'Cheat messed up my life'

STARTING any kind of business requires planning, perseverance and passion.

STARTING any kind of business requires planning, perseverance and passion.

These are the core factors that will make or break a business.

A number of consumers want to start a trucking business to augment their salaries, while others want to do so because it's perceived to be the most successful and viable BEE business available.

But it's not easy to start a trucking business and don't believe anyone who promises to turn your life around and make you a successful trucker in "five minutes".

About 50 budding entrepreneurs were allegedly lured into buying nonexistent trucking contracts for R9 500 a package.

The amount they allegedly paid into the Lekalakala Transport and Logistics Savings account at FNB totals R475000, they said.

After parting with their hard-earned money these investors have not received the promised packages nor the lucrative opportunities they were looking forward to.

A heart-broken Lilly Phogela said that in November last year she and her friend met Klaas Moremi Lekalakala, who told them he sold transport business packages and promised that jobs would automatically be secured.

But after he had sold them the packages nothing happened, Phogela said.

When she demanded her money back she was told she was not eligible for a refund.

Rathaga Matome, 28, said he was also "cheated" after buying a package. He said Lekalakala sent him "to fruitless business meetings".

"Dealing with Lekalakala has messed up my life," Matome said.

Jane Jiyane said Lekalakala had led them on and that only three weeks ago they had learned that Lekalakala had "cheated more than 50 people".

Those interviewed said he threatene d to "bewitch" them if they continued to demand money back.

Lekalakala said his clients had misunderstood him. He said they had bought transport business packages, which were distinct from franchises.

He said his business concept was an empowerment tool that enabled clients to gain a better understanding of transport and logistics.

Lekalakala denied ever promising clients direct contracts from mines.

He had made it clear that it was their responsibility to use the information to secure jobs.

He said his clients could not cancel the contracts because the packages were based on information related to business opportunities.

Lekalakala said he did not know how many people he had sold to, but insisted his packages had worked for some.

He dismissed the allegation of witchcraft.

"That I received almost half a million from them is not disputable, but what matters is that they received what I sold them."