Letters

Dear Editor


Good read and a crying shame
I found your extract from Secret Pigeon Service most interesting and enjoyable. I am fascinated by war stories, probably courtesy of a father in the RAF, who won a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) in WW2.

Then there’s the late 104-year-old Zabalaza Mshengu. Dr Nomsa Dlamini calls the fact that the old man died without getting transfer of his land after a 12-year wait “sad”. It’s a crying shame, that’s what!
Mo Haarhoff
Stellenbosch

The responsible officials at the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform clearly have no shame. They also have no brains – either that or they were or are waiting for a bribe. How else explains that we are still waiting 12 years on? Ed.

Trouble cashing in RSA bonds

I invested a large sum of money at 10% interest, fixed for five years, in RSA Retail Savings Bonds on 15 February 2016.

On 1 September 2018 I emailed an “Early withdrawal form – for investments of one year and older” to the National Treasury at  queries@rsaretailbonds.gov.za

I noted that payments under this option “shall take seven working days to be fully processed and paid”.

On 1 September I received an email from heat@treasury.gov.za logging my Early Withdrawal as incident #222195. I had expected to be paid by 12 September.

The “Helpline” (on 012 315 5888) has always operated promptly and has been helpful, but when I phoned on 14 September, the helpline was “out of action” so I sent in another email to queries@rsaretailbonds.gov.za saying: “Helpline out of action. Please advise urgently what is delaying this withdrawal” and quoted incident #222195.

I received no response.

On 17 September I called the helpline once again. After the usual introduction I opted for option 2 but music was played for 12 minutes. I could not hang on and ended the call. At 15:25 I called again and after holding on for 15 minutes I ended the call and resorted to email again – only to get the standard automated reply:
“Hi michael wolffe, the following new Incident has been logged for you: Incident #232115     Summary: Why the delay? … Kind Regards HEAT Service Desk”

By 19 September and needing some of this cash to pay taxes and medical, I again tried the helpline, was transferred to music. I simultaneously phoned Noseweek because I thought there is something seriously wrong with a government department that should act with meticulous honesty. The call to Treasury ended after 27 minutes with a flat phone battery and no answer at all.

As I write this note it is 18h20 on 21 September and still no monies have been received from Treasury.
What is going on in this government department?
Michael Wolffe
Sea Point

On 1 October Mr Wolffe received payment of the full amount from Treasury, with no comment, apology or explanation. Noseweek tried calling the department for a response, but gave up after holding on for 15 minutes. These days a lot of people are obviously queuing up to talk to the National Treasury.Ed.

Nedbank v offshore widow
I have just read your July instalment of the Nedbank offshore saga (nose225), subtitled “After mauling widow, whinging lawyer seeks to muzzle her”. This is better than a soap opera – but can you believe such evil people still mingle with – and pass themselves off as – honourable people?
‘Cry the Beloved Country’
Pretoria

Selling stock they haven’t got

After years of reading your great mag, I remain impressed by the content. Thank you for keeping us informed about the shenanigans in this remarkable country of ours.

My contribution: Takealot advertises a wide range of products for sale on their website. Any items you select are placed in your “shopping basket”. You proceed to checkout to confirm your order and pay for it. You then expect prompt delivery – but that is often not the case. Instead you are as likely to get an email notifying you that items you have already paid for are not in stock.

Why take money for goods that are not actually available? Is this not fraud? It seems their IT system cannot determine whether the item is available until you have paid for it.

Is this a cheap overdraft facility for them, collecting customers’ money for non-available products?  It is certainly a problem that does not appear to trouble them as, in a year, they have done nothing about it.
Anton Duivestein
Stanford

Legal brutality from SARS
I and my family found ourselves on the street with nowhere to live after SARS assessed my company’s R14-million claim for a VAT refund as fraud in terms of Section 73. 

SARS claimed to have determined that the fleet of helicopters I had bought for R100m were in fact worth nil – slapped on a 300% penalty, and instead of us collecting a R14m refund, I was faced with SARS demanding immediate payment of R58m.

I have been advised by two tax professors, Phillip Haupt and Peter Surtees, that this is an impossibility in terms of our VAT law, and that SARS have acted unlawfully.

SARS nevertheless liquidated and took my farm where we live, and a helicopter company, in payment of their unlawful claim, all executed via a well-orchestrated legal racket on the so-called “pay now, argue later” basis. They have effectively ensured I have no resources with which to argue. How can such legal brutality pass muster in terms of our Constitution? In fact, no one at SARS could ever explain how they came to these figures and assessment.

I am happy to go head to head with Mr Kingon or whomever on a public forum. The company liquidated is Aeronastic Properties Ltd. The VAT return in question was for April/May 2009.
Peter Dale
Melkbos

 

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The Great Mobile Heist 

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More than 10200 people signed our petition in the first week of Noseweek’s online campaign. The petition will be open till 20 November, by which time we hope to have at least 20 000 people signed up. 

 

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