Sunday, November 28, 2021


 Dear Readers,

Joe Phaahla South Africa's
Minister of Health

The Covid world panic has been a paradise for the ‘‘it might happen;’’, “it could make current vaccines ineffective;” “it’s better to be safe than sorry;” scientific scare mongers who have been making a name for themselves by destroying economies and putting millions of people out of work.

None of them have had any regard for the fact that the lock down cure hasn’t worked anywhere as they appear on TVs around the world egging on the panic with more and more stories of new and more deadly waves that “might do this” and “might do that”. This is the new science.

Meanwhile they conveniently ignore the cases and death stats that show that out of a world population of 8-B there have been a mere 261-M Covid cases with just 5-M deaths. That’s in a world where less than half the population has been vaccinated. What are these as a percentage of the number of people? I’m afraid I’m not scientific enough to be able to guess the answer to that.  

But in reality it’s like having a single fly in the sky that the scientists tell us is spreading a deadly disease in the atmosphere and that unless we all take cover we will die.

Britain has just helpfully branded South Africa and other countries in the region the polecats of the universe just in time to completely wreck the Xmas tourist season for our hotel groups and other tourist dependent organisations. Many of them were already on their knees thanks to all this “scientific information” about Covid.

As a “precautionary measure” Britain has overnight banned travel to and from South Africa and other countries in the region because of a new Covid variant that South Africa has been blamed for being the first country to have, even though cases have been popping up in Europe more or less at the same time. And “theoretically it can’t be prevented by any known vaccine.” Other countries around the world are falling over themselves to get in line with the British move. 

Joe Phaahla South Africa’s Minister of Health described the bans as “knee-jerk reactions” which didn’t make any scientific sense.

The bad joke is that the unvaccinated are being told to vaccinate while at the same time the scientists are saying that the current vaccines are unlikely to protect them against the new variant. How can they possibly conclude this when the new variant was only discovered very recently?

Is Covid science a series of guesses based on the scientific discovery that if you make enough of them one is bound to be right? The trouble is that governments around the world have now been so conditioned by the Covid panic that they react to the latest guess in the only way they know how with various versions of lock down.

Has anybody yet heard any of these top scientists telling us on TV about how many people are currently dying from aids, TB and numerous other diseases?  Tuberculosis has been described as a global pandemic that kills more people than malaria and Aids combined, but has there ever been a lock down anywhere because of this?

For those of you who still have a job "guess" what’s going to happen next. You’ll have to ask one of those Covid scientists who are never likely to lose their jobs as long as they can go on scaring the hell out of all of us.


Jon, a Consumer Watchdog who has had both Pfizer jabs after I heard scientists “guess” that I would be protected. Then I saw on Google Pfizer is just as unreliable as any of these “scientific guesses” because it is run by crooks. This multinational US pharmaceutical company has a shocking record of dishonesty on a massive scale. This is how Pfizer’s shameful record since 2002 has been described: “Pfizer has been a ‘habitual offender’, persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians (to prescribe their drugs) and suppressing adverse trial results. The company and is subsidiaries have been assesses $3 billion in criminal convictions, civil penalties and jury awards.” Have you ever heard any of these “reliable” scientists that appear on TV tell us that we should keep clear of the Pfizer vaccine because the company has a terrible record of dishonesty. Of course you haven’t with the result that the Pfizer vaccine has been used to immunise huge numbers of people around the globe against Covid. A lot of members of Congress in the USA are said to own Pfizer shares, which tells its own story.

P.S. My wife and I have belatedly got a very old Covid variant. We are sick to almost death of hearing about Covid in every day and night TV news bulletin and reading about it in the media.



Tuesday, November 23, 2021


 Dear Readers,

Dr Danie van der Walt

          For years doctors in South Africa have supposedly been policed by the Health Professions Council (HPC).  Established in 1974 this statutory body that is meant to set and maintain ethical standards for the medical profession claims to be “Protecting the public and guiding the profession.” In reality it acts more like a doctor protection society than anything else.

          In spite of this the Sunday Times now tells us that the Medical Protection Society and eight other healthcare organisations like the Federation of South African Surgeons are campaigning to have doctors exempted from the culpable homicide law. Jailing doctors for medical mistakes they believe is too severe and they have asked the Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola to review this legislation.

          This move was prompted by the imprisonment in 2017 of 73-year-old gynaecologist Dr Danie van der Walt, and another doctor who is facing a murder charge. Van der Walt became the first doctor to be jailed in South Africa for medical negligence after his patient 23-year-old Pamela Daweti died in 2005 during a complicated birth. The HPC treated the matter with its usual doctor friendly approach and fined the gynae R10 000.

          Her family took the matter further and in the Witbank regional court he was convicted of culpably homicide but only served eight months of a five year prison sentence before being paroled. Subsequently when he took the case to the Constitutional Court the judges there decided that the magistrate had incorrectly convicted him by using her own research which was not able to be tested in court.

          The Sunday Times report is headlined Ease up on negligence laws, doctors urge minister when in fact the Health Professions Council has been taking a soft line with erring doctors for as long as it has existed.  Almost 20 years ago its President at the time Dr Nicky Padayachee undertook to do something about what he described as the “inappropriate light sentences” his council was giving guilty practitioners.

          He was going to see that there was a “radical overhaul” of Council procedures so that it “could do its job as a watchdog for the public”, but nothing much changed because if it had orthopaedic surgeon Dr Wynne Lieberthal would not have been able to go on maiming numerous people over a period of more than two decades. Some of them even died not long after Lieberthal had cut open their backs.

          My book The Butcher of Rosebank now on Amazon reveals the deplorable way the HPC allowed Lieberthal to continue operating in spite of ample evidence that he should have been struck off the medical register very early in his career.

          At the inquiry that the HPC was belatedly forced to convene by the massive media exposure of Lieberthal’s dastardly deeds Advocate Danny Berger, who led the evidence against him had this to say about the back operations Lieberthal did: “There are so many examples where the job is either incomplete or not properly done, involving operating in the wrong place; misplacing screws and having them come loose. From this one gets a picture of a surgeon who is intent of doing as many operations as he can regardless of whether those operations are indicated and without taking the time that is needed to conduct the operations properly. It appears to us that the explanation for all these rushed operations was financial. He instilled fear into his patients to get them to agree to urgent surgery.”

          If that didn’t warrant a lengthy prison sentence I do not know what does. But even after he was found guilty of all the seven charges of unprofessional conduct he was facing and was struck off, it was not long before he was reinstated under dubious circumstance and allowed to repeat his butchery.

          While the policing of Lieberthal is perhaps the worst example of the deplorably lenient way the HPC treats errant doctors there are many other examples happening all the time. The Police usually don’t want to investigate these because they believe this is the job of the HPC which can’t send doctors to prison or order them to pay compensation to patients they maim, or even as happen in one case I came across, when the GP of an elderly woman living on her own ripped off her entire life savings of several hundred thousand rand.

Dr Peter Beale

            The second doctor the Medical Protection Society and the others are worried about is Dr Peter Beale a 73-year-old Johannesburg paediatric surgeon. He has been charged with murdering 10 year old Tayyaan Sayed two years ago when the boy died while having a routine laparoscopic operation for reflux. He is also accused of fraudulently misrepresenting the result of a biopsy.

          He has now gone into hiding after his anaesthetist for the operation Dr Abdulhay Munshi was shot dead in Johannesburg last year. The Police appear to have made no headway in establishing who the killer was and the boy’s father Mohammadh Sayed has denied any involvement.

          “At the age of 65 or 70 doctors should have their licences revoked because with age comes certain limitations,” he was quoted as saying. I was told by a professor at the Wits Medical School that doctors in the public service have to retire at 65 but the HPC appears to have set no age limit for those in private practice. The potential for life threatening “mistakes” are limitless if doddering old surgeons are allowed to do all kinds of complicated operations.

          When you have such a weak kneed organisation like the Health Professions Council it is not surprising that some people might loose faith in the ability of the authorities to take appropriate action against a doctor when a death occurs during one of his operations and mete out their own brand of justice.

          It would be a very backward step if the Minister of Justice was to exclude doctors from being charged with culpable homicide when one of their patients dies while being treated.  All unnatural deaths should be dealt with by a criminal court and the Minister should alter the make up of the HPC because when you have doctors judging doctors justice is bound to suffer. 


Jon, a Consumer watchdog with a particular interest in medical malpractice.





Monday, October 18, 2021

Sunday Times reveals the BIGGEST MAMPARA OF THEM ALL

 Dear Readers,

Sunday Times Editor
          The Hogarth column in the Johannesburg based Sunday Times has made a name for itself by embarrassing the rich and famous with its MAMPARA OF THE WEEK selections. And if you happen to be singled out for this dubious honour it’s not something you can easily keep secret when it appears in this weekly paper with a readership of nearly 4-million.

          Finding somebody to brand as a fool of this calibre on a weekly basis is a dangerous game. It requires top notch reporting and editing if the paper’s reputation is to be maintained otherwise it’s like playing with a gun, it can so easily backfire.

          It was hardly surprising then that when Oscar Mabunyane the Eastern Cape Premier appeared in Hogarth this week as the Mampara there was not so much as a word about the other far bigger Fool in the column that ran down the entire side of  page 23. We couldn’t have that could we? That would have been far too embarrassing.

          However on page 25 the MAMPARA OF ALL MAPARAS was named under the tame headline Hogarth was wrong: it’s OK to drink the water.  The backfire I mentioned earlier had happen. In a 15 paragraph backtrack that was almost as long as the entire Hogarth column we were told that the KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala had been incorrectly called a Mampara. He had been ridiculed for tasting the water to show it was safe to drink while handing over boreholes as part of a multi-billion rand water scheme.


Sihle Zikalala Premier of KwaZulu-

           The paper evidently felt it could not risk suffering another Fool on its staff to produce an impartial apology to the Premier so it accepted Lennox Mabaso’s version. He is head of communications in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government.

          And he sure gave it to the Biggest Fool of them all.

          “The Premier was demonstrating that the boreholes are about free, safe, drinking and cooking quality water,” he wrote. “In Hogarth’s world, this water would be for the poverty-stricken Gin Lane as well as the affluent Beer Street.

          “Water is life. The Premier drank the water to celebrate freedom for rural communities, but Hogarth clearly was parading his drunken stupor as he penned his hogwash."

          He went on to say that the next time Hogarth sobers up he should remember that “Operating from the context of a single story line prevents us getting a more truthful view of a situation.”

          Who has just earned the title of the Biggest Fool of them all? It must surely be S’Thambiso Msomi the editor of that esteemed publication that has just shown it doesn’t know a Mampara if it sees one. Msomi was the same Mampara who published his personal email address in his weekly column and then didn’t answer the email I sent him.

          This week’s Mampara in the actual Hogarth column was…… well I’m not sure if I should tell you. I can’t be certain if the Sunday Times got it right and I don’t want to have to be forced by a lawyer to get Lennox Mabaso’s equivalent in the Eastern Cape to compile an apology for my blog.

          Anyway here goes. It tells us that the Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane was awarded the title for the little matter of helping himself to funds meant for the memorial service of Winnie Madikizela Mandela and that he used R450 000 to renovate his home. He claimed this was actually a loan he got from the ANC provincial treasurer Babalo Madikizela.


Jon, the Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman.

P.S. One thing the Editor has definitely established and that is that the sub heading It takes one to know one that appeared with the Premier of the Eastern Cape’s elevation to Mamparadom does not apply to him.

P.S.S. The paper’s lack of impartially was shown by the fact the latest Hogarth did not contain anything to refer the reader to that huge Mampara apology a couple of pages further on.


Thursday, September 23, 2021


Dear Readers,

Hein Bruyns

          For months I was using Aramex Couriers to send my books around the country at the prominently advertised price of R99.99 in leaflets in Pick n Pay where this courier service has drop boxes.  This price included the paper Waybill that had to be completed with the details of the sender and those of the recipient.

Suddenly without warning I was told I would have to pay an additional R20 if I wanted the Waybill. The alternative was to load my information digitally at no extra cost. But for those who have no internet access it makes the catchy price of R99.99 completely untrue and nowhere in the adverting leaflets that I found in the drop box at Pick n Pay was this R20 mentioned.

Then there is the difficulty that Aramex has in arriving at exactly how many drop boxes it has in Pick n Pay stores.  One leaflet claimed they were in “over 1000 stores nationwide” while in another one the figure had dropped by a staggering 40% to “over 600 stores nationwide.”

I asked Hein Bruyns Aramex’s Communications and Customer Experience Executive why the number of  Pick n Pay stores they were supposed to be in varied so much in their advertising leaflets and why the additional R20 for a paper Waybill was not mentioned?

He denied that they had a problem telling the truth in their advertising and assured me that the “issue regarding the leaflets had been addressed with Pick n Pay’s head office and we have been assured this would be sorted out this week,” whatever that means.

“How many Pick n Pay stores exactly does Aramex have its drop boxes in”? I asked. “Surely that’s a simple enough question to answer.”

“Our current Store-to Door network consists of the following: Pick n Pay 681; Shoprite 484; Fresh Stop 200 and Other 19.”

Having Aramex in 681 Pick n Pay stores is a far crying from making “over 1000 stores” the truth.

I would have thought that Pick n Pay would have checked the accuracy of advertising that appears in its stores so that its customers don't get given the wrong information.

Pick n Pay’s National Consumer Services Manager Mary-Anne Hattingh introduced a comical side to this story when she told me that Aramex was only in “approximately 130” Pick n Pay stores.  If the group itself could not get the number right what hope had Aramex?

However when I gave her the figure of 681 that Bruyns had given me she replied: “My apologies it is 681 stores, this is my mistake.”

She explained that what Aramex was doing was the first step in going digital. “The sleeve still costs R99 and we are encouraging customers to go the digital route.” Hardly “encouraging” them more like pricing them into doing it. “I am looking into the updated communication that explains the process plus the additional R20 should a customer not wish to go the digital route. I will get back to you on that.”

This she never did.


Jon, a Consumer Watchdog who believes there are too many half truths and some very suspect claims in advertising.



Wednesday, September 22, 2021


Dear Readers,

My book The Butcher of Rosebank that is now on Amazon has been described by a prominent lawyer as a "compelling read" and an opthalmologist believes that all doctors, especially surgeons should read it.



From: Ronnie Napier, a former Senior Partner, now a Consultant at Webber Wentzel Bowens the leading full service law firm on the African continent with over 150 years of experience.

I finished your book last night and found it compelling reading and the case that you make against, not only Wynne Lieberthal and the Health Professions Council, is unassailable.  I had no knowledge about the earlier shenanigans that Wynne Lieberthal and his gang had been up to with the "dread disease policies" so that was a complete revelation to me and really indicates that at heart he was nothing but a crook.  Astonishing that that whole story was not pursued by the insurance industry as he would have been exposed at a very early stage if that had been the case.  Well done for the book which indicates a great deal of very thorough research by you and as I have said it really is a compelling read. 

 To: 'Jon Abbott'

Subject: RE: Butcher of Rosebank

Thank you for writing it! I think all doctors (especially surgeons) should read it. Thanks and regards

Clive Novis, Ophthalmologist, South Africa.





Wednesday, August 25, 2021


 Dear Readers,

Pfizer Chairman and 
CEO Albert Bourla

          Have you had your Covid Pfizer jab yet? Well I have but nobody told me what a shocking record this multinational US pharmaceutical company has for dishonesty on a massive scale.   

            This is how Pfizer’s shameful behaviour since 2002 is described: “Pfizer has been a ‘habitual offender,’ persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians (to prescribe their products) and suppressing adverse trial results. The company and its subsidiaries have been assessed $3 billion in criminal convictions, civil penalties and jury awards.”

          In 2009 its crimes had its subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn pleading guilty to violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) for misbranding the anti-inflammatory drug Bextra with the intent to defraud. It promoted this for several uses that had not been approved by the FDCA for safety reasons and eventually took it off the market in 2005.

          For this Pharmacia and Upjohn had to pay $1.195 billion, which was the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the US for any case.

          In addition Pfizer agreed to pay another billion dollars to settle allegations under the civil False Claims Act that it illegally promoted four drugs - Bextra, an anti-inflammatory; Geodon, an anti-psychotic; Zyvox, an antibiotic and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug – to cause false claims to be made to government health care programmes when there use was not recommended and therefore not covered by the programmes.

          The civil side of the settlement involved Pfizer paying kickbacks to health care providers to prescribe these and other drugs and it set another record. It was the largest civil fraud settlement ever against a pharmaceutical company.

          Pfizer is evidently a very slow learner, either that or it makes so much money from its crooked business that these huge fines are no deterent. In 2004 it was stung for $430-million for promoting drugs not yet approved by the regulatory authority. 

          In spite of Pfizer deplorable history its Covid vaccine was approval by the US’s Food and Drug Administration for emergency use last December. Since then there has been a lot of confusion as to whether or not it has become the first product of its kind to get the full approval of this regulatory agency.

This tells a story on its own. Does he know something we shouldn't know?

          Johnson and Johnson another Covid vaccine maker is also right up there in the crooked American Big Pharma league. People around the world are also being jabbed with their vaccine.

          In 2013 it was stung by the authorities for a mere $2.2 billion for promoting drugs not yet approved and paying kickbacks to doctors.

          Its morality is such that it knew for years that its famous baby powder was contaminated with asbestos, but did nothing about it because the alternative was more expensive. The result: The Supreme Court in America has told J & J to pay heavily for its greed. It rejected the company’s appeal against an award of $2.1 billion in damages because its powder products caused women ovarian cancer. Thousands were affected.

          In spite of this the 1945 store Pick n Pay supermarket group is one company in South Africa that has not taken this J & J brand of baby powder off its shelves.

          Then there is the British-Swedish multinational AstraZeneca that is also on the dirty deeds list - twice. In 2003 it was fined $355 million for Medicare fraud and in 2010 its dishonesty was in the spotlight again when it had to pay $520 million for giving kickbacks to doctors and promoting drugs not yet approved by the necessary authority. 

          It's difficult to under stand why Oxford University was prepared to tarnish its own name by getting into bed with these crooks to produce the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. 


Jon, a Consumer Watchdog with an eye very much on BIG BUSINESS.

P.S. These huge fines do nothing to change the morality of multi-national drug companies operating in America that are corrupting the whole medical system, not only in the USA but around the world. Paying kickbacks to doctors to use a company’s drugs not only leads to unnecessary treatment but can endanger lives. That’s just one aspect of this deplorable behaviour. Dishonesty certainly pays it seems if Wikipedia’s list of US fines for Big Pharma’s dirty deeds are anything to go by. It goes from 2001 to 2013 and ranks them by the amounts they had to pay. It’s not clear whether they changed their ways after 2013, but I doubt it especially as several companies showed no sign of reforming by appearing twice years apart.

Britain’s GlaxoSmithKleine had the dubious distinction of topping the list for its $3 billion fine, or ‘settlement’ as the Yanks tactfully like to call them, in 2012. It’s crimes were things like ‘failing to disclose safety data’ and paying ‘kickbacks’ to doctors to get them to use its medication. Nothing really dishonest you understand. It was listed earlier at No 8 for having to pay $750 million for ‘poor manufacturing practices’. Is this really important when you are making something to heal people? I don’t want to leave a bad taste in your mouth but you might know of GMK as the makers of Aquafresh toothpaste.

Not to be outdone there was Pfizer at No 2 and No 17 with Johnson and Johnson a close third. Then there were Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Schering-Plough all listed for Medicare fraud and in some cases giving kickbacks as well.

When are the Yanks going to wake up and start sending the heads of these crooked firms to jail as fines don't change the behavior of many of them at all?

So if you are getting any kind of treatment that involves medication made by any of these companies (you can Google the full list) on this list of shame my medical advice to you is to ask your doctor for an alternative. How can anybody possibly rely on crooks to keep them alive?





Monday, August 2, 2021


Dear Readers,

Pieter Boone
Pick n Pay's new CEO

          In spite of the appalling history of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) baby powder Pick n Pay the South African 1945 store grocery chain has no intention of discontinuing to stock this giant US pharmaceutical company’s product.

          “We assure you that the talcum powder has been approved by the relevant authorities in South Africa,” Mary-Anne Hattingh Pick n Pay’s National Customer Service Manager told me. I wonder what sort of endorsement that is.

          For something like 50 years J&J was endangering  the lives of it’s customers by selling talc, including baby powder of all things that contained asbestos that has been shown to cause women ovarian cancer.

          As far back as 1973 the firm rejected the advice of its own scientists to replace the asbestos containing talc it was using with cornstarch. Like most big companies profit came before saving people’s lives as the talc was cheaper than the alternative.

          Now the Supreme Court in America has told J&J to pay heavily for its greed. It rejected the company’s appeal against an award of $2.1 billion in damages because its powder products caused women ovarian cancer.

          Ken Starr, a former prosecutor representing the women with cancer, urged the justices not to review the case saying that the firm had known “for decades that its talc powders contained asbestos, a highly carcinogenic substance with no known safe exposure level.”

          After I tried to contact Pick n Pay’s new CEO Pieter Boone I got Mary-Anne Hattingh instead and then quite unsolicited I received an email from somebody named only as Joy from J&J’s Consumer Services. This is what she told me:

          “We empathize with anyone suffering from cancer and understand that people are looking for answers. We believe these can be better understood through science – and decades of independent scientific studies by medical experts around the world shows that our talc is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer.

          “We understand that lawsuits in the United States and media headlines have caused confusion about our products and we are committed to ensuring the facts are understood. The science supporting the safety of our product is central to why our Company continued to defend itself in court.”

           She admitted that J&J had discontinued the sale of its talc-based baby powder in the US and Canada, but claimed this had nothing to do with its safety. “It was rather to address declining demand in North America due in large part to changes in consumer habits fuelled by misinformation around the safety of the product through a constant barrage of litigation advertising”, she went on. Presumably this was to trace the people who claimed to have got cancer. She added that they do not offer a cornstarch-based product in South Africa, but its talc based baby powder is available and continues to be sold in other markets around the world.

          In a follow-up email she described the headlines I had been reading as “concerning” and again emphasised that their powder was “safe”.

          I replied: “This is very strange. How did various women manage to get a compensation judgement for billions against J&J because they claimed to have got ovarian cancer from its powder and when this went to appeal it was dismissed? That’s what I read on Google. If this is total fiction it must be one of the biggest fabricated stories of the century. What you keep telling me to read appears to be all about what J&J is claiming for its powder, not an independent assessment. And for you to describe the headlines I have been reading as ‘concerning’ must be the understatement of the decade considering you represent J&J. What really stands out is that at no stage have you told me that there is absolutely no truth in the ‘concerning headlines’ that I have been reading.”

          J&J’s already tarnished reputation over the cancer claims took another serious knock when it was among the drug companies that a group of US attorneys general obtained a $26bn settlement with for fuelling the deadly nationwide opioid epidemic. They were accused of lax controls that allowed a massive amount of addictive painkiller to be diverted into illegal channels, thus devastating communities. J&J was said to have down played the addiction risk in its marketing.

          All the companies denied the allegations. Attorneys general from 15 states were involved in negotiating the deals and the money will be used for addiction treatment, family support and efforts to eradicate the scourge of drug addiction.

          The bulk of the money will be paid by the three largest US distributors over 18 years with J&J paying $5-bn over nine years $3.7-bn of which has to be settled in the first three.

          “There’s not enough money in the world frankly to address the pain and suffering caused,” said the Connecticut attorney general William Tong.

With its history of serious unethical behaviour how can J&J be trusted to provide safe Covid vaccines to South Africa and the world? Will it be cutting corners to save money once again or will it have learnt its lesson.

Unfortunately we will only find out the answer after millions of people will have received the J&J one dose jab.

          Barron’s the American financial magazine listed J&J among its World’s Most Admired Companies and Fortune Magazine has included it in its list of World’s Most Respected Companies. I wonder where it will come now after these scandals.

          Alex Gorsky J&J’s Chairman and CEO was named one of the 100 most Inspired Leaders by Pharma Voice. He joined J&J, this 131 year old firm in 1988 and has headed it since 2012 so he deserves a great deal of the blame for what happened under his nose to a baby powder that has been in shops around the world. And the same goes for his firm’s dubious painkiller marketing.


Jon, a Consumer Watchdog who is always sniffing out funny business that needs exposing.

P.S. It’s absolutely deplorable the way huge companies that are often leaders in their field think about nothing else other than making a profit, even if it means devastating the lives of their customers. As this case proved BIG BUSINESS, far too often, doesn’t have the morals of an alley cat.

P.P.S. A few weeks ago, before I became aware of the background, I tried to buy some J&J baby powder in Pick n Pay and I was told there was no stock. I was mystified as to why they would not have such a well known brand. But as it turned out there was no question of Pick n Pay no longer stocking it because when I was there a couple of days ago the shelves were full of it.




Monday, July 19, 2021


 Dear Sports Fanatics (that excludes my wife of course),

Alan Witherden

          Here’s what competitors and even judges have to go through to pass the Tokyo test for an Olympics that is like no other, as given to me by South Africa’s permanent Games canoe judge Alan Witherden.

          He hasn’t exactly been doing this at every Olympics but he would have been if he had been born earlier. He adjudicated this sport at Athens, not at the first modern games in 1896, but in 2004; at Beijing (2008); Rio (2016) and now at Tokyo if this one takes place. Alan surely deserves a long service medal.

          Although he has been a judge since 1997 until now at every annual Canoeing World Sprint Championship that is held (not in Olympic years) in various countries around the world, mainly in Europe, he was not considered for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Lack of experience ruled him out. How ridiculous can you get?

          He also didn’t do it at the London Olympics in 2012 because he was managing Brigitte Hartley, the winner of the bronze medal for South Africa.

Alan looking his usual smart self at the Beijing Olympics

         As an international business consultant I don’t know how 72 year old Alan has found time to do any proper work because his life has certainly been international alright, but it’s been one canoeing holiday after another. Here’s a run down of his paddling life. I’m sure a lot of you would have loved to have been in the same boat.

  • Founder and Honorary Life member, Dabulamanzi Canoe Club, Emmarentia Dam, Johannesburg.   
  • Secretary, Transvaal Canoe Union. 
  • Chairman, Peninsula Canoe Club, Sandvlei, Muizenberg, Cape Town.
  • Secretary, Western Province Canoe Union.·     
  • Chairman, Transvaal Canoe Union.·     
  • Executive Member, Canoeing South Africa.·      
  • Canoe Representative, South African Sports and Olympic Committee.·    
  • Chairman, Canoe South Africa Sprint Committee (the Olympic discipline).·      
  • Manager, CSA Sprint Canoeing Teams to Spain, Italy, Hungary.
  • Honorary Life Member, Gauteng Canoe Union.
  • Honorary Life Member, Canoeing South Africa.
Brigitte Hartley

       This is what Alan sent me about what is expected of him at this very, very unusual Games:

“The reason being advanced for opposition to the games is the threat posed by the Covid 19 epidemic that will spread the infection exponentially due the influx of thousands of athletes, support staff, officials, TV crews, journalists and many others from all over the world.  Is this a valid concern?  Is there a risk? The answer is a definite NO!  The reason is that in true Japanese style, the measures to prevent infected incomers from entering Japan are detailed and surely bullet-proof.  The publication of a 69 page Olympic Playbook that describes the requirements to be met before entering Japan and conduct once part of the Olympic process in Japan is evidence of the concern to conduct a Covid-free Games.  The measures include:

·      All entrants to Japan must be fully vaccinated. Fourteen days before departure, one has to enter a daily health report (temperature, fever etc) onto a Tokyo Olympic Committee – arranged mobile ‘phone App. 96 hrs and 72 hrs before departure, two negative Covid tests by a TOC approved testing centre.

·      Covid Test upon arrival at the airport in Japan. If positive, ushered into isolation. Note: The SA Sevens team was sent into 10-day isolation on Wednesday 14 July because a passenger on their incoming flight tested positive.

·      Proof of a contact-tracing App on one’s smart phone upon arrival. Should one test positive or come into contact with an affected person during the games, immediate isolation will result. Proof of the health-status App with a preceding 14-day report is required on one’s phone. There will also be a daily Covid test.

·      While at the Games mask wearing, social distancing etc are required. Note: My co-officials and I will each have our own hotel room during our stay where we will live when not on duty. Meals will be delivered to us there and no socializing will be allowed. If we want anything else we have to ask the hotel staff and they will bring it to us in our room."

Alan with his Catamaran driver Hiryoypki Izumi at the Games Preparation
Competition Tokyo, Sept. 2019 

For once Alan will not be having his usual holiday being confined to his room when not on the water. Sight seeing will be out, but as canoeing has already taken him to most parts of the world it shouldn’t be much of a hardship. Many athletes and their support staff have already arrived in Tokyo and he will be flying out on Friday 30 July.

Regards, Jon

P.S. Apart from canoeing Alan’s other claim to fame is that he is married to our daughter Sally and we always thought he had a steady job.

   P.P.S. Here’s hoping that Alan and all the athletes and officials will have a Covid free Olympics so that we can all see the usual spectacular performances on television siting at home in isolation so we don't interrupt anything.