For several weeks, if not months, I’ve been listening to radio chat shows highlighting the Limpopo text book scandal. And indeed this morning it was made mention that Edusolutions, one of the companies who have not delivered books, is headed by none other than Shaun Battleman. Name not familiar? Well Mr Battleman, it is alleged, is pretty-darn close to our Pres JZ, and even had the opportunity to travel with him to the US recently. Oh yes, he also donated some money to Pres JZ’s education trust – you can read about here – Mail and Guardian
Now the text book debacle aside, because I could just have a melt-down over this if I get stared, had me thinking about how business works. And to be honest it seems very clear that to maintain or gain business you have to pally-up and offer “incentives” to keep your business afloat. It’s not enough to build a good business based on ethics and an excellent product anymore. In fact, has it ever been this way?
Just think about the “Wednesday Golf Afternoons.” These sporty gatherings have nothing to do with perfecting your swing. They are all about networking. And if you are savvy enough to let the right opponent win, or pick up the cost on a regular basis, then you have ensured continued and or new business.
Now not everybody can or wants to play golf. So how do they ensure business continues? Simple, provide massive discounts, say all the right things, do lunches and suppers, supply tickets for top sporting events, provide gifts just because, make cash donations towards their favourite charity, and under no condiiton challenge or disagree. In fact if a business acquaintence needs their house painting, yep you know who they should be asking.
So where does this all start? Is there not a corrupt core within us all? Are we born with this and use it unwittingly to different degrees? Let me ask you a couple of questions.
Have you not as a mother ever sent along cakes and goodies to your child’s teacher because by sucking up to the teacher your child will do well?
Have you ever given a couple of extra bucks to somebody to jump the queue for your car to washed, fixed, attended to?
Have you ever attended a function because if you didn’t you would lose business or hamper a relationship that is important for progress, both professionally or personally?
Have you ever sent your child to school with the sound piece of knowledge to smile and be nice to the teacher if they want to:
- stay out of trouble
- get the best seat in the class
- get the leading role in a play
- be captain of the A side rugby/hockey team
- attain and maintain good grades
I know I’ve been guilty of all of these, and probably more. And I also know first-hand that by not “playing” the pat-you-on-the-back-and-smile-even-though-I-dislike-you game has caused me aggro and disapointment at times.
Let me be very clear, I’m not for one minute trying to rationalise or condone the text book scandal. I’m just trying to get my mind around where all this corruption starts.
Does it start at home? Or have we been indoctrined by our governments and big-business and therefore followed suit? I don’t know the answer. Do you?