Dear Editor

Taco Kuiper

You are entitled to your opinions about Taco Kuiper’s character; as his minister and one of his confidantes, I reckon I know more of his virtues and vices than you.
When it comes to facts: some 92 people signed the funeral register, not 60 as you reported, and each [therefore] received a gift of R11,000, not R16,000. I was interested to hear some say his action was immoral– on what ground I cannot imagine. No one knew about this gesture until after the funeral. Some even said they were so disgusted they would send the cheques straight back. The trustees are still awaiting the first returned cheque.
Funny that!
Dr Alan Maker
Senior Minister, St. Columba’s Presbyterian Church, Parkview

With regard to your claim to superior knowledge of his virtues and vices, we trust, for the sake of his soul, that you are right. As for Taco Kuiper’s unusual bequest to those prepared to sign a register at his funeral: it was undoubtedly in poor taste, but certainly not immoral. There is even a bit of wicked humour to the bequest – and what can be wrong with that! On the question of bookkeeping, we bow to your superior knowledge. – Ed.

Bullshits and woolpullers

Thank you for the story of the Baron and Baroness von Bullshit (nose62). Why are so many so eager to grovel?
However, to the true purpose of my letter: on going through Government Gazette 26915 of 29 October 2004, I noticed that the Registrar of Labour Relations proposes to cancel the registration of the South African Fellmongers and Woolpullers Employers’ Association.
Surely, as a crusading journal you want to investigate the wrong being done to fellmongers and woolpullers, whether they are barons or not? (What do fellmongers and woolpullers do? Are they in parliament?)
DR DL Craythorne
Oakridge, Cape Town

A fellmonger is a dealer in sheepskins, assisted by his associate the woolpuller, who knows how to separate the wool from the pelts. By the sound of it, we could indeed do with some of those in parliament! – Ed

Honestly, Abe!

In your report on the Baroness von Maltzahn you state: “Needless to say, something went wrong with Abe’s curious deal, and last July our favourite attorney was in court, seeking an order entitling him to seize the Baroness’ possessions in lieu of R454,865 in unpaid rent [Abe allowed the rent to go unpaid for eight months? What’s up? – Ed]. The order was granted and the Sheriff set forth for Rhodes Drive, but Swersky – a most remarkably kind man – relented at the last minute and agreed to give the Baroness still more time to settle.”
Had you called me, I would have been able to confirm that prior to circulation of your aforementioned publication the full sum due to me in respect of outstanding rent and rental up to the end of November 2004 had been paid.
I trust that you will put the record straight.
Abe Swersky
Cape Town

All you quote us on is true. It seems that when she heard that noseweek was on the case Baroness von Maltzahn rushed to pay nearly 12 months arrear rent. A measure of gratitude to noseweek would not have come amiss, Mr Swersky. – Ed


Although a long-time supporter of noseweek, I thought we were taking a chance advertising in your publication.
Imagine my surprise at the response to our ad in nose62! Stacks of phone calls – bods wanting to know who we were (that brought me down to earth with a bang!), men phoning ordering gift vouchers for their nearest and dearest and loads of totally new customers we have never seen before (quite a classy bunch actually) with one subject on their ruby lips: Had I been caught by the Von Bullshits? Certainly not – I’m a woman of quality; I don’t serve riffraff.
Jenny Le Roux
Habits, Claremont

True Grit

I want to thank you for one of the finest magazines in the country. For some three-and-a-half years I was blind and received noseweek through Tape Aids for the Blind, then for some reason my sight came back.
When, more recently, I became bedridden I asked Tape Aids if I could start using their service again because I am bedridden through polio and my husband has hysterics because when noseweek arrives no one is allowed to disturb me.
I devote all my energies to advancing the cause of polio sufferers and survivors in Africa. I can only liken it to noseweek’s obligation to the truth. Please never give up on the truth ... there are so many of us who rely on it and through it realise we have not made a mistake in staying in the land of our birth.
Cilla Webster

Nose in big cover-up

I’ve been a noseweek reader since issue 51. I have noted that in issues 53 to 58 Len Ashton appears as “Censor-in Chief”. In 59 and 60 he becomes “Cover art direction”, and in 61 he reverts to Censor-in Chief.
I have also noted that in every issue (51-61) the ANC comes up in some less than meritorious way; they appear to be a bunch of self-serving, swindling scoundrels who don’t give a stuff about the people they purport to serve.
But I have rarely seen any response; a bit of bluster but nothing of any substance. Why? I assume you send a complimentary copy to the president of the ANC so that he can attempt to keep his members in order?
Keep up the good work.
T A Cropper
North Riding

Cover art direction is the job Len Ashton does most of the time. The title Censor-in-chief better reflects our awe of his sense of good taste.
We are pleased to advise that The Presidency subscribes to noseweek. We suspect there might be more response to our reports than you imagine. But should President Mbeki have decided, as you suspect, to leave it to us to keep his – and his opposition’s – wayward members in order, we shall continue to do our best. – Ed.

Exposé impact?

I have subscribed to noseweek from the very first issue in the 1980s. Of late this has led me to wonder: have all your exposés of corruption, cheating, stealing, lying, harassment, fraud, etc., ever made a difference, in the sense that the exposed wrongs have been righted? It seems to me that most South Africans have no shame or sense of “face” as it is known in the Far East.
Instead it seems it is regarded as manly to brazen it out when caught. In addition, there seem to be few prosecutions, especially of politicians or civil servants, Yengeni excepted.
So-called investigations take forever, people forget and the investigations quietly die. You get caught, perhaps lose your job – but you walk away with the loot. Or am I wrong? What kind of scorecard is there?
“Those who steal from private individuals spend their lives in stocks and chains: those who steal from the public treasure go dressed in gold and purple.” – Cato the Censor

Declining standards ...

As much as I am happy to receive noseweek on a more regular basis, please don’t allow that to result in a lowering of standards: As much as I enjoy wine, a column devoted to it does not belong in noseweek.
Stories/investigations are initially published but are not always followed up (eg the one where the truck owners were diddled by Stannic).
Articles about fraud, etc. by government and companies far outweigh those of so-called celebs like the Von Maltzahns. These might be good skinner stories but could be summarised in a page.
Vic de Valdorf

A one-string instrument is often called a drone; heaven forbid we should be. Variety is the spice of life – and we’re all for it. More wine, women and song, we say! Our wine column is a pleasure to read and, as you would expect of noseweek, an eye-opener. As for skinner, not only do most of us love it; has it escaped your notice that there’s more to our skinner than, maybe, immediately meets the eye? – Ed.

SA Eagle

It is always with much amusement that I read your articles about South African companies doing the dirty on customers – but now after a few years of noseweek I am becoming alarmed that this seems to be a disease afflicting a large number of our corporations.
As I read the SA Eagle article (nose62) I quickly checked that none of my insurance was with this less-than-august company. Here’s my suggestion: print a monthly list of all the companies you have exposed committing dastardly deeds so that your readers can stay away from these guys forever.
Expose and destroy!
Ed Goetsch

It’s nice to know that at least some of our readers get the drift! It’s called democratic empowerment: when you know who the crooks are, you know who not to vote for – and who not to do business with. – Ed.

Flying colours

As a subscriber to noseweek and an Insurance Broker I feel that your campaign against S A Eagle is unjustified.
My experience of over 40 years dealing with S A Eagle has been that they have looked for reasons to pay claims, unlike some other Insurers who do the opposite.
S A Eagle paid a claim of R1,200,000 that was not covered in terms of the policy wording, ex gratia, for a company where I was a consultant.
It is interesting to note that in your story when Hynek put in his claim, his broker “abruptly resigned”. This is the time that most clients need and use their broker [Quite! – Ed] and it must have been very serious for the broker to take such steps.
I and all my colleagues will continue to support S A Eagle. I will also continue my subscription to noseweek!
David Laing
FCII, Illovo

We are talking about the last four years at Eagle. Our story suggests a possible reason for the broker’s abrupt resignation: he was the son-in-law of Hynek’s hostile former business partner – the one who stood to benefit from the closure of Hynek’s business!
While we respect your sentiment about an old business relationship, our other readers will judge our stories on the facts. Now see page 14. – Ed.

Capricorn Beach

Thank you for your article on the Capricorn Beach development. This is not an isolated case of maltreatment by developers in the area. There are other adjacent housing projects which have suffered similar fate. Clearly there are a number of developers who are taking people for a ride and not providing services set out in the documentation.
What worries me particularly is the lack of intervention by the city officials. Muizenberg has a long experience of neglect by the building services officials at Plumstead who fail to inspect and to enforce standards.
The developer in one case signed contracts with purchasers that lay down seemingly satisfactory conditions for the creation of residents’ powers, but the administration of the residence association remains with the developer.
I have intervened on several occasions but the developer seems to get away with manipulation.
I would like to encourage noseweek to look into these contracts in greater detail and to nail the officials who are not doing their jobs.
Ben Turok MP


I would like to thank noseweek for its articles in August, September and October exposing the bankruptcy of our legal system. I received numerous messages of support including a call from a former attorney of mine who unfortunately is no longer in Cape Town but who sent me a gift of R5,000 to keep me going. I would also like to thank the kind reader who gave me a year’s subscription to noseweek but whose contact details I do not have.
Richard Benson
Fish Hoek

This month's limerick winner

Said sartorially elegant Shaik
”It would be a quite grievous mistake
To credit the rumour
That big-spending Zuma
Slipped me part of the armaments cake”.
Steve Driver

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