ditched after 'bee deal'

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Three years of hard work and dedication came to naught for two Limpopo men who were allegedly removed from the shareholding of a company they ran with a white counterpart.

Lesiba Mabotja and Johannes Lekhuleng have been in partnership with Gerda Hawken, operating a furniture- manufacturing company in Mokopane since 2005.

Thabang Timbers has been supplying furniture to schools in the province.

Mabotja, 47, owned 30percent of the company's shares, Lekhuleng 20percent while Hawken owned 50percent.

But Mabotja and Lekhuleng, 36, were surprised when Hawken told them two weeks ago that she was buying them out.

Hawken had allegedly been paying the two as mere employees and not as co-directors.

"Each time she was to get a deal she referred to the company as a BEE but we did not benefit from the arrangement," the two complained.

Hawken yesterday said the two men were not co-directors but were shareholders.

She would, however, not elaborate on the status of their shareholding.