Letters

Dear Editor


Round One: who’s the palooka?

How marvellous it would be if the vaunted Gerrie Nel could confront JZ for a few rounds in the ring! (“A new life for the man who made Pistorius cry”, nose213).

However,  while there are aspects of Mr Nel’s work that one admires, sadly it appears that his research has let him down: even a perfunctory reading of the legislation makes it clear that private prosecution by a body such as the proposed Private Prosecutions Unit is simply not competent. The relevant portion of section 7 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, which governs private prosecutions, reads:

“Private prosecution on certificate nolle prosequi (1) In any case in which a Director of Public Prosecutions declines to prosecute for an alleged offence (a) any private person who proves some substantial and peculiar interest in the issue of the trial arising out of some injury which he individually suffered in consequence of the commission of the said offence… may… either in person or by a legal representative, institute and conduct a prosecution in respect of such offence in any court competent to try that offence.”

“Private person” means a “natural person”. Companies and other juristic persons such as NGOs do not have the right to prosecute privately. It is explained thus by the Appeal Court in Zimbabwe Nominees (Pvt) Ltd v Black 1990 (4) SA 720 (A) at 726:

“The general policy of the Legislature is that all prosecutions are to be public prosecutions in the name and on behalf of the State… There may well be sound reasons of policy for confining the right of private prosecution to natural persons as opposed to companies, close corporations and voluntary associations such as, for example, political parties or clubs.”

And “Substantial and peculiar interest” (moreover arising from an injury ‘individually suffered’) is explained thus by the (then) Supreme Court in Attorney-General v Van der Merwe & Bornman 1946 OPD 197 at 201: “The object of the phrase (‘substantial and peculiar interest’) was clearly to prevent private persons from arrogating to themselves the functions of a public prosecutor and prosecuting in respect of offences which do not affect them in any different degree than any other member of the public; to curb, in other words, the activities of those who would otherwise constitute themselves public busybodies.”

It is surprising that, despite reservations publicly expressed by academics and others, your reporter apparently failed to read the statute herself.

Jonathan Justinson
Director: Global Rights Research
Cape Town

• Does the article by Sue Segar “A new life for the man who made Pistorius cry” not underestimate the tactics the state prosecutors will use?

They need never issue a nolle prosequi – but simply prosecute Zuma on 783 charges of corruption so incompetently that his Defence will ensure he is found not guilty. The same with all the others on the Solidariteit list.

The acquitted accused will then invoke our human rights law – no person may be prosecuted twice for the same offence. Checkmate.

Keith Gottschalk
Claremont, Cape Town

Online offer to lost subscribers

I never miss a copy of Noseweek on the shelves.  I particularly want the hard copy to read in a hot bath with a glass of wine – and a valium and anti-nausea tablets nearby, just in case.  That way nobody can hear my expletives.

Robyn Heathfield
Johannesburg

• Thank you for your kind and almost irresistible offer to subscribe to Noseweek online. But, I still like to feel the pages when I turn each one and read every article with glee and immense appreciation for Noseweek’s unique style and most pristine presenting of the facts.

Buying Noseweek as it lands on the shelves is still my best magazine shopping experience. I don’t miss a single issue and have enjoyed the August one tremendously.

Linette Lintvelt
Pretoria

• I greatly admire you and your team for taking on the Goliaths of business and misgovernance.

Happily, as recipient of an Incredible Shrinking pension, I am now able to take on your digital special for R230.00. All power to your pen!

Peter R S Inkley
Kiepersol, Mpumalanga

• Rest assured, I have not given up on you. Whilst it is true my subscription has lapsed, the proper perusal of your noted magazine suffered no such fate.

It is with religious attendance to duty that it is purchased as soon as its conspicuous presence is noted on the shelves of our local grocery store. It is then left on the counter top in the kitchen to simmer until the opportunity arises to recline, quaff dark red liquid and properly consume the contents of such a consummate presentation of newsworthy news in the comfort of adequate time.

I have long ago relinquished any thought of trudging to our local post office with the vague hope of being blessed with actual mail in my post box.

The offer of receiving an electronic rendition of your magazine, is equal to having an app on my cellular phone to savour a well-matured shiraz. Receiving information does not equate to reading. Reading is about the sensory and mostly pleasant experience of smell, touch and consumption of well-presented information in an unhurried manner.

Rest assured, punctual purchase and proper perusal shall continue unabatedly for as long as you continue to publish without fear or favour.

KF Balzun
Nelspruit

DA isn’t fixing Joburg rates mess

The DA has not done a single thing yet that has made Johannesburg ratepayers’ burden one bit more bearable.

Wonder why?

Your report in nose212 (“Feel the Value”) partly answers the question. Our new DA ward councillor has done absolutely nothing about the incorrectly valued properties in our ward plus over 10 years of incorrect billing on our three properties (double and triple billing on the same stands) – all reported endlessly to City of JHB – first the ANC and now the hapless DA.

Read this article in conjunction with the more recent claim by the DA that the latest billing fiasco is an ANC plot.

If the DA remains unaware there is still a billing crisis in JHB, one has to ask: what planet are they living on? Either that, or, like the ANC, they’re just so addicted to double and triple billing, they can’t pull the needle out.

Strange that the single biggest problem reported by JHB ratepayers has received exactly zero attention from the DA since landing in office... the DA has merely continued with the same criminal billing outfit that has created the crisis.

Let me tell you why: If JHB actually valued properties correctly – and then only sent one bill to each property –their income would drop substantially. As a result, there is as much chance of the DA fixing JHB’s billing mess as the ANC. They’re all addicted to the illegal smack of double, triple and inflated billing.

Even if bills are unpaid (we haven’t paid for over 10 years and they haven’t even noticed) – massively inflating the debt owed to the city serves the double purpose of raising ever-more baroque loans for squander... “for when the little people come around and start paying you know”. Not so, we’ll be here long after the ANC and the DA are consigned to the dung heap of history... and we won’t be paying till we see fair value.

Antoinette McAllister

Sandton

What of Gaddafi’s SA fortune?

On his death we were told that Muammar Gaddafi had extensive investments in South Africa; what happened to this wealth?

We heard at the time rumours that some of our politicians were “interested” in “assisting” to find a solution; any recent news?

Dario Como
By email

From Facebook:

• A difficult legal one. Animals cannot inherit even if your will states they are to be kept in the style to which they have become accustomed.  Maybe lawyers for Sanlam have to move them? – Barbara Veitch

• Re: “Sanlam does NOT love dogs”: My cats get my house, and basta! – Herma Prinsloo

• A sad world when your final wish is denied. – Annita Jones

• I knew this man and his love for his dogs is REAL. He would turn in his grave if he knew this was happening. – Lynn Botha

• Sanlam, is this true? Please don’t disappoint! – Dee Aylward Rajchl

• Darling, Old Mutual has just got a new client. – Iona Rabie

• What does the company have to say about it? – Chris van der Westhuizen

See Sanlam’s reply and our further report in this issue.Ed.

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