Publication: Sunday Independent
Reporter: Karen Bliksem aka Jeremy Gordin
Jou ma se contingency is all I have to say to
Tonto, Chuck 'n all
Aha! Just when the baddies - or the navy - thought it was safe to go back into
the water, I see that Cape Town's Richard "Tonto" Young, a sort of latter-day
Lone Ranger, is back.
Young, whose company lost out on one of the notorious arms deal tenders
(something to do with the so-called combat suites on the corvettes),
made such a song and dance
about the matter that he was awarded a R15 million settlement by the government
after he sued for damages - a matter to which I shall return in a moment.
Ever since the days of the arms deal tenders, Young has kept
an eagle eye out on all
sorts of things on behalf of you and me. Well, that's not a bad thing: clearly
the Scorpions and others have needed all the help they can get.
For example, it wasn't a six-month investigation that led a small Sunday
newspaper in Jo'burg's northern suburbs to lambast Chippy Shaik, once head of
acquisitions of the defence department, for allegedly plagiarising his
doctorate, and to the finding by the senate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal
that resulted in Shaik's doctorate being taken away.
No, sir, it was Young who did all the leg
First, he got hold of Shaik's doctorate,
then he had an "expert" read it, then he had that
"expert" declare expertly *2 that Shaik had copied one
chapter or, at any rate, clearly didn't know anything about coal-fired
thermo-nuclear underwear (or whatever the hell the doctorate was about), and
then Young alerted the university and, of course, the aforementioned weekly
A spry and energetic chap this Young fellow, what! But then Young knows about
doctorates and the navy: his own doctorate
was financed by the navy's frigate programme *3.
Anyway, at some point, as I have said, the government paid Young 15 very big
ones because of all the financial pain and suffering his business had undergone
as a result of losing the tender to provide widgets for the combat suites.
But there was a condition - there are no free lunches, as the woman in the
canteen said to me just the other day, and there are always conditions.
The government said it would give Young the big ones (not the government's
money, anyway - it's yours and mine) but he had to stop banging on about the
arms deal and related matters. He had to
put a sock in it because the okes in the government were getting migrainous
And yet, as I have said, Young is back - banging on about an arms deal-related
matters and opining that the government and the navy don't know a torpedo from a
You know, I read the other day - or someone told me, I forget which - that Jacob
Zuma's legal team is having trouble putting its hands on boodle to defend the
future president of the nation. Well, if I
were the government I'd go and get back that 15-mil from Tonto.
What also confuses me is that if Young had been so
concerned about the financial efficacy of the frigates and submarines - and this
is what he is quoted as saying - how come Young's company is the supplier of
some missile-firing and navigation consoles on the frigates, not to mention some
software, and that his company is also responsible for some of the stuff on the
And I'm talking serious latkes here: I'm told on good authority (not Chippy
Shaik's) that, at today's values, Young's consoles et cetera were worth a 100
mil. And guess who Young's subcontractor
was on one of the jobs? A company called ADS - which, if you've kept up with
your arms deal reading, was not unconnected with S Shaik, esquire. *5
Anyway, here's today's R15 million question:
why - if Young was so alarmed about the cost
implications for the navy of the multibillion rand arms deal - did he bid for
work on the frigates and submarines? *6 Please send your
answers and cheques (made out) to K Bliksem, c/o The Sunday Independent.
Anyway, what's the use of a satellite refugee tracking system, or even a navy,
if someone has sold our sea, if we can't win a gold at the Olympics, if our
rugby team plays the truly beautiful game with all the aplomb of a flock of
cowed sheep and, between us and the
baddies, there is only Chuck, Nosiviwe and Tonto?
With acknowledgements to
Hopewell Radebe and Business Day.
*1 This is true.
*2 This is untrue.
I reviewed the thesis myself and concluded that it was probably plagiarised or
at least was not the own unaided work of the student as averred within the
The expert who came to the same conclusion some months later was retained by the
University to investigate the thesis. I never knew of his existence until his
report was tabled at another internal University hearing about six months after
I had altered the University about the thesis.
*3 My PhD thesis was not financed by the navy's frigate
Certain equipment and developmental work for the generic Surface Vessel Combat
Suite under Project SUVECS between 1994 and 1996 was financed by the navy's
research and development programme.
Such work was undertaken without any reference or linkage whatsoever
The SA Navy's Project Sitron frigate programme had been suspended during this
time and only got going again in 1997. My thesis was submitted for examination
on 8 July 1996 and the degree was awarded on 22 October 1996.
By the thesis itself was not in any way financed by the navy's frigate programme
or by anyone other than myself and my company.
Indeed the thesis was not actually funded at all. I wrote it and typed it myself
mainly after hours and weekends and three or four periods of leave and a week to
10 days at a time once a year.
*4 Actually I had to put a sock in it because the DoD just
didn't want to furnish me with any further documents under my Promotion of
Access to Information (PAIA) High Court judgment in my favour or any document
whatsoever under discovery in my damages action.
I didn't really want to settle with the DoD, especially not for such a tiny sum
of money, but it was proving impossible for me to make proper headway with my
cases against the DoD, Armscor and ADS.
My company's total losses caused by the irregularities in the corvette combat
suite acquisition process came to R150 million in 2003 Rands. So R15 million in
2007 Rands was a very modest sum and was indeed compensation for expenses and
not as a settlement for the losses themselves.
And there certainly were irregularities in the corvette combat suite acquisition
process. This author's favourite president and subject of his biography was
charged with some of these irregularities along with his benefactor, said
president's favourite armament manufacturer, Thomson-CSF, headquartered in
*5 Jeremy Gordin is trying to allude to my contract being
tainted because ADS was a subcontractor of ours.
Well, this is just defamatory rubbish.
The SA Navy insisted on using "standard" consoles throughout the corvette combat
Later this prescription reduced just to everyone at least using the mechanical
profile of the console - effectively this meant being forced to purchased 8
mechanical shells of the standard console that had been developed by Thomson-CSF
and fabricated by ADS in Durban (at an exorbitant R40 000 each).
In fact regarding the consoles, actually tracker radar consoles, our customer
was Reutech Radar Systems. Officially it stipulated that we use the ADS
mechanical frame of the "standard" console.
*6 Apart from being defamatory, this is the typical Gordin
fallacy of logic, the post-hoc fallacy.
It is so trite.
How was I to know when bidding in December 1998 to May 1999 that the DoD would
allow the contractually stipulated R1,47 billion ceiling price for the corvette
combat suite to be exceeded and allow Thomson-CSF and ADS to get a contact worth
And at the same time the November 1998 cabinet approved price for the corvettes
to escalate from R6,001 billion to R6,874 billion?
My Fallacial Logic is going to have a very hard time in court proving this
Who Was That Masked Man?
By: karl donald
Hi-yo, Silver, Away! Those were the first words with which, one of the
longest-running of the radio heroes began and ended a new adventure. Yes, it's
the Lone Ranger, who along with his faithful sidekick named Tonto, wandered the
West delivering frontier justice. The show was on air from 1933 to 1954,
spanning virtually the whole of the Golden Age of Radio. The hero also
successfully crossed-over to other media such as TV, movies and comic books.
The Lone Ranger's true identity and origin were originally not revealed in the
earlier radio shows; however, in an early example of synergy between two media,
developments in the movie serials featuring this hero eventually resulted in the
radio show revealing the Ranger's secret identity as a Texas Ranger with the
surname Reid (first name unknown). Reid, along with 5 other Rangers, was
ambushed by a gang of outlaws. Reid survived the ambush and was nursed back to
health by a friend from his childhood named Tonto. When Reid recovered, he
buried his fellow Rangers and added a grave for himself to convince the world
that he had also been killed. He then created the identity of the Lone Ranger to
bring down the outlaws and pursue his quest for justice.
Tonto is an American Indian.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto may have been well-meaning, but they were acting
outside of the law and were therefore criminals.