Dear Editor

Cock a snook and cause offence

Whoever is responsible for the malevolent looking Rabbi on the cover of nose213, must surely have honed their skills under the tutorage of remnants of Hitler’s propaganda machine.

Anyone looking at that caricature and its accompanying headline, would be forgiven for assuming that the Rabbi in question had been paid out by FNB in some nefarious deal on his part. A closer reading reveals that he is in fact the victim of corporate bullying.

You will certainly have satisfied those readers who welcome an anti-Semitic slant to any article, but you do so at the expense of your publication’s integrity.

Eleanor Katzeff
Cape Town

 ♦ You produce a perfectly good article about Rabbi Rosenblum’s money that was stolen from FNB, and throw in a one-sixth-size black-and-white picture of the man for good measure. But then, on the front page you have this lurid Der Stürmer-style image of The Universal Jew in typically tasteless garb. Que? Compare, as if this had never occurred to you before, those pictures, and the overall effect on the reader.

You must surely hate the vision of fat Jews with wobbling jowls and fat red noses screaming – along with gobs of spittle and chopped herring, right into your dignified English features – that word: “Anti-Semite!” Gd, what a bunch!

Now compare the above to the (possibly even better-written) article on page 8-10 by Jack Lundin, with beautiful colour family picture, but which, alas, never made it to the front cover except for four words at the bottom of the page (“Riddle of Nedbank Box 47”).

Who’s the scoundrel here? FNB? Nedbank? The front cover suggests it might even be the Rabbi. (After all, doesn’t everyone just know that the Jews own the banks?) One thing we know for certain is that it could never in a million years be the professor.

I can’t threaten to sue, or stop buying your magazine (I like it too much), or demand an apology (I’m Jewish, you probably got that) so I guess I’ll just have to take it. I just ask that you try harder to understand how this makes some of us (Jews) feel. And in fact, very few of us actually look like that.

Harry Friedland
Sea Point

Harry, I look like that! My large “Jewish” nose has earned me happy honorary membership of the tribe for most of my life, not to speak of the title “the nose of Noseweek.” I am not English and have only a very tenuous grip on dignity. The contrasting pictures? Both were what the story subjects themselves chose to provide us with, when asked.

Dr Jack’s grotesque cartoons/caricatures have become part of
Noseweek’s identity. His style is not reserved for rabbinical subjects: note the plump Nordic cheeks and balloon noses of the (non-Jewish) FNB bankers in the background.

Spare some pity for the diverse subjects of any number of Dr Jack’s
Noseweek covers. They are intended to attract attention and tease a bit, not offend.  If this one has crossed the line – and it appears to have – I apologise. Also, while doing so, I cannot help but note that you have quite some talent yourself, when it comes to creating grotesque caricatures.Ed.

Bank’s useless quiz impertinent

Like Dave Kearney (“Letters”, nose213), I too have the misfortune of banking with Standard Bank, and I too have experienced the audacity of the type of questions put to me, to enable me to make a simple change to my own bank account. The questions are ludicrous and inappropriate; they only stopped short of asking me my bra size!

At my last attempt to use telephonic banking, I was asked if I had a Visa card, which I do. They require no record of this, since I am a second card-holder; all information is under the primary card-holder’s name. But I was informed that we could not continue until I contacted Visa to update their system so that Standard Bank, too, would have access to this information in future, to enable me to pass the “useless or invasive 20 questions” if I ever wished to do telephonic banking again.

Unlike Dave, I lost my cool. All I wished to do was reduce my daily ATM withdrawal amount. Yet, millions are stolen by miscreants from honest clients who bank at Standard Bank – apparently despite having divulged their pet hamster’s name, and that they have millions of rands stashed overseas in a Dubai bank account.

Don’t even get me started on having to queue inside the bank to convert all notes into new R200 notes, just so that I am able to deposit them at the envelope-less ATM. Most of the time, the full amount is rejected, as the machine does not like bent, torn, faded, skewly positioned or old notes, and spits them out with utter disgust.

Which is how I feel about Standard Bank at the moment.

Moyra Stein

  ♦ We have noted Dave Kearney’s letter of complaint about Standard Bank (in nose213) and hope you can assist us by sending us the writer’s/customer’s contact details, so that we can assist them [sic] with their [sic] complaint. Thank and looks [sic] forward to hearing from you. 

Jene Godfrey
Account Director
Magna Carta, Reputation Management Consultants

Standard Bank can’t trace its own client called David Kearney, resident in Sandton, in its computer database? You are not helping to repair the bank’s reputation. Ed.

Easier tender process for SMMEs

There are many Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) doing honest deals with government, through a legal, transparent process of procurement and tendering.

But the truth is that by far the majority (over 80%) of SMMEs steer well clear of government even though BBBEE and tendering rules favour them. One reason is that these processes are extremely onerous.

But SMMEs generally don’t look for business from government at any level for a much more critical reason: they all too often do not get paid on time by public institutions. It is common for them to be made to wait several months for payment.

This was among the findings of the 2016 SMME Insights Survey conducted by SAICA (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants).

According to the National Development Plan, these companies are the country’s only hope of reducing unemployment and poverty and of boosting our failing levels of gross domestic product.

Among the survey’s critical conclusions is that SMMEs (and by extension our country) could flourish if the tender process was simplified and made more transparent, and if government and big business paid their accounts within 30 days.

Julius Mojapelo

Senior Executive
Nat MakhSA Institute of Chartered Accountants


‘Royalty’ fee on loans a rip-off

I am involved in litigation against Business Partners Ltd (BPL) the well-known small and medium enterprises funder. Part of the dispute arises from a percentage so-called “royalty” fee that BPL imposes on the turnover of the business of its borrowers.

This is in addition to the normal interest that it charges on the loan.

In BPL v Silverstar, the High Court in Pretoria found that the “royalty” fee was usurious and against public policy.

(The court found that BPL could not charge royalties as it did not have any intellectual property on the basis of which it could do so.)

But the full bench of the high court overturned the decision on appeal.

I am challenging the lawfulness of the “royalty” fee on a number of legal grounds that the full bench did not pronounce on.

As a financial services provider and not a franchisor, BPL is not entitled to charge royalties, especially on the turnover of a business.

To me, the “royalty” fee is used to rip off unsuspecting borrowers. It is not a business expense that borrowers are able to deduct from their gross profit, as with wages and salaries, water and lights etc.

The worst part is that the “royalty” fee is based on projected turnover figures that the borrower provides to BPL, often without any history of performance of a business being funded.

The crippling and unlawful effect is that BPL takes a “dividend” from the borrower even before he pays his or her business expenses.

Whilst I fight my battle in the courts, I want the borrowing public to be made aware of what I believe is a scam – a get-rich-quick practice – that watchdog bodies such as the Financial Services Board, the Competition Commission and the police should investigate.

Nat Makhubele

Another Codesa badly needed

Opposition parties must convene and provide voters soonest with a Declaration of Intent that, should they comprise a majority at the 2019 election, they will hold a Codesa-type summit to change our Constitution.

They must ensure that never again will a president be able to control MPs to the extent that ours becomes a “lock-up-and-go” parliament; never again will a president be able to loot SOEs (State Owned Enterprises) and bullet-proof himself against prosecution via surrogate appointees, hand-picked by the Guptas.

We must thank our media for their unstinting work in exposing the Guptas, abetted by Zuma.

Perpetrators of “state capture” and its ghastly tapestry of corruption must be prosecuted – in person or in absentia. 

Ours is a damaged democracy; we need to repair the now-obvious flaws before it is too late. A post-election Codesa represents the only realistic way of doing this.

Sandy Johnston
Nelson Mandela Bay



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