Saturday, October 15, 2022


Dear Ivan Saltzman, CEO and founder of Dis-Chem pharmaceuticals,

What’s brought on your sudden urge to do the right thing which you have outlined in this appalling letter of yours to your ‘Senior Management’?

You never worried about whether or not you were doing the right thing when the Covid 19 pandemic was killing people. All you saw was a huge opportunity to make money and more money by increasing the price of the  masks you were selling, not once, not twice but three times, while this deadly disease raged on.

This rightly backfired but not before you and Dis-Chem had earned a reputation for being super scrooges that cared nothing for the welfare of people as long as it could go on taking their money, money and more money.  

I assume you are once again only thinking about making more and more money, but like the greedy approach you took to Covid 19 when you didn't care if people, who could not afford a mask might die, this anti-White stance of yours could have an even more devastating affect on your business.

Our Black African National Congress (ANC) Government introduced Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, as it’s version of reverse apartheid, to address the inequities Blacks suffered under the previous White Nationalist Party Government. That was in 2003, so why have you now decided that Dis-Chem must suddenly comply with a 19 year old regulation. Have you been breaking the law ever since then?

You have effectively antagonised all your white customers and would-be customers with this letter. Presumably you don’t build a business to become South Africa’s second largest pharmaceutical chain with 165 stores that’s revenue take in 2019 reached a whopping R21.4 - billion without a high percentage of this being White money. So as this letter of yours is all over social media and has clearly gone viral your anti-white stance could be even more disastrous for your firm’s reputation than ripping off people with pricey life saving masks?

Your controversial letter is a bit confusing. In paragraph 1.1 you say that a brake must be put on the appointment of Whites and this includes ‘external appointment and internal promotions.’ Whites clearly have nothing much to look forward to. Then in 1.2 you stipulate that ‘no appointments are to be made on managerial level’ without your approval as CEO. Presumably this is to prevent any Whites from slipping through the promotion net by mistake.


  Sorry I must repeat this for the benefit of my readers even though it is something you obviously know. In July 2020 the Competition Tribunal nailed your company for the excessive price it charged for surgical masks and fined it R1.2 million. The first of your three increases took place on the same day as South Africa’s first Covid case was revealed. So you weren’t half rushing to show your true colours by dubiously taking advantage of this national crisis.

In the last paragraph of your letter you say that ‘with Dis-Chem being a JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) listed company, these are harsh measures and necessary if we are to remain profitable and to avoid a potential fine of 10% of turnover, which would cripple the business. This is a real threat at this stage.’

My understanding is that your letter was to belatedly fix the racial make up of Dis-Chem to comply with the law. If this is the case and your firm was quoted on the JSE in November 2016, about six years ago, why hasn’t your firm been fined? Is this due to the inefficiency of the Government or the Stock Exchange?

           If you don’t mind me pointing out the obvious you can’t make apartheid that discriminated against Blacks right with a wrong that does the same thing against Whites, and that’s exactly what you and the African National Congress Government are trying to do.


Jon, one of those second class Whites, who is glad he is now too old to be downgraded from a management position to sweeping the floors at some company or other.

P.S. I see that Dis-Chem was founded by you and your wife Lynette, who is the Managing Director and as such did she have any say in the compilation of this controversial letter of yours?

*Note: Before writing this I emailed Ivan and asked him if his letter that was on Twitter was genuine. He did not reply but I got a read report so I realised there was no point in asking him if he wanted to vet this story of mine before I posted it.

P.P.S. This letter of Ivan's to his senior management caused such a stir when it escape into the public domain of social media that the Dis-Chem Board, not Ivan this time, issued a statement saying they "regretted the tone" of Ivan's letter that was "erroneously widely shared." But they still made it clear that they will continue to make "great strides" in their efforts to transform the business to comply with all the legislation. So while this initially gave the impression the company was back tracking it is in fact going to continuing doing what was the basis for what caused the huge public backlash to Ivan's letter. 

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