THIS, I must confess, makes life a tad difficult. The Telkom thing, I mean. You know me. I do like my CEOs. A handful of the ones I know are really nice people. So every so often when people start saying business is as bad as government I pipe up in defence of the running dogs of capitalism.

I often point out that these business people create jobs and increase wealth. That’s something that Jacob Zuma wouldn’t know how to do even if you gave him a manual.

But this Telkom thing is, well, poor. You will remember that last year Telkom went on a cost-cutting binge. It cut subscriptions to newspapers. It also took the axe to bottled water and flowers on birthdays for employees.

Then this year the company offered employees retrenchment packages. A helpful 200 managers took the money and ran. That wasn’t enough to stem the losses, so now Telkom has issued retrenchment letters to a further 105 employees.

Given the parlous state of Telkom I guess one cannot blame CEO Sipho Maseko for wanting to find a saving here and there.

Then the Sunday Times reported that just as he is showing workers the door, Telkom had spent R4-million to upgrade the gym at its Pretoria head office. Telkom paid R1-million alone "for five treadmills, six active commercial indoor bikes and a number of kettlebells and dumbbells".

This is the point when one says "eish" under one’s breath and promptly says sorry. Our good friend Maseko didn’t do that, though. He went on the offensive, saying cost-cutting does not mean the company should not invest in employee wellness.

"On the one hand we need to make sure that we become efficient and competitive, on the other hand we need to invest in things that are very important and necessary, like improving the gym, which has not been invested in. In fact some of the equipment was becoming a health hazard," he said.

This is the point when one says "eish" under one’s breath and promptly says sorry. Our good friend Maseko didn’t do that, though. He went on the offensive, saying cost-cutting does not mean the company should not invest in employee wellness.

I see. So Telkom employees cannot sacrifice a few hundred rand for an annual membership at Virgin Active like the rest of us obese, overworked slobs.

Anyway, my view is that employee wellness is largely about how workers eat. At Hemelhuijs in Cape Town there is good food — anything from incredible concoctions of juices to lean-though-delicious lunch and all-day dishes. Hemelhuijs has been going since 2010 and many Capetonians swear by it.

It is because the food at Hemelhuijs is so good, say the gym bunnies. It is the décor (the owner, an artist, has put together a lean, stylish, simple interior and also sells his designer plates and other creations in the restaurant space), say the interior design gurus. It is the ambience, say the walking fanatics who like to sit outside and watch the crowd walk by on the pedestrianised, Waterkant Street part of the Fan Walk.

The menu changes with the seasons, and always elicits comments. This winter’s menu was a huge favourite, and so the spring menu now on offer has made a few die-hards unhappy. Ah well. My friend was set on the salt and Szechuan pepper calamari with citrus-ginger salad, a huge favourite at this place. Alas, it is no longer on the new menu.

The menu is small and shows commitment to healthy eating and fresh ingredients. My seared tuna was absolutely what my gym trainer would have given me a hug for: perfectly prepared, healthy and not too big a portion. Did I say delicious? It would all meet with the approval of your personal trainer, even if his name is Sipho Maseko. I will be going back soon for the pink gin with ruby grapefruit and tonic.

* * * ½ Hemelhuijs

71 Waterkant Street

Cape Town

Tel: (021) 418-2042

* * * * * Thuli Madonsela

* * * * Excellent

* * * Good

* * Poor

* Nkandla

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