Dear Editor

Bookshops controlled by CNA/The Literary Group, which include all branches of Exclusive Books, Bookworm and Pilgrims, still continue to banish noseWEEK from their shelves “for business reasons”. Many reputable, independent bookshops and newsagents do, however, stock us. Call us for the supplier nearest you – and remember this when you are shopping for books.

Masonry on public land

Recent dramatic reports in our otherwise docile Cape Town press about an ordinary official in the Planning Department’s suspected wrongdoing made me wonder whether the incident was not being used to distract the public’s attention from offences against the public interest much greater in scope, and more serious in their implications, by much more senior persons inside and outside the Council.
Of particular concern are those issues which may not be obviously illegal, but which are patently against the public interest. I have noticed, for instance, that large sections of the Goodwood Showground have been sold off for industrial purposes. This is Crown Grant land which was given to the Agricultural Society free, gratis and for the proverbial nothing by the Smuts Government. It now appears – from the signposts on the site – that the great financiers of Hustler and the 087 sexlines, Syfrets, are playing a major part in the alienation. It may be perfectly legal, but to my mind, seen against the background of the Deed of Grant, it is wrong.
A massive office development on the old Vineyard Sportsground in Claremont raises a sinister possibility. Norwich Union is being allowed to build a high-rise office block on land that was zoned for single dwellings and on which for decades the Cape Technikon enjoyed “condoned usage” as a cricket field and open-air public amenity. The Norwich development is therefore not only a serious encroachment on a residential area – it means the loss of an open-air amenity in an increasingly densely populated area and a downgrading of a Cape scene attractive to residents and tourists alike. All to help a speculator earn a very quick million bucks or three.
Norwich Union in the United Kingdom is well known for its links with the Freemason Movement, which in turn has been deeply involved in some major property scandals there, including the “Poulson” and “Barlow Clowes” affairs. Your readers are referred to the recently published book on Freemasonry, “Inside the Brotherhood” by Martin Short. In the New South Africa, with its supposed “transparency” in government, I feel the public is entitled to know if any Councillors or senior Council officials are Masons. It is certainly to be hoped that Masonic connections here are not playing a part in any questionable rezonings and waivers of the regulations.
Consider the Planning Department’s subtle connivance at the underprovision of parking in these new developments. This not only saves the developers money – it burdens the neighbouring residential areas with an intolerable burden of parked cars. So intolerable – the developers (and planners?) hope – that in a year or two the remaining residents too, will be desperate to sell up, to make way for yet another pension fund financed, rip-off development. I note that in Claremont the Woolworths development was allowed to expand into what were supposed to be basement parking areas, and next door The Link has been allowed to add a new floor – without having to provide extra parking. One way or another, it looks like masonry rampant.

We note that in Cape Town Norwich’s property manager, Mr Hugh Fichardt, is, indeed a Freemason. – Ed

General Neethling

How right you are that the Appeal Court appears to have got it entirely wrong about SAP Gnl Lothar Neethling. I certainly have reason to believe Captain Coetzee when he says that the Police General supplied poison to be used by a police hit squad. In 1975 when I visited the police forensic laboratories in Pretoria on official business, Neethling, under the most bizarre circumstances, boasted to me that he had developed a poison which would precipitate a heart attack and then be untraceable in the corpse of the victim. Neethling was also not such a trustworthy witness. Those interest might enquire about a statement he made to the police when he collided with another vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol. He was persuaded to withdraw the statement and pay a hastily arranged admission of guilt fine when it was explained to him that a lying witness had no career as an expert police witness. I am prepared to testify to this under oath.
Ex official of the Department of Justice.
Cape Town.

British Airways

I heartily endorse the complaints regarding British Airways (noseWEEK 5). If the chairman of BA really believes that they are “The World’s favourite airline” then I think he will be hard-pressed to find someone to second that opinion. Regarding the lack of toilet facilities in economy class, I have been told BA removed two toilets to make room for extra passengers. On a rough headcount on my last (and I mean my last) trip from Johannesburg to London with BA, I counted 100 seats in that section. To make matters more interesting, within an hour of leaving Johannesburg someone had blocked one of the toilets by some appalling means. Which left one toilet for 100 passengers. When told, the chief steward was neither prepared nor equipped to do anything about it – when all that was required was a stick and a peg for one’s nose.
Still on the subject of air travel, can anyone explain why SAA have just increased their return fare from Cape Town to Miami by a massive R800? That’s the sort of thing that gives thieves a bad name.
J Pasacovitch
Sea Point

Cheap cheep

I have admired your coverage and fearless comment on a wide spectrum of dishonest practices. I was therefore particularly pleased to receive your notification that I am the recipient of a gift subscription to your publication.
I am, however, puzzled by the word “cheak” – as in “South Africa’s cheakiest news magazine” 0 in your notification, and would be pleased if you would enlighten me so that I may know what to expect!
R A Heugh

Tongue in – what else, you cheeky fella?! – Ed.

Your Oct. 1993 copy certainly work me up. We are becoming increasingly disinterested in the why of things, simply accepting them as given. Could it be that we fear to scratch below the surface, in case we might regret what we might find, or because we might feel obliged to do something about it?
So many subjects come to mind for investigation – Johannesburg City Council (Cecil Bass, armed to the teeth with self-interest, in the vanguard), ABSA and its telephone taps and other dubious connections (what ever happened to Bob Aldworth – is he well, or just languishing in splendour?); George Bartlett … does he really know which day of the week it is? … and the SA oil business/lobby/cartel.
I am looking forward to my regular monthly update. I admire your courage.
Peter Hall

Harry, Viv and Basil?

First National Bank know how to reward good service. They’ve nominated friend Viv Bartlett, FNB General Manager, to membership of The River Club, Jo’burg’s most exclusive Old Boys club – Directors: DE Cooper, John Maree, CDM Melville, HF Oppenheimer, RS Napier, AM Rosholt.
I think the unfortunate creditors of the late lamented KPL-ETSA (see noses 4, 5 and 6) ought to be told.
I Spy

An Open Letter to Exclusive Books

The Manager
Exclusive Books
Cape Town
Dear Madam/Sir
I have always enjoyed shopping at Exclusive Books. I also regularly order books from overseas through your bookshop. Thus I read with horror that you are prepared to stock porn magazines but not noseWEEK. I can only assume the reasons given in noseWEEK are true since it is difficult to account for this absurd censorship in any logical manner. I shall accordingly boycott your bookshop until I am able to buy my noseWEEK there.
Yours faithfully
Wendy Powell

Could you please provide me with a list of independent bookshops in the Cape Town area?
John Cartwright
Department of English
University of Cape Town

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