Friday, December 30, 2011

NOT SO MARVELLOUS MAIDS - how to chase away customers.

Not so Marvellous Maids.
With the regular maids service closed for December break, and two teenage boys in full “tidy” mode for the duration, we resolved to contract a once off char-lady to do some cleaning to keep the house safe for the parents. We contacted the local branch of Marvellous Maids and after paying R250 in advance made an appointment for a char-lady to spend the day at the house, to do general routine cleaning and some clothes steaming.

The char-lady arrived at 9h00, was shown the areas needing attention, and also informed that she should ask for anything she needed. As I was working in the study, she was also told that as soon as he was ready to clean the study I would move to facilitate her work. So far so, good, I then had to leave the house, and left the char-lady to continue her tasks. One of the boys was there with her, in case she needed any assistance with materials or directions to where anything required might be kept.
On our return later that afternoon, the char-lady had already left. As the service had been pre-paid we made a cursory inspection of the house, to ascertain that all was as expected. Despite my protracted absence the study had not been cleaned at all. Neither had the clothes steaming been completed, nor had any of the dustbins been cleared, annoying as this had been the motivation to contract the work out in the first place. As the service had been paid for in advance, there was no option but to contact the company and convey our dissatisfaction with the service. 

From the outset, the contact person at Marvellous Maids, a Mr Sipho Kunene was not only difficult to contact, he was defensive, and as the matter developed he became downright abusive. My initial contact with him, in which I conveyed my dissatisfaction, was answered with a mail that plainly informed me that I was the cause of the incomplete work, as he did not know that I had in fact not been in the study for most of the day.

He went on to offer me a 10% discount on the next visit, over which I had severe doubts as to whether I wanted it or not. When I rejected the offer and reminded him that the initial service had not been satisfactory and that he should address that issue first, he upped the offer to 25% discount on the next visit. He added: “our final offer is 25%. This offer is not in anyway an admission of guilt on our part but as a remedy to the situation as our valued customer. The fact of the matter is that the char lady in question tried her best to complete her duties but was hindered by circumstances beyond her control.”

When I wrote back and explained that all I wanted was to have the service properly rendered as contracted initially and that I saw that remedy as being a visit at no charge, Mr Kunene launched a tirade about underprivileged communities and that I was in fact trying to: “takes us back to the years we all do not want to think about.” The race card it seems is never too far out of reach. As to my stated intention to share my experiences with others on Mr Kunene had this to say: “I am sorry will only make us more popular than you thought. No Thanks”

My final communication to Mr Kunene was to state that all I required in terms of the Consumer Protection Act was to receive the service I had paid for but not received in full, his reply was: “I am sorry that I have to deny you this service. It constitutes Human Rights abuse.” Mr Kunene did not elaborate whose human rights were being abused in his opinion, in terms of not getting what I paid for, I would assert that my rights as a consumer had been abused. Clearly in exercising my consumer rights I had in his opinion wandered over to abuse someone’s human rights.
Marvellous Maids? I don’t think so.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The National Planning Commission and Other Myths and Fables.

Trevor Manuel’s NPC and his NPC jam on the net, highlighted how desperately short of cognitive power we are as a nation. I spent some 8 to 10 hours participating in the NPC jam, what alarmed me the most was the still blatantly racist emotions and opinions being expressed by people who had at that point enjoyed some 17 years of freedom, under a government they had chosen. The participants all seemed to want to be rewarded for the accident of their birth pigmentation. A notion no doubt fostered and reinforced by the previous three corrupt governments as part of their long term strategy to remain in power, by keeping the largely ignorant, electorate labouring under the fear of a possibility of return to apartheid, should the current party be removed from power. Understandably most of the suggestions and proposals seemed to be aligned with continuing the racist fear mongering and highlighted the dangers of a return to white controlled apartheid.

No one seems to have stopped to consider the demographics of a truly democratically elected opposition government, and how it would impact on the well-being of the majority, if not ALL South African people. Without over labouring the point, the demographics are simple. Any party wishing to become a majority would have to be representative of ALL the people, there is no way on earth, or in South Africa for that matter, for a return to power of a minority racist party. We as a people would NEVER consider a return to minority rule. It stands to reason, that even if the ANC were to lose the next election, the government elected by the people, would be a majority government, and in contrast to the current corrupt structures, would not be afforded an opportunity to descend into the kind of all-pervasive carefully concealed power mongering and corrupt practices that have taken South Africa as an economy to the brink of failure, due to gross government mismanagement and corruption.

Seen against that backdrop, the NPC has little hope of success, because the entrenched cadres of corruption at all levels of government, have no interest in any change that would affect their vested interests and corrupt deals with government. Any meaningful change that would truly benefit the Nation of South Africa is diluted and reshaped to protect current interests. As with many other African failed states the inevitable collapse is delayed for as long as possible to allow the members of the Kleptocracy as much time as possible to leech as much money as possible from the system before it collapses, to allow them to live their lives of luxury in a another country, benevolent to the their excesses, and happy to be the custodians of their Billions of Dollars, unjustly gouged from their people.

We not only need the NPC’s plans to be implemented, we desperately need a new mind-set not only from the voters who have traditionally voted the very people who carefully maintain the mass voting public in poverty, while becoming fabulously rich from doing so, but a mind-set change among the intellectuals who for some perverse reason, refuse to see how supporting a structurally corrupt regime in public, keeps the majority of the people in abject poverty. The very people who despite their education and obvious enjoyment of the privileges stemming from blatantly racist practices will like the elite above them, try to maintain the status quo for as long as possible, little realising that when the masses wake up and make radical changes to the sitting government, they will not be spared in the ensuing turmoil and their carefully protected privileges may well also disappear overnight. As is the case with most artificially privileged classes their privileges will be the first to evaporate under a new order.

We cannot continue see people die of starvation in a country with Africa’s largest GDP, just as we cannot continue to use legislation to keep the people deprived of a say in the running of the country, and expect 70% of those people to live on less than a Dollar a day, while government spends Billions in public funds on hotel accommodation, aircraft charter flights, shady arms deals, dubious global events like COP17 and police VIP protection, to keep the masses away from them. The government and not civil society is the responsible agent in maintaining the chasm between the rich and the poor. The very same government seeks to pass laws to remain in power for as long possible by concealing the evidence of their malfeasance by passing draconian information laws in the kangaroo court concealed as a public forum of government.

The vast majority of South Africans are kept uninformed of the real issues, while being mercilessly indoctrinated to maintain the current gross inequities being visited upon them by the current regime. For every person that can see the injustices, falls the duty of educating those that can’t see how the exploitation and lies are keeping them in a state of arrested development.