Fool's guide to decoding the double-speak
GULUVA has, like many other South Africans, been at the receiving end of government-speak, which often leaves him none the wiser after an engagement with a bureaucrat.
He has, however, been able to decode some of the jargon and is now in the process of compiling a fool's guide to this evasive way of communicating. Below is a sneak preview of the dossier:
- "We believe in partnerships" - We have no clue of what is expected of us. Working with other people or organisations will at least help us hide our inadequacies, laziness and shortcomings even though we are in the end going to claim credit for the job.
- "Let's debate it" - A favourite of the Machine Gun Man's, this means: You caught us completely by surprise; we have no idea what the subject is all about. Talking about it more often will at least give us a basic understanding of the topic.
- "That's a good question" - Oh, shucks, this question is completely beyond my comprehension. Understand if I give you a stupid answer.
- "So-and-so is not going to renew his contract" - The person has been hopeless at his job; so we have nicely asked him to start looking for a new one elsewhere. It's a clever way of saying you are fired.
- "The matter will have to go through all internal processes" - This is another way of saying there's no chance in hell that this matter will be dealt with in your lifetime as it will have to go through a string of incompetent and lazy bureaucrats for resolution.
- "It is absolutely incorrect and we are going to issue a statement on Monday on the matter" - We did not think this matter would be in the public domain by now. We honestly don't know what to say to you right now. Give us more time to figure out how we are going to wriggle out of it.
- "No comment" - Frankly speaking, all the allegations you are making are true. But you're not going to get that from me.
- "I cannot comment or deny the allegations" - Ditto the above.
- "We are going to put systems and processes in place" - We'll work on it.
How not to catch a crook
The following is a note pasted by the Honeydew police next to an ATM at a shopping centre in Strubens Valley, Roodepoort: "Please be on the lookout for approximately four black male suspects driving a black velocity golf (sic).
"They normally ask a client to help them at the ATM's (sic) then clone cards or swap cards around. If there is any problems (sic) please phone Sector Policing on."
Guluva appreciates the fact that these hard-working and committed policemen and women mean well. But, really, which streetwise guluva would hang around an ATM adorned with this message?
Retirement! What retirement?
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was in the spotlight this week when he called on the Cape Town Opera to cancel its trip to Israel in protest against what he called that country's treatment of the Palestinians.
Saying it would be both "inappropriate and unconscionable" to perform in that country, Tutu made an impassioned plea to the "fine singers of Cape Town Opera to listen to your conscience".
This from a man who on his 79th birthday a couple of weeks ago said he was disengaging from public discourse.
When it's in you, man, it's in you!
E-mail Guluva on: email@example.com