Millions intended to be spent on the health needs of Eastern Cape residents have gone missing from d.
Three prospective taxi owners are hopping mad after being taken for a ride by a consultancy which promised them new minibuses after collectively paying a deposit of R103100.
They all participated in the taxi recapitalisation programme and received compensation of R50000 each after they handed over their old minibuses for scrapping.
Delisiwe Mokoena said she and her colleagues were later approached by agents from Geone Consultants who told them they finance prospective taxi owners who cannot secure bank loans.
She said early this year China Auto Manufacturers (CAM) marketed the Inyathi minibus 15-seater for R169000.
Mokoena said CAM offered discounts for taxi owners as its opening special.
Geone Consultants enticed them to take full advantage before prices increased, said Mokoena.
Pleasure Zimame said the consultants advised them to pay a deposit of R30000 to get the minibuses in six weeks.
"I also paid an extra R1500 they said was for car insurance, and have not received my minibus as promised," complained Zimame.
Mokoena cancelled her contract after waiting for her kombi since June. She was told a penalty of R1200 would be deducted from her deposit because she was in breach of contract, whereas they had failed to deliver the minibus within the promised six months.
A cheque for R38200 was issued but returned by the bank when Mokoena presented it for payment.
"It bounced. The bank told me there was no money in their account," said Mokoena.
"I don't want any stories anymore. I want my R40000 back with interest," she said.
Thomas Takalane said the consultancy took them for a ride because they desperately needed the kombis.
"Geone pretended to be the only institution that can secure these minibuses, yet you can get them all over.
"They lied. They still do when they say they will deliver 'next week' when we enquire," said Takalane.
Many weeks have gone by and the three have no minibuses to show for the money they paid.
Lizzy Motaung of Geone Consultants admitted that their agents misled prospective buyers when they told them they could take delivery of the minibuses within six weeks.
The normal waiting period was three months, said Motaung, adding that they could not deliver due to the high demand for the vehicles.
Motaung said they issued Mokoena with a cheque believing they had funds in their account.
Mojake Moleho, her partner, later confirmed that they had no money in their account because prospective buyers had pulled out.
He also confirmed that their agents had misled prospective buyers because they earned a commission.
"We have since got rid of them because they have created problems for us," said Moleho.
He said they had not received the ordered minibuses from China because of high demand.