Trevor Mallach – fake letter

It seems to me that the unacceptable practice of propagation of deliberate falsehoods to attain various objectives is becoming entrenched in our country.

Thabo Mbeki, January 2009

A letter – which initially appears similar to Alan Knott-Craig’s brilliant first and not so great second – has been doing the rounds here in SA. It purports to be penned by the hand of one Trevor Mallach, “a Shoprite Group executive” and comes with his request to “please pass on to just five friends with the request that they do the same”. Do I hear the faint sound of alarm bells?

The letter is a plea for South Africans to vote in the upcoming elections. Good idea. No problem with that: Want democracy? Use democracy.
In fact, I almost agree with the sentiment:

I swear on my grandma’s grave… if I hear someone (who didn’t vote or couldn’t vote because they were too lazy or hungover to register) complaining at a braai about the government, I will come in from the side with a flying head-butt which will leave you so brain-damaged you’ll join the ANC youth league and vote for Julius Malema in 2013.

But sadly, the rest of it is utter tosh: standard disingenuous “facts”, thinly-veiled comparisons of Jacob Zuma to Adolf Hitler and Robert Mugabe, promises that SA will become another Zimbabwe, that Zuma will commit murder during his tenure without fear of prosecution and will be President “forever”.

And then, when the election comes, vote for anyone except the ANC. You can vote for Vernon Koekemoer or Skippy Peanut Butter for all I care, just as long as no one gets a two-thirds majority!

Is that official Shoprite policy, then?

So, it’s fake – but how fake is “fake”? Well, Trevor Mallach does exist and he does work for Shoprite. I know this, because I spoke to him this morning. It’s not difficult to do this, but it’s no use googling his name – all you get is daft blogs worshipping “his” letter and using cut-and-paste because they have nothing more interesting to share. Instead, I went to the Shoprite website, rang the number on the page and asked to speak to him. Tough.

And that’s where the sad side of this sordid tale comes in. Because Trevor Mallach does exist and he didn’t write this letter. But it’s his reputation and his name which is getting dragged through the mud each time this rubbish is forwarded (and it’s being forwarded a lot!). As soon as I mentioned the letter, there was both resignation and anger in his voice – I’d describe it as a kind of angry, resigned tone. He asked me not to forward the email, asked me to delete it, said he was fed up of hearing about it and that it was all a lot of nonsense. Of course, it’s a futile effort, this thing is whizzing around South African cyberspace like a SAA crew on coke. Just wait til it hits the ex-pats – they’ll have a field day with its rampant misinformation and scaremongering.

Dude, it must be true, Trevor Mallach said it and he’s a Shoprite group executive!!!!!!!

So – if you get this letter – don’t forward it.
Rather forward this explanation and remind people that behind a fake letter is a real person.

  • Nic

    Oh thank goodness someone actually went out and proved the insanity.

    I didn’t bother posting the email on SA Rocks because I just didn’t feel that it was authentic or directed in the proper way to invoke voting sentiments.

    Good work.

    Nic´s last blog post was: African Cuisine eaten without a spoon (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  • po

    It is not scaremongering me, k?

    Even if it is forwarded to the Lord himself, it shalt make no difference. Zuma is the next Prezzie of SA. So they will have to deal.

    po´s last blog post was: The Wonder Years (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  • Thankfully people know better than to email me bollocks like that.

    Nice amount of effort you put in there 😉

    Goblin´s last blog post was: If that was the reaction to Gfail, what would happen if facebook went down? (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  • Nic > Bee in my bonnet? Nah – just obviously fake and easily provable.

    Po > I don’t think that’s the scaremongering bit.
    (Oh – was that your point? Sorry.)

    Goblin > Effort was one phone call. Interesting guy. Quite upset. Sad.

  • I think I recieved it about 4 times and deleted it just as many. I don’t think people actually read the whole thing before they forwarded it.

    Ordinarylife´s last blog post was: A Dog – cat Burglar (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  • OL > Sadly, I know some people who still think it’s great.
    (You know who you are…) 😉

  • aura

    Even if the letter is “fake”, I agree with what it says. How can a man with valid criminal charges be allowed to run for president?

    I feel sorry for Mr. Mallach, and whoever wrote that shouldn’t have used his name. But I don’t think his reputation is being dragged through the mud, as a lot of people agree with what is being said. But I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective.

    Cool blog man, I give ya two thumbs up for giving the other side of the story.

  • aura > He can run for President because this country works on the basis: innocent until proven otherwise. Unless you *know* something that no-one else does, then why do you presume otherwise? Just because that’s the way everyone else thinks? That’s a dangerous way to live your life.

    As for Mr Mallach’s reputation – it’s all very well if people agree with the sentiment, but the content is just plain nonsense. I would rightly be ashamed if I wrote that. And everyone now thinks he did write that.
    No-one know Trevor Mallach before this – now he’s the bloke that wrote that emotive, but factually rubbish, letter.

    Thanks for your final line – we aim to please. 🙂

  • Rob Inukshuk

    Yes, it made its way all the way to Canada. Well, not so far really, it’s just a forward click away. And a delete click to be gone.

    It’s a sad reflection on the fools who forward this garbage. Come on peeps, engage brain.

    Well done to you for your post. Sadly Mr. Mallach still has to deal with the fallout, but consolation ought to be found in the fact that the morons who send this sort of thing on are short on the grey matter and will forget soon enough.

  • Persona non grata

    I think all the hoo-ha about who wrote it is just another sign of people dodging the issues and diverting the focus. Of course nobody wants to shown up for forwarding fiction, as nobody wants to be perceived to be ignorant. This, however, reflects the thoughts of many South Africans and rhetoric about who started the letter will not change the way they feel. AND, they have a right to feel that way even if it is against the judgement of others. You cant just ignore them and call them stupid (you are placing yourself in the same mold)

    As I live in the UK temporarily, I am not allowed to vote in SA elections and am completely disenfranchised (which I believe is against my rights as a citizen of SA), so fully support this letter – and the opposition parties who are fighting my case for me in the constitutional court.

    I suspect that someone is going to come back with some kind of “intellectual” rhetoric again on this, but in all fairness, let people say and feel whatever they want. With this in mind, I look forward to reading the resulting rhetoric.

  • PnG > Thanks for the comment. But OK – you asked for it. 🙂

    I have two issues with the letter:
    1. That Trevor Mallach’s name was used, &
    2. That – WHATEVER the intention or spirit in which it was written – it’s full of lies and nonsense.

    Sure – free speech, free choice, democracy for which the majority of this country fought for many, many year. I’m all for that.
    But base your arguments on reality – not on falsehoods. That’s the way to win the hearts and minds, because it’s an honest campaign. I enjoyed the irony of you suggesting that I am “placing myself in the same mold”, while the author of this letter moans about fraud and corruption – effectively DISHONEST practices – and then spouts this rubbish.

    I believe that the ball is in your court. Baseline volley. Tough to return. But try.
    (That’s the limit of my tennis terminology)

  • Persona non grata

    Of course, I had to respond! 🙂

    On your first point, I absolutely agree with you. Well said. Nobody has the right, even under free speech, to use another person’s name to further their personal cause.

    On your second point – I know the letter is not factual, but this is not what I am on about here. The fact that this letter is being forwarded around the world means that there are actually many people out there who feel this way (regardless of the lies). We should not ignore the fact that these people exist and that they are using this (non factual – yes I say it again) letter as a vehicle for their sentiments. SA is highly charged on the political scene at the moment and for some this expresses their concerns. Let’s face it, just how informed are we all before we go out and vote. Do we read each of the many parties manifestos or do we actually make a “sentimental” vote? (I know, a different debate entirely)

    I see the point of the letter being a call to the polls regardless of the lies, scaremongering (even though this scaremongering will probably bring out Zuma supporters too) or the violation of Trevor’s rights.

    Also, I am really annoyed that I am not allowed to vote – along with tens of thousands of other Saffers around the world.

    ….I think that made it over the net back to you?

  • Damn, 6K, that’s a polite response to a somewhat moronic comment. Are you feeling okay?

    And now, because I’ve indulged in a bit of ad hominem, I’ll need to throw in a bit of “intellectual” (is that different to “intellectual” without the scare-quotes, one wonders?) rhetoric to justify my claim that the comment was “somewhat moronic”.

    On content, the issue is the dishonesty – the sentiments expressed by the letter may or may not be worthwhile or justifiable, but as 6k pointed out, it’s dishonest in content as well as in the attribution to Mallach.

    PnG poisons the well with his/her “intellectual” quip, as well as the “in all fairness, let people say and feel whatever they want”. These basically indicate that reponses are pointless because they won’t be heard.

    Jacques´s last blog post was: UCT & Sax Appeal: the Vice-Chancellor’s response (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  • Png > I think what you’re trying to say here is that the ends justify the means. I disagree.
    If your cause is so very worthy and so very just, then simply tell the truth and get people to vote on those ideas and policies. Don’t feed them lies just to scare a vote from them. That is hypocrisy on a grand scale.

    Yes, SA is highly-charged on the political scene at the moment. Of course.
    But that doesn’t excuse peddling untruths as an election strategy.

    Advantage Zuma. New balls please.

  • Jacques > Please see my reply to PnG. I don’t know what else to say for fear of repetition repetition.

  • Persona non grata

    6K and Jacques – Been great chatting. I sincerely hope the election goes well and excludes all lies, intimidation and scaremongering – and one day includes all SA citizens.

    Game, set and match Jacob Zuma.

  • ChrisB

    One part I agree with – “the unacceptable practice of propagation of deliberate falsehoods to attain various objectives is becoming entrenched” – yes, but not just in this country. Throughout the US election campaign, which was pretty much the whole of 2008, I received numerous emails denigrating this or that candidate. They continue to trickle in, mostly now from the right-wing “sore losers”.

    I’m afraid it’s pretty much human nature to pick and choose the “facts” that suit you, and ignore those that don’t. Unfortunately, to some extent we are all guilty of it – some worse than others. About all we can really do is try to keep some balance, pread as much truth as can in reaction to the lies, and be tactful about it as I think 6000 is doing a pretty good job of.

    I still think everyone should vote. I’ve made my cross in every election I’ve been eligible for and don’t understand those who can’t be bothered (“Ag it’s just one vote against all those millions of Blacks”) but somehow I doubt head-butting is going to help many people change their minds!

  • Rob > Sorry I missed your comment earlier. If there’s one thing that I can take some strength from, it’s the fact that if you (or anyone else) googles TREVOR MALLACH, this post comes out at positions 1 and 2 out of the 1,730 hits. I hope that spreads the right message. My message. 😉

    PnG > I think we all share your hopes for the electon. And I think we all know who’s going to win.

    Chris B > Of course, you’re correct – the US election was also plauged by misinformation. It’s becoming a trait of elections in this technological age – easy to do, difficult to trace a source. And virtual mud sticks just as well as the real stuff.
    As for your “just one vote” thing – well, that could change a lot in Cape Town/WP. (http://tinyurl.com/bg93vs)

  • JakesSA

    Good thing its a fake! Imagine Shoprite Group complaining about corrupt politicians while everyday ripping of the South African population with their exorbitant food prices. Prices maintained via a cartel like arrangment with the other .. err .. two? .. competitors in the market?

  • JakesSA > You think so? I always saw them as competitors to PnP, and Woollies are in a (price) class of their own these days.

  • Persona non grata

    Thought this had some entertainment value 🙂

    LONDON. South African expatriates living in Britain and the US say that they are unlikely to vote in April 22’s general election as they are too busy queuing at soup kitchens and catching rats to bulk up their gruel. However some expats have demanded the right to vote, hoping to stuff their shoes with ballot papers and gather up enough pencils to burn for warmth.

    The issue of whether or not expatriates should be allowed to vote in the forthcoming election has been a political hot potato in South Africa, with the ANC opposing the move as it fears a strong expatriate turnout on April 22 could see its majority slip from 76 percent to 75.9 percent.

    However the Democratic Alliance and the Freedom Front Plus remain adamant that expatriates should be allowed to vote abroad, and are hoping for a major boost from this demographic.

    4.4 million of South Africa’s 4.5 million whites currently live in four flats in Shepherd’s Bush in London, and both opposition parties are hoping to rouse at least a few dozen out of their traditional apathy come April 22.

    But for expatriates, trapped in a crushing cycle of debt, joblessness and stale Jaffa Cakes, voting is not as easy as it sounds.

    Worsie van Tonder, a 26-year-old electrical engineer currently working as a coffee-bean titillator at Costa, says he is unlikely to vote even if allowed to.

    “If you’re out of the shop for more than twelve minutes a month they fire you,” he explained. “I just don’t know when I’d get the chance. And these beans need titillating.”

    Elsa-Chante Smit, 23, is a classically trained pet therapist but is currently paying her heating bills by working as an exotic dancer at Little Caesar’s Skin Bar in Glasgow. She echoes Van Tonder’s sentiments, although she says she’s lucky just to have a job.

    “A lot of South Africans in the UK, you see them roaming around in the streets like zombies. Slack jaws, moaning as they walk, Springbok jerseys all dirty and ragged, Springbok beanies all unraveling, Springbok scarves dragging in the slush behind them.

    “The local kids throw them with rocks. Dogs rip off their jean-pants. It’s horrible.”

    Brad Brad-Bradley, who decided to take a gap year in London with his friend and wrestling partner Chad Chadley-Chadford after they graduated from Michaelhouse with distinctions in suppressed masculine rage, said he would not be voting on April 22 as he would be at the South African embassy applying for economic refugee status.

    “Bru, we’re so stoked about going home and that, but we sold our Bok puffer jackets and Bok jerseys so we’d totally freeze to death before we made it to Heathrow,” he explained.

    He said getting on a South African Airways flight was easy as one only needed to offer the cabin crew some hard drugs.

    “The problem is that me and Chad ate our drugs last night, with the last of the rat.

    “It was so cold, and our teeth are starting to get loose in our gums, and he had this brick of skunk, so we fried it in diesel oil and shredded the last of the rat-leg into it.

    “It tasted lank k*k but what can you do in these times?”

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  • Persona non grata

    Not that difficult to work out boet. Still does not give me a vote though.

  • PnG > True, “boet”. And also true. Best just sit back and enjoy the rat curry.

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  • Leroy

    It doesn’t matter if it is a fake, it is still true. So go and vote for anyone else but the ANC>

  • Leroy > Leroy, you are a complete idiot.
    Did you not read the post at all?
    It’s NOT true – that’s the whole point. The problem is that idiots like you think that it is true. And then you go and vote based on lies.
    You idiot.

  • Coco

    🙁 I feel so left out; Noone mailed me this 🙁

    I love reading stuff like this, but I don’t forward stuff like it.

  • Coco > I got your copy. And about 200 others.

  • Valaza

    zip! Its also reached sydney! and my deleted emails folder! Im sure this is another april fool’s joke huh?

  • Valaza > Sadly not. Jokes tend to be funny.
    Well done for deleteing! 🙂

  • Persona non grata
  • Persona non grata

    Sorry, found the thoughts under the Daily Mail quandry

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  • It really doesn’t matter who wrote it .. Go VOTE !! and not just for any party vote for the D.A. Just look at how Cape Town is going forward.

    And please don’t give your opinion’s unless you have an understanding of history in general.
    South Africa is in trouble . we all are.

    Hitler , Zuma , Rober Mogabe , Julius Malema , Napoleon .. take your pick .. It doesnt matter . It starts the same and ends the same ..

    News 24 shows high jacking’s in Johannes burg where people are armed with ak47’s on the 18/11/2013 and 19/11/2013 .. follow link ( http://www.news24.com/Multimedia/South-Africa/Joburg-hijacking-caught-on-CCTV-20131118 )

    Our president sings, chants and dances on the stage with Julius Malema singing kill the boer .. with members of parliament and the army .. follow link ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fzRSE_p1Ys )

    They are giving away prosperous farms producing the food we eat in this country to black people because they are black or previously disadvantaged..Those farms produced food .. and Tons of it as well as jobs for hundreds of people. the A.N.C claims that repossessed farms has a 50% success rate and they are proud of it .. 50% ?? .. that means that say out of 10 farms only 5 is working .. it must have a 150% success rate for the country to grow.

    But anyway .. to make a long story short we are importing staple foods now from other country’s at the cost of billions per year since we cant grow our own anymore … and do not talk about racism the A.N.C are most racist of all ..

    Wake up !!!! really ..

  • nukert > I’m crying. Firstly because I thought your comment was so funny, and then because I realised you were being serious. All the emotions. Done.

    “please don’t give your opinion’s unless you have an understanding of history in general.
    Hitler , Zuma , Rober Mogabe , Julius Malema , Napoleon .. take your pick .. It doesnt matter . It starts the same and ends the same”

    If it all ends the same, then how come “Rober Mogabe” hasn’t invaded Poland yet? Why hasn’t Julius Malema been exiled to St Helena? (Actually, this is quite a good question)

    Still, your understanding of general history seems otherwise excellent, if poorly applied.

    Re the letter, of course it matters who wrote it. Especially if it’s going to be attributed to someone who didn’t write it.
    How would you like it if I wrote some crap and then posted it under your name? (although you seem to have beaten me to it on that one).

    And what matters more is that it is based on facts, not nonsense. But then again, you don’t seem to have an issue with posting nonsense either.

    “Wake up !!!!” you say, but it sounds like your brain is actually comatose. Critical, but stable. But without the “stable” bit.

    You are, to make a long story short, an idiot.

  • Ja nee. I voted for the last government and they took 4 years of my life, sending me to fight an evil enemy. I never recovered. Now you are going to fix things, right? Go to hell, the lot of you.

  • Ado Vaktup > Have you considered the ACDP? They’ve got God on their side, you know…

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