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Telkom, Your ISP for life

10 February 2014, 07:17

The country’s switchboards have been swamped with unskilled call centre operators who answer telephones.

For the past month, I’ve been getting this message from Telkom (Your ISP for life):

Dear Subscriber

In our endeavour to improve customer service, Telkom Internet would like to advise you that there will be a system upgrade on the Telkom Internet email environment. This will improve the performance and add more security features to the *platform.

As a result, there will be service downtime from Friday, 7 February 23:00 until Saturday, 8 February 06:00.

Telkom apologises for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards


So what do I find this morning (Sunday, 9 February at 07:16) when I tried to open my email? Yep. You guessed it: “Service downtime.”

All I got was a little Logon-popup, with the message: “Please enter your user name and password for the following server:”

I entered my user name and password. Several times. With the same result. The evil little Logon-popup was adamant: “We do not negotiate with terrorists customers Dear Subscribers. Please enter your user name and password for the following server: Do it NOW! Or forever hold your piece.

I decided to bite the bullet, and to contact Your ISP for life, telephonically.

*Dial 10210*

“Welcome to Telkom. Please note that Telkom will **penalize you if our technical personnel are called out, and it is determined that the fault is unrelated to your call. If you’re a new customer, press 1. If you are an existing customer, press 1, 2, and 3, until you are blue in the face. All our consultants are currently asleep. Maybe we’ll get back to you sometime in the future.”

I waited and waited.

*Muzak from hell – interspersed with dire warnings of my imminent penalization*

I waited and waited and waited.

*Muzak from hell – interspersed with dire warnings of my imminent penalization*

I waited and waited.

Finally! Just before I succumbed from lack of food and water, an Indian gentleman (of Gupta origin), answered the phone: “Good morning to you, goodly sir. My name is Aadidev Ramgoolam (PBUH). How may I, with my meek and unworthy disposition, be of assistance to your venerated personality, and all and all?

Irukandji: “Morning. I seem to have a problem logging onto my email server.”

Ramgoolam: “Oh, honourable sir, a thousand apologies for this unjustifiable predicament! Please be noted that Telkom will penalize you if our technical personnel are called out, and it is determined that the fault is unrelated to your call.”

Irukandji: “Yes, I know.”

Ramgoolam: “In that case, your magnificent holiness, I am authorized to tell you that according to Account:, Server:, Protocol: POP3, Server Response: 'ERR invalid command', Port: 110, Secure (SSL): No, Server Error: 0x800CCC90, Error Number: 0x800CCC91, your email is not working at this current moment, and all and all. And all our Dear Subscribers have been having the same problem.”

Irukandji: “So you’re saying that this is a software problem and that your technical personnel are currently standing on ladders, at the top of telephone poles – and that they are busy fixing the problem?”

Ramgoolam: “That is indeed the honest to goodness truth of the matter, sahib. So help me Bob (PBUH).”

Irukandji: “I think that you are not being entirely truthful with me.”

Ramgoolam: “You are full of the correctness of the facts, Excellency. But that is what Telkom is paying me to do.”

Irukandji: “Sheet! I’m so fed up with Telkom!”

Ramgoolam: “Thank you for your call, Effendi. Your ISP for life is not worthy. Would you be wanting a reference number for your superbly wonderful complaint, and all and all, your godliness?”

(I replaced the phone gently and kicked the dust out of our cat.)

On days like this I realize that it would be sooo easy to start drinking again.

*platform – be very careful when someone uses this word. The untrustworthy Doctor Rumpeeelay started her Agang-bangSA campaign with a “platform.” Just look at her now – even the saddle blanket that she used to wear on her head, has walked out on her.

**penalize – the surgical removal of the penis.   

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