Makakastad was a sleepy little town in the Eastern Cape, but things still had to be done. The Mayor leaned forward and punched the intercom button on his desk and a moment later the door opened, his secretary, Mavis Mabuso, with her KFC drumstick still in her hand, entered. ‘Ewe?’
‘Mavis, why are you eating that KFC so early?’
‘Because mmph mmph I’m ungh! hungry! Now look, you make me swallow my food before I finish chewing!’
He shook his head. ‘Mavis, this consultant you hired to help you with your work, where is she?’
Mavis licked her fingers carefully before answering. She needed to pat her hair, but didn’t want to do it with grease on her fingers. ‘She is busy sorting out parking for her consultant.’ There, her hands were clean, now she could start patting again.
He sat back, holding up his hands. ‘Wait, wait, wait! How many consultants have you got?’
‘Only two!’ she said, defensively. 'How do you think I must organise all the car hires for you and do my job and run my business?’
‘Eh eh, Mavis, eh eh! I told you that you can run your business, but only if it doesn’t interfere with your work!’ He shook his finger admonishingly.
She shook her head and then patted it again. ‘My business is not interfering with my work, wena! I’ve got two consultants: one to look after your appointments and the other one to look after the car hires and your own cars.’
‘Who looks after my own cars…?’ he held up a hand…’and don’t tell me it’s your consultant. She only looks after Petrus, right?’
She squinted and looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully. ‘Petrus is in charge of washing the cars…Philemon cleans the blue lights…ehm…oh yes, Solomon makes sure they are parked properly.’
He smiled approvingly. It had been a good choice to hire Mavis. But something was bothering him, and he couldn’t think what it was.
‘Boss, can I go finish my breakfast? My KFC is getting cold.’
He waved his hand. 'Ya, ya, go! I’ll call you if I can think of anything else.’ He sat back in his chair and looked around his office. People thought it was easy being the Mayor of Makakastad, but he had a lot to do. Every day he had meetings with all his consultants and their consultants, then he had to get one of the consultants to write a nice letter to the President to thank him for his job, and then there was the DA.
At least one a week there was the DA. And they wanted to ask questions like why he wasn’t spending his budget. He could only go overseas so many times a year! Hai hai hai, these DA people! They had no idea about Democracy. His intercom rang and he picked it up.
‘Hrrmph, yes Mavis?’
‘Mr Cumberbatch from the DA is here to see you.’ He liked the way she managed to make his name and the DA sound like swearwords. Hau, she was good!
‘Send him in.’
The door opened, which was fortunate, because Mr Cumberbatch walked through the opening at the same time. The Mayor stood up and held out his hand for the triple handshake. ‘Mr Cumberbatch.’ He said gravely. He was, after all the Mayor.
‘Mayor Rectal,’ Mr Cumberbatch replied.
The Mayor waved to a seat. ‘Please, be seated. And what can I do for you today?’
Mr Cumberbatch sat back in his seat and surveyed the Mayor through half closed eyes until the Mayor started squirming. Then Mr Cumberbatch took out a sheaf of papers and put them on the desk. ‘Do you recognise these, Mr Mayor?’
The Mayor frowned. How could he recognise them? He could hardly read! ‘What are they?’
‘They are bills from car hire companies, Mayor Rectal, and they amount to R288 897.00. Why do you hire cars when you have six of your own? Or rather, six which have been given to you.’ He leaned forward enquiringly. ‘Hmm?’
‘That cars was given to me according to the Ministerial Handbook!’
‘But Mayor Rectal, you are not a Minister, but a Mayor, and the Mayor of a very poor town, Makakastad. How can you justify this expenditure?’
The Mayor shook his head. ‘Have you seen the state of the roads? I can’t take my own cars when I go to visit places! There are too many potholes, I will break my car, so I save the taxpayers money when I don’t break my own car, because the car hire places have insurance for that!’
Mr Cumberbatch leaned forward. ‘How many consultants do you employ?’
The Mayor leaned forward and pressed the intercom. ‘Mavis, come in here, please.’ He would show this DA man who he was messing with.
Mavis came in and stood, one hand on her hip, surveying Mr Cumberbatch as if he were a particularly odious insect. She looked at the Mayor. ‘Ye-e-es?’
‘Mavis, tell Mr Cumberbatch how many consultants we have.’
‘Tch! You are the boss, why must I tell him?’
The Mayor shook his head. ‘Mavis, just tell Mr Cumberbatch: he has a right to know that stuff.’
She snorted, the started tallying up on her fingers. ‘You have two consultants, one to tell you how to dress for important events and another one to write your nice letters to the President. Then that consultant has a consultant who shows him how to make the letter pretty.’
‘I’ve got two consultants: one to help me type so I don’t break my nails, and the other one to go to the fax machine and get my food from KFC. Petrus has two consultants: one to help him keep the blue lights clean and the other to park the cars nicely. Then the parking consultant has a consultant to guide him into the parking bay. It is the way we are bringing down unemployment, just like the President promised.’
Mr Cumberbatch was astonished. ‘Six consultants, for such a small town!’
‘Eh eh eh!’ said Mavis, waving her brightly tipped finger. ‘The Police have security guards and they have security consultants, plus we have a consultant for the guard at the gate, so he can tell him who must come in and who must not come in.’
‘I can’t believe what I’m hearing!’ said Mr Cumberbatch. ‘This is an outrage! Thirteen consultants, six personal cars and R280 000 in car hire!.
‘Hey wena!’ warned the Mayor. ‘Every year the DA cries that we don’t spend our budget, now we do and you still cry!’ He shook his head. ‘The DA are just trouble makers, and we can never satisfy you. Go back to your madam, Helen Zille, and tell her your story.’ He looked down at some papers on his desk. ‘Now soega wena! I’m busy and I haven’t got time for this rubbish!’Mr Cumberbatch stormed out of there in high dudgeon and after a brief period, the Mayor summoned Mavis again. ‘Mavis, go out and hire me another consultant who can speak to Mr Cumberbatch when he comes to visit