Archive for December 15th, 2004

One more for the road.

By now, some of you may have realised that I have an affinity with South Africa. An Afrikaans friend from Wellington (Cape) shared this with me the other day and, in turn, I would like to share it with you.

We are perhaps more philosophical about are politicians than you are over here 🙂

Minister of Public Works Stella Sigcau wanted to remodel her office, so she invited different contractors for tenders. One was from Johannesburg, one from Durban and the last one from Soweto.

“OK gentlemen, nice job I want,” She said, “Let’s hear from Joburg?”

The guy took out his ultrasonic measuring device and tablet computer and began measuring, scrawling on the computer, calculating.

Eventually: “R90, 000, Madam Minister,” he said.

“That seems like quite a lot of money! Why R90,000?”

“You see,” he replied, “that’s R40, 000 for material, R40, 000 for my guys and R10, 000 for my profit”.

Stella seemed OK with that and turned to the Durban contractor.

“So how much do want to do the job?” she asked.

The Durban fella took out a rusted tape measure, broken clipboard and a blunt pencil. He took some measurements, scratched some calculations on the back of his Rothmans 30s box and came up with a figure of R70,000.

“That’s interesting!” Said Stella. “Explain the R70,000?”

“Simple, Madam Minister, I got a brother-in-law in the hardware trade, so that’s R30,000 for materials, R30,000 for me, and R10,000 for my profit and all.”

Stella was amused but happy to accept the explanation. Then she asked the Soweto contractor for his quotation.

He just smiled, looked the minister in the eyes and said, “R270,000!”

“Yoh Yoh Yoh!… How did you come to that amount without even taking your measurements? What is that amount for?”

“That’s R100,000 for me & R100,000 for you!”

“So what about the remaining R70,000?”

“We hire that guy from Durban to do the job!!!”.

Ah! Whoever said South Africa is a third world country, anything your politicians can do, ours can do better!


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