Letters

Dear Editor



Mutual dissatisfaction

With regard to your editorial on OM and Nedcor (nose57): Old Mutual has just announced an increase of 1.5% on my so-called Platinum Pension, “earned on the investment of your retirement benefit.” To further gladden the heart of its grateful pensioners, and add proof of its powers of logical thinking to proof of its financial wizardry, Old Mutual assures us, in an accompanying four-page document, that “Old Mutual has guaranteed that ... increases will never be less than zero.”
Now isn’t that good to know?
Michiel Heyns
Somerset West


Where the truth lies (Letter of the month)

You are hereby informed that we do act on behalf of our client, First Rand Bank Ltd t/a Wesbank, and we have been informed that your reporter was contacted by a Mr Pierre Pienaar and that he, inter alia, informed your reporter that our client forged certain documentation and apparently perpetrated fraud.
Your reporter then informed our client’s Mr Nicholas Litton and Mrs Moss that Mr Pienaar’s story will be published in your next issue [nose58].
It is hereby formally placed on record that Mr Pienaar’s allegations regarding our client are not true. In a court case in the high court in Pretoria, after Mr Pienaar himself gave oral evidence on this issue, the learned judge found that Mr Pienaar’s averments concerning our client were neither true nor fair comment.
You are now aware of the factual situation and are therefore requested to refrain from publishing.
Hack, Stupel & Ross
Attorneys, Pretoria

Who so informed you? Mr Pienaar told us nothing. But, whether Mr Pienaar said it or not, we have no doubt that, in effect, your client forged a document, lied under oath in court and thereby perpetrated a fraud which you persist in defending on their behalf. See the article: Wesbank forges ahead in this issue – Ed


ANC feeding frenzy

I have just finished reading the Hout Bay articles in nose57 and am thoroughly disgusted with the events. But, quite frankly, I have no sympathy with those poor people battling to survive in Hout Bay. In all probability they all voted for the ANC in the recent elections, even though their circumstances have not changed in the last five years.
Come 2009, their lives will remain unchanged, but they will vote ANC once again. ANC voters have turned this country into a one-party dictatorship.
Robin Aberdein
Kwazulu-Natal

It was with a profound sense of sadness that I read your exposé of developments at Hout Bay in nose57.
In the late 80s and early 90s I knew Dickie and Shantaal Meter well. Although we were adversaries at the time, I had great admiration for their courage and determination – both highly principled folk who suffered heavily under the apartheid regime: job losses, detention and social ostracism in the Hout Bay community.
When the National Party, without warning local authorities, summarily removed the Influx Control Laws and the first informal settlement started on the beaches of Hout Bay, it was the Meters who did most to try and aid the so-called squatters and eventually get land set aside for informal housing.
Most of the squatters were line fishermen working on the boats of private boat owners in the tuna and squid fishing sectors. In the hierarchy of the fishing community that is about as low as you can be. When boats could not go to sea there just was no-where for these fishermen to stay and they were terrified to return to the Transkei, because if the boat owner decided to put to sea he would simply give their place on the crew to whoever was available.
In going to the aid of these fisherfolk, the Meters earned not only the wrath of the white Hout Bay community but that of a large section of the coloured harbour community as well. The establishment of Imizamo Yethu was seen as the root of all social ills in the village.
How tragic that a couple with such fine credentials have sacrificed it all at the feet of Mammon and allowed their earlier idealism to be perverted to a sense of entitlement.
Malcolm Wallace
Swellendam


On the other hand...

I took note of “Teaching students to suck ethics” (nose56, May) in which my integrity is questioned.
I restrict my response to the allegations specifically directed at me and ignore those implicating the university’s management of cover-up tactics. It is the university’s responsibility to answer those allegations.
Never have I used (or abused) a credit card of the university or its business school – for the simple reason that I have never had access to such a facility! A quick phone call to the university authorities would have exposed this particular allegation for what it is: character assassination or deliberate disinformation.
Every cent in my university-administered account was legally earned by myself for contract work at the USB. (I do not receive a salary.) I have received no grants, subsidies or donations from the university or business school.
Reimbursements for costs incurred by me, had to be authorised by the financial officer, on the basis of valid receipts and acceptable reasons. I followed the university’s prescribed procedure consistently and transparently, in most instances discussing my submissions in person with the relevant officials.
Willie Esterhuyse
Graduate School of Business,
Bellville Park Campus,
University of Stellenbosch

Thank you for responding to the footnote to our story so reassuringly. We are suitably chastened on that score, and do apologise. BUT. We were persuaded to publish those scurrilous campus allegations about you because of your morally limp response to a plea from former Metropolitan Life employee André van der Merwe – the main issue of our story. Now why not respond as precisely to that issue, in your capacity as a director of Metropolitan – or is that not as easily done? – Ed.


Tuck-up

I must compliment you on your latest article on Saambou (“New Louwdown on Saambou”, nose56). As one who has been screwed on various occasions by Saambou management’s manipulations – before and after curatorship – it is great to see that someone is still prepared to challenge what actually went on. Clearly there are many unanswered questions in the whole saga. I must say though, I’m not at all surprised by some of the statements or comments made by the people you spoke to regarding the sale of Leasing Results, taking into account that the bank’s management ran the place like their own little tuck shop and were only really interested in looking after their little circle of “chommies” (one just needs to look at who has benefited from the bank’s collapse). For the record, the comment made by the curator’s “anonymous” representative is absolute bullshit.
My words to Alan Greyling were: “I do not believe we should be forced to pay a premium for the company we built from scratch. The people now in control of the Saambou circus need to acknowledge our performance and contribution, as well as the fact that we were trading exceptionally well before they buggered up the bank and hence made our lives a misery.” This is a far cry from wanting something for nothing! (Then again, what other comment can you expect when people are still covering up all the dirt?) As for the other people’s comments and denials – very interesting, I’m sure the guys looking after the submission of IT14 returns will be watching with a keen eye.Good on you!
Stephen Mctaggart
stephenm@investrent.co.za


Hooligreens

The Mail & Guardian’s recent mammoth “Greening the Future” supplement and awards – from the judges (the most extreme collection of apparatchiks imaginable) to the so-called prize-winners – was nothing but an expensive PR exercise in greenwashing some ultimate environmental hooligans.
Richards Bay Minerals must be popping champagne corks: years of PR, and probably millions spent on corporate image, finally paid off. They got the top award. Do they and companies like them (read: Wild Coast dune mining) need any more encouragement to keep on raping our coastlines?
When the M&G gave the “Most improved environmental practice” award to the National Ports Authority, they clearly weren’t expecting noseweek’s exposé about the billions of rands’ damage that could ensue from the Ports Authority’s decision to enlarge the container docks at Cape Town, glossed over big-time in a supposed Environmental Impact Assessment done by CSIR Enviromentek!
(The executive director of CSIR Environmentek, Khungeka Njobe, was on the judging panel that gave the award to the Ports Authority!)
The full-page advertisement for the Ports Authority in the M&G contains the kind of pie-in-the-sky assertions that make true conservationists want to puke.
M&G has done its image irreparable harm in this butt-licking for corporate advertising revenue. How about a noseweek award, spread over several categories, for Environmental Hooligan of the Year?
Jerry Buirski
Three Anchor Bay


A whole can of lions

Thank you for highlighting the plight of the Enkosini lions (nose57).
You would think that in South Africa – where much and lip service is paid to tourism in general and our spectacular wildlife in particular – the tourism industry would rush to resolve this sensitive issue. Our tardy justice system has not helped the situation either; in the interim we continue to get bad press overseas on this subject.
Marianne Birrell
Nelspruit


Premium problem

Nearly 10 years ago I entered into a Children’s Accident Protection Plan with AIG Insurance Ltd, with a fixed premium of just over R10 a month.
The premium was deducted until March this year, when I was sent a certificate – with no explanation – of a 37% increase. I emailed AIG and was told that this R4 increase was reasonable, as they were charging a “policy administration” fee of R6 a month on all policies. I cannot believe that AIG can levy an extra charge on a fixed premium policy. If they get away with R6 per policy per month, then AIG will be making money for jam. Be warned.
Guy Marshall
Port Elizabeth

Indeed! Have you thought of raising the matter with the Insurance Ombudsman? – Ed.

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