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Snoring Thomas 1985 No 6

One afternoon after lunch, I was sitting on my chair at my desk. I was full after eating my ‘skaftin’. I felt like having a quick nap. Anyway, my friend asked me to help him dream up some winning horses. But, whew, one of my fellow-workers was looking at me like he was going to say: “Oh, Modimo, this boy is asleep ­ again.”

Just then I heard someone call my name. When I looked up I saw someone I thought I knew. Before I could even remember her name, she was busy telling me about how her friend was cheated by some company.

Just then I remembered that the person who was speaking to me is one of my fellow-workers here at Learn and Teach. She told me about her friend from the Trans­kei. “Because my friend comes from the Transkei, she cannot get the right stamp in her pass and she cannot find any job without this stamp,” she said. “Then somebody told her about a certain company that can fix her pass. The name of the company is American Eagle African Consul­tants here in Bree Street, Johannesburg.”

By now I was no longer feeling very sleepy. I could not believe my ears. It was the first time I have not believed my fellow­ worker. I listened to the rest ‘of the story. My fellow worker now said: “The company told my friend to pay them R200.00 if she wanted to get the right stamp in her pass. But because she did not have enough money, she told them that she would pay them R20.00 every month. After that she got a card and some forms to give to her employer. They told her that with the card no-one, not even the police, can arrest her. She must just show the card and there will be no problems.”

Now I had something to do. I had to find out if the story was true. But there was one problem. I am not very brave, you see. This meant that I could not go to the offices of American Eagle African Consultants. So, I started thinking. A letter, ja, a letter, I thought to myself. No wonder some of my friends say that I am a very clever person.

I then wrote this company a letter. I told them that I am a worker from Gazankulu. I told them that I wanted them to help me get a stamp in my pass so my employer can register me. After writing this letter I made sure that my mother never saw it ­ otherwise she wouId klap me for writing lies.

After some few weeks, someone from American Eagle African Consultants wrote me a letter. For once I got a letter. In the letter they said they got my letter and they understood everything I told them. They said they cannot tell me everything in a letter. They said I must go and see them with my pass. Then they told me about the price for their help: Fixing my pass alone will cost me R200.00. If I want a stamp, then the fee is R250.00. And that is not all. The card costs R 12.00 and the joining fee is R1 0.00 every month. Whew, these people are not shy, I say to myself. Not shy at all.

Just after I got the letter, I heard about someone who also gave his money to this company. I went around looking for this fellow. And I found him.

This fellow paid American Eagle African Consultants R100.00 so that this company can fix his pass for him. But a long time passed and this fellow’s pass was not fixed. So he went to the Black Sash for help. The people at the Black Sash sent him to see some lawyers. The lawyers wrote the company a letter. They told American Eagle African Consultants to give this fellow his money back.

The company wrote back to the lawyers. They said they tried to help this fellow but because he was not working they could not register him. They also said that this fellow told them some lies and that they cannot give him his money back.

Now I had a question for the Black Sash. “Can any company really help people to fix their passes?” I asked. “No, no ,” said my friend at the Black Sash. “No-one but the Depart­ment of Co-operation and Development can fix a pass.”

Whew, I told myself, at least I have finished doing my job. Now I can go back to my nap. Just then a phone on my desk rang. It was my friend wanting to know if I had dreamt of any good horses. Oh, by the way, there is a phone on my desk. I decided to phone the Department of Co-operation and Development.

I spoke to Mrs Maahbs. She said: “No-one can ever get a stamp if they do not come to this department. It is illegal for any company or person to give another person a stamp. Any person who has a problem can contact us. And we will help them free of charge.”

Now I was shaking my head. Since when are the pass office people so friendly and so helpful? Those of you, dear readers, who have pass problems can go to the nearest offices of the Black Sash or other such organisations. If you do not know of any organisation near where you live, then please write to us and we will give you the address.

Oh, ja .. Now I can go back to helping my friend win some money on the horses. I am going back to sleep.

OK. Watch out for skelms and skelm companies. See you next time. Heyta daar .

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