Friday, March 31, 2023


 Dear Readers,

DearJon the bogeyman

         I live in the estate of Imhoff's Gift in Cape Town and I take our maid home regularly to the coloured township of Ocean View where there are a lot of traffic calming humps in the roads. But the lines on these that are designed to make them visible have not been painted for years making them impossible to see in the shade of a tree. Stop signs were also invisible in the shade.         

       After I just about hit the roof of my car while going over one of them I decided to follow the example of the section of our society that really gets things done. A ‘boer maak a plan’ was the only answer, so I sent the following email to the Mayor of Cape Town on Monday 30th of January.


The email conversation I had with the Council then went like this:

3.2. 2023 Thank you for your email received via the City of Cape Town.  Your reference number is 7200390252. Kindly advise the street name of where the repainting of speed humps are required. Once received, we will escalate same to the relevant department for action.  Garrin Bartus, Communications Officer.

6.2.2023 Dear Garrin Bartus, As it’s obvious that no line painting has started yet is it okay for me to start doing it on this coming Monday???? Regards, Jon Abbott

2.3.2023 Thank you for your email received. We have escalated a follow up to the Fish Hoek Depot. Once we receive feedback, we will forward same to you. Alternatively you may contact the Fish Hoek depot on 021 444 2452 - quote 400855871. Regards, Garrin Bartus.

1.3.2023 You keep giving meaningless replies, so as I said is it okay for me to go ahead painting the road humps in Ocean View this coming Monday. Please answer this question? Regards, Jon Abbott

2.3.2023 Below is an update from the depot -  

We are currently doing Pokela Rd Masi as they are in a poor state still, We have assessed Gemini and it is bad too. As soon as we are done in Pokela Rd, we will attend to Gemini as it is a main arterial. We will then return to Masi to finish the other bad areas that were previously logged. I have asked the district if they could assist in Ocean View with the help of a contractor. Regards, Garrin Bartus

         I had already bought a tin of road marking paint, which is certainly not cheap when I got the email above, but I was able to return the paint and get my money back.

Before and after my complaint

Almost to my Monday D Day the council painted the signs I had referred to in Gemini street as well as some others. It’s a start, but there is still a great deal more to be done in that township.

How many municipal workers does it take to paint
a few white letters  

Jon, a Consumer Watchdog who get's things done even if he has to snarl occasionally.

Sunday, March 26, 2023


 Dear Readers,

Their canines are said to be
bigger than a Lion's

Cape Town takes the Booby Prize for the way it has been dealing with the Baboon problem in what is South Africa’s premier tourist Mecca.

Would you buy a property for millions that has a beautiful sea view but where you can’t  leave a single door or window open in the height of summer without the danger of baboons coming in and emptying your fridge and deep freeze and generally trashing and defecating all over your home?

Would you buy a home where you can’t plant what you want in your own garden particularly fruit and vegetables because they act like a magnet for troops of baboons that have amazing memories for where food can be had? The result: repeated raids to the same property.

Would you buy a house where all your pets like dogs, cats etc have to be kept indoors at all times in case they are torn apart by a marauding baboon?

When you have the world to choose from for your holiday would you rent an expensive house for you and your family in a very scenic location that has the scary possibility that it will be overrun by a troop of baboons because the City of Cape Town is putting the welfare of baboons before people?

In the rest of this post my comments will be in red.

A couple of weeks ago The Sunday Times carried an article headed “Baboons discover foodie haven in Constantia” a very upmarket part of the City. The story began about how guests at the luxury Ihhaya Safari Lodge found three baboons in their room rummaging through their suitcase after a long overseas flight. They even squeezed out the toothpaste so you can imagine the mess. Down the road Paul Baise found that it was impossible to prevent them from pulling out the thatch on his roof.

The worst scenario of all is that in some areas of Cape Town you have to be particularly careful with your baby. The way things are going there is every possibility that a baboon might disappear into the mountains carrying somebody’s crying child. Baboons are like us they are certainly not just vegetarians and are partial to flesh now and again.

These are the animals you can have in 
your house in Cape Town thanks to
the City Council's slack baboon management

Our estate near Kommetjie, which is not far from the centre of Cape Town, has been over run recently with baboons that have evidently been breeding like rabbits because a high percentage of them are babies. The males with the troop can be seen bonking the females all over the place. If you are worried about your young children being corrupted by this don’t come to Cape Town.

About 10 years ago baboons from mountainous areas rampaged through residential parts of  Cape Town, threatening people, damaging houses, badly injuring pets like dogs and destroying anything edible in people’s gardens.

People were prisoners in their own homes until the monitors, employed to keep them out of the urban areas were armed with paintball guns – not to shoot them, but just to scare them away. This worked very effectively and where I live the situation went from having baboons all over our houses and gardens on a regular basis to virtually none at all.

          Then goody goods at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, who appear to have great difficulty defining exactly what cruelty is, decided that these paintball guns that they originally sanctioned were actually cruel.  Without paintball guns to scare the baboons away the work of the monitors, who are employed by a private company contracted to the City Council, was made totally ineffective. These primates would just give them the two fingers and carry on raiding homes and gardens just as they used to do.

          Two years ago when I last wrote a post about this Belinda Abraham, the Communications Manager of the Cape of Good Hope SPSA “clarified” the position by saying that the SPCA has not “banned or prohibited the use of paintball guns” but had merely withdrawn their endorsement of their use. 

          To show how mixed up the SPCA is about the use of these guns she added: “A method that was reviewed and supported previously may no longer be relevant, appropriate or humane now. The SPCA will not support methods that are considered inhumane and cruel or that have insufficient supporting information.”

          The Council then stopped their monitors using them, only to let them go back to the paintball method when the baboon menace became impossible to control any other way.

          Earlier this month I sent the following email to Cape Town’s Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis:

“The baboon situation in our estate of Imhoff’s Gift near Kommetjie is once again getting completely out of hand with whole troops all over the place. If you have a small dog, as I do, you have to leave it in the house when you go out in case it gets taken out by a baboon. Apart from the fact that if you grow anything like vegetables or fruit the baboons will trash them. For some years the problem was kept to a reasonable level but it now appears to have got out of hand once again. Are there far less monitors now?

Something drastic needs to be done urgently. We can’t be expected to be prisoners in our own homes. DO BABOONS PAY RATES?”

          This is the reply I got was from Julia Wood, a manager in the Council’s Environmental Management Department. “I agree with you that the current tender is less effective than previously. So it’s not surprising that the baboon menace it getting back to what to it was This is due to the tools utilised to keep baboons out of the urban area such as paintball-markers and bear bangers being less effective over time due to the presence of raiding males (previously habitual raiding males were euthanatized), No wonder there are now babies all over the place with males making more by humping females for all to see. By letting things slide the Council is just making a bigger and bigger problem for the future reduced ratio of rangers to baboons (most baboon troops have grown), How stupid is that for the Council to reduce the number of rangers when it knows the baboon numbers have increased habituation to use of aversive methods, and reduction in use of these aversion tools due to welfare concerns.” of the baboons not us humans who pay the rates that keep the Council in existence.

She finished her email by tell me that effectively keeping baboons out of our homes was not the Council’s problem IT WAS OURS.

“A final note is that private house security is up to the individual resident / landowner.  Our service provider, NCC (071 5886540) can assist to advise you on this. The installation of a strategic baboon fence is really the only long term solution and I encourage you to work with your community to assist us with solutions.” The estate I am in is surrounded by a fence which is electrified at the top and I have seen a big male baboon walk up to it and casually climb over it without any sign of being shocked. So what kind of expense would individual home owners have to go to ensure that a fence around their property is completely baboon proof?

          The Sunday Times told us that the Constantia baboon troop dubbed CT2 had made a tactical blunder because they are scheduled to be removed under a draft management plan that was tabled at a public meeting in the area. In her email to me Julia Wood did not mention that there was any possibility of us residents in Imhoff’s Gift being given the same kind of protection. How odd is that. Is it only for the rich?


          Jon, a Consumer Watchdog who believes baboons should either be in the zoo or well up in the mountains and nowhere near where people live. Those baboon huggers who say the baboons were here first should just remember that the original indigenous people of the Cape were the Khoi. So are they all Khoi or too coy to admit it?




Monday, March 20, 2023


 Dear Readers,

                                  The Narcissist

I picked up a bird in a car park the other day and she had more than a broken wing. She was pushing a trolley as full as it could be. She was wandering around as if she was looking for her car. I asked what her problem was and fighting back tears she told me that her husband, who had their only car, had left her behind. So I offered to take her home which turned out to be about 15 ks away.

On the way she told me about life with her very ‘narcissistic’ (her word) husband. She was the bread winner while her husband was unemployed. They had evidently had a row over something or other and he drove off in their only car. They were living in the house that belonged to her mother who is dead now but she doesn’t have the money to transfer it into her name.

When I asked her if her husband knocked her around she said: “Not any more because I got an order against him.” They have several children. Some support their mother while others have sided with the father.

Asked why she didn’t leave her husband she said it was because he had threatened to harm members of her family.

Some men are real bastards.

                                       Terrible Parenting

         While walking my dog recently along a road next to a vlei that borders the estate where I live I picked up another bird who was also in tears. This one was aged about 12 or 14 and she was carrying a small dog. She also had another one which was a little bit bigger that was walking ahead of her. Neither dog had a collar on and she didn’t have any leads.

My dog. The girl's dog that was running ahead was
a little bit bigger than mine

          When she approached what she told me was her house, which was one of the impressively large ones bordering the water front, the dog ahead of her just kept on going. It wasn’t exactly running away but it would not come back to her. So I told her to walk with me to my house a few streets away in the hope that I would be able to get all the dogs to go into our front gate so that I could then pick her’s up and take her and her dogs home.

         This worked out perfectly. But when I got to the house I had another eye opener. There was not a bell on the main gate so she told me that the small side one was not locked. I went in there and managed to rouse her father. He was evidently having a braai with friends at the front of the house.

         I told him he should not have allowed his daughter to go walking with two dogs neither of which had collars or leads. He mumbled something about them having leads.

         Then he took the ‘Terrible Parenting’ prize with this remark, “We were wondering what had happened to her.”

         Bird watching is one thing but when you start picking them up you enter an entirely new world of human frailty to put it politely.


         Jon, a Consumer Watchdog and Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman, who is happy to provide a different kind of service on occasions like this, but who much prefers sitting on the beach with his high powered binoculars looking at the birds there.







Tuesday, March 14, 2023


 Dear Readers,

Norbert Sasse a CEO in a million

            In Growthpoint’s Long Beach Mall in Cape Town there are a mere 9 men’s toilet cubicles for a Mall that has three supermarkets, as many banks and numerous other shops and businesses and three of them have been ‘out of order’ for as much as a month or more.

           The Mall manager Stefan Roodt told me they are waiting for the maintenance contractor to get the missing parts. Don’t laugh the problems are piddling little ones. They are waiting for bolts for a simple door lock which is a bolt that you just push across and a toilet roll holder that somebody has either nicked or broken. The cubicle involving the toilet holder in the men’s side has a huge “Out of Order” sticker on the door while the other two could still be being used by the desperate, although the toilet is a bit far from the door to enable a squatter to use his foot to keep the door closed.

            I have been to the Mall manager’s office twice in the last couple of weeks to complain about the men’s side because in my opinion nine cubicles are far too few in any case for a Mall this size without having three of them out of action. The position is aggravated by the fact that this Mall is near Fish Hoek where a high percentage of people are in the old aged category and they can’t always hold it if they have to go.  I should know as I’m 89.

           And every time I have been given the same pathetic excuse about how they are waiting for the contractor to perform what he is employed to do.

            I’m not so familiar with the women’s side but I was told they also have a missing lock problem on one of their cubicles and that’s more serious for them than it is for the men because the last time I looked they can’t get relief standing up.

A typical toilet roll holder in the
men's side.
            Growthpoint, which has assets in South Africa, Eastern Europe, Australia and the United Kingdom, claims to be the largest Real Estate Investment Trust on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It owns and manages a portfolio of over 500 property assets locally and internationally. In South Africa its retail, office and individual portfolios feature high quality properties in major metropolitan areas and key development modes. It also has a 50% stake in Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred seafront development.

            With all these impressive credentials you would think that Growthpoint would have been able to fix a faulty bog not in a month, not in a week but in couple of hours especially when there are so few of them in this huge Mall.

However Growthpoint’s CEO Norbert Sasse has just joined my one in a million class of CEOs. I could not believe this. I sent him an email at 8.23 pm on Monday evening. Guess when he replied …at 10.01 pm that same night. He is unlikely to have ever heard of me before and faulty toilets must be virtually off the map of his priorities.

His full email address and other contact details are available on Google for anybody who wants to contact him and unlike so many other CEO’s he doesn’t pass the buck down the line when confronted with one of my emails. Congratulations Norbert for being in that rare Super Category.  

Any way this is what he said in his email:

Good evening, Jon.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. 

I’ll be escalating this with a view to resolving the issue as soon as possible.

Please feel free to send me another message if the issue isn’t speedily resolved.


 Norbert Sasse.

 Sorry I must go now I’ve got to run.


           Jon, an 89 year old Consumer Watchdog, who hopes this massive company, will finally get the point before I have an accident.






Sunday, March 5, 2023


 Dear Readers,


Well that’s the kind of thing you can expect from Tyrone Hagglund. He’s the pocket dynamo I bought a bed from at his ‘PopUp’ store in the centre of the Long Beach Mall not far from Fish Hoek in Cape Town. He has been selling beds and everything to do with them there for two weeks a month since August 2022.

            After I bought a bed and mattress from him and it was delivered I needed one of those Convoluted Egg Box overlays (that’s a fancy name for a sheet of foam rubber that goes on top of a mattress) for another bed. He immediately undertook to get it from his warehouse and bring it to me personally. Fortunately I don’t live too far from the Mall.

            When he blew in I showed him where the bed was that was already made up and in no time he had stripped, it put the foam on and remade it. It was very impressive.

           Here’s the autobiography of this dynamic bedding man who you will never catch sleeping on the job.

“I am a local, living in Cape Town my entire life and have been in retail for approximately 16 years.  At the height of my career, I owned and ran 5 established retail bed and mattress stores in various areas of Cape Town. In 2017, I took a small sabbatical from retail for about  6 yrs, sold my shops and bought a river lodge with my wife and moved to Elgin, keeping one finger in the pie online and holding onto the agencies that I have purchased over the years.

My wife and I moved back to Sunnydale Cape town in June 2022 after selling our shares in the Lodge and I resumed selling beds and furniture under the Furnikids and Good Knight Bedding  labels.

          I have successfully relaunched Furnikids back into the brick and mortar stores of Good Knight Bedding and have added  Cloud Nine and Rest Assured, Bedcore and Dreamtech to the list of agencies currently part of my portfolio.

My warehouse and physical shop are in Tokai Industrial, close to Spotty Dog.  So if clients miss me or I am not trading at Longbeach Mall, I am able to meet them there by appointment.

My goal is to possibly open a proper shop in the courses of this year to cement a bigger foot print in the deep south of Cape Town as the ‘Go To’ for everything bedding.”

You can rest assured that you all now know where to go for a peaceful sleep in Cape Town.

Sweet Dreams,

Jon, the Consumer Watchdog 

who praises the good and snarls 

at the BAD.


Saturday, March 4, 2023


 Dear Readers,

Darren Hele

Have you ever phoned the head office of Famous Brands. The worst part has been that callers phoning its Johannesburg headquarters have had to pay for this deplorable brain washing session before they could be put through to the person they wanted to speak to.

          Here is the email I sent to the Group CEO Darren Hele:

          “Your Famous Brands might be the leaders in the fields in which they operate but when it comes to communications it is absolutely appalling. I phoned your head office in Johannesburg at 011 3153000 and asked for your PA so I could get your email address. What I got was the most unbelievable automatic reply recorded by a very friendly and well spoken lady. It was a huge plug for your group. She extolled the virtues of your various departments and went on and on and on. Every now and again she would say something like ‘It won’t be long before your call will be going through’, but that was just the trigger for a repeat of what she had already told me. It was so bad that at one stage I got so desperate I told her to ‘shut up’ realising afterwards what a ridiculous thing this was to say to a recording. To add insult to injury she made this absurd statement after she had been talking for ages ‘We realise that time is money.’ Have you ever listened to this??? Eventually I was put through to somebody who I assumed was your PA who said she would ring me back. This she did but by that time I had already got your email address from your Cape Town branch where the whole process took no more than a couple of minutes. When I told her I thought this long winded advertising plug callers to your head office are subjected to was terrible her reply was something like: ‘Yes I know but nobody wants to take responsibility for it.’”

          Famous Brands claims to be Africa’s leading branded food services franchisor and is known for brands such as Steers, Wimpy and Mugg & Bean among others. Its core principles it claims include integrity, quality and humility.

          My purpose in wanting to contact Hele concerned Wimpy’s Rib Burger. I believed its name was misleading. I had it twice at their Long Beach Mall branch in Cape Town and I was disappointed to find it contained no beef, which I believe should be the main ingredients of any Burger because that is what was in them when they were originally made.

          There are 453 Wimpies in South Africa and another 67 in the United Kingdom under the Famous Brand wing.

          I concluded my email to him with this: “Surely you don’t want to be famous for ‘When is a Burger not a Burger its a Wimpy’ and the world’s longest and most boring advertising blurb that callers to your head office are forced to listen to before being put through to the person they want to speak to?’

          Hele must be commended for being so forthcoming when I did get hold of him. This was his initial reply. “With regards to your comment about not being able to call this product a hamburger: You will have noted that the product is referred to as a Rib Burger. The prefix is common practice in the industry to refer to products that are not beef patties. I am sure you will be familiar with a number of such menu items amongst our competitors. This has been common and accepted practice for many years. This practice, aside from being a widely recognised naming convention, is also compliant with all applicable South African regulations, which we take very seriously.”

           If everybody else is wrong it doesn’t make it right.

          He added that the patty of their Wimpy Rib Burger was made using two pork cuts. A food expert who had a look at one for me described the patty as being of “processed pork like a Vienna sausage with probably very little actually off the rib bone.” So even the Rib description is in the fairy tale category.

          By some strange coincidence the word RIB can also mean to tease or to play the fool with someone so is that what Wimpy’s doing with its diners, who choose Rib Burgers.

          When it came to the switchboard promotion shocker he had this to say, “The poor service from our switchboard letting us down has been tracked down and a plan implemented to fix it. Thanks for highlighting this weakness.”

            I then asked for his P.A’s name saying: “Darren can you give me the name of your PA because I think she deserves the credit for getting you to sort out your telephone system and not me?”

         He replied: “Arlene Helberg”. Is that the lady who really should be running the show and not Hele?

        Regards to all you Wimpy diners,

          Jon, a fearless Consumer Watchdog.

 P.S. It looks as though Famous Brands will no longer be famous for the World’s Worst Promotion Advertisement on a Switchboard and as for the Wimpy Rib Burger you must be the judge. Are diners being ribbed with this Porky or are they getting a genuine Burger.

P.P.S. In the murky world of food naming the Department of Agriculture is faffing around with what should be legally called a Burger. One minute word spread that it was illegal to call something a Burger when it did not contain beef. But it seems the department has chickened out (is that description allowed) and for the moment even

Fry's Veggie Burgers

 “Traditional Burgers” from the Fry Family Food Company have been given the okay even though the makers described them as plant based.