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BEE 'franchise' a scam

By unknown | Nov 07, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Entrepreneurs, who include pensioners, invest in fly-by-night franchisees in the name of BEE to their disadvantage.

Every day, thousands of gullible consumers are falling victim to unscrupulous, money-hungry, smooth-talking and heartless business people in the name of Black Economic Empowerment.

Consumers want to own businesses, and respond positively to adverts that promise good annual turn-over.

Altogether 52 more readers thought they had got it right when they collectively invested R1,2 million with Afro Call.

These consumers thought the company was legitimate because its adverts claimed it was endorsed by government.

Some of the investors resigned from their employment in 2005, cashed-in their pension fund and invested in Afro Call, thinking it was a lucrative investment.

Brian Tshabalala of Atteridgeville, Pretoria, said he attended Tommy Havenga's presentation which sounded excellent and later decided to invest in the franchise.

Tshabalala took a loan from a bank and paid a deposit of R25500 to Afro Call.

He said his decision was motivated by Havenga's assurance that hard-working franchisees can get a turn-over of up to R120000 per year. "It was more like a one-stop shop which offered lots and lots of services," Tshabalala said.

He only realised later that it was a scam as no one had received the promised equipments to start any business.

Tshabalala said the franchise agreement offered, among others, public phones, internet cafés, typing and printing machines, photocopies, faxes, registration of close corporations, renewal of licences opportunities, ID and passport photos opportunities, business cards, printing of T-shirts, courier services, lamination equipments, soccer game machines and ring binding.

The agreement also included that franchisees will be engaged in the selling of public phones, key rings and labels, soccer balls, cold drinks, food, vetkoeks, toasted sandwiches, coffee/tea and many other merchandise.

Tshabalala paid a deposit of R25500 hoping to start a small business, but nothing has materialized.

He then decided to cancel his contract in May this year, but was told a certain percent would be deducted from his deposit.

He had not received the deposit yet.

Havenga later told him that he had no money. "I cannot understand why Havenga now claims bankruptcy when he told us that the National Empowerment Fund had injected R5 million into his bank account to empower his black franchisees," he said.

Consumer Line is in possession of a list of 55 consumers from all walks of life who paid R25500 deposits between April 20 last year and February 27 this year.

All of them have not received the equipment they paid for.

lMeanwhile, a meeting will be held by disgruntled investors on Friday at 9.30am at Afro Call offices to discuss a way forward.


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