He may not smoke a pipe or wear a deerstalker hat, but like the legendary literary detective, Shakti Jainarain is constantly exercising his perceptiveness and attention to detail, affinity for solving puzzles, advanced problem-solving proficiency, and relentless persistence in finding solutions to members’ issues. Indeed, Shakti’s sleuthing skills probably led him to his career and position at CEO in Durban in the first place. “My innate curiosity and love of reading cases certainly gave a clue to what I wanted to do as a career,” he says. “And my parents contributed to my craft by teaching me to keep focussed and always be optimistic regardless of the circumstances I faced.”

Shakti’s colleagues describe him as kindhearted, punctual, articulate and caring – certainly characteristics that contribute to his success as a Senior Dispute Resolution Official. Time is of the essence for the great detectives, and the same applies to dispute resolution. In fact, Shakti confirms that CEO’s constitution is geared towards resolving disputes speedily and without delay. “I love the vision that CEO is the voice of employers – an often-overlooked category of industry,” he says. “The role of CEO is to represent our members effectively and efficiently with a minimum of business risk.” CEO unreservedly, unashamedly and unapologetically prioritises Employer interests, and we never waiver from our task and objective.”

Shakti and his colleagues have been at the sharp end of the troubles that are plaguing businesses and employers in KZN. Apart from riots in 2021 and storm damage this year, he says that increasing fuel prices, the pricing of goods and raw materials and the barrier to technology are huge challenges for the members he interacts with. Shakti adds that Bargaining Councils are also feeling the pressure of a volatile economy. “The Bargaining Councils in KZN have changed dramatically in the way cases are conducted. MIBCO, for example, prioritises the scheduling and hearing of cases speedily and without delay,” he says. “But bargaining councils need to change by improving their communication with members of the public, employers’ organisations and trade unions. Bargaining Council administrators are unfortunately left to deal with a huge caseload and sometimes consequentially neglect communication.”

When Shakti isn’t solving issues for CEO members, he practices his sleuthing talents by listening to true crime podcasts and reading books or watching shows about the insufferable yet lovable Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, the sullen Inspector Morse, the glamorous Phryne Fisher, and his favourite literary sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. Shakti is also a family man and enjoys spending time with his loved ones and friends. He’s also proudly cracked a case that many parents constantly battle – that of being a father who is present and attentive.

What is his vision of the future? “Sitting in the library of my 50-bedroom mansion smoking a pipe and reading Agatha Christie,” he laughs!

Oh. Elementary.