For those interested in a supreme lesson in the art of negotiation, I have a wonderful story for you.
Still warm from the glow of the spot light of the constitutional court Bathabile Dlamini is our heroine, the earstwhile damsel in charge of the Department of Social Development who absolutely loves KFC and thinking about social grants, has been played like the fiddle.
10 points Monopoly Capital 0 – SASSA.
We begin our story while ago. Our heroine, tasked a very pompous sounding Ministerial Committee with the task of reviewing the payment mechanism and organisation responsible for the issuing of cash to some 16,000,000 South Africans. This payment is called a social grant. These social grants are constitutionally mandated, and are paid on a monthly basis to all deserving gogo’s, single mothers and child headed households, among others. So this Ministerial Committee sat, some times for weeks at a time taking copious notes, minuting all the ebb and flow of their learned discussions coming up with a fabulous conclusion and a solution that could be presented to their leader on the best way forward…….. Hold on……. No they didn’t….. They sat, that I’m sure of. I am also sure of the endless amount of KFC that was consumed during these meetings, chicken bones probably filling the dustbins, belts groaning under the strain of yet another streetwise 2. Washed down by copious little plastic cups of soft drinks filled to the brim from 2L coke bottles haphazardly laid out on a trestle table with no table cloth. At the end of these sessions, the one thing they did was say to the incumbent supplier – Cash Payment Solutions, that their contract to supply this service to the 16,000,000 South Africans, was coming to an end and their relationship would not continue at all from 1 April 2017.
Enter Serge Belemant, Wits Alumnus, who is the Chairman of the business who was charged with the task of paying the gogo’s and the other deserving South Africans. He says, ‘cool’, and walks away hands in his pockets into the sunset, a sneaky grin on his face. This sneaky grin is not misplaced dear reader, oh no. In a nutshell, paying 16,000,000 gogo’s some cash on a monthly basis is a fabulously difficult task – systems, solutions, data, hosting, code, schema are words that come to mind. To put is simply, how do you know which gogo you have already paid and which gogos you are yet to pay? Do they have an ID book? Are they dead? Are they sick and wont be able to get to the cashiers desk? How far in advance do you send the cash? How do you send the cash? How much do you send? You get the picture….. Jump back to the room with the 2l coke bottles and the belts groaning, faces covered in 11 secret herbs and spices, people scratching their heads, some even hitting their heads because the weave is too tight and tell me in what universe this this collection of comrades think they would be able to emulate even a fraction of the service performed by CPS? Not this one.
They didn’t, because they couldn’t and that is why they have failed.
Waiting in the wings is another South African saint, The Chief Justice, Mogeng Mogeng. A true South African in every sense of the word, incredibly successful, articulate and quite clearly has the best interests of the Country at heart. Nailed Jacob Zuma and found him to have breached his oath of office (we will tackle that another time), so we like this fellow. He summons Bathabile Dlamini to Bloem for a show down, why you ask? Because she has run the Department of Social Development into the ground and the court finds the following, “This court and the whole country are now confronted with a situation where the executive arm of government admits that it is not able to fulfil its constitutional and statutory obligations to provide for the social assistance of its people”, “And in the deepest and the most shaming of ironies, it now seeks to rely on a private corporate entity with no discernible commitment to transformative empowerment to get it out of this predicament”. After Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation speech, doesn’t this hit you in the face with irony? They couldn’t find a single company with the technical skill and experience to perform the task of giving money to deserving citizens. Not a single one with any BEE credentials fit for the task. They hadn’t been able to educate a single person or group to the level of competence required even with the coffers of the country wide open and promises of rapid transformation over more than 2 decades.
This is a stunning victory for capitalism, sheer hard work and the art of the deal. Waiting in the wings for sure and certain failure of the Ministerial panto, Serge gets a call that I could only imagine went like this. “Hallo, Mr Serge pleze come back”. Serge being the gent he is says, “Only with the greatest of pleasure, Madame” – the grin on his face now a beaming smile from ear to ear. Just before he ends the call he also mentions in passing that the terms of the agreement, on the 11th hour with chaos erupting across the country, have now changed some what. “CPS will now be charging 30% more per social grant payment”, around R16.50 per person per payment every month for the next 5 years. This in the context of a KFC task team setup to eradicate this cost altogether. The art of the deal, pure and simple, and surely the nail in the coffin on the political career of someone who spends waaay too much time at Saxonwold Shebeen.
And in an even more stunning twist, the Constitutional Court have now given Bathabile Dlamini 2 weeks to come up with reasons as to why she shouldn’t be personally liable for wasting their time and ours and the gogo’s.