Saturday, June 22, 2024


 Dear Readers,

          Damp, green forest rises to a bamboo jungle and from there the heath rises to the white capped peak of Mount Kenya.

          The snow glistens for a moment in the failing light. The tropical sun drops suddenly behind the earth and there is no lingering of the brilliance that is day. A peaceful, brooding silence hangs like a cloak over this the grandest peak for a thousand miles. Somewhere in the jungle an elephant trumpets his defiance while a leopard slinks forth to kill.

          These animals were perfectly at home here but for a White man during the Mau Mau uprising it was very different. He heard a twig snap when silence reigned. He saw a bush move when there was no wind. Fear was all around him.

          Deep in a thorny thicket four bearded men sat around a smouldering ember, because, as the sun went down the 12 000 foot altitude began to chill the jungle covered slopes. In the failing light a man left his companions swinging a stick as anybody might do with a walking stick. This was his confidence booster because his attention was now divided.

          Abruptly the tangled undergrowth gave way to an orderly cypress plantation. Beneath these crowded trees the light was far worse than the dusk itself.  Here a multitude of shadows follow one another into illusion after illusion.

          This man was no stranger to these woods. The path was scarcely visible yet he followed it unerringly for some distance until he came to a track used by the trucks that fetch the timber. This he chose in preference to the winding path.

          The man’s bare feet made little sound as he walked on the damp earth. He was nervous. His eyes could not penetrate the failing light and he knew that to anyone in the shadows he was as obvious as movement is to the adder’s eye.

          He was a hundred yards or so from the end of the wood when he noticed that the trees ahead of him leaned over to touch each other above the track, throwing a dark shadow across his path. On the edge of this shadow a small bush broke up the black outline on his right.

          He swung his comforter more vigorously. This shadow worried him like an evil spirit yet he had to pass it to continue on his way.

          At four in the afternoon a small patrol left the Regati police post to ambush terrorists on the paths they commonly use when they came down from their jungle hideouts to raid the crops in the Kuku Reserve below.

          On this occasion the patrol consisted of two white officers and four black askaris. To cover as much ground as possible the party divided into two groups of four and two.

          The largest group went off to set an ambush on a path in the Reserve while an officer and an askari disappeared into a cypress plantation. There the two of them made straight for the track used by the timber lorries where deep shadows from the trees above provided the perfect setting for an ambush. A small bush helped to draw attention away from any forms lying underneath it.

          The officer lay facing the snow capped peak while the askari guarded the other approach. It was not long before the Black man was asleep. As though sensing he was all alone his white companion moved restlessly above his Bren gun. It lay half under him, with its little black button resting smugly on “automatic.”

          The silence whispered to the dull grey light while the forest creaked with a myriad of scary sounds. The White man saw a shape that was not there. He heard a noise that was his own breathing. His senses ran off with his mind and naked terror dominated his will.

          Waiting to commit murder when he might well be slaughtered while he waited was an almost superhuman strain which was bound to break this man when darkness came.

          A soft noise crept into the silence. His mind now thought this was another trick. Nearer and nearer it came. Suddenly the officer looked up and there only a few yards away stood a bearded apparition.

          The Bren came up in one dreadful arc while the Black man braced himself to die.

Mount Kenya at 17 000 feet

          In a flash the trigger jumped the bolt which for some unknown reason seemed less eager for the kill. At this moment when a piece of metal hesitated the bearded man came to life and disappeared among the trees.

          Hours later the White man told the story to the others at the Police post of how, if the “bloody gun hadn’t jammed, I would have cut my first Mau Mau to pieces.”

          Alone in his bed that night a wave of relief swept over this young officer, only just out of his teens, and he thanked God that the Bren gun did jam. In the darkness he realised that the slaughter of an unarmed man would have left a bloody stain on his mind for life, especially as a gun like that, fired at point blank range, would have left that Mau Mau man terribly butchered.



P.S. The Kenya Emergency or Mau Mau Revolt was described as “one of the British Army’s bloodiest and most controversial post-war conflicts.” The Mau Mau led an extremely violent rebellion against British rule that included terrible atrocities in which it slaughtered its own people. The majority were members of the Kikuyu tribe. Only a mere 32 white settlers, mainly farmers, were murdered during the eight years of the rebellion, while an estimated 1819 Kenyans were killed for refusing to take the Mau Mau oath, or for merely accepting colonialism. Their most notorious massacre was in 1953 when they ordered everyone in the village of Lari into their huts and set fire to them. Those who tried to escape were hacked to death with machetes….Wikipedia



Tuesday, June 11, 2024


 Dear Readers,

         So far I reckon I have survived six narrow escapes with the latest being one of the most scary of them all.

          In the car park of the Harbour Bay Mall in Cape Town I was walking towards the entrance to the main building when this white Toyota car was backed out of its parking bay driven by Renee Hobbis. She was speeding like a racing driver at the start of a race and she was coming straight at me. Her car must have just touched me as I jumped backwards and landed in the road on my back. It was then driven rapidly for about 50 metres, giving some more people a close call, before it went into the entrance of a small yard to crash head on into a wall.

           I spent the next half hour or so lying in the road being attended to by paramedics with a little shop assistant from the nearby Pic n Pay holding my hand. The paramedics wanted to take me to hospital, but after about half an hour I felt well enough to drive to my home about 15 kms away. I had a delayed action sore leg, some other aches and pains as well as a graze on the top of my head which disappeared quickly.

          Mrs Hobbis of 31 Dolphin Way, Simonstown, was the only occupant of the car. I didn’t see her but I was told that after the crash she was found sitting in her vehicle saying that she had a “sugar problem”. Nobody was at home when I later called at her house but a neighbour told me she was a “very bad diabetic.”    

           Most of the roads where she lives are really scary as they are incredible steep being on the side of the mountain.

          After getting her phone number from the Police I phoned her and she told me to speak to her husband Chris. When he came on the line I told him that I felt his wife should no longer be driving and he agreed with me.

          When I spoke to her again I emphasised that she should no longer be driving because somebody would die if she again drove the way she had done at the Mall.  She said she would “think” about giving up driving and that she had not driven since the incident at the Mall.

          I know its very difficult to accept that you should no longer drive but if Mrs Hobbis, who I was told is about 60 ever drives like that again she would surely be putting death on the road in some form or another.

My only visible injury a graze on the back
of my head where it hit the road. It healed
up quite quickly

          Her car was insured by Santam so I put some questions to Fanus Coetzee its Chief Executive Officer, Santam Broker Solutions. After giving him brief details about what happened I included a video of the incident.`

I then asked him if Mrs Hobbis had disclosed to his company that she might drive like this because I was told she suffered from very bad diabetes. I also asked if his company would insure her again and I told him what the opinion of her husband Chris was about her driving future. And what she told me. I added that they live on the mountainside in Simonstown where most of the roads are dangerously steep and this made it even more imperative that she should stop driving.

He replied saying: “Thank you for making me aware of the scenario and the potential misrepresentation of this possible client. But I cannot divulge any of the information to you that you are requesting from me.” He added: “I want to thank you for the information and we will have it investigated and address the matter appropriately.”

He also told me that their clients were expected to disclose any risks that might affect the underwriting “whether at inception of the policy or thereafter.

“If the change is material to the claim against the acceptance of the risk or a claim thereafter, and it was not disclosed, we retain the right to void the cover or reject the claim.”


            Renee it is really imperative that you should no longer drive and that your husband Chris should do everything possible to support you in this difficult time in your life.


P.S. Watch out for some more posts about the narrow escapes I have had in my life. Well I suppose these are what you must expect if you live till 90 or more.






Thursday, June 6, 2024


 Dear Readers,

Here’s is one of the joys of writing contentious posts on my blog.

        Kevin Pearman the get-rich-quick investment promoter who once called me a “supercilious prick” is again asking me to do him a favour. He phoned me and then emailed me saying: “Due to the immeasurable damage to my life and that of my wife and children, I implore you to take down the article (on my blog) you wrote about me on September 9, 2015.”

        “I stress,” he wrote “that I do not deserve to be punished, as my family and I have been over these last nine years due to this article. My only mistake was having Kevin Cholwich as a friend. He was, and still is, a crook and I did not realise it.”

        He claimed that as a result of my post about him headed “Guess who says he’ll pay back the money” his home was raided by 12 members of the accounting firm of Ernst and Young who were acting on behalf of the South African Reserve Bank. They took documents, cell phones and copied hard drives but found nothing wrong with his business dealings. But in spite this he maintains his “punishment remains on-going.” Nowhere does he make it clear what he means by this “punishment.”

        He went on that in contrast raids on the homes of Cholwich and others resulted in him being charged with fraud and other offences including money laundering relating to his FinCapital scam.

        He explained that years ago he severed his relationship with Cholwich when his actions “nearly destroyed the lives of his new-born children, his wife, my children and myself -- - all for his own selfish desires – my wife”, whatever all that means.

          I replied in an email: “Kevin it hasn’t yet dawned on you that you are judged in this life by the company you keep. And in your email to me you say that my blog post that appeared nine years ago has punished you and your family ever since. It has been so bad that you are only now complaining to me about it. You say that your only mistake was having Kevin Cholwich as your best friend and he was, and still is a crook yet you did not realise it. It’s incredible that you did not realise it because the type of scams you say Cholwich did could only work with wide publicity, so nobody will believe that his best friend did not know what he was up to.”

            You go on to say: “Cholwich has been scamming people since 1986 and has done nothing else.” And to make your innocent claim even more ridiculous you say that “after 15 years, following his despicable behaviour,’’he contacted you for a loan of “R10 000.” Then “out of kindness” to this big crook you helped him and forgave him and “re-established our friendship”. Therefore you have absolutely no excuse if some of his dubious reputation has rubbed off on you. Most of my posts by the person you called a “supercilious prick” are there to warn people about big crooks and the people who are in the same camp as they are, so the longer my posts remain where they are the better for everyone, particularly the gullible with money.                                                            

Before the post Pearman now wants taken down I had posted several other stories about his  money making schemes like: Cell C’s strange dealings with man of many promises and Big business turns on little man with ‘brilliant’ concept. They were based on what he told me in emails. And there were others like Hijacked Blue Bulls logo used in Investment Scam and Telkom scuppers another Kevin Pearman get-rich-quick scheme.

          The Cell C one was unsolicited. I knew nothing about it until he told me in emails that ran to numerous pages that included full details of his marketing agreement with Cell C, as well as a photograph of himself to go with the story.

        Cell C promptly cancelled the contract after I asked the then C.E.O Alan Knott-Craig if this had his firm’s blessing – a question anybody might have asked if they had contemplated investing in this marketing scheme which Kevin claimed could easily make investors an extra R800 000 a year.

       At the time Pearman told me in an email that he believed I was responsible for having the contract cancelled, “but I have no hard feelings, if it was,” he added “because I believe that everything happens for the best.”

      He then asked me for the first time to removed two of the posts I had written about him because he had now found two very big ‘corporates’ that were interested in taking his N-Tyre Solutions business under their wings. This was a tyre monitoring invention for trucks that was designed to provide huge savings to transporters. Kevin had been selling shares in this for some time but it had never got off the ground.

          He wanted me to remove the posts because his two potential investors in N-Tyre would not go ahead while these detrimental posts were still there. I did what I have just done now I turned down his request.

          This really set him off. In an email he told me, “I’m amazed at the incongruity between your pompous self-righteous claim to show up the rouges that advertise scams in the papers contrasted with the fact that you feel justified in attempting to destroy the business (N-Tyre Solutions) that I have built up and one in which 450 people will be affected due to your feeble effort to make yourself feel important. Any how, I have at least 98% of shareholders on my side and I have let them know that you are the one blocking our progress.

Pearman using  Blue Bulls
rugby name to promote
one of his dubious schemes
         “What has caused you to become such a supercilious prick – a legend in his own lunchtime? Do you have a small penis? Were you not breast fed? Have you lived your life in the closet? Did the kids tease you at school or all of the above?

          “Look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘What have I actually achieved in this life.’

          “I can look in the mirror and see a face that is honest, has never hurt anyone and who has achieved 3 awards as an inventor contributing to this life. I created the Make Sense (to sell Cell C sim cards) that took off like a rocket and your interference (merely asking the C.E.O. if the scheme had his approval) which destroyed the aspirations of 140 people plus blocked my attempts at raising money for my other project (N-Tyre Solutions). If it were not for people like me mankind would still be rubbing sticks together to make a fire and your mother would have smothered you at birth.Your claims at being a ‘watchdog’ are laughable – no wonder nobody reads your pathetic blog you miserable cretin. 13/9/2013”.

        When I asked him who the two big potential investors in N-Tyre were he refused to name them.

        I could write a book about Pearman’s various dubious schemes all of which he claimed would make his investors rich but surprise, surprise his promises just don’t seem to materialise.

        After the last time he asked me to take down posts about his schemes I suddenly started getting mystery calls on my landline in the early hours of the morning. Well Kevin Pearman if you want to start that childish game once again, be my guest because I still have the same landline number.


Jon, the blogger with a prick that seems to be constantly sticking into Kevin Pearman where it hurts most.                       







Sunday, December 17, 2023


 Dear Readers,

Gareth Ackerman

          Did my well intended good deed turn out to be just the opposite? When I saw Fabi Rameez standing around the only scale in Pick n Pay in the Longbeach Mall in Cape Town I got talking to her. Her primary job it seemed was to weigh and price loose fruit and vegetables for customers. So I was surprised when she told me she had to stand all day. If tellers were able to do the job sitting down I felt it must be very hard for Rameez, who had been with Pick n Pay for 17 years and had been doing this particular job for seven, to have to stand all day, so I set out to get her something to sit on.

          As I got nowhere initially I emailed the Chairman Gareth Ackerman via his PA Vivian Ford, but he did what the heads of major companies usual do when I email them. He passed the buck back down the line and Vivian assured me he had seen my email. The rare, really top notch chief executives, I have contacted, deal with the problem themselves and email me accordingly. Here's the perfect example from a C.E.0. in a million Norbert Sasse.

          The buck was passed to Jarett van Vuuren, Divisional Head of Coastal for Pick n Pay. He replied:  “Our staff working in our fresh areas don’t only stand at the scale, they also assist in making labels, rotating stocks, and filling up the sectors when there are not customers at the scale. All our service areas operate in a very similar manner and hence we don’t give chairs to these areas. From time to time should one of our employees have an injury or a disability we do allow this. I am not aware that the current staff in Longbeach have any injuries and hence we will not be placing a chair in that section.”

          A few weeks later, when I was in that Pick n Pay doing my normal shopping there was no sign of Fabi and I had to hunt around for a shop assistant to weigh my purchase. One of the managers told me that Fabi had been given “voluntary early retirement.” So that is what I got her it seems instead of a chair, but I haven’t been able to contact her to find out just how “voluntary” her departure was.

The deserted scale

           After that when I went shopping there I often had to hunt around the store to find somebody to operate the scale for me. And on one occasion when I could not find anybody I took my purchase with all the other stuff I had bought to a teller and she sent somebody to go and weigh the loose vegetables I had bought.

          The comedy became a real joke a month or so later when I found a baffled lady in front of the deserted scale with two aubergines on it. She hadn’t a clue how to weight them so I told her to take them to a teller. “I’ve just done that,” she replied. “And they told me to go and weight them myself.” I then hunted around the store until I found a shop assistant to help her.

          I couldn’t resist visiting the management’s office where I told the guy who was there what had happened and he just looked at the ceiling and pulled a face as if he was thinking: ‘Oh hell I knew that was going to happen one of these days.’ 

          My biggest gripe about shopping at this Pick n Pay is the way the stock keeps getting moved around and I assume this is the norm at all their stores. For instance if I find a particular type of bread in a particular place this week the chances are it will still be somewhere in the bread section the following week, but I will have to hunt for it all over again because it will be in a different place. This applies to just about everything else in my experience.

            When I asked somebody in the manager’s office what the thinking was behind moving things to different places all the time he looked blankly at me and mumbled something about stock having to be moved around.

          Then it doesn’t help when an entire shelf doesn’t have a single price on it. On another occasion this is the experienced I had when I bought a box of cooked pork ribs. These are pricey items so when I saw the price on the front of the shelf was very reasonable I took a box which didn’t have the price on it. Shortly afterwards the manager of that section pointed out to me that these ribs that I had picked up actually cost a good bit more than the price on the side of the shelf .

       After a visit to the manager’s office and some haggling I eventually got it at the price that was on the side of the shelf.

          For a bit of fun on one occasion I went to the manager’s office and asked if somebody could help me shop. And as I was obviously the doddering 90 year that I am they sent somebody with me. It turned out that he had almost as much trouble finding things as I do.

          It’s far from good service to have a scale that is unmanned a lot of the time with the situation having been made a lot worse since they got rid of Fabi.  Why doesn’t Pick n Pay follow Woolworth’s good example by having loose fruit and vegetables weighted at the tills?



P.S. One of Pick n Pay’s Longbeach managers told me that 16 staff members had left there in recent months because of early retirement or for some other reason. Another manager put the figure at 26.



















Tuesday, December 12, 2023


 Dear Readers,

            As I live in Cape Town and nearly all the surviving members of my family are in Johannesburg I went there for my 90th birthday with Mandy, Sally and their husbands and Belinda flew in from Australia. Sally and Alan put on an excellent lunch at their home for me and the entire clan. And as you don’t turn 90 every day I had to make a speech so here it is.

            ‘Thank you for coming. I nearly didn’t make it to my own birthday celebration because I aged so drastically on the flight from Cape Town. When we landed in Joburg and everybody was waiting to disembark the two airhostesses and the Captain announced to everybody that I had just turned 100. That’s the kind of Lift you get when you fly on an airline with that name.

            ‘The fun didn’t end there. A couple of days later after I moved in here with Sally and Alan I decided to have a bath instead of a shower in one of the two full bathrooms adjoining  my room. Guess what happened next?

            ‘As a brand new centenarian I didn’t realise that I should not bath alone. I got stuck in it. Alan and Sally were out somewhere working, but fortunately Joyce the house manager heard my distress calls and she and her husband pulled me out. Luckily I didn’t lock the door otherwise I might still have been there now.

            ‘Those are the funny things that occur in my life every now and again, but the longer I live it is pockmarked with sadness. This is one of the penalties of old age. I have outlived two ex-wives and a wife, a younger brother and a half brother and two grown up children Simon and Samantha. Samantha was the mother of my grandson in England who I will never see. Currently my youngest brother 82 year old Anthony is teetering on the edge saying things like, “I’ve had a good innings.” We can only hope that he goes as painlessly as possible.

            ‘Thankfully, very much on the plus side I have the Magnificent Trio of Mum’s babies, oops, sorry LADIES, Mandy, Sally and Belinda Boo. Thanks again LADIES to you and your husbands for being such a help to me after Mum died.

The Magnificent Trio
Sally, Belinda & Mandy

          ‘I have been very fortunate to have found Andi my 55 career. She is a real gem and is better known as Handy Andi because she can fix just about anything, the TV, my computer and ME. She was not able to be here today because somebody had to look after the house and our two dogs.

          Please join me in paying tribute to all those who have been such an asset to me and in particular Rosemary Gayle Abbott. If she had not looked after me so well for a few weeks short of 50 years I too would not have been here now. They say dynamite comes in small packages. Well that was our Gaylie, who lived for other people. So can you stand and drink a toast to her and all the other people who have been so much a part of my life.




P.S. Anthony died the day before my birthday but I was only told about this a day later so as not to cloud my special day.

P.P.S. Sally and Alan gave me the T-shirt I am pictured here wearing, but as I told them at the lunch you would have thought they would have learnt by now that it is rude to ask somebody how old they are.



Saturday, September 16, 2023


 Dear Readers,

          Born in England Jim Jones was a mining journalist who edited Business Day from 1989 to 1999 when it was South Africa’s most successful financial daily. It was a sister publication to the Financial Mail magazine.

          Jones subsequently left South Africa to live in France but his newspaper connections enable him to continue working as a journalist for South African publications. This was when his dubious morality really came to the fore while he was freelancing for Business Times, the business section of the Sunday Times, in spite of the fact that he had been fired by Moneyweb, the online financial publication founded and owned by Alec Hog.

          He was Moneyweb’s Mineweb editor until he diverted $20 489 (About R200 000) due to Moneyweb by a Canadian firm into the Mauritius bank account of  P.J. News Service, which just happened to be his own company. He only returned the money after being threatened with a criminal prosecution.

          He then committed the worst of journalist crimes. He used his position as a recognised Business Times freelance writer to get back at Hog with an article that described Moneyweb’s performance as “shambolic” with “tumbling” advertising revenue etc. It could not have been more derogatory.

          “The full might of the Sunday Times was brought to bear on our small company with falsehoods published as fact and not so much as a suggestion that we be asked for a response to some of the outrageous claims,” Alec Hogg the founder of Moneyweb said at the time.

          “My initial response was to ignore the nonsense. Surely people would see through the axe grinding of a former employee who was forced to repay R200 000 that he had stolen from our company.”

          Noseweek South Africa’s only investigative magazine reported what had happened. The Sunday Times in-house ombudsman Thabo Leshilo was asked to adjudicate. I had found him particularly ineffective when dealing with my own complaints that the Sunday Times was promoting scamsters by accepting their obviously suspect get-rich-quick advertisements.

          In Moneyweb’s case he was no better. Noseweek reported he offered Hogg a 30 cm space in the paper to give his side of the story. This was cut to almost half in the editing and the frivolous headline: “Jim Jones a naughty boy indeed,” told its own story of how seriously the paper regarded what was a particularly unforgivable thing for a journalist to have done.

          It was a disgraceful whitewash job, with the Ombudsman showing his bias, like a distress flare in the middle of the night.

          At the time Jones’ stories were all over the Business Times together with his impressive byline. Then he became the willow the wisp of the business section as it got smaller and smaller, disappeared for a time only to reappear now and again at bigger and bigger intervals, but still in its hardly noticeable form as if the paper was hoping nobody would notice he was still a contributor.

          As this incident showed the Sunday Times had morals of an alley cat so its backing of a crooked reporter was to be expected.

          Jones was 81 when he died of a heart attack at his home in France.  His obituary was by freelance Jonathan Katzenellenbogen who was the economics editor of Business Day under Jones, so no wonder he just glossed over Jones’ theft of R200 000 with “Jones worked for Alec Hog but departed after a falling out.”

          He also wrote that although the Business Day circulation peaked under Jones’ Editorship the owners gave him the “push” because, according to Jones’ wife Frances Potter they believed that editors should not serve for more than 10 years. I find that story very difficult to believe. How many newspaper owners get rid of editors when their papers are at their most successful?

          Katzenellenbogen did give us some insight into Jones’ dubious side. The Financial Mail lost a court case over an article he had written and he had previously been fired by this magazine for taking time off to freelance without permission. In spite of this unacceptable record he still got the job as Editor of Business Day.


Here is the link to the first story I wrote about Jim Jones six years ago.




P.S. I never expected to find that the Sunday Times, a paper I once worked for as an investigative journalist, had sunk to the level of some of the crooks I was after.





Friday, June 9, 2023


 Dear Readers,

The Burning Bush of Bible fame has just reappeared in our garden in Cape Town. It is particularly odd that is should materialize in the garden of an infidel like me, but it is a strange world we live in.

The burning bush (or the unburnt bush) refers to an event recorded in the Jewish Torah (as also in the biblical Old Testament). It is described in the third chapter of the Book of Exodus[1] as having occurred on Mount Horeb. According to the biblical account, the bush was on fire, but was not consumed by the flames, hence the name.[2] In the biblical narrative, the burning bush is the location at which Moses was appointed by Yahweh to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into Canaan.