South Africa

South Africa

Casualties of Cola: THE ADVISOR

Mike Melnick’s offices inhabit a botched Tuscan structure on the outskirts of Alberton, Johannesburg. Melnick is a large man, and on a Friday in October he was installed behind an oceanic desk, dressed in a Jeep-branded button-up and slacks. M. Melnick Financial Services is an accountancy firm that focuses on owner-drivers, a number of whom are contracted to ABI. In industry terms, Melnick is a “business advisor”—the intermediary between corporates and their independent drivers, a middleman who opens bank accounts, pays bills, and is generally meant to function as the brains behind the ODs’ brawn. By DAILY MAVERICK CHRONICLE.

Melnick has seen many successes and many failures, precisely how many of each he would not say. He did allow that 95 percent of the 200 ODs currently on his roster were “doing well.” The business advisor role was designed to insulate the corporate from having to consider the gory financial details, and to offload the responsibility of developing empowered businessmen onto a third party wielding a calculator and a spreadsheet.

In the looming ABI court case, and in the social and political movements fermenting around the OD programme’s fallout, Mike Melnick has been cast as an arch villain. He’s worked with most of the ODs interviewed for this investigation, and he is so poorly regarded that his name has been emblazoned on protest banners. Fairly or unfairly, M. Melnick Financial Services has been characterised as a keystone in the OD scheme, one that keeps the entire ungainly edifice standing… Read the Part 3 of Casualties of Cola here.

Read the entire feature here.