Some entrepreneurs, including pensioners, invested in a fly-by-night franchise in the name of BEE to their disadvantage.
Every day thousands of gullible consumers fall victim to unscrupulous, money-hungry, smooth-talking and heartless businesspeople in the name of economic empowerment.
Consumers want to own businesses and respond positively to adverts that promise a good annual turnover.
Fifty-two people thought they had got it right when they collectively invested R1,2 million with Afro Call.
They thought the company was legitimate because its adverts stated that Afro Call was endorsed by the government.
Bheki Macingwane resigned from his job in 2005, cashed in his pension fund and invested in Afro Call, thinking it was a lucrative investment.
He said Tommie Havenga, the director of Afro Call, promised the franchisees a turnover of R120000 per annum.
"It was like a one-stop shop which offered lots of services."
It offered public phones, Internet café, typing and printing, photocopies, faxes, registration of close corporations, renewal of licences, ID and passport photos, business cards, printing of T-shirts, courier services, laminating, soccer machine games, and ring binding.
The sales included public phone sales, key rings and labels, soccer balls, cold drinks, food, coffee and tea and so on.
He paid a deposit of R25500 hoping to start his small business, but nothing has materialised.
Macingwane said he tried to get his money back, but Havenga claimed his company had been liquidated.
l Disgruntled investors will meet on Friday at 9.30am at the offices of Afro Call.