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Hawks probe construction company

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The sub-contractors allege that the company, whose head office is in Durban, has not paid them for work they did at a communications company.

THE HAWKS in Kimberley are investigating a case of fraud, amounting to R3 million, against a construction company after sub-contractors in the city accused the company of withholding and deducting funds for work they performed.

The sub-contractors allege that the company, whose head office is in Durban, has not paid them for work they did at a communications company and also accuse it of illegally deducting a portion of money from their payments.

According to one of the sub-contractors, David van Rooyen, he started doing work for the company in 2015 and has since the beginning experienced irregular payments and deductions.

“We had to lay lines for the communications company. The contract was awarded to (the company) and we were sub-contractors under the company. In the beginning we would do the work and once it was concluded expect payment. However, the company would not pay us.

“When one would enquire about the payment, the company would say that we loaned the money from them. I was informed that I had loaned between

R200 000 and R300 000 from the company.

“The money paid would also not be the full amount as they would deduct from the money. They would deduct R3 000, 20% and then 13%. They said that the R3 000 was for a policy, the 20% they said was because we were using the company’s name and that the 13% was the interest rate for us borrowing the money.

“The owner of the company said she had to pay the bank for lending us money but also needed to make a profit from that.

“We indicated at a meeting our unhappiness over the deductions, as well as the non-payment, and that the company never brought this matter to our attention.”

Van Rooyen said that following several enquiries regarding the matter, the sub-contractors decided to get legal advice.

“I went to get a lawyer and started legal action against them. Their lawyer told my lawyer that it was a verbal agreement between me and the company. My lawyer asked how they can loan me so much money without drawing up any documentation,” he said.

Van Rooyen said the company would also claim tax on their behalf. “My company is not registered for VAT so we cannot claim tax. We found out that the company was claiming tax on our behalf. She would claim tax for David van Rooyen knowing that the company I owned was not VAT registered.”

He said the company barred him from conducting any further work while the matter was unresolved.

“I have been without work since 2018 after the company wrote an e-mail to the communications company in Jan Kempdorp stating that there is a fraud case against me.”

Van Rooyen said that although some strides were made in the matter towards the end of 2019, he has, however, not yet seen a single cent of his money.

“My lawyer called and said that (the company) said they would pay my money. He sent me a letter, dated November 29, 2019, which I had to sign. The lawyer said the company said they would pay me in 24 hours. I signed and waited, but have still not received anything.”

He said the matter was putting strain on him.

“These people owe me a lot of money. The amount that is being investigated by the Hawks states that my case amounts to R600 000. I had to make use of my own personal vehicles and employees when doing the work. I had to pay the employees from my own pocket as I could not expect them to wait with me. These are also people with dependants. This has put a lot of financial strain on me as I have got nothing to show for the work I did. Who would want to work with nothing to show. It’s heartbreaking?”

Another sub-contractor, Tebogo Moleneki, said the company owed him R400 000.

“The head office of the company is in Durban and we were never given contracts. When we would call and enquire about the contracts, the owner would promise that they would send it but never did. We saw from our statements that money was being deducted from us. When we enquired about it, we would be threatened that we would get no jobs,” said Moleneki.