In India, the caste system controls everything, even with the modernisation that has made parts of the caste system illegal. It regulates occupation, vocation, profession and education by determining who gets what opportunity. It determines association, such that the freedom of association is limited insofar as not enabling cross-caste association.

In India it is the lowest castes that perform, what we euphemistically call, “facilities management” or more accurately “facilities maintenance” services. That would be things like cleaning, gardening, portering, security and certain lower levels of administration. Factually it means cleaning the toilets, cutting the grass, moving furniture and equipment around, protecting, in part, against unacceptable behaviour and managing the staff doing these things.

In terms of this work, everything in India works on the basis of contracts and agreements, not legally protective contracts and agreements, but rather legally enabling contracts and agreements. In terms of these contracts and agreements, as with everything in India, there is corruption. Corruption in the awarding of contracts, corruption in the making of agreements, corruption in the execution of work and corruption in the payments.

Naturally everyone who is receiving money will pay a kickback to someone for enabling that payment. But the system of corruption is complicated, these are lower caste people doing “dirty work”, and as such the money is considered to be dirty. It literally has to be washed in order for it to ultimately, like a ponzi scheme, find its way to the top. Far be it for any bigwig to take “toilet money”, given the “cleanliness” of the middle and higher castes.

This brings us to South Africa, and Bosasa. I don’t know what Bosasa did or does or will do; but they have been described as “facilities management” service providers. I am left to guess the rest. Let us say that they have been “managing facilities”. I am going to suggest that it is, by Indian standards, “dirty work” and thus their money is, by Indian standards, dirty.

That means that some very high caste people, have taken bribes paid in part by toilet money, and in India and by Indian standards, that’s completely unacceptable. Someone should ask why this has happened.



Avishkar Govender

Avishkar Govender is the Chief Political Officer of MicroGene.

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