals.

Docbarries
Somerset West

Fairer mode of capitalism please

In August 2014 Politicsweb published a speech delivered in Parliament by PAC member Khanyisile Tshabalala, under the headline “Together the ANC and EFF can put foreign white monopoly capital in its place”.  Are any journalists in South Africa pursuing some of the facts mentioned in the article, such as: “Lonmin pays rock drill operators an equivalent of R80,000 p/m in Australia, but for the same work in Marikana, Lonmin is refusing to pay a mere R12,500!”?

Similarly, are any journalists looking at both the pros and cons of finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s advisor, Professor Christopher Malikane’s arguments?

Our training in business and our mindsets have us stuck looking at particular modes of capitalism (capital flows via stock that ends up being owned by an elite – black, white, Asian, Chinese etc – and governments not willing to “upset” these capitalists for fear of being downgraded).

But investigative journalists surely must evalutate different modes of capitalism against one another? For example, look into the Nordic mode of capitalism that has resulted in a more egalitarian society.
We seem to keep taking the same old angle with the same old underlying assumptions. It is ironic seeing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa talking to the Black Business Council, many of whose members trained at MBA schools that follow the assumptions of particular capitalist models (eg stocks).
Are there any investigative journalists looking into how best to get the masses to share in the country’s mineral wealth and land – and still have a mutually beneficial relationship with those who control the stocks and underlying minerals etc?

Colin Reddy
Johannesburg

Your faith in investigative journalists is, in this case, misplaced. Other than fact-checking, investigative journalists are, with rare exceptions, no better qualified than you are to take on the mammoth task of redesigning how the economy of the world works. It is a subject that for some time has been exercising the minds of economists and philosophers of goodwill around the globe. Many of them believe, like you, that an entirely fresh approach is required. The problem is better and better understood, but the solution remains elusive or, is resisted by vested interests. Ed.

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