A slur on my character

Dr Bernhard Ficker, Somerset West

I refer to the report “Helderberg College of Higher Education responds” (Bolander, May 29) in which your reporter states “Dr Bernhard Ficker, who has a long association with the College, is also accused of, if not dishonesty, at the very least, distortion of the facts, in his letter that Bolander has published”.

These are very serious allegations to publicly propagate in Bolander and cannot be left unchallenged.

It is regrettable that your reporter just accepted false allegations without doing any checking up with me or controlling the validity of the allegations.

Firstly, I do not have a long association with the college. I left the employment of the College more than 30 years ago and have not been associated with it since then.

In particular, I have never been involved in any development projects of the college, have never been informed of their developments, have not been privy to their plans and do not sit on any of their committees.

This whole story of my so-called “long association” with the college is a red herring which was cooked-up by the so-called “Friends of the Helderberg Estate” who dug up everything they could about my past in order to try and discredit me and make false allegations about myself (sic).

What has my employment history got to do with this debate? The so-called “long association” should rather be “an association very long ago”, to be correct.

I do, on occasion, attend the church that is situated on the grounds of the college campus. This cannot be construed as being involved with the college, since the church and the college are entirely different entities, and neither have any jurisdiction over the other.

I have been a resident of Somerset West for a very, very long time and have over the years, written numerous letters regarding the many developments that have changed Somerset West from a sleepy little village to a sprawling city complex. Never have I had to endure such false accusations.

The comments of your reporter accusing me, or quoting accusations against me of being “if not dishonest, at the very least, distortion of the facts” is (sic) a blatant slur on my character and a very serious matter, since there is no dishonesty or distortion of facts involved, at all. I simply made some observations and wrote about “necessary versus unnecessary developments”.

If there are any so-called “facts” that indicate any dishonesty on my part, or a distortion of facts on my part (as reported), I believe Bolander has an obligation to publish and highlight these so-called “facts” and indicate where distortion or dishonesty is involved. Alternatively, a formal apology will be in order.

Thank you for explaining the nature and extent of your association with the Helderberg College of Higher Education. Bolander apologises for any unintended slur on your character.

Our reporter was simply attempting to summarise the many assertions that have been made in the letters we have published about this matter, over the past two months. – Ed

Correspondence on this
matter is now closed.