Dear Editor

Benson goes a-courting

Running through your chilling saga of Richard Benson’s sufferings (nose59), it seems to me, is an unanswered question: How does society allow the sort of thing that fills those pages to happen? Or: How do those ostensibly in leadership positions, where they could act positively, manage to turn a blind eye?
Take the legal profession: No thinking South African would for one moment suggest that Arthur Chaskalson is a man of anything other than impeccable integrity, yet, as Chief Justice he presides over a system that repeatedly delivers injustice to people like Richard Benson. I bet he even reads noseweek from time to time.
Why are more people not pursuing the Benson route? I can tell you from personal experience that the system makes sure that we can’t afford to do so. (In truth, of course, it should never be necessary.)
A few years ago, I had cause to go after the [now jailed] attorney H Mahommed’s firm for an open and shut case of defamation. The case was set down for a magistrates’ court hearing (all I could afford) a few days after you lifted the lid on their involvement in the Road Accident Fund scandal. But I had been advised that, while I was certain to win the case, there was a real possibility that I would end up with legal costs greater than any damages award I might get. So I was persuaded to accept an out-of-court settlement that did little more than cover my legal costs. In an encounter with the Estate Agents’ Board, I was subpoenaed as a witness and subjected to two hours of vicious cross-examination that left me more bruised than the offending party.
And when I attempted to halt the unprofessional activities of a member of the medical profession, the Medical Council told me – off the record – that they were powerless to act.
When government, by inaction, shows all the signs of tolerating corruption, people who might otherwise behave with integrity come to believe that they have to join the corrupt in order to earn a living.
How to counter all this? Well, it demands a firm stance at the top. Is this stance likely? I leave you to judge. Meanwhile, keep at it!
SMJ (Mike) Young

See the second instalment of Richard Benson’s story on page 16. – Ed.

Playing the race card

All the recent talk of a bid to bring Formula 1 racing to Cape Town coincides with your sudden journalistic interest in Free State motor sport (nose59), which kinda (as JFK would say) leads me to wonder if maybe you won’t be the subject of some investigative journalism yourselves not so far down the road...
Is noseweek’s nose clean...?
Chris Grundy
RaceMakers, Kloof

Clean as a whistle. (Although we do get snotty from time to time.) If you are suggesting that we’re in favour of Cape Town getting on to the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit, you’re wrong. We reckon it would be only marginally less foolish for Cape Town to pay the ludicrous fortunes sought by the wide boys who are desperately trying to flog the rapidly declining GP circuit to naïve third world politicians, than it was for Welkom and the Free State to do so. – Ed.

Wild Wesbank

I am pleased that certain individuals in charge of large companies are backing ordinary citizens in their fight against “corporate greed and corporate bullying” as Mr Jerome Smith put it (nose59 – “Drug company boss gives WesBank victim shot in the arm”). I hope other well-heeled corporate heads will be moved to emulate him. I, too, have had a few finance agreements with Wesbank and am in the process of buying a new vehicle. No first prize for guessing who is having second thoughts about which finance house should get the business.
Tian Horn

I would like to pay tribute to Jerome Smith for his chivalrous action in assisting Pienaar. Seldom has a captain of industry acted in such an unselfish manner; little wonder then that he has risen to his executive position. I wish them both success.
George H

See page 26 – Ed.

Sentech off!

I am astounded that Sentech’s advertisements want us to believe that we can get broadband internet access by using a small “lunchbox-sized” device placed on a table (with lots of butterflies about) anywhere in one of the many Sentech coverage areas.
Since I earn a living from designing wireless connectivity systems I took the trouble to simulate the system shown in the Sentech advertisement to check its feasibility.
I used the “Pathloss” computer program, no doubt well known to the engineers at Sentech, since it is probably the international benchmark program for radio system design.
Without getting into the technicalities, I found that a reasonable bandwidth connection could only be established if the user (with butterflies?) is substantially less than 3km away from a Sentech tower – and provided there is a clear line-of-sight path from the user’s antenna to the Sentech tower. By “clear line-of-sight” is meant no walls, no trees, no buildings (possibly even no butterflies) between the user’s antenna and the Sentech tower.
Why, therefore, the misleading advertisement? It seems only to have contributed to the unholy mess that Sentech now finds itself in.
Lore Holtzhausen

Oily obscenity

It’s obscene that oil company executives earn millions a year in “miscellaneous payments” when the two petrol attendants [names withheld] who attend to my car with efficiency and unfailing courtesy at a local petrol station in Fontainebleau [name withheld] are paid less than R500 a month. Please do something to underline this outrage.
A survey of the disparity between the lowest paid and the top CEOs in the sanctimonious big companies would help make people aware.
Toni Gous

Till the Well Runs Dry

Open letter to Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk:
The recent screening of the programme Till the Well Runs Dry on 50/50 once again highlighted the plight of the Garden Route. While this is old news, still nothing is being done to halt the destructive and callous way in which the development of the Garden Route is taking shape. How many more developments can the area take? How many more golf courses do we need and how many can we sustain? Most residents are concerned about what is happening, yet do not know who to turn to or what to do about it.
The officials in charge of approving development and controlling planning say that their hands are tied and that they cannot stop development. Why not? Must it first reach crisis levels before there is any intervention? And what of those who continue openly to flout the rules? Is action being taken against them or do the supposed protectors of our towns merely shrug their shoulders and move on to the next development? Who is to be held accountable?
Plettenberg Bay will reportedly not have enough water for the December holidays, yet nothing is being done about it. Supposedly the only thing to do is to pump even more water from the Keurbooms River than is permissible or feasible.
But what when the river runs dry?
While key officials all tacitly agree that Knysna is unable to sustain its present level of growth, nothing constructive is being done about it.
If our local officials cannot or will not help, then could the ministers or the media please take up our cause and help to stem the tide of destruction? Please, let’s keep what little we have left of the Garden Route.
Sheldeen Wetter
Knysna Tonquani Lodge

Limerick Competition - September Winner
noseweek, with Pen & Art, is giving away a Parker Sonnet fountain pen worth R1,200 each month for the best topical limerick submitted to the magazine. Email your sanctimonious, scurrilous, rude, amusing or insightful scribblings to noseweek@iafrica.com; post to Box 44538, Claremont 7700; or fax to (021) 686 0573. Entries must be received by unlucky Friday 13 August and must be headed "July Limerick Competition" The winning entry will be published in the following month's edition of noseweek. The editor's decision is final.

And the winner for September ...

The poor are a minor distraction,
Grand West is the major attraction;
You'd be a poor fool
If you trusted Rasool
And his greedy Affirmative Faction
Erik Schaug
Hout Bay

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