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Harold, the friend I wish I’d met
Since Harold Strachan starting writing for Noseweek, when reading each column I have known that, no matter how good it was, the best was always yet to come. It added anticipation to the enjoyment, and never once did he let me down.
I can only add my good wishes to the thousands that you will receive, and my very best wishes to Harold, whom I regard as the friend that I never met –but wish I had.
- The news that Strachan has retired spoilt my day. Too sad for words. His was the only article that I read every issue and before anything else, other than the letters! But life moves on I suppose.
Newlands, Cape Town
- I would like to suggest that you simply dig in your archives every month and print a re-run of one of Harold’s previous columns. Just as television sitcoms live forever on DSTV, so can Harold live forever in the pages of Noseweek.
- My favourite column was the one with “Pollie wool BART you”. I cried with laughter, read it to my husband. Both cried. It’s become a much-loved family expression. Sadly I can’t find that edition after a house move.
Why don’t you repeat his columns from Day 1? There’s a whole world of new readers who should be blessed with his writing. You could pay Harold a few ront to assist with the “lying down” costs.
You’ll find it in nose56, “Marnd!” – Ed.
- I will sorely miss Harold Strachan’s inimitable humour. Please could we have a book of his collected columns?
Noseweek fundraising campaign
I have assisted before and I will continue to do so. Please keep up the invaluable work for this incredible country that will survive the Zupta/ANC era eventually; we just have to persevere.
If it will reduce your costs if you convert to a purely online edition, I will still subscribe – but I really do prefer the printed edition.
- Noseweek is a national treasure and must continue. I am so glad you are near your fundraising target. Best wishes and thanks to you all.
(Prof) Martin Prozesky
- We highly value your independent investigative journalism. Since the take-over of “Independent” Media this has been in short supply.
It is absolutely vital for our society that we have an independent watchdog to expose and hold accountable abuses of power or business, so thank you for all that you do.
In defence of Afro Fishing
We noted that you published an article relating to the expansion plans of Afro Fishing in Mossel Bay. On behalf of Afro Fishing, I would like to request that you retract the following incorrect statements: Your heading refers to “School feeding scheme loses out as processing plant switches to importing pilchards and sardines for animal feed”.
The sentence is incorrect and I am not sure what the message is. I can however state that the cannery will continue to produce and market canned pilchards to the Department of Basic Education, National School Feeding Programme. So there are no negative consequences to the school feeding scheme. In fact, the project will be able to produce more canned pilchards for the feeding scheme with the inclusion of a cold store in the project scope.
You state “At the time, it was said that at least five Namibian companies which could qualify as partners for Fishcor, had been overlooked. At least one, Bidvest Namibia, had to stop its operations in the meantime and about 1,200 people lost their jobs”. Bidvest did not lose 1,200 jobs due to this: they did not have 1,200 people working in the fishing industry in Namibia. They divested from the fishing industry selling off their fishing subsidiaries/vessels a while ago. Totally unrelated.
For the record, Afro Fishing (Pty) Ltd has no interest in aquaculture/fish farming in Mossel Bay.
There are many other one-sided arguments in the article that could have been more balanced if we were afforded an interview. I am available to discuss the project and the authorisation process in more detail if needed.
Deon van Zyl
Mr Van Zyl was interviewed by mosselbayontheline and Noseweek’s reporter phoned him to ask if we could use his comprehensive written answers as published there, and he agreed to that. (Our reporting project was a joint one with Maroela Media, who published it in Afrikaans.) The paragraph about the Namibians who lost their jobs was quoted from and credited to an earlier Mail & Guardian story.
Mr Van Zyl’s generous offer of access to information comes as a surprise in view of the fact that the director of Afro Fishing, Johannes Breed, as well as the Angolan company did not respond to our reporter’s repeated phone calls and emails.
Also, Mr Van Zyl did not want to reveal to mosselbayontheline who the directors of Afro Fishing were or where the investment had come from. Why? Susan Puren spent days on the internet and did several searches on Legal City to find that information.
It was understood from the former owners that the pilchard-canning operation would be closed down to be replaced by a fishmeal-producing operation. We are pleased to learn that this is not the case, and willingly retract this element of our report. The headline will be replaced with a more appropriate one in our online edition.
Noseweek is also happy to take up Mr Van Zyl’s offer of an in-depth interview and will publish the outcome in a forthcoming issue. – Ed.
Love the constructive write-ups
I am really enjoying the positive biographies you have had in the past two issues. It lifts the bar and gives a shot in the arm. Thank you.
Value of a good read
Having been a subscriber since Noseweek’s inception, I noted with sadness that you’re asking people/ readers for donations in your latest issue. Like with Africa, this is a prescription for death and failure. You have an incredible product to sell but you’re undervaluing it. Set it at a price that allows you to flourish and then double it.
Viv should have a guilty conscience
Viv Vermaak’s column (nose238) calls for further comment.
If you are prepared to offer bribes to traffic cops, you are only propagating and encouraging further fraud and corruption in South Africa. It does not matter whether you offer R50, R5,000 or R5 million, it’s still fraud and corruption.
If you are prepared to offer bribes to traffic cops, then you cannot complain about the collapse of morality and integrity in this country. You will have no right to complain about State Capture, unethical politicians or the collapse of government and governance.
And as for your statement that offering a bribe to traffic cops will not become a political butterfly, then you are surely mistaken. If a traffic cop is prepared to take a bribe to look the other way when you are caught with a broken tail light or for not wearing your seatbelt, then that same dishonest and corrupted traffic official might well accept a bribe to ignore more serious traffic offences such as drunken driving or even a hit and run.
And lastly, bragging about your despicable behaviour will not lessen your guilt nor will it unburden your conscience!
Viv’s satire was obviously successful: it provoked all the appropriate responses in your mind. – Ed.
Buffet should answer for this trash
The picture is of me holding the trash I picked up last week in one kilometre of the beach on the east side of St Helena Bay in the Rocherpan Nature Reserve.
We walked about 10km and the whole distance was strewn with this kind of waste. The majority comprised single-use plastic bottles produced by companies in which Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway has significant shareholdings (eg: Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Procter & Gamble).
Buffet, the world’s wealthiest investor, turned 89 in August. He is still active in the management and investment decisions of his company, and is sometimes referred to as the Oracle of Omaha due to the investment wisdom he shares and the US home of his company. He is a strong proponent of value investing and is noted for living a very modest lifestyle despite his immense wealth.
Perhaps you investor types can persuade him to free up a little of his $122 billion cash pile to address the problem? But at 89 he probably thinks it is not worth his while to dwell too much on the future!
Cannabis vs Nicotine
May I congratulate Carmen Anderson on her excellent letter, “Cannabis an economic cure”, nose237. According to the Financial Times (of 8 September 2019) eight million people in the world die every year from tobacco-related illnesses. Assuming the real figure is somewhere close to 10 million (and probably a lot higher than that 20 to 50 years ago), that means that every 10 years about 100 million people die from smoking or having smoked tobacco.
The costs to the health system has already been amply documented.
So why is it legal to smoke this toxic substance and not a natural plant that can be grown anywhere? The answer lies in the heavy financial power of the Pharmaceutical Lobby. I attended a tobacco industry event in Vienna 20 years ago and picked up the Tobacco Trade Journal. Inside was a fascinating article that explained how every cigarette contains more than 100 additives including substances that make smokers want to keep smoking.
Having used sleeping pills over the past five years I have switched to cannabis cakes and biscuits which are freely available here in Geneva, Switzerland. I sleep well and no longer get up in the morning feeling like I’ve been hit over the head. I drink one coffee rather than a whole jug.
Had my mother, who suffered terribly from arthritis, been able to use cannabis, then the last years of her life would have been a lot less agonising (she was advised by her doctor to stop using Voltaren).
I have a dream
So Kriel, the small redbrick town in Mpumalanga, rich with surrounding nature reserves, its roadsides blanketed with autumn flowers, its atmosphere blighted by Eskom’s coal-fired power stations, has been identified by Greenpeace India as the world’s second-most polluted hotspot.
Greenpeace recommends that Eskom phases out all its coal-fired power stations by 2040. Far, far too late. Yet the answers are to hand. We have the sun. We have the land. Let vast areas of the Karoo be devoted to massive solar power generating facilities.
Abandon useless Eskom and create a new, ruthlessly efficient high-tech enterprise to take over South Africa’s power supply, using the natural resources of sun and wind.
Who will drive this change? Forget the government. Who’s driving the change for new gun laws in America: the pupils of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, who’ve mobilised thousands of school children to march and demand action. Who’s mobilised the world to demand action to stave off climate change? A 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, who has raised an army of millions of schoolchildren to quit their classrooms every Friday to march, protest and demand action now.
In the days of apartheid, South Africa’s school children showed their leadership mettle to the world. And they can do it again. They have the numbers; they have their smartphones to plan and coordinate. As the inheritors of the planet they have every right to insist that they receive a world fit to live in.
So where is South Africa’s Greta Thunberg to galvanise the President and everyone else to eradicate coal-fired power and make the country a clean-energy example for the rest of the world to follow?
Let this still-to-emerge prodigy utilise our available resources: lots of sunshine, tons of state-owned land (29.5% of the country), masses of children (16.7 million under the age of 15) with scant leisure activities but boundless enthusiasm.
Assuming that half of them muster to the cause, they could be organised to plant six trees each (through photosynthesis, each tree would clean up roughly 22kg of excess carbon dioxide annually). That’s 50 million new CO2-guzzling trees (appropriate seedlings and suitable state land provided by SANParks and the department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries).
Just dreaming, but wouldn’t it be good?
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