I stumbled across your advert quite literally. I was en route from the kitchen to the veranda with an adult beverage in hand when I tripped over the Sunday papers. The Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman said I hadn’t tripped at all, but had blacked out while traversing the north face of the lounge floor. She could be right. I have been known to black out for no apparent reason. I hope this won’t affect my application.
I have wanted to join South African Airways ever since a pilot let me sit on his lap in the cockpit. That was a year ago. Well, he called it a cockpit. It was really more of a basement with some kind of purple fur on the walls. Don’t worry, it was fake fur. He said he was one of yours. I love the new uniforms, but doesn’t it get hot under the latex rubber? My pilot was certainly sweating.
The advert said, “Do yo have Grade 12? If yes, SAA is now accepting applications.” I like the ‘yo’ bit. It makes working there seem hip and happening. I, for one, would love to work in a place where everyone walked around saying things like, “yo” and “bro” and “mofo” and “milf”.
The only criterion seems to be that applicants must have their Grade Twelve. Pardon my French, but I find this an extremely unrealistic expectation. Why set the standards so high? We have a president who barely completed nursery school and he runs an entire country full of millions of people. You’re just an airline with planes that don’t even carry more than two or three thousand people at a time. What difference can a matric certificate possibly make?
Anyway, the only real issue concerning education in this blighted country is whether or not teenage girls should be allowed to have hairstyles the size of Karoo tumbleweeds.
Please be advised that I have no intention of working my way up from the bottom. Parastatals are like giant corporate mazes full of dead-ends and dragons.
I have decided that I shall be a pilot. Forget the matric. It’s enough that I have a reasonable sense of direction, virtually no fear of heights and know the difference between the sea and the ground simply by looking at them. To be honest, I’m a bit night blind so I wouldn’t want to still be in the air at the end of the day. But who would? That’s sundowner time, that is.
Anyway, let’s not worry about technicalities. The main thing is that I’m behind the wheel by Christmas. Behind the joystick, I should say. My pilot friend taught me all about jiggling the joystick so there’s nothing to worry about there.
I am also very good at putting people at ease, especially if they think they’re going to die in a giant fireball. I have jokes that I will tell over the intercom. Here’s one.
Two Islamic State women are waiting to board a plane. One turns to the other and says, “Does my bomb look big in this?” They’ll lap it up, trust me.
One thing is troubling me. I read in the paper you’ve issued something called a Request for Long Term Funding. Where I come from, that’s fancy talk for begging. Are you going to want to borrow money from me? I should warn you that I grew up poor and have remained so all my life. Don’t feel bad, though. Everyone scrounges a bit of cash when the beer and drugs run out.
What worries me is that you’re asking for R16-billion and you want to start hitting it within two weeks of signing the deal. Do you have no money at all? What the hell happened? Does the airline have a gambling problem?
Look, don’t get me wrong. I’m a generous man. I always give to unemployed people at the robots if they reach me before I can wind up my window. So I’m not saying I won’t help you out. Let me make a couple of calls and I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, I can spot you a twenty for lunch. Pay it back in installments if you have to.
Hold on. Your advert lays down some pretty heavy BEE conditions. Are there many disabled black women living in rural areas who served in uMkhonto we Sizwe with a spare R16-billion under the mattress? Probably. Anyway, I wouldn’t have thought a company in your position could afford to be that fussy.
If there are no takers, you might want to put management on the street with tin mugs and signs saying, “Crippled airline with 11 000 hungry wage slaves to support. Please help.”
Whoever does your hiring is also doing too much Ecstasy. Can anyone just wander in off the street and get a hug and a job? Your staff complement works out at 184 people per plane and yet nobody can ever find a flight attendant when they need another drink. So you have maybe four stewards in the cabin avoiding people like me and three allegedly flying the plane. Then there’s the guy that puts petrol in and another two on cargo duty. That makes ten. What are the other 174 doing? They can’t all be rifling through the baggage. Fire them at once.
I’ve changed my mind. I no longer wish to be a pilot. I want to be the chief executive officer. You clearly need someone who knows how to run a company. I am not that person, but I do know people who know people who know these things and I will bring them on board immediately. On board one of the planes, I mean. No more meetings in stuffy offices. When I meet with my executives, we will do it on a 797 Jumbo Jet 80 000 miles above the Indian Ocean, stopping only to disinfect the Jacuzzi and take on fresh supplies of tequila and whores.
I can see why you need money. For a start, a bunch of airlines are claiming damages amounting to hundreds of millions of rands because you spent years bribing travel agents to divert customers away from the competition. That was naughty.
What is also naughty is that you haven’t produced financial statements since 2014. Is your printer broken? I’ll bring mine from home. See what an asset I am already? My problem-solving skills are easily worth an extra million a month.
What the hell is Hong Kong’s case? How can they threaten to ground us if they don’t see our financial statements pretty damn soon. What business is it of theirs? Here’s my plan. We fit 30mm cannons to our wings. I know a guy with a welding machine. Then we come in low and hot over Chek Lap Kok and god help any Chinaman who tries to stop us from landing. Once we’re loaded up with tourists and heroin, we shoot our way out. That’ll teach them to bomb Pearl Harbour.
As for the Treasury refusing to give the airline a paltry R5-billion to tide you over, I think they could do with a damn good strafing, too. Sure, they’ve given you a bit of money here and there over the years, but how far do they think R14-billion goes these days? The price of bread is up, for a start. No wonder the president wants his finance minister behind bars. The way that Gordhan fellow keeps a stranglehold on the public purse you’d think it was his own money. It’s taxpayer’s money and if we want to toss it into a bottomless pit filled with rapacious vipers, that’s our prerogative.
The counter-revolutionary Gordhan reckons the airline could save money by cancelling unprofitable routes. Unprofitable for what? The People Shall Fly. It says so in the Freedom Charter. If there is even just one person who wants to fly to, say, Bora Bora, then SAA must organise a flight. That person will be me. Bora Bora is awesome.
Is it true that board chairwoman Dudu Myeni is Jacob Zuma’s sister from another mister? I’m a bit worried about her, to be honest. Is she taking her medication? She seems to suffer from fairly serious delusions of grandeur. Perhaps it is one of the requirements of the position.
My first act as CEO will be to change my job title to Commander of the Skies (COS). My second act will be to add another twenty rows of seats to all our aircraft. Legroom is a luxury that SAA can ill-afford. Passengers will be expected to squat on their seats. They may kneel if they wish. Free snacks will be done away with but passengers will be allowed to prepare their own meals. An area for slaughtering animals will be provided for those who require kosher or halaal food. However, they will have to bring their own animals and implements for the butchering thereof.
Frequent Flyer Miles will be replaced with Mile High Club Miles and clothing will be optional in First Class. I’m sure you agree this will ameliorate the ordeal of flying with SAA as it is now.
One of the best things about being COS is that I get to hire friends and family. Fortunately, I come from a long line of functional alcoholics who will be quite at home in an environment where drinking on the job is encouraged. Good news for the losers flying in cattle class is that I will replace all those silly miniature bottles with nips. Business class will get half-jacks and first class the full 750ml.
I also have a foolproof turnaround strategy for the airline. Tell the pilots to turn around and come back. It’s all this flying about that’s costing a fortune. Sell the landing gear and turn the planes into high-class brothels serving decent food. SAA has been screwing its customers for years. This way they’d at least disembark with a smile on their faces.