Dear Editor

Signed up while phone off

When I discovered that MTN was illegally charging me for third party content providers, I complained on their Facebook page and got this response: “Thank you for your post. The registration of these services is completely voluntary and is activated on the handset by the user of the device. You need to dial *156# option 97 option 12 or *136*5# to unsubscribe from these services”.

My reply was, how did I subscribe when I was asleep and the phone turned off? The “unsubscribe” link didn’t work and I had to phone them to get rid of it. Only lost R6 but the annoyance cost much, much more.

Linda Howe-Ely
Cape Town

♦ I discovered Vodacom is in cahoots with a company called Basebone, stealing R6 every day from my Vodacom account. Vodacom are complicit. I carried on like a fishwife on both of their Facebook pages and eventually, to keep me quiet, I got a double refund of R430. Don’t just accept it... kick up hell until you get your money back.

Joy Termorshuizen
Cape Town

♦ When I discovered that I was being charged for third party services on the MTN network, I called them to complain. The response: “some kid might have used my phone”.

But there’s no chance of that.

Heide-Marie von der Au

Toyota killer taxi vans

uses loaded language and innuendo to build the case against the sale of modified vehicles. The implication is that many Toyota franchised dealers were directly and willingly involved in the sale of modified vehicles.

The truth is that most of the panel vans were modified and sold by non-franchise used-car outlets who saw an opportunity when Toyota was unable to supply.

The taxi associations were more than happy to issue permits for these vehicles and as usual the banks turned a blind eye.

Lloyd Macklin
Vaal Marina

No, we make the point that Toyota and its dealerships knew why the sale of panel vans had doubled in a year, but said nothing for three years because it suited them; even after that, they simply quietly created a legal out from liability for themselves, but failed to warn the public.

As the story also points out, taxi associations and banks were equally at fault because it was the most profitable route for them to follow, never mind a few hundred deaths and scores of unsophisticated new taxi owners left burdened with a debt they can never repay. Ed.

Banking on the bar

Banks and the legal profession are professional crooks. The Johannesburg Bar Council’s response to the overcharging by three of its senior members (Editorial, nose226) is appalling.

One wonders what happened to the VAT raised on the fees.

Andre Crause

‘Jersey Way’ echoes in Mauritius

Having read Noseweek’s account of the Brakspear family’s sorry experience at the hands of a biased Jersey court (nose226), in my experience Mauritius is not that different.


Cele as prosecution and defence

Surely someone with the right legal mind can point out to us what is wrong here and save the taxpayer a few million in this farce?

Anthony Krijger

Admiration for Gift of Givers

Susan Segar’s account of her trip with Gift of the Givers to aid the drought-stricken farmers and community of Sutherland (nose226) is the best story of the year from Noseweek.

It gives me new hope for this country and the world.

A F Leger
Plettenberg Bay

♦ Gift of the Givers deserves as much media attention as is possible in this generally Godforsaken world. I know of no other such organisation which works as efficiently and cohesively to do good.

Mo Haarhoff

Iqbal gets an ant up his trunk

I salute the fine exposé of Iqbal Survé by Ed Herbst, (nose226). It gives me solace and company in my outrage. But there are a growing number, I gather, now alert to the bigger picture, not to mention the selective servings of Dr Iqbal and his sell-outs.

Nowadays I’ll occasionally browse through a coffee bar Times, as one might scan a somewhat entertaining curiosity: its undisguised partiality, its klutzy agenda-driven crusade. Shame on the lot of them.

As for the Cape Argus, the “all-seeing eyes”, how about an appropriate name-switch to The Cape Cyclops: one-eyed, fixated siblings.

Trevor Ruthenberg


♦ I was delighted to read the article by Ed Herbst in the latest Noseweek tackling megalomaniac Dr Iqbal Survé. I have written many articles for the Cape Argus and Cape Times over 20 years, but that came to an abrupt end when Dr No and his band of yes-men took over.

The majority of pale-faced writers were booted into touch at about the same time that Alide Dasnois was fired by Survé. Out went all the regular loyal (read mostly white) contributors to both newspapers and in came the new kids on the block, who within no time were DA bashing and turning Patricia de Lille and Survé himself into rockstars.

Any hint of approval for their masters in the ANC in your letter, and you are guaranteed space on their Letters page.

A message to Survé: even an ant, as small as it is, is capable of taking on an elephant by climbing up its trunk.

Colin Bosman

Newlands, Cape Town

Bheki’s butt of a joke

“You know, there is something very wrong about this #MeToo movement where people [ie men accused of sexual harassment] are being tried by popular opinion. You can forget about innocent-until-proven-guilty – once you are exposed on social media, your goose is cooked” (Letter from Umjindi, nose226).

Nah! There was something very wrong when ladies didn’t dare tell of the abuse. This is way better. All of you feeling sorry for big, strapping, rich males, get real!

How many ladies do you know (I mean actually, personally know – your sister, your wife) who would like to state publicly that they were raped?

The rest of your post is good, but that sentence needed calling out.

Get real

Yes, and no. In situations where the police and prosecuting authorities are totally ineffective, doing nothing for years – eg the non-prosecution of Jacob Zuma re arms deal bribes and failure to render accurate tax returns for a decade, and those scores of women who lay rape and similar charges that never get beyond a “lost” police dossier – then publication is the only alternative route to some form of justice. – Ed.

Tell the DA

I don’t know who else to tell. The DA is losing all credibility here in KZN. Tell them to stop washing their dirty linen in public. Leave De Lille and Zille alone. It’s scary how quickly their name has become tarnished.

And what can we do? Egos are destroying the party. It’s the leadership not leading. Send the leaders to PMB to note how bad leaders destroy everything of any value.

Adrian Moore

Free Julian Assange

After six years in detention, Julian Assange, a WikiLeaks founder rightly fearing US retribution for daring to expose US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and the dark reality of US empire, deserves a just resolution of his case and his voice restored.

It’s shameful how many governments and journalists have not just abandoned Assange to his fate, but failed to recognise his important role in releasing millions of documents that reveal how the world really works.

I support heavy pressure being placed on the Australian, British and US governments to bring him freedom and justice, along with the many other whistleblowers and reporters languishing in prisons around the world.

Antony Loewenstein
Australian journalist,
author and filmmaker
Currently resident in Jerusalem

‘Freecall’ a misnomer

Following your article on illegal cell phone charges I want to add my penny’s worth:

Pick n Pay has a customer help line for their internet shoppers. I have been an online shopper of theirs for years. Recently I was unable to complete a shop on their website due to technical problems. In such cases you are encouraged to phone their help line 0860 30 30 30.

Vodacom charged me R5.33 (I’m on prepay) just to listen to their blurb and then to be told all their consultants are busy. I reckon that took less than two minutes.

The banks are also on the bandwagon, telling you it is a free call when Freecall does not apply to cell phones. I have hung on for ages waiting for a consultant to come on the line until the call is terminated because my credit balance has been depleted. It is not uncommon for such calls to cost anything between R80 and R90. I am told the banks make money out of calls to their helplines.  Is this true?

Brian Utterson

Harold’s come-hither

A strange thing happens when I read Harold Strachan’s column. True, the weather in South Africa is legendary. As are its peoples. These decades since 1976 have left me wondering from afar at the temptations of returning to what I think of as my home country (think of, as I was born to Danish parents in neighbouring kingdom, Sweden).

Over time I have returned to drink in the memories of my slightly tarnished past in Cape Town. On occasion it crosses my mind to return to Die Kaap for good, or at least until my time is up. The desire to return then passes and I get on with life once more in the blandscape I have come to call home, Canada.

Yet a strange thing happens when I read Harold Strachan’s column. His words magnetise my lust for a permanent return to Wynberg, Clifton, Muizenberg and Die Bo Kaap. Writers hey?

Claus Andrup

Maple Ridge, Canada

Tongaat weedkiller’s bitter aftertaste

Tongaat Sugar Co. have been a controversial bunch of “lawyered up” twits for many, many years. We had a farm, Zwolle Estate, on the road from Canelands to Ndwedwe, and produced sugar, coffee, pecan nuts, litchies, pine apples and a range of vegetables. Our farming venture was virtually wiped out by a weedkiller, 2,4-D, that was sprayed everywhere by aircraft and tractor by Tongaat Sugar Co.

Years of expensive legal battles ensued and my late dad, John B James, was told that Tongaat had the desire and ability – and cash – to crush us financially.

Our neighbour, Trevor Polking-horne, would plant a block of about 100 acres of tomatoes now and then and he too was wiped out when a crop-spraying plane flew over his place while still spraying because the nozzles would not shut off.

He got the plane’s registration number and raced to Virginia Airport, found the plane and pilot and technicians who were fixing the problem and got evidence and statements here.

Next day the Tongaat lawyers forced the pilot to withdraw his statement, with threats that he would never work again – unless…

A Greek family (I forget their name) who farmed further north also had a huge case against Tongaat. I believe that this weedkiller 2,4-D was banned almost everywhere else on earth.

Then these clever dicks got into poultry and their accountants decided to build two more levels of cages than everybody else (more chickens per square metre) and on the first really stinking-hot summer’s day, they had mass mortality from heatstroke – hot air rises – and they threw the dead chickens out on their cane fields as “fertiliser”. The stink of tens of thousands of rotting chickens was incredible!!! Health authorities were called in.

The Moths had a Shell Hole at Mount Edgecombe, given to them by Huletts, but this place did not suit Tongaat’s development plans. Meetings were held and promises made but as usual their crafty lawyers made sure that nothing was given in writing and the Moths were eventually booted out and told to fuck off!

At about the same time, early settler graves at Mount Edgecombe were ploughed up to make way for millionaires’ shacks!

Right now, Tongaat has a problem with “Rubber Chickens”. Experimenting with the cheapest possible chicken food to maximise their profits, they have produced chickens whose bones do not harden and these chickens cannot stand up, their bones just bend!

A few years ago, Eldana Borer became a problem in sugar cane. Apparently this insect always lived in the reeds of rivers and streams  but our clever Tongaat accountants decided  to use every square metre of land and removed the traditional strips of indigenous bush that all real farmers left on either side of a stream or river – so the Eldana Borer took to the sugar cane!

My uncle, Wyatt James, was managing a Tongaat section at Doornkop outside Stanger and they conducted an experimental spraying of a thousand-hectare block of sugar cane to eradicate this Eldana Borer.

They succeeded in killing every living thing in sight.

All their staff seemed to be trained to become a two-bit accountant crossed with a split-arsed lawyer.

Chris James
Durban North

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Submitted by : Ron Mcgregor of Cape Town on 2018-08-30 13:22:36
I refer to Brian Utterson's gripe about Freecall. Perhaps this may help him, and other readers.

First of all, ALL 08 numbers are Telkom numbers.

If a number begins with 0800, and is called from a Telkom phone, it's toll-free. That's because the business with the 0800 number has a deal with Telkom for the entire cost of the call (the "toll") to be reversed.

If a number begins with 0860 or 0861, then it's not quite free. It's a "Sharecall." The business with that number has a contract with Telkom to bill the caller a small amount, and the balance of the call is reversed. But that's if, and only if, the call is made from a Telkom line.

If you are calling any Telkom number from your cellphone, you will pay the standard rates.

Ron McGregor
Mowbray, Cape Town


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