Letters

Dear Editor



Stand and deliver


I refer to your article “SAB’s dirty secret” (nose51). Would you be so kind as to furnish me with copies of all the documents on which you based your article.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
Shelley-Anne Carreira
SA Revenue Service
Corporate Division, Randburg

Dear Reader, should we, or shouldn’t we? – Ed.


In a froth over SAB

Shame on you SAB! Such a big multinational bullying a tiny company that was closer to the truth with their spoof Black Label logo than they ever imagined. C’mon drop the case before you look even sillier than you do. And pay your taxes – it’s the right thing to do!
A police chief brought into the Western Cape from Gauteng recently to stem rising crime said that 99% of all crimes were alcohol-related. And what do the majority of people drink? Your product, I think. And who supplies the 30,000-40,000 illegal shebeens in the Western Cape with beer? I am trying to guess.
May your froth flop.
Nasty Aftertaste
Cape Town


Birthday nostalgia

I was somewhat disappointed to see no mention of noseweek’s predecessor, Nose, in your 10th birthday issue musings.
I still have an original copy (No.4 dated October 1984) of Nose which features both Louis Luyt and Jannie Le Roux on the cover. The contents are especially enthralling, and include under-the-table dealings at the Transvaal Rugby Football Union (The more things change…!), De Beers’ curtain of silence on illegal mining activity in Namibia (including aspersions cast on Stephen Mulholland’s editorial independence while editor of the Financial Mail), and corrupt dealings at the University of Venda – all riveting stuff.
If my arithmetic is correct, noseweek is far from being an irascible teenager and is in fact a bullet-proof twenty something…. all the more reason to be worried. What happened in the intervening years? Were you detained?
Greg Voigt
By email

You don’t want to know.– Ed.


Dazed and confused

Since subscribing to noseweek I have been in a state of shock, reeling from one month to the next as you uncover the nefarious deeds/deals of too many individuals, corporations, multinationals and government agencies.
I will no longer buy life insurance, shares, beer [Hallelujah! – Ed.] and might even switch my allegiance from P&P to Shoprite Checkers – unless of course you have the goods on them as well.
Maybe I shall go back to the old-fashioned way used by the Voortrekkers of producing fresh vegetables, dried meat, soap and keep a cow in my backyard.
At least that is one way of ensuring I’m not ingesting any stealthily grown GM products or shampoos laced with toxins. [We know about the GM seeds … wait until the wind blows …but, Oh-mi-god, shampoo too?! – Ed.] Is there just one company, one person in this country who actually does an honest day’s work commensurate with his/her exorbitant salary or fees? If so, stand up and be counted. Or have we become a nation of greedy, lying, double-dealing, thieves? I do have an honest lawyer though.
J Maxwell
Rosebank

For a while there we thought you were being serious. – Ed.


Pick’n Pay’n Pay’n Pay

Please follow through on your Pick ‘n Pay exposé (nose51). Just wish I’d recorded the details of all the sordid methods used unashamedly to screw suppliers for deals, discounts, rebates, “confidentials”, listing fees, advertising allowances, promotional discounts, donations and more, that resulted in suppliers pouring huge sums into the coffers of Raymond, “The Housewife’s Friend”, leading to price rises on everything.
At least Mugabe is open about ripping off the people. Raymond and his cohort’s convincing, soft-spoken smugness is sickening to suppliers. The only one that deserves accolades is his PR who by now must be consumed with guilt over the bullshit fed to the South African consumer over the years.
Milner Llewellyn
Plettenberg Bay


Ho-Hefer-hum

It’s a disgrace that Bulelani Nguka has to sit at the Hefer Commission day after day instead of attending to the good work of the Scorpions.
As far as I’ve read in the media, the Scorpions really did get the crooks – which we really need to support in South Africa! We should not be made to chase red herrings ... it seems the Scorpions got really close this time.
Pam Herr
Fish Hoek


SAA: amaBokke off

I had to laugh: every time I watched the Boks being bashed in World Cup games, there was British Airways proudly declaring it was the official carrier of the SA Rugby team to Australia
But it remains an indictment of our own national carrier. Could SAA not get their act together to take our rugby lads to Oz? Or do you think the Boks gave up waiting for SAA to come through with their bookings?
Richard van Breda
Johannesburg


Slime green Old Mutual

There is a serious problem with insurance fraud in this country – I’m talking about the outrageous frauds pulled by insurance companies on their clients.
A colleague recently had his Old Mutual endowment policy analysed. When he signed up for the policy in 1995, the salesman calculated the following “illustrative” maturity values for his policy: a “low” of R182,000, and “high” of R259,000. Which was very persuasive.
But now, eight years later, a statement from Old Mutual reads: “Total paid by policyholder to date: R30,768.89. Current value of policy: R19,761.66.” Surely there’s something wrong here, my colleague thought. Well, yes. Old Mutual has actually lost R11,007.23 – a third – of his investment for him.
Had he simply left his money under his bed, he would be R11,000 better off today. Had he put it on fixed deposit at 10% interest a year, he would be about R25,000 richer than he is today.
How, in the 12 remaining years, will his policy reach even the “low” value? [It won’t. But should your friend feel bad, just remind him that it is better to give than to receive. Think how happy he’s made all those Old Mutual executives! – Ed.]
They seem to count on the fact that by the time payout day arrives, most people have forgotten the projections used to sell them the investment.
Question: What was the average salary increase enjoyed by Old Mutual directors during this period?
Insurers and fund managers should all be forced to provide easy-to-read monthly statements, telling you exactly how much you’ve put in, how much your investment is presently worth – and how much of your money they have lost. Continual measurement and evaluation might help to keep them honest.
Michael J Naidoo
Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth

Already in nose34 we had occasion to write: “The average South African has more reason to fear that Old Mutual will lose his pension and retirement savings – and resist all attempts to have itself held accountable for the loss – than he need fear being held up by armed robbers or hijackers.” When next you see that green, just remember to think “slime” and “Mike Levett”. – Ed.


Voyager

While I think noseweek the finest magazine available, I found the criticism of the Voyager scheme in November’s issue a little misdirected.
Mr Oberholzer, having received at least R120,000-worth of airline tickets for only R50,000-odd, and having had six business class seats confirmed by SAA within a day (has anybody ever been so lucky?!) then goes ballistic on being overcharged R4005 and fires off no less than (including copies) 52 emails to retrieve the charge.
Mr Oberholzer is clearly a rich man to be able to provide his whole, large, family with a holiday in rural Hungary.
Boris Yawitch
Bedford Park


In the Limpopoo?

We act for Premier Ngako Ramathlodi and MEC Thaba Mufamadi. In nose50 you published an article that was wrongful and defamatory of our clients.
Your magazine is widely read by the general public as well as politicians. It is also widely distributed in the Limpopo Province. Our clients are held in high esteem in political and social circles.
[A two page précis of our report – commencing with the caption ‘Limpopo premier took R5m pensions backhander, says leading businessman who claims he fronted the deal’ – has been cut.- Ed.]
You failed to take reasonable steps to independently verify that our clients have no interest in the company Northern Corporate Investments Holding [our report suggests they had an undisclosed beneficial interest] and are not directors of the company [we never said they were].
You should have taken reasonable steps to find credible corroboration of Habakuk Shikoane’s unfounded allegations. [We did. See nose50.] Our clients were not given adequate opportunity to respond to the serious, unfounded and defamatory allegations. [They were; again see nose50.]
Statements in the article were intended to mean that our clients hold secret shares in Northern Corporate Investment Holdings; that they each irregularly and unlawfully received R5m in addition to their official salaries; that they interfered in the tender process; and that they are unfit to hold public office.
We have been instructed to demand that you publish an unconditional retraction of the article and an apology in your next issue, including an announcement on the cover page to that effect. Should you fail to accede to our demands, we have been instructed to institute a claim for damages in the amount of R5-million.
De Klerk Mandelstam attorneys
Johannesburg

Watch this space!– Ed

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