Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
SIX consumers have claimed that PK Vending Distributors has swindled them out of hundreds of thousand of rands .
The Sowetan readers said they paid PK Vending Distributors R439000 between October last year and February this year, but have not received any vending machines.
Some of the people said they used their life savings while other said that they took out loans.
Palesa Majela, 27, of Mamelodi in Gauteng, said she wanted to augment her salary so she approached PK Vending Distributors .
She said she found the company on the Internet. Their website promised clients a highly profitable business by eliminating unnecessary costs such as franchise fees and area licences, Majela said.
She said she was referred to their financier, Blue Financial Service, who approved her loan for three vending machines which were on a special offer in December.
After paying R120000, Majela said, she was told the machines would be delivered within three days.
Later Adelle Rochester of PK Vending Distributors told her that they had no staff to deliver the machines because they had closed for the December holidays.
"In January I discovered that they had no machines and their employees had been dismissed because there was no work," Majela said.
Rochester told her that their container was delayed because the motors that drive the vending spirals were out of stock and that they were expecting the containers within six to eight weeks.
In February, Rochester told Majela that they were expecting the container in March.
She also said the company did not deal with schools "yet on their profile, pupils are seen buying from the vending machines", Majela said.
Every month after that she got a new excuse, so last month she decided to cancel her contract and demanded her money back.
But she was referred to a penalty clause in the contract's terms and conditions, which states that she would forfeit 25percent if she cancelled. This meant she would lose R33000.
Antoinette de Sausa said she paid R193000 for five vending machines in March .
She later realised that she had been sold old machines. She protested and demanded her money back but was told this was not possible.
"They were only willing to refund R20000, which I rejected with contempt," Da Sausa said.
She said she later found out that the machines she bought were sold for R25000 each and not R45000 as PK Vending Distributors had told her.
Chuma Qwelela is in the same boat. She withdrew the R75000 she has been saving for the past nine years to pay PK Vending Distributors.
She said she paid it in two instalments.
"I paid a deposit of R57000 in February after PK Vending Distributors promised to deliver the machines within a week.
They did not deliver. A month later they called Qwelela and demanded the balance of R18000. She was told that the machines had been delivered to the premises.
This was not true, she said, and claimed that the company had been ignoring her phone calls and e-mails since April.
"I thought it was a good investment and never imagined it would be a headache and cause me a stressful pregnancy," Qwelela said.
Last Friday she went to their offices to demand her money back.
At first she was told the person in charge was in Cape Town, but later the person emerged from an office.
She said she was given three post-dated cheques of R25000 each.
"I told them I would not move from their premises, even if it meant delivering my baby in their reception, until I got my money," Qwelela said.
She can cash the first cheque next Friday.
Pukane Thipe, 47, suffered the same fate. He said he attended the company's show at Gallagher Estate in Gauteng in October last year and decided to invest in vending machines.
"I had no money and regret ever convincing my wife to invest a portion of her savings in this business," he said.
Thipe was refunded half of the R40000 he paid PK Vending Distributors.
The Sowetan team went to the company's premises at 27 Southway in Kelvin, Johannesburg, but was not allowed into the house, which the company had turned into an office.
We could only see one vending machine that was being repaired in the garage.
Adelle Rochester later acknowledged receipt of Consumer Line's written enquiry.
"We have received your enquiry and will respond within two days," said her e-mail.
PK Vending confirmed that Qwelela received post-dated cheques.
l We will publish the lengthy response on Wednesday.