Letters

Dear Editor


Kasrils covered up?

Ronnie Kasrils’s support of the Palestinians is grotesque. There must be more to it: grovelling to the Pahads, perhaps?
Alice Theron, Durban


Joy to the world!

I rejoice in the new issue of noseweek – all thanks to SA’s wonderful Constitution!
Tony Malek, London
PS. Please, no solicitation to extract a donation for your legal fees! Maybe try harksen@pollsmoor.con Ho ho.


So glad you’ve not been culled. We need you out there.
Rudi du Plooy, CDP, Johannesburg
Metro Council

I love noseweek and hope its grows into a weekly magazine. May you never be silenced!
Frans van Jaarsveld*, George

* The man who earlier this year had President Kabila’s Falcon 50 jet seized at Lanseria Airport – Ed.


I was getting withdrawal symptoms from no noseweek!
Alan G Bramwell, Newlands


Honest Abe

Truly, the nose was sorely missed by me. And I know why: Who else tells it like the one about Abe Swersky?!
Chris Anderson

Your article was ill-researched and more fiction than fact. [Assuming] that there cannot be a charge without a complainant, you inferred from the charge sheet that I had laid a complaint against Jurgen Harksen with the police. I have never preferred a charge against Harksen. On your cover, you have branded me a thief. There is not a title of evidence in your article which establishes that I have been guilty of theft or a civil wrong. Were the converse the case, why have I not been prosecuted and why have civil proceedings not been instituted against me? Apart from that, you saw fit to sit in judgement on me in defiance of the audi alterem partem rule, in that you did not invite me to comment before rushing into print. In the normal course I would have had no hesitation in suing any party who defamed me in the manner which you have done, for substantial damages. But you and your publication, from all accounts, are privileged paupers and I will not be able to punish you in a pecuniary sense. You are, however, guilty of criminal defamation and I propose to ensure that apposite proceedings will, in due course, be instituted against you.
Should your next article be worse than the last – which is hardly possible – the wrong already caused will have been exacerbated and your crime will have been aggravated.
Abe Swersky, Cape Town.

True, we wrongly inferred from the charge sheet (in which he is described as the victim of one of Harksen’s alleged frauds) that Mr Swersky ‘squealed’ to the cops. He has since explained to us that he is not a squealer but a gambler. (Gamblers don’t cry.) The police called on him and requested a statement explaining the circumstances of his payment of R600 000 to Harksen, which he gave them. We would have apologised unreservedly for having called him a squealer, except that it now appears that while Mr Swersky was not prepared to squeal on his friend Harksen, he is prepared to squeal on us to the cops. He’s not much of a gambler either: he’s not prepared to wager his own money on his own reputation.
For the rest, our report was based entirely on the transcript of an official interrogation of Mr Swersky, under oath, at an insolvency inquiry. We have reported the questions – and his answers. We have, therefore, taken account of Mr Swersky’s version of events and his comments and explanations as given there. Our comment and interpretation are based on them. (Readers such as Mr Swersky are free to differ with us.)
See our next installment on page 12, where, as anticipated by Mr Swersky, things go from bad to worse. So, if a man must squeal, a man must squeal. – Ed.


Mr Swersky has represented me for the past two years, knowing that I am a nurse and single and that I probably could not afford his fees. His kindness, gentlemanly manner and generosity with his time have been remarkable. He not only persuaded the other side to capitulate, he hasn’t sent me an account for all his trouble. This has to be a first for a lawyer in this country!
Jenny du Toiet, Newlands

Ms du Toit is a granddaughter of the late Mr Lombardi, one-time apple magnate of Elgin and original holder of the Appletiser and Liquifruit patents and trademarks. Abe kindly assisted Ms du Toit in a correspondence with the trustees of the Lombardi Family Charitable Trust. – Ed.


Having nursed a grudge against the sodding* little* bastard* for 15 years, your article on Abe Swersky went a long way in smoothing my ruffled feathers. May the battery of ‘Abe’ continue to be peed on.
Cathy de Jongh, George

* These are expressions of emotion, not fact – Ed.


He’d be the last to admit it, but there’s a tender side to Abe Swersky. After six years of custody litigation with other attorneys, I had been bankrupted by legal fees. Knowing my situation, other attorneys suggested I call on Abe Swersky! In the legal profession he is not only highly regarded as an attorney’s attorney, but also for his compassion.
Mr Swersky took my case … I can honestly say that I have received better service from Mr Swersky as a pro amico client than I have from others who have charged scandalous fees. Without sentimentality his concern was transparently for my child. In things that matter Abe Swersky is as tender as he is tough.
Judy Ticktin, Rondebosch

I was so happy to see that the devil’s lawyer has fallen off his high horse. I am writing a story about what he did to me and my baby.
Lyn Falencikowski, Langebaan

Watch this space – Ed


Free from e

I see not much has changed since I resigned at eTV a year ago! You’re wrong, however, when you suggest that Hoskens should step in and save the day: Hoskens (HCI) is the problem – Marcel Golding and Johnny Copeland are Hoskens! They stepped in at the time that Jonathan Procter was booted. Never mind. Time is longer than rope, as we used to say in the bad old days.
Anon, Anon

My sympathies to eTV staffers suffering under the ‘fear and loathing’ management style of Kanthan Pillay – but it’s no surprise. Pillay pulled off the exact same manoeuvres during his brief tenure at the Cape Times. Pillay, as managing editor, and editor Ryland Fisher presided over the virtual collapse of that newspaper in a short but eventful two years from 1997 to 1999. Circulation plummeted from just under 60 000 to 40 000, while advertisers fled in horror. A productive newsroom was decimated as it split along racial lines and in a Stasti-like claustrophobia one had to be careful what one said, as informers squealed on dissenters to Pillay. Senior staffers left in droves. Sound familiar?
Ever the one to look after himself, Pillay managed to jump to his buddy Marcel Golding at eTV before he was pushed out of Independent Newspapers. Let’s be shy and say he ‘left under a cloud’. A forlorn Fisher was left with the gebakte pere, until, happily, his tenure ended a few months later. (He is now in PR!)
Once-Bitten-Twice-Shy, Gardens


Lawsuits

How in the name of God do you manage to stay in business with all the lawsuits against you? Good work!
Konstant van Huyssteen, Tamboerskloof

Thanks! As a matter of fact, as publications go, we don’t have many lawsuits. Then most of those we do get, we send right back to Hell – or we put right what we did wrong. And that – usually – settles that. – Ed.


The DA here and there

God knows what is happening to the DA in the Cape. In this part of the world we are more civilised and the DA is doing a fine job on the council. We are thorns in the ANC flesh (not difficult). Our mayor, Nceba Faku (a glorious name!) has been forced to repay the R80 000 he misappropriated from his discretionary fund and is being sued, with four co-directors in a tyre company, for almost R2-million by the Eastern Cape Development Corp. This parastatal lent Faku and chums R1m to salvage the company, which went bang. He is in danger of losing his luxury home in Bluewater Bay because of the case. The ANC loathe him, but they don’t have the guts to kick him out – but he’ll go, its only a matter of time.
Terry Herbst, DA city councillor,
Port Elizabeth


Absardity

Absa approached me and asked me if I wanted a R25 000 overdraft facility on my account at a very reasonable interest rate. Why not? Thinks I, it could be helpful. I filled in reams of forms. My banker was confident that the facility would be available shortly. Then I received a call. We have no credit rating on you, they declared. I’m a Brit expat who hasn’t been in the country a year yet, say I. In that case, they say, we need some kind of surety. What kind of ‘surety’? I ask. Well, a R25 000 fixed deposit would do it, they say. If I give you that, you’ll let me have a R25 000 overdraft? I ask. Absolutely! Let me get this straight, I say, my voice falling to a conspiratorial whisper: If I give you R25 000, you’re prepared to lend it back to me … at a modest rate of interest? Umm … (far less confident now) … well … it’s not … really like that.
I know that they saw the absurdity of it, but they were clearly still offended by my laughter. You know what rhymes with Banker. [See page 14.]
Neil McFarlane, Rivonia


Thabo’s friends

The company our president keeps (nose38) speaks volumes about him and his government. If Thabo Mbeki’s presidential personality sucks (he knows this), he should have the wisdom to surround himself with people who will make him look good (he doesn’t appear to know this). He doesn’t appear to know what it takes to be a good president, either. South Africa needs leadership with a human face, not some academic philosophical lecture. Madiba come back. (By the way, I’m not white so I can’t be racist.)
Chris, e-mail


Weapons 2000 / Poverty 1 (Hooray for weapons!)

Are world leaders aware that worldwide US$25m is spent every minute on weapons, war, and other acts of organised aggression, whilst every minute 40 people die of hunger and other poverty-related causes? Are they aware that for every dollar spent on peace, two thousand dollars are spent on war? Are their voters aware of this, and do they approve? With sufficient awareness, the critical mass of opinion might prevail and this madness could be stopped.
Thanks for your help.
Tim Geraghty, Limpopo


Dear Harold

By the time nose39 arrived, I was, I admit, beginning to show withdrawal symptoms. As a restorative, I turned first to the back page for a quick fix of Harold Strachan. Yes! His genius for portraying the uncool nether regions of Durbs is fabulous. His command of the lingua franca of the dispossessed, not to speak of his bus companion from the US of A, is hilarious. As a self-confessed former revolutionary who seems to have been shunted off the train (maybe he jumped?) before there was any gravy, his clear regard for his fellow creatures shines through the moral, and other deficiencies of his living, breathing subjects. Harold is an institution. Long may he continue.
Peter Inkley, Gardenview


Standard Bank credit card fees

The letter in issue 38 is incorrect in that there is no R2,20 charge by the Standard Bank for credit card purchases.
The layout of the 2002 price list is poor. This charge is for debit (not credit) card purchases, increased from R2,00 in 2001. In-store cash withdrawals are by far the cheapest way to draw cash.
To draw cash at an ATM from your credit card or cheque account using a credit or debit card costs R2,35 for the first R100 and 90c per R100 thereafter with no maximum.
Roy Andrew, Rondebosch

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