Letters

Dear Editor



Your business section small ad no.2433 (nose11) says “Elephants pass wines” from the beautiful Franschhoek Valley – to be released soon. I have always wondered where some of the stuff came from. Many years ago it was believed to come from “Nanny goats”.
Phil Freeman
Simonstown


Family connections

Following on your interesting tale of Liston Ntshongwana (nose11) and his incredible ability to survive disclosure of all his misdeeds. Is their possibly a clue to be had from the following detail your report missed. When on 27 July 1984 the then Transkei Minister of Commerce, Madikizela, wrote to MD of the Kei Development Corporation ordering him, “as directed by the Hon Prime Minister [K D Matanzima]” to “turn over with immediate effect” the Transkei Fuel Depot to a company set up by Liston and friends, he also informed the TDC who the other directors of the company were: The Hon Paramount Chief B Mtirara, Chief G Matanzima, and Paramount Chief K D Matanzima.
Your readers might have noticed the young lady, a young relative of President Mandela, who has recently taken up residence in the Presidency in Pretoria and who so elegantly accompanies him at State occasions. Her surname is Mtirara. Could Liston’s fortunes may be a question of family connections – then and now?
Joe
Braamfontein

I am all for a little creative licence when it comes to noseWEEK’s literary style, but there were a couple of glaring inaccuracies in your piece on Vergelegen in Somerset West.
Anglo American did not acquire it from Punch Barlow in 1966; the great corporation bought it from Tom Barlow in 1989. Secondly, despite the uncustomary enthusiasm (for noseWEEK) for affirmative action expressed in the review, the facts are again at variance with your correspondent’s text. I happen to have visited the winery the day before I read the review and asked the cellar master, Martin Meinert, several questions relating to the employment policies of the winery. Several senior members of his winery staff are coloured (if you go for nuance of shade) [We don’t. – Ed.] and the cellar hands have all had the opportunity of attending training courses at Elsenburg. Since I am concerned about skills training in the wine industry, I obviously wanted to know whether Vergelegen would help or hinder change in the Western Cape and I was more than satisfied with what I discovered.
These cavils notwithstanding, keep up the good work: it is better to have the axe grinding than to live in abject silence.
Kind regards,
Michael Fridjhon
Johannesburg

Maureen Barnes replies:
At noseWEEK, accuracy counts and we’d much rather apologise for “our little inaccuracies” than have our readers insult us by indulgently suggesting that errors are our style. As for the two “glaring errors” in our food revue of Vergelegen. (nose11). The first “fact” came from Vergelegen’s brochure which reads;

After the death of Sir Lionel and later Lady Florence Phillips, the estate was acquired by Charles ‘Punch’ Barlow and his wife Cynthia in June 1941. Punch Barlow’s son Tom took over the running of the farm in 1966. Anglo American Farms Limited purchased Vergelegen in October 1987.

The copywriter having been anxious to avoid nasty words like bought and sold, makes it a trifle difficult to follow. Surely that brochure was written when you were a director of Vergelegen, Mr Fridjhon? Never mind, when they next consult you – they tell us you are their consultant – you can give them a few tips.
But on to our second “glaring error” – you object to our comment on the lack of affirmative action at their shop, winery and restaurant. Well we, in turn, object to your saying we at noseWEEK are not customarily enthusiastic about affirmative action. Wrong, sweetie, we cheer every time a fatcat gets affirmed out of his cushy billet. Anyway, back to the kinder, gentler, Vergelegen. We merely reflected what we saw that day. No doubt, down in the fields there were many, many people of races other than white, who were busily occupied, but they weren’t to be found up-front, as it were – at least not on that day. I lie, I omitted to tell our readers that there were a couple of dusky ladies, quaintly fancy-dressed like the good old retainers of yore, in mob-cab and pinnys, whose duty appeared to be bearing dishes from the kitchen to hand to the white waitresses (all in “civvies”) who, in turn, passed them on to the diners.


In Maureen Barnes’ column (nose11), under the heading ABSAlootly Fabulous, this statement appears: “There is a thief at ABSA [Again! – Ed.].” Should that not be “Still!”?
Attorney
Sandton

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