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Sean Singleton – Class of

I could not believe it when our uncle announced go hide in your homes! But worse was to come! Withdrawal symptoms, yes more than the AA could have warned you about!

I have been fortunate to have never taken leave to sit at home, normally a passport in hand and away we go, but not this time!!
This time we just had to sit at home!!

Thank goodness my home has a beautiful ocean view and a Jacuzzi on the patio outside, so the first week was spent relaxing and drinking a few ice cold Raddlers that we managed to stock up on before they closed the NBS ( nearest bottle store).
Maybe we bought too much, or maybe we did not drink enough because we had half the beers left when we came out of lockdown!!!

Great things started happening, my fiancée, I mention this because after all this time and in lockdown, I realized that 3rd time lucky, so finally proposed and we getting married in September!

Actually not convinced if it is love or the fact that during this time she has become a chef of note!! Cooking healthy meals and helping me reduce my weight by 17kgs.Yes, I was the incredible bulk, soon to be the Incredible Hulk, again!!

Then there was the haircut that went slightly wrong and Telly Savalas would have referred to me as his other son!!
Netflix became a daily part of our lives, and we would often put the 2 camping chairs in front of the TV and play musical CD’s like the famous “Party in the Park “. Or Paul Simon in Zimbabwe ext!!
That’s the fun part of lockdown!!
Then reality hit!

For those that don’t know, I sit on the Exco board of CMH motors and our CEO got hold of us 4 Exco guys and started the face the facts guys!! The world has changed , we won’t go back to the same business!!

Zoom and teams were new to me, (my nick name Bill Gates, I am BBC)
Daily I worked 3 to 5 hours restructuring the 13 dealerships I am responsible for, from head count, to demo car reduction in both numbers and value, to small things such as new petrol controls/ incentives. My Dealer Principals had to meet daily on zoom and tasked to review and report back!

I was dreading the one on one with Jebb the Ceo on a Friday morning at 11 am, to discuss how many heads and the value of salary would be cut in my division!!
I had 489 people reporting to me! It’s not nice playing God and deciding who has to go, but 25% have to go, to ensure 75% remain employed and the business is profitable!

So there I am, sitting in a depressed state looking at the names in front of me, most of whom I know personally, when I get the call from Basil Meintjies, (most will remember the fear when you heard that name from the past) but he has been a minister of God for 25 years and has become a good friend of mine!)
“ Seanie… How are you?
God said I have to phone you this morning and give you encouragement,”

Well that was me, I broke down and cried like a baby, sobbed my heart out, Basil calmly said, “let me pray for you.”

20 min later I go to wash the tears from my face and while doing this, I get the thought who is going to be our “Covid champion” at the dealerships, checking people in, taking temperatures etc.

That phone call from Basil saved 52 jobs within our group as we had not thought of that!!Strange how God works!!

The sad part is that we as a group have had to retrench 20% and do drastic cost cutting exercises as the CEO’s call from the 10th April was correct. The world has changed. We don’t sell as many cars as we used to, the shift to ‘used’ and downscaling is real!We as South Africans will get through this because we always do. We complain, we accept we carry on and make a plan.

Thank you if you have read this far, hope I did not bore you and if you are in the market for a vehicles call me, or a truck for that matter. I look after fleets as well, so I can get any brand you want.

Sean Singleton