We don't do debt collecting here at JKLS Africa. It is a part of law which sucks for everyone involved though, I am sad to admit, I was quite good at it one stage in my life. That is what happens when angry with the world; you need to take it out on someone. However I found peace and would not touch such things today. There is not enough money in the world to make me change my mind. In fact I wrote a book called Your Worst Enemy to tell the debtor what to do, legally, when the banksters come after him. Ironically I also say many times in the book "pay your debts if possible" and it is downloading more than any other book except the booklet, it is too short to be a book, on Drug Abuse.
Now that is interesting for I noted that every drug addict follows the same pattern. He has an unmistakable modus operandi which you can spot and then you know. As with almost everything I wrote it is controversial - I don't care about the addict - there are enough "Johnny Two Shoes" people who will cry about him. Nah, I say we should not blame the parents or loved ones but understand what they go through when the druggie fails himself and everyone around him. There are also legal implications (yes, the law is in your house, bedroom and wherever you look) like the ability to force a minor or even an adult to take a drug test. The practical problem is what happens when you search the room and find the drugs or what you believe is drugs. Do you call the police as the law says you should do? Or do you silently destroy it and break the law? What do you do? Well the answers are in the book and I am sad to say, it downloads more than anything else. I can see where it downloads too - USA, Canada, UK and Australia, not so much this side of the Atlantic. It is sad to me, it shows the worry parents have in privileged society.
But today, we need to talk about another part of law JKLS is not the least interested in, labour law. We deal with it; you have to when your investigation shows that your best worker or son (never the same thing) is the one stealing and robbing you blind. There is nothing wrong with retaliation and a few klappe (slaps), of course not, but legally that will cost you dearly. And so will your silly contracts you downloaded somewhere and thought is watertight just because you don't understand half of it. Yeah, that never works out well and it must be constantly updated as the long haired liberals in parliament (I see the word "parly" is now being used? What crap is that and lazy reporting we are subjected to? - it is worse than my own ramblings) passes the one law after the other.
The fact is we have powerful and very liberal labour laws in South Africa, always been like that, I suppose because of our past where labour revolts and unions were as radical as they could be. Let me tell you, I would rather work alone and do the typing etc myself than employ people. Then I know (a) the work gets done (b) nothing is abused (c) I work for a nice enough fellow and (d) I get paid first. The last is not always the case in most companies, getting paid late is the order of the day at many places. Shows exceedingly bad management but excellent bullshitting skills to get away with it, or desperation from those subjected to it.
So if you have people working for you, including a maid, be sure they have updated contracts in place, signed and kept somewhere safe. Don't say I did not warn you. Remember, a contract only becomes effective and downright dangerous when things go wrong. Before that it is fairly neutral and gathers dust somewhere.
Then you need to understand, that thing of shouting at someone to piss off and take a hike, you are fired, may sound nice on television but you try that in this country (Nigeria will be ok, you can do that there) and see what legal anguish your have. In simple terms you must follow the law by the book - that means being substantially and procedurally fair. What is comes down to is that it is difficult to fire anyone for anything, even theft. You have to have a very good reason (substantially fair) and a trial after many warnings and remedial actions (procedurally fair). I have no doubt that the advanced labour laws which the long haired liberals are so proud of are bad for the economy. On the other hand, it is needed for you get some real Scrooges amongst us.
What you as an employee (another word for slave) must remember is that you never ever resign unless it is to prove a point. Where you are senior enough to be held responsible for the board actions, and they are not paying taxes, or fiddling the books etc, you resign. Otherwise, let them fire you legally. This is an unfair system, if a senior manager resigns; it is seen as an "honourable" thing to do. Like falling on your own sword, if a junior does that, it is seen as (a) an admittance of guilt and (b) throwing your toys out of the cot. So all you need to remember is, you never resign.
Of course, in certain circumstances, where you have falsified your qualifications, or failed miserably in your objectives, you are expected to resign. It is the honourable thing to do but that never works like that in Africa. Honour does not mean as much as it did in the old days. Hence we find most would rather blame their mom and dad, or Apartheid, that old excuse ad nauseum we hear every week. Yeah, we have no electrical power, eish, it is Apartheid now. Lol, I am on record in one of my books, cannot remember which, where I say it does not matter what will happen in the next 150 years, it will always be Apartheid’s fault. Get used to it my friends, it will not get better nor will this outlook change. In my late wife's country, slavery is still being blamed even though that stopped in 1865 already. And remember now, follow the great example of our leaders, don't ever resign, honour is a foolish principle. And if forced out, remember now, it is Apartheid which caused this, not you. You are Mr Innocent himself.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.