'I was used as a front'

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

Entrepreneur Sello Ramahlako claims he was used as an empowerment front to save a communications company, Ince, from losing some of its biggest clients.

He said an empowerment promise deal, which could have enabled him to build a sustainable operation in the mailing and printed communications industry, turned sour after a misunderstanding between him and Ince.

He said he joined Ince in 2003 as sales executive with a promise from management that he would become the company's communications empowerment partner after six months.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed to this effect. Sowetan has a copy of this MOU.

Ramahlako is a former chief executive of mailing company Express Mailing, which used to do mailing business with Ince before he joined them.

He claimed that Ince hired him because the company was desperate to get an empowerment partner to save the business.

"Ince had been receiving complaints from clients that they were not complying with BEE requirements and were threatening to pull out of their business," he said.

He said he was surprised that when his contract was supposed to be reviewed at the end of November 2003, Ince could not do so, claiming most of the jobs he had done had not materialised.

Ramahlako said he later was dismissed after rejecting a job that he was offered.

But Ince chief executive David Atkinson denied the claims, saying his company had not finalised any deal with Ramahlako when the MOU was signed.