What do you call bad advice which goes as far as costing you money and the one giving it to you, making money? Is there a difference between unprofessional conduct and running a scam? I don't only mean legally because that is technical and boring too. I also mean morally and the two never mix.
Anyone reading my legal books would know I believe law is for people who are not only extremely boring but probably insane as well. I am from a legal family, meaning my father, brother, and nephew are all lawyers, so I should know. I remember many years ago that an argument, or let us call it a disagreement of note broke out between us on the differences between "careless and inconsiderate" driving. In law that is two vastly different concepts, believe it or not. It was never solved either but with the years we stopped caring and talking to each other anyway. We may be boring people but we are opinionated.
I said in my one book, Tricks of Trade - Memories of a Rogue Lawyer, that the over equipping of four-wheel-drive vehicles is a scam. Ninety percent of the crap we see adding weight on the poor vehicle is pointless for anyone who is not a professional traveler. I grew up in what is known as Namibia today and can tell you, those ooms would have died laughing when they saw you towing an off-road caravan or trailer because you are not manly enough to sleep under the stars counting Sputniks rushing past and wondering if you would get yourself a terrorist on this trip. They had burly arms and short hair, even in the 1970s and there was nothing girly about them like an off-road caravan with satellite dish in the veldt where you should want to hear what God gave for free. Then in the early 1990s the Aussies discovered they could sell all their aftermarket equipment to us and an industry was born.
Strangely enough, when you are actually in Africa, yes further north than the National Parks in Botswana, you will note the locals have no such equipment. They know it makes the vehicle top-heavy and is a waste of money and they do have money, lots of US Dollars to spend but they don't. Why not? They use those vehicles for the purpose they were designed for and not for pavement parking as we see in our cities. Why, I would be able to park my mom's Chevy Spark on a pavement too if I wanted to show the world I am an idiot who cannot park in the space so provided. You don't need diff lock, low range, and four-wheel drive for that. But anyway, that is by the by and your own choice what you do with your money. You will soon find out that what cost you R280k new, will sell for R40k and is worth even less than that. If you cannot hack it rough in the veldt then perhaps you should choose another lifestyle. Not my problem if you are taken for a fool and would not heed my warnings.
However, yesterday I stood in a cafe waiting for my weekly treat, that is Portuguese slap chips and russians, the sausages, not the women, to arrive. The in store television was on some horrible channel which I presumed to be the SABC which is not worth watching even as background noise (which describes it very nicely, thank you). I listened with bored interest how a properly dressed young man, a good actor I am sure, explained why I should invest in a hospital plan from a reasonably well-known insurance company. Man, he told me how they would pay x-amount out every day and how I would be very silly, if not downright stupid; to let this opportunity of a lifetime, go past.
I am not much of a legal man. How can I be? Only insane and boring people like the subject and I am neither of them or I hope not. But even I could spot the problem with what that fellow is selling to the innocents who never asks questions and believe the suits. When such a policy pays out on day four, run away...it is a borderline legal scam. Why? Simply, you hardly ever stay in hospital that long. Even with new stents in your heart they release you before that time period is over because they need your bed for someone genuinely ill. Hence you pay and pay and when it comes to claiming, you get nothing because of the way the contract (yes, a policy is nothing but a very one sided legal contract) is written in such a way that you will suffer the loss. Don't fall for such nonsense and get one, they are around, which pays from the moment you arrive at the hospital. You will note that they are more expensive but they are worth their money, they will actually pay out and help you when in need.
The specific policy was also capped at R200 000 per year. This is absolutely not money when in hospital. It should be uncapped or millions. Read the contract and ask the questions and always think worst case scenario. Translated that means, what do you get out of it and how can you ensure you get as much as possible from it? It is a hard life out here and the men in suits will do you in as much as a bankster will if you are not careful. By all means get hospital insurance, it is a good thing, but go with the lads who are well known in that area and, ask the two questions above. (1) When does this start paying (and the answer on the fourth day, but then it pays for the previous days too, is not what you want to hear). (2) What is the limits per year, if less than millions, then bye bye Mr Suit. Go and scam someone else.
Another thing, do not presume your medical cover is working in another country. Once you load your four-wheel-drive or take that flight somewhere, make sure you got your medical cover sorted by letting them know about it. Most schemes want to know where you are and will give you a letter to that effect to cover you. And never hide an existing condition on your application forms - they will abuse that to your disadvantage.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.