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There was a cartoon in the office of the Dean of Research at the University of the Western Cape, back in the days when I worked in the Education Policy Unit, that was both out of place and apposite. It showed a human behind on a toilet bowl, and a tide of toilet paper flowing across the floor. The caption read, ‘the job’s not done till the paperwork’s done.’

Juvenile toilet humour, I agree, and in the better world we all believe in, performance not paperwork would be the thing that counts. But performance, as we also know, is precisely what generates the paperwork.

Or, a lack of performance. In two instances, today, one to do with a supposed tax-free allowance on leaving my employment, the other to do with actually drawing down the money from the further bond on the Emmarentia house, which has already been approved and registered, paperwork, far from wiping the slate clean, in a manner of speaking, has gummed up the works.

The tax free allowance turns out not to be tax free. The money I have borrowed, to pay out my ex-wife, turns out not to have been borrowed, until I make a further application to access it – and the final key, to unlock these funds, turns out to be – wait for it – a piece of paper. In this case, because the property is registered in the name of a close corporation, of which I am now the sole member, the paper in question is a resolution of the said close corporation, with a register of members present, to the effect that application should be made to draw down the money already borrowed.

And so, accordingly, today I met with myself, and agreed with myself on the necessary resolution, and signed and forwarded to the appropriate bank officials, the required paperwork.

Dear Kafka, how many forests, how large a carbon footprint, and how much time and treasure, to wipe a few arses!

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