Howard Feldman

An introduction to Kickback Country

2017-07-31 10:07
Government is apprehensive about the Unite Against Corruption initiative, as ordinary people express a change in the nation’s mood

Government is apprehensive about the Unite Against Corruption initiative, as ordinary people express a change in the nation’s mood (Leon Sadiki)

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My third son completed matric last year and is currently on a gap year. Although he has indicated a firm interest in studying Industrial Psychology, I am not convinced.

The world is a very different place today and there are numerous alternatives available to school leavers. In particular South Africa offers enormous opportunities to those wishing to specialise in “Kickbacks and Commissions”.

South Africa is after all kickback county.

In order to maximise this industry, formalisation and regulation is required. Further, a structured education programme needs to be provided for those wishing to gain access to the industry.

Below are some thoughts that educationalists might want to consider when designing the curriculum.

The course should be divided into formal course work as well as practical, hands-on training. Fortunately, for South African youth wishing to enter this segment of commerce, the choices are broad.

In addition, theoretical study can be structured according to the industry in which one would hope to specialise. Some examples below;

Law Enforcement. A fairly uncomplicated six months’ training takes place at the local Wimpy. Students will learn useful phrases like, “Your driver’s license is out of date. But I am hungry and haven’t had breakfast,” along with, “You were driving 68km/h in a 60km/h zone. Would you prefer a spot fine of R20 or a R500 written one?”  

Students will practice holding clipboards and lurking around corners while identifying vehicles and drivers who are likely to have cash on them. This is all while taxi drivers flagrantly defy the rules of the road in vehicles that haven’t seen valid licenses since 1967.

Technology. This is a fairly new field and requires a basic understanding of government, the Indian technology sector and the Dubai property market.

Internships are available at SAP as well as many other IT environments. For a full list of the options available please see #GuptaLeaks. Please note that candidates should continue to hit “refresh” as more names are introduced every few hours.

Public Relations. Candidates will be able to choose from various international and local PR firms as well as lesser known organisations like the Black Land First (BLF).

Critical phrases will have to be studied and memorised. These include, “white monopoly capital!”, “Racist!” and “I can’t remember”. 

Students will benefit from international travel which might include white monopoly capitalist destinations like London as well as lesser known provinces of India, where Gupta is a very popular name. The ability to harass journalists, although not a requirement, would assist potential students greatly.

Transport. This is the Holy Grail of Kickbacks and Commissions and the equivalent of a Master’s degree in the subject.

The advantage of this sector is that no knowledge of the underlying industry is required. Metric measurements don’t need to be accurate and provided that one is able to count to numbers in the billions this could be just the ticket. Hands-on training will be provided by SAA, Transnet, Prasa and the Blue Light Brigade.

Minerals and Mining. If transportation is a Master’s degree, then Minerals and Mining is the PhD of the sector. This is for the elite of the student body and for those who don’t mind that the odd coal transaction might get their hands dirty.

The rewards are enormous as MM kickbacks (Mineral and Mining) has a subcategory of PP (Power Producer) with elective options in Load shedding, Resigning/Not Resigning and, of course, PW (Public Weeping).

Training will take place at an undisclosed venue in Saxonwold. Alcohol provided.

The South African kickback industry is a significant one. In fact, it is so significant that it should appear as a line item on the country’s GDP. But to date taxes have not been levied on the industry and subsidies not provided to those wishing to study further in this field. This suggests that there needs to be further investigation about how the kickback sector could assist in reversing the recession and providing much needed consolidation of this already booming industry.

South Africa is after all the Silicon Valley of the kickback market. But it is high time that we exported this knowledge and know-how to somewhere other than Dubai.

- Howard Feldman is the author of Carry on Baggage and Tightrope and the afternoon drive show presenter on Chai FM.

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