Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Red Tape and dealing with Home Affairs

I had one of  the most frustrating days today.  More frustrating than laying in bed for the last 3 months recouping from my treatment.  So I thought I would share.  In fact I have to share.

And of course it had to do with dealing with RED TAPE!

The first frustrating episode involved having to renew my car license.  It expired yesterday.  As I am not quite mobile as yet, I had to drag my dear boyfriend along to stand in the queue while I found somewhere to sit.  We tried to renew my license yesterday but gave up after standing in the queue for an hour and a half when the one cashier kindly announced she was closing her window for 10 minutes.  She was one of 2 windows open!  So we called it a day.

We got up bright and early this morning to repeat the episode.  Again an hour and a half queue session ensued.  After much debating about what copies were required of what documents and the local Post Net making a small fortune off referrals from the Post Office for the relevant copies. ( I bet someone is getting a kick back somewhere.)  Anyway, I finally walked away with my annual car license.

The second episode involved the department of Home Affairs in Randburg, Johannesburg.

This is the third attempt at getting a new Smart Card ID for my 16 year old Son.  The first 2 attempts didnt involve me but they were unsuccessful in actually getting his application in.  So I thought I would brave the big outside world and take this task on myself.

We arrived at the Department of Home Affairs.  We joined the Queue for the Reception Desk (Meet and Greet Counter).  After some 20 minutes we were finally dealt with.  I told the chap behind the counter that I wanted to apply for an ID and a Passport for my 16 year old Son.  He asked if I was the mother, I said yes.  He then wanted to see my sons birth certificate and my ID.  Both were presented.  He then issued us with 2 tickets and asked us to queue at the cashier.  The ID (first issue) was free but the passport cost R400.

So we then queued at the cashier.  Again another 30 minutes passed.  Eventually we go to the front only to be told we had to pay cash.  I obviously should have worn my glasses today as I had obviously misread the numerous posters around the room informing people that they now had a card machine and VISA was welcome.   Anyway, I had R400 in cash and I was not in the mood to argue.  So I paid and we got a receipt.

Next was photographs and and fingerprints.  We joined that queue.  Another 30 minutes passed and eventually my son had his digital photograph and fingerprints done.

Phew!  This was going better than I thought.  Only one queue left.  The final counter where they enter all in the system and issue you with proof of submission.

So we sit and wait for our number/s to be called - number 503 and 504.  (Please note that I had 2 numbers - one for his ID and one for his passport issued at the very first counter)

It is now getting close to 4pm.  They have closed the doors already.  I had visions of them asking us all to come back tomorrow.

Then we hear our number called by Counter 1.  Whoppee, we going to make it today!

So my sons paperwork gets processed, he signs the digital pad, his thumbprint gets read by the biometric scanner and he gets issued with 1 piece of paper as proof of submission.

Which I then query.  I had my ID and passport renewed about 6 months ago and I got 2 pieces of paper.  So I queried where the second one was.

The chap at counter 1 says there is only 1.  So again I question this and share the fact that I got 2.  He then states that yes, but I had applied for ID and passport, when my son had only applied for his ID.

So I politely tell him that we had asked for both at the Reception counter - I was there at the time.  Which is why they issued us with 2 numbers (showing him both slips).  And also asking why would they ask me to pay for his passport application if we had not applied for it!

So he insists we had not applied.

Again I repeat the story.  I was there FFS!  I have not lost my mind in the last 3 hours.

So again he disagrees with my version.  So I politely tell him I am confused.  Why would I have 2 numbers.  So he then says they issued me with 2 numbers as my son had previously tried to do an online submission through the bank (one of the failed attempts as the banks system was always down or the relevant person not there which is why I had embarked on spending most of my day here in person!).  They had apparently issued us with 2 numbers in case the system threw out 1 number because of this.

So I then ask why was I asked to stand in the queue to pay for his passport application.  Which he then disputed.

By now I am really irritated but trying to stay calm.

He then asks me to step aside and calls a supervisor to deal with me.

2 Minutes later a white woman comes to the counter to speak to me.  Now I have dealt with the department numerous times in my life and I don't think I have ever seen a white staff person at the department., in any city in the country.

She asks me what the problem is.  I repeat my story explaining that I had applied for both when we started, the fact that we got 2 numbers, the fact that I was asked to pay for the passport etc.  She then looks over to the chap at counter 1 and asks him what transpired.  He then insists we only applied for his ID.  She then agrees with him.  Sigh......  Again I repeat my story.  Asking again why I had 2 numbers and a paid receipt?

So she then says well she had no idea how the system works as she usually just deals with finance in the back.

Now I am really pissed off.  They had sent a white woman out here to placate me.  She was not a supervisor at all.

Then all of a sudden the chap at counted 1 interrupts and says "By the way, you cannot apply for a passport without at ID, so they have to issue the ID before he can apply for the passport".

I then had visions of either passing out as I had been on my feet a long time today when I am usually resting in bed, or losing my temper.  I was not going to win this argument I thought and I was really not in the mood to find myself of the dirty floor.

So I backed down.  I asked for a refund of the passport fee - and guess what! I cannot get a refund.  But apparently it is valid forever until he actually does apply for his passport. (I had to stop myself here, take 20 deep breaths and walk out).

I am sure you all have equally frustrating stories about dealing with read tape.  Feel free t share them.

Lanthie Ransom

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Final Countdown

Hello fellow bloggers and friends

I have been sneakily writing on another blog.  It is one set up by a dear friend of mine who insisted I write about having throat cancer and my treatment.

Originally he tried to talk me into writing all about it on this blog.  But I like this blog.  It is filled with many fond memories and I would like to put the whole cancer treatment thing behind me in due course. So a new blog was born.

My treatment starts tomorrow.  It is going to be a long 6 weeks ahead of me.  For those who want to know more and look in on how I'm doing, pop along to :  Lump, What Lump and read all about it.

Lanthie Ransom

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

No Sympathy Required

Hello dear world

This post is written in a slightly different frame of mind to usual.  You see this post is written by a weaker me.  A me who has to admit that I am vulnerable.  That I am mortal.  A self realization that there are things that scare me and the reality that we all die.

I am not the sort who plays the victim or who likes to play on others sympathy.  So this post is not meant to envoke any sympathy from any of you out there.  But I was reading FB earlier today and noticed a post by a friend who was in hospital having what I think is her breast removed.  Yes, she has cancer. I thought about contacting her and asking questions and telling her that it will all be ok.  But to be honest it all feels a bit awkward.  One doesn't want to pry.  So what does one do in a situation like this.

I suddenly realized that she is probably not too different from me.  She is a strong woman and too would not like people feeling sorry for her or the quiet whispers behind her back about her illness.  But just like me, she probably needs a little strength and a little help in getting through it emotionally.  A reminder that we are not alone and that we don't have to hide what we are going through.

I try to be strong for my partner knowing he has suffered much loss in his life.  And I do not want to be remembered as a loss to him.  Bringing a tear to his eyes when he remembers me should the worst happen.  Or him having to call on all his strength to continue without those close and dear to him.  Those he doesn't miss for a second in the day.  I know I am being very arrogant in the assumption I will have a place in his heart should I pass on.

And then my mind  arrays many thoughts about where I fit into his life and should I leave quietly or perhaps end it all quietly as I don't like to cause pain.  Especially pain that may be felt for a long time.  And the realization that I am being very arrogant in my thoughts.  The reality being that I am a mere girlfriend who has no place in this mans life other than the today.

So I am shaken back to reality.  The reality that just like others out there that it is our own fight.  We cannot burden those around us.  We cannot envoke sympathy.  We cannot play the victim.  We cannot make those around us feel any guilt about the part they play in our lives.

All we can do is smile.  We pretend we are ok.  We put on our shield each morning, look outside and notice the beautiful sunrise, fill our days ignoring the weakness within us, and then noticing the beautiful sunsets.

And remember that we are blessed with each breath we take and need to be grateful for the time we spend with those we love.  As without love, life is not worth living.  A reminder that I have a pretty awesome life and the love I have for this man and the love I get in return makes every second I live worth every breath.

So refocusing on the positive.  I want to live forever!  Be damned if I can't but before I pass, I will live a life worth living.  I will see and do things that most others can only dream of, because I am blessed in many ways.  And I am thankful to those around me who make my life worth living and fighting for.

I will be contacting my friend and asking her about her path as whether she realizes it or not, she needs people like me by her side as a reminder that there is no shame in being weak.  We need to stand up and rise and put on our big girl panties and the brightest red lipstick we can find and live a life worth living.  No sympathy required!

(For those who may find it awkward asking - I recently had 3 tumors removed from my neck - you can't miss the beautiful railway down the side of my neck.   The tumors are not the primary site of the cancer and along with some pretty awesome doctors, we are working together to find the primary.  Please don't be afraid to ask me about it all.  I am not going to break down in tears.)

Lanthie Ransom

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Money Talks

Good morning fellow bloggers and hope you are all having a relaxing Sunday.  I promised to start blogging a bit more and thought I would sit down for a few minutes today and post something about the business I'm in.

I going to share a secret to success with you today.  No - this is not one of those motivational or insparational speeches where someone talks you into signing up to some or other pyramid scheme or promises to send you a book via email if you enter in your credit card information.  But a shared lesson on how we managed to motivate our staff and increase production.

I am involved with re-screening old gold dumps for a living.  We extract the fines (sand) and send it
to a gold processing plant where they actually exract the gold.  Anyway......  We have been doing this for around 6 months and we have struggled to get our old screening plant to run for more than 6 or 7 hours a day.  Loads of breakdowns and temperamental staff have been one of the major causes.

Our production was poor and we were not making targets.  At first we thought we would pay our staff a production bonus.  But the reality is they had no control over the grade or the amount of fines in the dump and the weather played a major role.  There is very little sand that falls though when the dump is wet for instance as it sticks to the rock.

We were forced to think of another way to motivate our staff and reward them for working hard and working as a team.  So we introduced a bonus system whereby they get rewarded for the number of hours our screening plant works in a day.

Typically our staff work a 12 hour shift, 6 days a week.  They get paid overtime as per statutory obligations of course.  So we drew up the following bonus system in addition to their salary and overtime:

They get:

  • R50 in cash if the plant works for 9 hours a day
  • R100 for 10 hours
  • R200 for 11 hours

Then an additional

  • R500 if the plant works for 54 hours a week and
  • R1000 for 60 hours a week.

They get this in cash the day after so the reward is instantaneous.  And everyone in the team gets it - even the lowest paid.

So within 3 weeks, we have gone from our plant working 6-7 hours a day with an average of 18 days a months to our plant working 11 hours a day, every day and for the first time ever this week we managed 66 hours for the week - 100% uptime.

Our staff are motivated and now work as a team.  There are no petty dramas.  There has not been any requests for any advances or loans.   Our plant is being well maintained and they make sure all breakdowns are attended to immediately.  Our client is happy and of course although our bank balance suffers in the short term, we will see major rewards in the long term.  And to top it all, one of our staff told us the other day we didnt need to come in everyday - they have it covered and know what they are doing.

I know this probably doesnt sound very exciting to you all but I LOVE what I do and it makes me really happy to see my staff being rewarded for their efforts.

I'd love to know what motivates you or what you enjoy about your job.

Lanthie Ransom

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Lucky in Life and Lucky in Love

Decided to look at  my blog today.  Not done this for awhile.  Needless to say it brought back all sorts of memories.  Not only of a life gone by but also of all you fellow bloggers.

I have had a few messages from a few of you asking me how I am and why I don't blog anymore.

So the answer is, I am great.  In fact I am more than great.  I have a fulfilling life.  I am lucky in life and lucky in love.  Life has been good to me and the universe looks after me.  I have a life partner who makes me feel like a woman and who makes me happy. Not a day goes by where I don't smile or have a reason to laugh and most of this is due to him.   And who knows, maybe one day he will find me worth making a committment to.

There are a lot of people who judged me for some of the decisions I made.  I spent some time recently thinking about these decisions as I have a friend who needed some advice about her life.  I have no regrets about any of the decisions I made.  I don't know where I found the courage to take some of the steps I took.  But I do know they were the right decisions.  I am just dissapointed in some of those who I thought would stand by me and didn't.  True colours were revealed!

I don't blog anymore because a) I don't have the time and b) there are still sensitive issues in my life which need time.  I will get back to blogging in the near future when life becomes a little more stable and I don't have to worry about writing about sensitive issues.

Please drop me a message and let me know how you all are.  Miss you all !

Lanthie Ransom


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