South Africa: Flim Flam country

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Coenie777 (February 19, 2009, 23:51:03 PM):
I read this in about every magazine now adays. Adverts for foot patches that will detoxify you, a shangoma offering his service for everything you can think about, homeopathic remedies sold as if it is this medical break through.

And nowhere do I see a scrap of evidance of someone openly going against these companies and trying to contest or at least expose them.

We often hear that murderers or hijackers have consulted a shangoma before committing a crime to get "protection". Things that will make them invisible and what not. Has anyone ever heard of a national task team set up to investigate which shamngomas are colluding with the criminals, and do something to them? They are accomplisace to all crimes doen with their "spells' in place surely.

If we can get enough people with enough knowledge and will to pool together and form a body that go out and expose these things for what it is, I will gladly sign up.

Coenie
Mefiante (February 20, 2009, 08:28:13 AM):
The basic problem is that very few of these purveyors of woo-woo are transgressing any laws, mainly because no relevant laws exist. By its nature, the law can only be reactive, meaning that it can only address what someone has actually done, not what they might do. Consumer protection in SA is admittedly in its infancy, but I would rather live in a country where caveat emptor is the order of the day than in a place that is stiflingly regulated to the point where you have to watch your every step for fear of Big Brother’s constant interference. Because, really, the latter is where overregulation tends to head, as evidenced by several EU countries, particularly the Scandinavian ones.

BTW: “Shamgomas” – you just gotta love it! ;D

'Luthon64
Coenie777 (February 20, 2009, 22:43:05 PM):
It was late! Did you see how I spelled accomplices? ;)

I am not talking about legal action per say, just some exposure to what it actually is these people are selling. And to name and shame a few well known chain stores that is always first to take these products onto their shelves. But I guess you will not find a chemist in SA today who do not stock homeopathic remedies of some sort!

But this shangoma connection is something that I am sure can be proved to be contravening some law??
Mefiante (February 21, 2009, 11:28:47 AM):
Do you have some kind of medium or format in mind for doing such exposures? Short of establishing regulatory bodies (a move we would advise against for reasons given earlier), the least troublesome place for such things is the Internet but that requires directed effort and time to build up a sizeable following. However, consider that Quackwatch has been going for somewhat more than ten years and that it attracts a large number of visitors daily, yet still people continue to peddle and buy bogus medicine.

The basic problem is that too few people really care enough to make a big, public fuss and the harm is not directly obvious. It would surprise us to learn that there isn’t anyone in your own immediate family with a penchant for such quackeries. The old saying applies: “Charity begins at home.” If one can first make a difference there, one will actually have achieved quite a lot because word is bound to spread among the family. That is where we concentrate our efforts, augmented by the occasional letter to a newspaper or magazine to protest or critique an article. It’s a thankless, often frustrating task because few of the letters are published, and when they are they often invite uninformed responses that miss or obscure the basic issue.

'Luthon64
Spike (February 22, 2009, 15:51:16 PM):
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But this shangoma connection is something that I am sure can be proved to be contravening some law??

Tricky. A. Because people are too scared to expose the shamgomas B. You would have to prove that the shamgoma actually influenced the outcome of their venture. At most, you could try "defeating the ends of justice" if they were aware of a planned criminal activity and did not disclose this. But then you would have to prove that they knew that their clients were planning a criminal activity and not just some general venture where they needed special powers. C. If you can prove B, what are you going to charge them with? Doing magic?

Quote
However, consider that Quackwatch has been going for somewhat more than ten years and that it attracts a large number of visitors daily, yet still people continue to peddle and buy bogus medicine.

The problem with Quackwatch is that most of the local products are completely off the radar. I agree that the industry should not be overregulated, but we should at least be able to substantiate the manufacturer's claims of ingredients

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