Peter van der Merwe
Peter van der Merwe

MTN reveals the meaning of Ayoba

So cellular giant MTN has finally revealed the massive scam behind its supremely irritating Ayoba campaign: this Christmas, 500 employees will be getting job cuts in their stockings.

Ayoba, we are told, means “super-cool”. And by extension, everything about MTN is cool. What a hideous joke. There is nothing cool about hacking jobs for Christmas because CEO Phuthuma Nhleko and his overpaid executive cronies want another Land Rover or two.

The reason for the job cuts, we are told, is tough economic conditions. Puh-lease. MTN is not losing money. Their own results released in August tell us that the company’s revenues for the previous year were R57.3 billion, with shareholders pocketing a healthy R3.63 per share for their diligent efforts.

So the company is actually making a sickening amount of money. Sure, its profits may be slightly lower than in previous years. No shit. We’re in the middle of a recession. But the fact is, MTN is still coining it. In a big way. So to slash jobs when you’re making billions is just mind-bogglingly insensitive. Corporate greed is not just alive and well, but beating the living daylights out of your average employee.

I understand perfectly well that a major reason for business is to make money. But what MTN fails to grasp is the fact that the moment you hire people, and put their careers and wellbeing in your hands, you take on a far greater responsibility than purely delivering profits. You don’t commit to triple bottom-line responsibilities on the one hand, and then trash people’s careers and lives to save a few bucks on the other.

MTN’s PR lackeys tell us the company will be giving the affected employees two weeks’ pay for each year of service. Wow. With billions in profit stashed away, do you think you can spare it? That may be the legal requirement, but in truth, it’s risible. Ayoba, my sweet ass.

Unlike the 500 people who were unfortunate enough to believe that MTN is an employer of choice, Nhleko won’t be losing any sleep this Christmas. Last year, his remuneration package was in the region of R16 million. We can only speculate as to what MTN SA CEO Karel Pienaar, and the rest of his smug executive cohorts, earn. Nhleko would be sickeningly wealthy even if he earned just a quarter of his current package — and that would free up R12 million to keep 15 or 20 people in jobs. He certainly won’t be worrying how to pay his bond in February. I’m all right, Jack.

Fact is, the economic downturn reason given by MTN simply doesn’t hold water. How tight can things really be when you have tens of millions of rands hanging around to sponsor limited-overs cricket? Hell, they even sponsor professional cycling. And then there’s that supremely over-the-top Ayoba campaign, which sure as heck isn’t coming cheap.

I cannot even start to imagine the amount of money being pissed … I mean, poured into this campaign. Sure, they want to attract new customers. But their moral obligation is to look after their own people first. And I, for one, will certainly not do business with a company which thinks it’s in any way acceptable to retrench people, just before Christmas, when they are still making money hand over fist.

So every time you hear the word Ayoba, think of the 500 families who will be facing an uncertain future this Christmas while the MTN fatcats slurp Johnnie Walker Black and flaunt their millions. Now that’s Ayoba.

  • Ayoba yohhhh

    I can see that this is AYOBA … !!!! Ayoba yohh,Ayoba,Yoba yohh

  • tansy

    Ayoba my arse!

    It is such an overstated and annoying ad! Thank Goodness i am not an MTN subscriber! I hope the CEOS rot!

  • vuyisa

    you are right, the retrenchment is not fair but why are you only talking about MTN? what about Vodafone aka Vodacom? is it because MTN is South African and Vodacom is European?

  • Johnny

    MTN offered me 1000 loyalty points to change to a more expensive price plan. (They said that they were going to terminate the price plan that I was on at the time). I complied, then they told me to register on 141 by providing them with my id number. I complied again. Now, MTN are refusing to provide me with the loyalty points. I have complained, but to no avail. They seem to think that soliciting my cooperation by means of false advertising is acceptable practice.

    I am disgusted by their conduct and the level of inconvenience that they have subjected me to during my attempts to get this matter resolved.

    A call centre staff member told me that I am not the only one who has been misled by MTN in this exact same manner.

    I am motivated to take MTN on in this regard and I request that all subscribers who have a voice, please let it be heard. Turn to the internet and type out your complaints to encourage others who think that they are the only victims.

    IN UNITY, lies STRENGHT! COME on South Africans, let’s unite and force MTN to take responsibility for their actions.

    I am willing to use the evidence that I have retained against MTN. This is no longer just about loyalty points. MTN, we have rights and we are going to stand up for those rights.

    Anybody who wishes to write an article about this topic, may contact me.

  • Johnny

    With reference to my comment earlier this morning, here is one example of an SMS that I received from MTN:

    “Ayoba, please note that when you move to the MTN Zone price plan your 1000 loyalty points will be loaded within 7 days.”

    I received the aforementioned sms in November 2009. I have received similar correspondence from MTN since then.

    If MTN are going to use “Ayoba” as a slogan, then I suggest that the management at MTN do some research to learn the various meanings and interpretations of “Ayoba”

    “Ayoba” apparently also means “for sure” or “for real” or “agreement”, as depicted on the WikiAnswers website.

    So MTN, you subject us to your advertising “for sure” and you offer incentives that you claim are “for real”, but then you breach the “agreement”, and now you want us to believe that you are an ambassador for “Ayoba”. How “uncool” is that?

    “Ayoba” can also mean “proactive” and “it drives a call to action”. With that in mind, it is going to take plenty “Ayoba” to get MTN to pay attention and correct their wrongs, but in the long run, it will be worth it.

    The ball is now in your (the reader’s) court, you can either play it, or do nothing and expect nothing.

    MTN and “the like”, will continue to betray our trust and abuse their position, until we the victims act on the realization that no corporation can withstand the might of a united “voice/people”.

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