Together with the FunDza Literacy Trust, we now publish our sixth youth-targeted story, It’s time for us to eat, a story about doing the right thing, even if it means your dreams will take a little longer to be realised.
Keitumetse is stressed: her small business isn’t growing and yet her boyfriend Lesego is insisting they buy a house soon. She also feels a responsibility to the staff whom she employs. Without cleaning contracts, she is forced to lay them off. Then a chance meeting with a guy from a big company opens the door to a tender – worth millions. But Keitumetse soon finds out that it comes with unpleasant strings attached. Should she go ahead?
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Keitumetse Mabina: 27 years old, woman, mother of Toto (two year old girl). Owner of the cleaning business Supreme Clean.
Gorata Katse: Friend to Keitumetse, 27 years old, assistant bank branch manager.
Lesego Moremi: Keitumetse’s boyfriend (father to Toto). 30 years old, works as a mechanic.
Mr Letsholo: 47 years old, works in Accounts and Procurement at Intel Telecoms.
Narrator: Friends Keitumetse and Gorata are meeting for lunch at a local restaurant.
Gorata: I haven’t seen you forever, Keitumetse. You look good. What have you been up to?
Keitumetse: I know … I’m sorry. Life is just too busy. Between taking care of Toto and trying to keep this business afloat, I barely have time to think. And then, of course there’s Lesego.
Gorata: How’s Lesego? Are things still good between you two?
Keitumetse: What can I say? You know him. We’re trying to buy a house. You know how he’s always pushing and pushing. I’ve tried to tell him we’re not ready for a house but he won’t listen.
Gorata: He’s ambitious, but that’s not a bad thing.
Keitumetse: Maybe … but things take time. I like to do things properly, in the right time. His problem is always patience. He wants things now. Always now.
Gorata: Yeah, you’re right. That’s not good. I know from the bank. People can get themselves into all sorts of problems because of that sort of impatience. Some people have so much debt it makes them physically sick.
Narrator: Their food arrives, and they eat while they’re talking.
Keitumetse: (Looking down at her food) This looks yummy!
Gorata: It sure does! So how’s the business doing?
Keitumetse: You know … up and down. (Hesitates) Actually, more down lately. I had to retrench some staff. I felt terrible about that. They were depending on me.
Gorata: Why? What’s happening? I thought the cleaning business was going so well.
Keitumetse: I think we’ve reached some sort of wall. We’ve been only cleaning people’s houses and, you know, people can’t pay a lot; some struggle to pay us at all.
Gorata: Why don’t you try to get some corporate gigs? I know at the bank we use a cleaning company. Most places do now. At least that could stabilise things a bit.
Keitumetse: (Looking down at her food) I don’t know, Gorata … You know, I never finished matric … I’m just not … I guess, ready for all that. I don’t understand all of that.
Gorata: Keitumetse, you’ve been running a successful small business for four years now. That’s more than finishing matric. You have a proven track record. That’s what matters.
Keitumetse: But you know these big companies; they want you to know all sorts of accounting things. I just don’t think I’m up to it.
Gorata: Don’t even worry about that. It’s easy and I can help you. You need to have faith in yourself – that’s the first step.
Keitumetse: Maybe you’re right. Thanks for the offer to help too. But honestly I do need to do something; we won’t stay in business much longer if I don’t find a way to bring in more income.
ACT 1 - Scene 2
Narrator: It’s evening and Keitumetse is at home with her boyfriend, Lesego, and their baby Toto.
Lesego: Today I serviced four cars, full service all on my own. I’m working like a dog! I swear Rre Giddie wants to kill me with work.
Keitumetse: Maybe you should ask him for a raise. You deserve it and … we could use the money for the new house.
Lesego: Yeah right! You know how hard it is to get money from him.
Narrator: Keitumetse sits on the floor with Toto, feeding her. She’s careful talking about money with Lesego because she knows it makes him angry, but she knows she must.
Keitumetse: But maybe if you told him that we’re buying a house … and how hard you work …
Lesego: I just told you: I’ve had a tough day at work. Why are you troubling me now?
Keitumetse: It’s just … you know we’re struggling a bit at Supreme Clean and I thought maybe we can wait a bit to buy the house … until money’s better.
Lesego:(Angrily) So what? We keep paying rent to MmaButi and her bank account fills up while we get poorer? I thought you had more sense than that.
Keitumetse: It’s just I was talking to Gorata and she says she sees so many people rushing to buy a house and then they get themselves in problems …
Lesego:(Angrily) Gorata? Why are you talking about our personal business with Gorata?
Keitumetse: It’s not like that, Lesego. We met for lunch and we were just talking.
Lesego: (Properly angry) What does Gorata know? Maybe you should stop wasting time going out for lunch and instead work harder at your business, then maybe we would have money to buy a house!
Narrator: Lesego storms out, leaving Keitumetse crying on the floor with Toto.
Keitumetse: (Speaking to herself) What am I going to do? I’ll soon lose my business as well as my boyfriend if it keeps on like this.
ACT 1 - Scene 3
Narrator: It’s Saturday night and Gorata and Keitumetse are at the club.
Gorata: I’m so glad you agreed to come out, Keitumetse. You don’t look so great. You shouldn’t work yourself so hard.
Keitumetse: Thanks for insisting I come out. I really need this. It’s been a terrible week. I’m so tired of worrying. I think a bit of dancing will give my mind a break.
Gorata: Then let’s get going!
Narrator: Gorata grabs Keitumetse’s hand and pulls her to the dance floor. They dance for two songs and sit back down at their table.
Keitumetse: (Taking a sip of her drink) That was such fun. God! Nowadays I feel like an old lady. I’ve forgotten how to have fun.
Gorata: Well we’re not old ladies!
Keitumetse: (Laughing) We certainly aren’t.
Gorata: So is Lesego watching Toto?
Keitumetse: (Rolling her eyes) Lesego in on a Saturday night? Never! Toto is with my Mum.
Gorata: I don’t know why you let him get away with that. He’s her parent too.
Keitumetse: I know. I shouldn’t but sometimes you need to choose your battles. At least I do, especially with Lesego. Everything seems like a fight nowadays.
Gorata: That’s why I’m staying single. I don’t need that stress.
Keitumetse: You might be right. He really does stress me. He’s still pushing for that house. I told him the business is struggling but he doesn’t care. I don’t know where he thinks the money is going to come from. Magic I guess.
Gorata: Why can’t he find more money if he wants a house so much?
Keitumetse: Who even knows? Argh! I’m so sick of it. Please let’s not ruin my only night out for such a long time talking about Lesego and his stubbornness. Let’s dance!
Narrator: Gorata and Keitumetse dance a few songs. A few minutes after they sit down, a waitress brings drinks over. She tells them that a man at the bar bought the drinks for the two women.
Gorata: (Holding the drink up at the man and shouting over the noise) Thanks!
Narrator: The middle-aged man comes over to their table.
Keitumetse: Thanks for the drinks … that was nice of you.
Letsholo: No problem. I could see you ladies were working up a thirst out on the dance floor.
Gorata: Join us.
Narrator: Gorata moves over and Letsholo sits down. He holds out his hand to Keitumetse.
Letsholo: My name’s Enoch Letsholo; my friends call me Letsholo.
Keitumetse: I’m Keitumetse and she’s my best friend, Gorata.
Letsholo: Great to meet you guys. What do you do for a living?
Gorata: I work at a bank … I know – boring. But Keitumetse is an entrepreneur.
Letsholo: In this economy any job’s good, even in a bank.
Narrator: They all laugh, getting on well, even though Letsholo is a bit older than the two women.
Letsholo: So, what sort of company do you have, Keitumetse?
Keitumetse: Well … it’s not really a company … just a small business. We clean people’s houses.
Letsholo: Don’t sell yourself short. That’s a good business.
Gorata: You see, Keitumetse! (She turns to Letsholo) I’m always telling her to respect what she’s done. All businesses start small at first.
Letsholo: Of course! Apple started in his parents’ garage. And now look.
Keitumetse: Yes, I guess you’re right.
Letsholo: We are right. You know cleaning is a big industry. Companies put out tenders for huge amounts, looking for companies just like yours.
Gorata: I was just telling her that the other day. At my bank we contract out that work. She just needs to step back a bit and look at bigger opportunities.
Keitumetse: Okay you guys! I get it. Next you’ll be telling me to buy a motivational book.
Narrator: They all laugh. Then Letsholo takes out a business card and hands it to Keitumetse.
Letsholo: Here take this. I work at Intel Telecoms. Call my secretary and make an appointment. I want us to meet and discuss a few things. We have a tender for cleaning coming up. I think it could interest you.
Keitumetse: (Excitedly) Wow! Thanks, Letsholo!
Letsholo: Listen ladies, it was lovely to meet you, but I need to head out.
Gorata: Nice to meet you too.
Letsholo: (To Keitumetse) Don’t forget to set up that appointment.
Keitumetse: I won’t, I promise. Bye!
Narrator: When Letsholo is gone, the women burst into excited screams.
Keitumetse: Can you believe it? What just happened?
Gorata: I think you just got a big whack with the good luck stick! You are on your way, Girl!
Keitumetse: Do you really think so?
Gorata: I do!
ACT 1 - Scene 4
Narrator: The next week Keitumetse appeared at Intel Telecoms for her meeting with Mr Letsholo.
Letsholo: Hello Keitumetse. I’m so happy to see you again.
Keitumetse: I’m happy you had some time in your schedule.
Letsholo: You’re actually here at just the right time. Intel Telecoms is about to release the tender for cleaning services for the entire building. It’s a tender worth R3,5 million and I really think your company is perfect for it.
Keitumetse: R3,5 million? We’re a small business; we usually just clean houses.
Letsholo: There’s nothing different about cleaning an office and cleaning a house. You’ll do fine.
Narrator: Letsholo produces a document from his desk drawer and hands it to Keitumetse.
Letsholo: We haven’t released the tender yet, but I got a special copy for you. When you prepare your tender, don’t submit it to the reception as it says. Instead, bring it to me.
Keitumetse: You really are being so kind, Letsholo. Thank you.
Letsholo: It’s fine, Keitumetse. We at Intel Telecoms have passion for young entrepreneurs like you. We just want to help you out, is all.
Narrator: Keitumetse takes the documents and shakes Letsholo’s hand.
Keitumetse: I’ll work on it and get it back to you next week. I promise I won’t let you down when you have such faith in me.
Letsholo: I’m sure you won’t.
Narrator: Keitumetse walks down the street in front of the office building with a big smile. Finally she is getting the break that she needs! She can’t believe how perfectly everything is working out. Now they would be able to buy their house, and even more. Things are seriously looking up.
Tell us: An honest tender system gives every applicant a fair chance of winning the work contract. They are judged on their work plan, costings and legitimacy in terms of business practices. This applies to tenders in the public and the private sector alike. Do you believe Letsholo has bent the rules for Keitumetse because she is a young entrepreneur? What has he said or done that might not be ethical or fair? If what he has done is not fair, what is he after?
ACT 2 - Scene 1
Narrator: That evening Keitumetse can hardly wait for Lesego to get home from work. She is desperate to tell him her good news. When he arrives, she meets him at the door.
Lesego: What’s going on? You never meet me at the door anymore.
Keitumetse: I have fantastic news! Come sit down. You are going to be just as happy as me just now.
Narrator: Lesego sits down and Keitumetse sits next to him. She shows him the tender documents.
Keitumetse: I got this today from Intel Telecoms. It’s a tender for cleaning their offices … a tender worth R3,2 million. I’m going to apply for it.
Narrator: Lesego looks over the document.
Lesego: That’s good but you still need to submit it. They’ll choose from the companies that submitted. But it’s good that you’re thinking bigger.
Keitumetse: There’s a man there who says that Intel Telecoms likes supporting young entrepreneurs like me … he acted nearly as if I got it, that all I had to do is submit.
Lesego: That sounds hopeful.
Keitumetse: I’ll be able to rehire the workers I retrenched and even give all of my workers a wage increase. It will be a real game changer for the business.
Lesego: Well don’t forget about us … we need money too.
Keitumetse: I won’t forget about us at all. That’s why I’m doing this. The first money I get will go for a down payment on the house that you want.
Lesego: That sounds perfect! Let’s make sure your guy pulls the right strings for you.
Keitumetse: No, it’s not like that. He’s not pulling any strings. I’m going to compete just like all of the companies that submit for the tender. I just understood that it was like a sort of affirmative action for young entrepreneurs, like a programme at Intel Telecoms.
Narrator: Keitumetse watches Lesego leave and wonders if she has got all of this wrong. She has been so happy about it all, and now she isn’t sure what to think about it.
ACT 2 - Scene 2
Narrator: The next morning Gorata and Keitumetse meet for coffee.
Gorata: So how did the meeting with Letsholo go? He seems like a good guy.
Keitumetse: I thought it went well. He told me Intel Telecoms was just about to ask for quotations for the cleaning of their office building, a tender. So he gave me the papers about it. I’ve started working on the tender already.
Gorata: That’s great, Keitumetse! Remember I told you, if you need any help just call me. I deal with such things all of the time at the bank.
Keitumetse: I’ve started on it and it’s actually not that difficult. I already have most of the information from our company statements the accountant does each year.
Gorata: Do you see? I knew you could do this!
Narrator: Gorata looks at Keitumetse. Something is not right.
Gorata: You’re acting odd for a woman who is about to become a CEO of a big, successful company.
Keitumetse: You know, Lesego was acting like there is something funny going on … like maybe what Letsholo is doing is wrong somehow.
Gorata: Wrong? Why? He just gave you the tender paperwork. What’s wrong with that? Lesego is jealous you’re going to be making more money than him. You know how men are.
Keitumetse: Yes … maybe you’re right. But there was one thing …
Keitumetse: Letsholo told me to give him my tender, not to put it in the box at reception. I don’t know these things … is that the right way to do this?
Gorata: Did you get him right? I don’t think he would want you to give him your tender document. That would be against procedure. Maybe he just wanted you to pass by when you dropped your tender in the tender box.
Keitumetse: No. He specifically said I should not put it in that box. I should take it to his office and hand it only to him. I think it’s because he said Intel Telecoms wants to support young entrepreneurs. Maybe my tender documents will be put separately.
Narrator: Gorata’s face changes. She is no longer happy about what she is hearing. She’s concerned her friend might be getting herself into some problems.
Gorata: I don’t know, Keitumetse. It sounds wrong. You could put your tender document in the box with everyone else. If they wanted to help young entrepreneurs, they would separate those when doing their organising of all of the tenders that are submitted. Why would you give the documents to him personally?
Keitumetse: (Sighing) So what should I do? I thought he was just helping me.
Gorata: It’s hard to say. I think, take the documents to him and see what he says. If he tries anything, just tell him no. Just tell him you won’t do anything illegally.
Keitumetse: But if I refuse to do what he wants, he might just throw my tender away.
Gorata: He can’t do that. If you do things according to their honest, legal procedures there will be a record that you submitted. You’ll be protected.
Keitumetse: So I’ll just go and see him, see what he wants. Is that what you’re saying?
Gorata: Yes. Maybe we’re just understanding this wrong. There could be nothing. But, please, Keitumetse, I know you and Lesego need money, and this tender could make a huge difference in your life, but don’t do anything illegally. It could go very wrong. I’ve seen it at the bank. People always get caught. Eventually they always get caught.
Keitumetse: I won’t. I don’t want to get involved in any of that. I promise.
ACT 2 - Scene 3
Narrator: Keitumetse goes to Intel Telecoms to submit her documents for the cleaning tender. As she was instructed, she passes by Mr Letsholo’s office.
Letsholo: Good morning, Keitumetse. Come in. It’s great to see you again.
Keitumetse: I came to submit my tender. Again, thank you for letting me know about it so I could submit. It’s a real opportunity for me.
Letsholo: Let me have a look.
Narrator: Keitumetse hands Letsholo the paperwork. He goes through it.
Letsholo: This looks good. I don’t think there will be a problem getting it through.
Keitumetse: What does that mean?
Letsholo: I mean … the tender is yours. It’s just … perhaps there’s a small matter to attend to.
Keitumetse: What sort of matter?
Letsholo: Just a sort of … thank you. From you to me.
Keitumetse: I … I don’t think I understand.
Letsholo: Let me be clear. The tender is R3,2 million. You can give me a small amount, only R300 000, when the tender is awarded to you. When you get the money, you pay me off.
Keitumetse: I … I don’t know … it sounds like maybe that’s illegal.
Letsholo: Do you want to win the tender or not?
Keitumetse: But I … I … can you give me time to think about this? I’m not used to all of these things.
Letsholo: Sure. One day. You give me your answer tomorrow.
Narrator: Keitumetse leaves the office. Only when she is outside does she realise that her hands are shaking.
ACT 2 - Scene 4
Narrator: Keitumetse is so confused about what to do. She knows what Letsholo is asking her to do is illegal. But what if all of the companies are doing such things? She doesn’t know. She decides to tell Lesego everything that night when he gets home. Maybe he can help her decide what to do.
Keitumetse: You were right. Mr Letsholo expects me to give him a bribe, a kickback, for making sure I get the tender.
Lesego: I knew it.
Keitumetse: I felt sick when he was talking. He wants me to give him R300 000.
Lesego: It’s nothing; the tender is millions. You’ll be fine. Just pay him.
Keitumetse: Pay him? But it’s illegal! I could get caught and go to jail. It’s wrong.
Lesego: No-one gets caught. It’s how it is done. It’s the price of doing business with these big companies and with government. Everyone knows that.
Keitumetse: I don’t know that. It’s wrong. It’s unfair.
Lesego: You’re being stupid. This is how it works. You should count yourself lucky, now you’re in! Now you know how to do this thing. It’s time for us to eat now. It’s good.
Keitumetse: I’m scared of all this.
Lesego: There’s nothing to be scared of. This guy knows how to do things so no-one gets caught. You’ll be fine.
Narrator: Lesego leaves and Keitumetse’s phone rings. She answers and it’s Gorata.
Gorata: Hey Girl, so how did it go today? Did you hand in the tender?
Keitumetse: Sure … yes … I handed it in.
Gorata: And Letsholo, did he try anything?
Narrator: Keitumetse hesitates. She doesn’t know what to do, what to say.
Keitumetse: Letsholo? No … you were right. He just wanted to make sure I submitted the tender and didn’t chicken out. Nothing funny at all. I greeted him, put my tender in the box, and now we wait and cross fingers I win it.
Gorata: Well, that’s a relief to hear! I’m sure you have a good chance. I’ll be praying you get it.
Keitumetse: Thanks, Gorata. You’re a good friend.
ACT 2 - Scene 5
Narrator: The next day Keitumetse is back in Letsholo’s office with her tender documents.
Letsholo: Great to see you again, Keitumetse.
Keitumetse: So, I want to know how this works.
Letsholo: Just give me the tender. I’ll sort it out. After you start working, I’ll expect three payments of R100 000. We’ll talk then about how you’ll pay me. Don’t worry your pretty head about it now. Everything will be fine. I’ll take a care of you.
Keitumetse: And what if we get caught?
Letsholo:(Laughing) We won’t. I can assure you, it’s impossible.
Narrator: Keitumetse hands him her tender documents.
Letsholo: So we have a deal?
Letsholo: Good. I look forward to working with you, Keitumetse. I knew a beautiful, intelligent woman like you didn’t just come into my life for nothing.
Narrator: Keitumetse stands up and leaves without saying anything else. She feels sick and needs to get away from Letsholo. She wonders what she has got herself into; she’s sure it is not going to turn out well.
Tell us: Do you agree with Lesego that paying some money to the person who awards the tender is, “the price of doing business with these big companies and with government. Everyone knows that.” Why should ordinary people like us even care if this happens?
What impact do you think this practice has on our culture and society in general? Are we as individuals equally guilty if we pay the money?
ACT 3 - Scene 1
Narrator: Keitumetse and Gorata are leaving the hair salon where they have just had their hair done.
Gorata: Do you have time for a drink before you go home?
Keitumetse: Sure, that sounds great.
Narrator: As they’re walking to the pub down the street, Keitumetse’s phone rings and she answers it.
Narrator: Keitumetse puts her phone away. Gorata is looking at her because Keitumetse has gone all quiet and has stopped walking.
Gorata: Are you alright?
Keitumetse: (Stunned) I think so.
Gorata: What is it? Who was on the phone?
Keitumetse: It was Letsholo.
Gorata: What did he want? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost. What’s going on?
Keitumetse: I got the tender.
Gorata: What?! You got the tender?
Keitumetse: Yes, I’m supposed to go to Intel tomorrow to sign the contract.
Narrator: Gorata hugs Keitumetse. She’s very excited but Keitumetse is still stunned and not reacting.
Gorata: This is so fantastic! You really deserve this, Keitumetse. You’ve worked so hard.
Keitumetse: Yes … yes, you’re right …
Gorata: What’s wrong? You should be excited.
Keitumetse: I am. I am excited. It’s just all so sudden. It’s going to change our lives, all of us. My workers and me, everything will be different for all of us now.
Gorata: Yes! In a good way. You should be happy.
Keitumetse: Yes, you’re right. Sorry … I’m just getting used to the idea of not having to struggle so hard. Yes … I deserve this, you’re right. I’ve worked hard.
Gorata: That’s the spirit! And now we need to celebrate! Let’s go!
Narrator: Finally Keitumetse smiles. She and Gorata continue on to the pub. It is time to have a celebration.
ACT 3 - Scene 2
Narrator: The next day Keitumetse goes to Letsholo’s office at Intel Telecoms to sign the contract for the cleaning tender. Letsholo takes her in his office and closes the door behind them.
Letsholo: Didn’t I tell you? No problem at all. Now you are on your way.
Keitumetse: It was very fast.
Letsholo: You don’t seem very happy about that.
Keitumetse: I am! No, I am. I was just surprised, is all. I didn’t know such things happened like this.
Letsholo: Well they do. Here’s the contract.
Narrator: Letsholo puts the contract on the desk and hands Keitumetse a pen to sign with. She stands up and comes around the desk. While she is bending over to sign the contract, Letsholo comes behind her and put his arms around her waist. Keitumetse turns and looks at him, surprised.
Keitumetse: I … what are you doing?
Narrator: Letsholo pulls Keitumetse toward him and kisses her. She pulls free and moves away from him.
Letsholo: I just thought that now since the business side is complete … we might have a bit of fun.
Keitumetse: I’m … married.
Letsholo: Married? But on your contract details you said you were single.
Keitumetse: Yes, I’m single … but I live with my daughter’s father. We’re nearly married.
Letsholo: Nearly is not married. Anyway, what does all of that matter? This is between us. We’re partners now. Come here and sit on my lap so we can talk a bit.
Keitumetse: I can’t, I need to go.
Narrator: Letsholo grabs her and pulls her down on to his lap where he is sitting and kisses her again, roughly. His face becomes hard and angry.
Letsholo: (Nearly whispering) I said that we’re partners now. You’ll do as I say, otherwise your good luck might turn. Just a warning for you to keep in mind, Keitumetse.
Narrator: Keitumetse stands and rushes out of the office with her contract. She gets into her car and then starts crying.
Keitumetse: (To herself) What have I got myself into?
ACT 3 - Scene 3
Narrator: Later that day Keitumetse is at home and Lesego arrives. He picks up the contract for the tender on the table.
Lesego: (Excited) So is this it then? The deal is done?
Keitumetse: Yes … that’s it.
Narrator: Lesego hugs Keitumetse. He is very happy but Keitumetse is not. She wishes she had never agreed to do any of this.
Lesego: We are on our way now! We’re going to be rich! This is really great, Baby. We are going to be seriously set now.
Keitumetse: (Angry) Is it? Is it great?
Lesego: What do you mean? Of course! We won’t have to worry about money again. We’ll get a house. Toto can go to a private school. We could even get married.
Keitumetse: So, it’s so easy like that for you? So easy to just do this thing?
Lesego: What thing? It’s just a small thank-you for him helping you. What is wrong with you? It’s nothing. Quit being an idiot. Wake up, this is how it is done!
Keitumetse: (Angry) It might seem like nothing to you, but it is something to me. I don’t do these sorts of things! You push and push for things that we can’t afford, make me feel as if I’m not doing enough, but what have you done, Lesego? What have you had to do? What have you sacrificed for us?
Lesego: Baby, why are you being like this? I thought we were partners … I thought that we’re together in all of this.
Keitumetse: What kind of partners are we? You only want to be partners when the food comes out, when it’s time to eat! When it’s time to work, where are you?
Lesego: What do you want me to do? You need to seriously chill. Get over this stuff. So you sacrificed a few of your high morals. So what?!
Keitumetse: That might mean nothing to you, but it means a lot to me! The fact that you take it all so lightly, makes me wonder what sort of man you are, Lesego. You have no idea what the cost of that tender is going to be to me. No idea!
Narrator: Keitumetse leaves and goes off to her bedroom. Lesego sits, confused about what just happened.
ACT 3 - Scene 4
Narrator: Keitumetse has phoned Gorata. She asked her to meet as there is something serious she needs to talk about, and it is urgent. They meet at the park.
Gorata: What is it Keitumetse? You sounded so upset on the phone.
Keitumetse: (Crying) I am upset! I’m so sick of Lesego. I think he only wants me for what he can get from me. He’s pushing me all of the time. Make more money! We need more money! Work harder! And now he has pushed me – to do this!
Gorata: What? What has he done? Please, tell me. I’m scared. What has Lesego forced you to do?
Keitumetse: To give Letsholo a bribe to get the tender! I lied to you. Letsholo did want me to give him a kickback. I told Lesego. He said that I was stupid … that this was how things were done. He said I must agree. So I did. Now I have the tender. But it’s more … now Letsholo wants more. And I can see now it will never stop. I have put myself in a prison by agreeing to do this. And now it’s too late! I’ve been so, so stupid.
Gorata: Oh Keitumetse! I’m sorry. Lesego should not have convinced you to do such a thing. I knew it though! Somehow from that first night I didn’t trust Letsholo. There was just something about him that was not right, a weakness. Only weak people operate like that.
Keitumetse: But what am I going to do now? Gorata, I don’t see any way out!
Gorata: Listen, you know my friend Dave. He’s in the anti-corruption unit. I will talk to him. I’ll explain everything. You have not received any money or paid any bribes. You can help them and I’m sure you won’t be charged.
Keitumetse: Help them how?
Gorata: Help them stop Letsholo.
Narrator: Keitumetse thinks about it for a moment.
Keitumetse: You know, Gorata, I didn’t even want that tender. I don’t even want to buy a house. I like things to go slowly. I’ll get a house for me and Toto when I can afford it properly. Everything was suddenly moving too fast for me.
Gorata: So will you do it?
Keitumetse: Lesego will be furious … but yes! Yes, I’ll do it. Letsholo and all like him need to be stopped. It’s not fair to honest business people like me that these things are going on.
ACT 3 - Scene 5
Narrator: Keitumetse has been rigged up with a hidden recording device. Dave, Gorata’s friend, is outside listening to the conversation. The police are ready to jump in when they get the evidence that they need to arrest Letsholo. Keitumetse knocks on Letsholo’s door.
Letsholo: Come in! Oh it’s you, Keitumetse, come in. Close the door behind you.
Narrator: He comes around the door and kisses her. She smiles, trying to be cooperative, for now, knowing what’s going to happen.
Keitumetse: Letsholo, so now that you’ve sorted the tender for me, explain to me about how this goes.
Letsholo: They will give you a payment for getting started. It’s about R200 000. You can give me R100 000 of that money.
Keitumetse: R100 000? Isn’t that a lot? I need to run my business too.
Letsholo: Remember, Babe, you wouldn’t have got this tender without me. I made sure that yours was chosen; now you need to repay me for that. That’s how this works.
Keitumetse: So it’s a kickback, a bribe?
Letsholo: Let’s call it a ‘thank-you’ for a job well done.
Narrator: Just as Letsholo is taking Keitumetse’s hand and pulling her to the sofa in the corner, the office door bursts open. Police fill the room. One steps forward and arrests Letsholo.
Letsholo: (Looking back at Keitumetse as he’s being taken out of the room in handcuffs) What did you do?
Keitumetse: Nothing. I was just repaying you, that’s all.
ACT 3 - Scene 6
Narrator: It’s a sunny day and Gorata and Keitumetse have taken Toto to the park. Gorata is pushing the small girl on the swing.
Keitumetse: So, Lesego moved out.
Gorata: I’m sorry to hear that, Keitumetse.
Keitumetse: Yeah … well, maybe it’s for the better. We’re just too different. We see the world differently … want different things from life. I think it’s better.
Keitumetse: Yeah, it will take a while to get over it. But Dave called. There won’t be a trial. Letsholo pleaded guilty. He’s off to jail for five years.
Gorata: Better. One point for the good guys.
Keitumetse: They’re investigating all the tenders at Intel now. It looks like he’ll face quite a few more charges. Surprisingly, he’s co-operating with them.
Gorata: Maybe he thinks they’ll find out everything anyway. He might as well get it over with quickly.
Gorata: It took courage for you to do what you did. You should be proud of yourself.
Keitumetse: Yes, well, I took a bit of time to see the right path. At least I eventually found my way back. I have some more good news though.
Keitumetse: We got a contract for cleaning that private clinic over in Sunnyside West.
Gorata: Really? That’s great.
Keitumetse: I guess this whole thing taught me to have some faith in myself. I think Supreme Clean will be okay after all.
Gorata: I knew you’d find a way. I think we need to celebrate. How about going out dancing?
Keitumetse: Okay – but I don’t want any more free drinks!
Gorata: (Laughing) I’m with you on that one!
Tell us: Keitumetse said that once she agreed to the bribe, she put herself in a kind of ‘prison’. Can you explain what she means?
Do you think, in a country like ours with such high unemployment, that her actions were totally wrong? Were her actions selfishly motivated?
Do you think Lesego is a generally dishonest person, for accepting that ‘this is the way it is’ about bribery, and telling Keitumetse to pay the bribe?
What role did gender dynamics play in Keitumetse’s dealings with Letsholo?