Get to know your snakes
In Response to a ramba with a mamba by Abré J Steyn (8 August). Your article about mambas is interesting to me. I’m originally from Sekhukhune district in limpopo, but I work in KwaZulu-Natal. I have come across black mambas in the wild several times – and a python – especially in the Jozini and Empangeni areas, partly due to the agricultural extension work I did in that area. I am fascinated by snakes and even sometimes visit snake parks to learn more about them. Where I come from there’s a lot of myth about mambas and pythons and since I started working in northern KwaZulu-Natal I have realised my people back home don’t know the facts about them. What you said about mambas is true and I wish people knew these things. Tebogo, by e-mail
Who decides the law?
A Response to Carmel Richard’s law talk (25 July) about the owner’s liability when cattle are knocked over. In a law book from the US, the burden of proof was on the driver of the vehicle when it hit a farm animal. Was he in cattle country? Did he see animals on that piece of road at any stage? Was the farm in the road before the new main road? A good definition of the reasonable man can be found in Encyclopaedia Britannica 1898. In today’s world of fast cars surely the burden shouldn’t be on the farmer to put extra locks on his or her gates? Even locks impede progress at some stage and the farmer loses. The list is endless if a judge decides so. During the 1980s violent crime was encouraged as, “the owner just has to claim insurance” and so the violence continued. The ruling published in FW will encourage drivers to drive recklessly so they can claim from farmers or whoever has money. I feel strongly that in the case cited Hermanus Enslin was poorly represented. The driver should foresee possible accidents in rural areas. Why was this not mentioned and used to decide in favour of the farmer? Peter Davie, KwaZulu-Natal
Nose bleed normal says vet
It has been brought to our attention by several readers that the endurance horse featured on the cover of 15 August had blood running from its nose. While the sight of this horse ridden by the development team captain Frans Kok at the recent Fauresmith endurance race, might have upset some of our readers, Dr Leon Laubscher, a vet manning the vet checks at the race, and also the vice president of the endurance racing association, assures us the bleeding is completely normal. “It often happens when it’s either very cold, as was the case at Fauresmith, or very hot,” Dr Laubscher points out. “It’s nothing more than a small rupture in a capillary vein in the nose of the horse, after which one finds some slight bleeding in the nose mucous. The featured horse finished the race in very good condition.” also pointed out that all horses are checked every 30km for any signs of distress. – Editor
Hidden in a magazine
Has anyone else had ridiculous charges levied on them at the post office? I’m referring to the latest of many charges under the guise of a clearance fee. I was forced to pay R12 to clear a magazine sent to me from the US. We receive a fair amount of mail from the US and recently I was expected to pay over R30 for someone sending me holiday photos! In addition to that we have sent back at least two items this year already that were plaques thanking us for our contribution to particular organisations – and again we had to pay fees.
I was told by the local post office in Cradock that it was a customs charge. I contacted customs in Pretoria who told me that it’s actually a post office fee, not a customs fee. After trying, unsuccessfully, to contact the post office in this regard, the lady in Cradock gave me someone to contact in Port Elizabeth. I contacted Tinnie Williams who told me it’s a fee charged to take the parcel through customs and clear it. I think this is outrageous. One can clearly see that it’s a magazine and to be expected to pay R12 for the clearance is crazy. Post office tariffs are high enough as it is, surely this should cover the new equipment that had to be bought according to Williams. Surely I am not the only one who feels we are being ripped. Marion Holmes, Cradock