Dear Editor

SARS holes

Section 4 of the Income Tax Act, which prohibits anybody at SARS from divulging anything about tax payers to outsiders (nose64), is conveniently used by SARS whenever skullduggery is likely to be exposed.
I was once told by SARS that they pay rewards for information that leads to the recovery of taxes, provided the information given could not be discovered in the normal course of the Receiver’s activities (this covers just about every eventuality, you would think).
I told them about unpaid taxes that, much like the Kebble case, had been going on for years without anything being done. Then, when it came to the question of my reward, I was repeatedly told they could not tell me how much tax had been recovered, if any, because the information was protected by Section 4 of the Income Tax Act.
When I persisted, my only reward was to have a call from a tax investigator to say they wanted to see me immediately about my own tax affairs, which were completely up to date and had resulted in a refund in the previous year.
After I phoned the top brass they had the dogs called off my trail and the call I received from the investigator was explained away as “pure coincidence”.
I don’t know whether that particular dirty case was ever resolved in favour of us tax payers.
My guess is the person concerned got away without paying anything like the tax he should have done although there was said to be “millions involved.”
Jon Abbott

Kebble is not alone

Kebble’s tax situation (noses63&64) isn’t isolated. I have been involved in a number of high-profile cases that SARS compelled me to hand over to them. To add insult to injury I had to endure the following:
 Defend my allegations in open court;
 SARS refused to come to my assistance and I quote a statement made by one of their legal managers: “We have no interest in these cases.”;
 Assist SARS in compiling their claims;
 Incur travel costs and R565 in expenses for copies of documents SARS refused to pay for.
SARS have done nothing to prosecute the alleged perpetrators.
I investigated other cases where alleged tax evasion amounted to several millions of rands. In future, if I uncover tax evasion or fraud, I will not inform SARS because it’s a waste of time and ultimately the whistleblower carries the can.

Kill Bill

You say in your article “Kill Bill” that you stand by your earlier story about SA Eagle (noses61&62).
Am I to believe that SA Eagle fabricated evidence against a man who, by your account, himself thought it necessary to have at least one potential SA Eagle witness assassinated? [Yes]
Surely that is stretching the imagination a bit? [Why?] Isn’t it as obvious to you as it is to me that you were tricked by a fraudster? I think you owe it to your readers and, dare I say it, to SA Eagle, to admit that this is at least probable. [No]
John Mullins

Let dead men tell tales

After reading “Kill Bill” (nose64) and bearing in mind other cases where witnesses have been murdered (including a big case in the Northern Cape involving police who allegedly murdered witnesses), I wonder whether the time isn’t ripe for the law relating to evidence to be changed.
Any statement made to the police by a witness who is subsequently murdered or who dies in suspicious circumstances should be allowed in court as evidence even though the witness cannot be cross-examined.
Too many thugs and murderers are allowed to get off scot free through the intimidation and murder of witnesses.
Northern Cape

No smoke without Brand

I must express my disappointment in your characterisation of Judge Brand in “Eggheads” (nose64) as the “good Afrikaner that he is, was not enamoured of the British trend to set guidelines for the distribution of the loot in a divorce”.
Why would the fact that he is an Afrikaner have anything to do with his decision? It is not fitting for noseweek’s usually well reasoned criticism of the trash in our society to attribute the reasons for your criticisms on the ground of the person being a member of a specific demographic group.
If you want reasons to investigate or criticise, please don’t imitate our government by attacking the person rather than his or her actions.
I did notice that none of your other subjects were branded simply for their ethnic origin, so why single out Judge Brand just for being Afrikaans?
Why not also attribute Shantaal Meter’s actions to the fact that she is coloured, or blame Osman Aboo and Ahmed Amod for what they did because they are Muslim?
Emile Myburgh

I think you might be over-reacting to a relatively gentle characterisation of the Judge. Your general point about the futility of ethnic stereotyping is sound and shows how far we have travelled over the last few years. – Ed

Stick to investigating

As long as you stick to what you do best – investigative journalism you are without peer in South Africa. It is when you occasionally venture into the realm of political opinion that you suddenly start to look a kid who’s just walked into the cinema half-way through the movie.
Not that you were alone – there were plenty of other English-speaking whiteys who also thought that Comrade Patricia was the solution to their problem (avoiding voting ANC while simultaneously dodging the “racist-reactionary” label that comes with voting DA).
Like you, they wanted Comrade Patricia’s future so much that they were only too happy to forget her past (apologies to the Spice Girls) – a past that included, among others, inciting poor homeless people to invade land for the sake of a headline for herself; encouraging white people to emigrate (“One settler, one air ticket”); and calling on PAC supporters to disrupt the campaign activities of other parties before the 1994 elections.
Rather than acknowledging and explaining these past actions, she has chosen the simpler and cruder expedient of denying them and accusing anyone who asks her difficult questions (myself included) of lying. Her outraged denials of the recent allegations that she took drug and perlemoen money from a well-known racketeer, and that she personally pocketed money intended for ID coffers, as well as her heavy-handed approach to “disciplining” Lennit Max, therefore come as no surprise to me.
And although I love to say “I told you so”, I don’t think enough people heard me criticising Comrade Patricia back then to make it a satisfying exercise in this case. I only hope that you will be a lot more circumspect before bandying about expressions like “one honest politician” in the future.
Pierre Burger

Noseweek doesn’t support single politicians or political parties. We support the right to ask questions and get answers. Its called freedom – Ed.

Not Totalled

I am not at all happy with the article “Totalled” (nose64) referring to me as struggling to make ends meet in Australia.
While Total’s action made a huge difference to my plans, I have a small, lucrative business, which I enjoy doing. I have many friends and acquaintances who have up to now believed that I came to Australia, took the bull by the horns and made a new life. Which is the truth.
Another point I wish to correct: I did not find the property, it was shown to me by Total.
I hope you understand: one’s dignity comes before all the money in the world.
Eric Hammond

It was never our intention to suggest that selling doughnuts from a stall on an Aussie beach was anything but a dignified way to earn a living. – Ed

Fag end

This is an old “Dear Abby” but quite appropriate to the issue.
Dear Abby
I have two brothers and two sisters: one brother is in the tobacco business, the other was just sentenced to death for murder. My mother died from insanity when I was young. My two sisters are prostitutes and my father sells narcotics to feed the family.
Recently I met a girl who was released from the reformatory, where she served time for smothering her illegitimate child, and I very much want to marry her. My problem is : if I marry this girl, should I tell her about my brother who is in the tobacco business....

To my shame I worked in the Industry for a number of years so nothing surprises me.
Thanks for the excellent reading. My wife hates it when I get noseweek because it is cover to cover in one sitting.
By the way, I’ve been told that Camel is the only cigarette to advertise its factory on the box.
Puffing Billy
Merrivale, KZN

Oops, Harold did it again

noseweek is indeed unique in its fresh, honest and bold approach to news reporting – it would be wonderful if more publications displayed this kind of courage in the pursuit of the truth (wishful thinking?).
However, although the regular contribution by Harold Strachan is mildly amusing (sometimes), it disqualifies itself by on-going blasphemy. There is absolutely no reason why he should use the name of the Christian God, Jesus in these pieces.
Jan Venter
By email

It’s not our problem, it’s Harold’s. We’ve told him time and time again but he just won’t listen. – Ed

This month's winner of the limerick competition . . .

Our denialist president Thabo
Must surely have known late Makgatho.
Will he now say: “Aids kills!
Let’s roll out the pills!”
And send back the beetroot to Manto?

Steve Driver

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