When we were young listening to the radio was a regular past-time. In our home it started at 06:00 as Dougie Laws played his first tune of the morning. I can still hear it now, “Come on, get up. The sun is up in the sky …”. After a few years a different song, “Decimal Dan”, was played as our currency changed from Pounds & Pence to Rands & Cents. I guess many will remember that song, “Decimal Dan, the Rand Cents Man, Gives you cents for pennies whenever he can …”.
The radio was company for our Mum as she was home alone and we also learnt so much from it when at home. Our children and their friends were stunned to learn that we were already married with 2 children when TV was introduced to South Africa in 1975! Today I only get to listen to the radio when driving my car but when I get to do so I still find that I learn so much. I enjoy the discussion and phone-in programmes the most.
Why all this information about listening to the radio when this topic is about getting very rich, very quickly? Well, it is from the radio that I learn of for whom and how this happens.
It seems to follow a particular 7 step process:
1. Reside in a Developing Country
2. Support the ruling party
3. Get a top appointment of a parastatal or similar organisation, showing as many qualifications as possible, whether accurate or not
4. After less than half your approved contract time, make a staff appointment which your cadres will not actually like or show some other form of lack of obedience
5. Keep your performance down to a bare minimum
6. Get suspended on full pay for up to 3 years and then –
7. Agree to resign or get fired having pre-arranged Golden Handshake (GH)
and then …
a) Accept the offered Diplomatic or Cabinet Post with outstretched hands
b) Select your retirement home in Monte Carlo, Dubai or the Caribbean
If you are really lucky the GH could exceed the full amount you would have received for your full contracted period!
Here are just a few examples:
Huge payouts to failed departing CEOs of a nation’s aviation and defence parastatals have cost the tax payers of that nation at least R246.6 million over the last decade.
One of the worst-offending local councils has not had a single manager serve for the entire duration of his or her contract since it was established in 2000. A former municipal manager received not one but TWO golden handshakes worth a combined R6-million after he was fired twice. Ironically, he was rehired by the council in 2006 to replace the person, who was appointed to replace him. The 2nd person received a R2.2million payout when he, too, was fired!
A CEO, who was fired from his position by the Minister responsible for the parastatal, walked away with a golden handshake of about R3 million in 2005.
Though there were no statistics, it has been noted that the practice of politicians suspending and firing managers in this particular nation and then offering them settlements in the form of Golden Handshakes and severance packages was “reasonably prevalent”.
A particular list was limited only to payouts received by departing CEOs of parastatals. The culture of Golden Handshakes, however, extends far beyond that …; recent examples of R7-million and R7.5-million to other officials illustrate precisely that point.
It really does seem pretty easy, doesn’t it? Want to give it a try?