WHEN YOUR ageing correspondent worked in 1960 at what was then Merrill, Lynch, Peirce, Fenner and Beane – the world’s largest stockbroker now reduced to subsidiary status at the Bank of America – he learned a hard lesson when he wrote a letter to the South African Embassy in Washington complaining about some or other apartheid hideosity.
His mistake was to send the letter on company stationery. SA’s then ambassador wrote to the chairman of Merrill Lynch asking if my views reflected those of the firm. As the firm had handled various fund-raising drives for SA, earning fees in the process, the roof fell in on your then young offender.
There was no dismissal, though everything short of that was visited upon this erring youngster. There was a reminder of that incident last week when a broker at a leading SA financial institution saw fit to address your ageing correspondent on a company letterhead about comments of an anti-Semitic nature made by our tactless Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fatima Hajaig.
This broker firmly agrees with Hajaig, invited me to visit some loony website and advised me ”That the Zionist elite control the world isn’t a conspiracy theory. Anyone who labels people as conspiratists (sic) does not believe in Satan, who is the master of all conspiracies.”
And that imbecile handles money for other people!