1985. Buffels Rivier flooding over the causeway between Grootmis & Kleinzee. >
1985-1995 was the most productive decade of my life, while I played high-risk, high-return Luister, Personnel, Parent, Teacher, Writer, Investor, Trekker parts during States-of-Terror. I hopped off the donkey wagon, by joining Gallstone's personnel department. My pay was the same as a senior-teacher. Sarel, my sporty boss younger than me, was a De Beers boy, schooled in Kimberley, varsitied at Rhodes. Sarel's dad managed Harry Oppenheimer's Kimberley horse- stud farm. Sarel, reporting to Gallstone, idolized Pom GM, coordinated job evaluation, and managed Dreyerspan black clerks and computerized records for non -whites and white personnel.
Xhosa Boyce, black personnel-assistant reporting to Sarel, bossed three black manning-clerks, administering personnel records for hundreds of black migrant-workers. Zulu Hlemele schooled at Marion Hill Monastery, Industrial Relations (IR) Officer, was senior to Boyce. Hlemele's IR colleague Fezile, Xhosa activist, taught me Xhosa. Fezile's wife visited him at his single-quarters where he lived amongst whiteys, and stayed for good, flouting De Beers single-quarters policy. As Naidoo's COSATU was formed in 1985, and Ramaphosa's NUM recommended union strikes and deadlocking collective -bargaining wage-negotiations, (part of SA ungovernability), IR was tricky.
Since 1948, apartheid had benefitted whites. So far, I'd only taught in white schools, and apart from London, De Beers personnel was the first time in my life when I had non-white colleagues, Boyce, Fezile, others. Personnel work was broadening for me, far from school politics, baaskap and servants.
Personnel Officer Projects (POP) was my title. I administered Paterson job evaluation meetings chaired by Duiwelsteen, when departmental managers evaluated my word-processed job descriptions. Job evaluation evaluated the level of decision-making and supervision in each job, and sapiential-authority in some senior jobs. Playing Luister at bilingual meetings, I minuted job description changes, and informed payrolls of wage changes.
As clerks had increased and B band clerks wages were inequitable, potential IR strife, I wrote clerk descriptions after interviewing coloured, black, white employees, section heads and departmental heads, who verified my job descriptions. Most departments had clerks: farming; mining; geology; metallurgy; engineering; administration; personnel; security. Clerk jobs were evaluated, and most clerk wages remained the same, but some wages increased. Incumbents whose jobs were evaluated down Paterson bands continued receiving wages they'd received before evaluation. New incumbents began on the lower wage.
Departmental heads had secretaries, so I wrote B band secretary job descriptions. Employees toadied Pom GM's secretary, as she had a waiting-list for free company flights to Cape Town. For shopping -flight seats on Swael's plane, she wrote names on her list. Leah enjoyed that job perk. When Pom GM's secretary's wage didn't increase, she joined personnel as a higher paid personnel-assistant.
Unrest, Alexandra: Blacks killed. (Mark Mathabane, Miriam's Song, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2000).
Kleinzee printing works, run by a Durban Indian, had coloured workers wanting higher wages for B band machine-operator jobs. I wrote their job descriptions, jobs were evaluated, and wages remained unchanged, avoiding IR strife. No one complained their wages were too high.
Mine-vehicle driver jobs ranged in size from C band giant draglines, to B band Terex trucks; bowl-scrapers; bulldozers; shuttle-buses; trucks; road-rollers; graders; water-trucks; tractors; bakkies; cars; mowing-machines; Bobcat diggers; others. I minuted a meeting where mine-vehicle driver jobs were discussed but not evaluated. Chairman Duiwelsteen cautioned me, "Don' tell us how to do our jobs hey?"
While E band and D band mine-engineering personnel dithered about common criteria for B band mine-vehicle driver jobs, I wrote other departments' job descriptions, like Floors the Boer's farm job descriptions. When department heads queried Floors, who expected his A band shepherds to be paid the same as B band tractor drivers, Floors said, "My coloured shepherds drive horses and make independent decisions while camping in the sandveld man. My shepherds fix windmills and fences, and shoot jackals man." Floor's shepherds got B band pay increases.
I enjoyed, "Maak 'n draai hierso Mark... Koppie koffie?..." hospitality of departmental and section heads, and gained insight into how De Beers mines, dorps, hostels and migrant-labour worked. I wrote other job descriptions including: D2 minestore manager; D2 schools superintendent; C4 foremen; C4 dragline foreman; C4 school principal; C3 senior-teacher; C3 chargehand; C2 artisans; C2 teachers; C1 administration supervisor; C1 personal assistants; B2 painter; B1 sandblaster, many B band machine-operators; A3 bedrock sweeper; A1 cleaner; and many more. Specialized jobs were evaluated at monthly meetings, obviating IR strife.
I drew organization-structure diagrams, and maintained job description files and the job description directory. At the IT mainframe building, where staff worked in white coats in a dust-free lab, behind shuttered windows, I keyed in personnel data for hundreds of blacks, on their computer files. Later the IT boss was sacked for fiddling rec club funds.
I flew with Hlemele to a job description writing / organization development course at Anglo American Central Training Unit (CTU), Vereeniging, near Sharpeville, which was laagered by golden mine -dumps. Sarel had taught me all I knew about job description writing. Hlemele and I stayed in CTU rooms and ate fine food, while befriending staff from other De Beers mines.
Unrest: Winnie Mandela incited necklacing: "Together, hand in hand with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we will liberate this country." (Fred Bridgeland, Katiza's Journey, Beneath the Surface of South Africa's Shame, Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1997). Despite pass law abolition, segregation of hospitals, schools and living areas continued.
See SABC's portraits of Winnie Mandela and Joe Mamasela, with bits of their TRC testimonies.
1985. Leah Esslemont & brother Allan Mackintosh, SAP cop, on top of Table Mountain, Cape Town. Leah wore her Israeli army parka bought in London 1981. Allan emigrated to USA soon after completing 4 years conscripted SAP service. >