News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Metrorail owes millions to small businesses


About 23 small businesses from the townships contracted by Metrorail, claim not to have been paid money amounting to millions of rand in the last six months for the cleaning, security and transportation services they have rendered.

ANC PR councilor Loyiso Nkohla said the aggrieved contractors turned to him and other community leaders for help to get their monies.

He said due to the non-payments contractors are unable to pay their employees, some have had their cars repossessed and others, among them single mothers, have defaulted on paying their mortgage bonds.

Nkohla, who has been involved in leading the controversial poo protests in Khayelitsha, said the affected business people had handed him “damning documents” detailing claims such as nepotism, corruption and the appointment of individuals to positions without due processes at Metrorail.

One of the affected business people is Mongiza Larry from Du Noon, who complained that he had not been paid for the last three months for transporting Metrorail employees.

An emotional Larry said he could not send his children to school or afford food at home and was now under pressure from banks pay up monthly installments for his two mini-buses he acquired through credit.

Pastor Thomas Templeton is a shareholder at a company which helped the affected black businesses get contracts with Metrorail.

He said they had seen some of the contractors coming to their offices literally crying because they could not take care of their families or pay their debts.

He said their company was owed R4 million and other companies he knew were owed amounts ranging between five and ten million rand.

He said the problem of non-payment started six months ago, and though they had brought it to the attention of Parliament, Minister of Transport and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa chief executive Lucky Montana, no solution had been forthcoming.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said Metrorail could only respond, once they received the information from Nkohla “to verify facts”.

Despite being asked twice in writing, Scott would not respond on the complaints by the contractors that they had not been paid for a period ranging between four and eight months.

Nkohla said they intended to handover the matter to the crime fighting unit, the Hawks, and the Public Protector among other government bodies for investigation.

He said they were also getting advice from their lawyers with the view of approaching the courts.

He said some of the contractors were willing to testify on the matter. — Francis Hweshe

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