Student union fails to pay caterer in time

10 December 2018 - 08:41
By Thuli Zungu
Mpumi Busika provided three meals a day and snacks to delegates over four days at a summit. She is now fighting to be paid.
Image: 123rf Mpumi Busika provided three meals a day and snacks to delegates over four days at a summit. She is now fighting to be paid.

Businesswoman Mpumi Busika has been given the runaround by the South African Students Union (Sasu) after she fed its 100 guests at a four-day summit in October.

Busika, 35, was approached by Sasu treasurer-general Tsakani Shiviti on an emergency basis as she was not able to get a better offer from other caterers she had approached.

"My service was to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner, including all the refreshments during the four-day summit," Busika said.

She gave them a quotation of R110,000 which Shiviti accepted. Shiviti then sent her an appointment letter for provision of catering during the education summit, Busika said.

Busika said Shiviti told her she was expecting payment from the event sponsor, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), by October 25. Busika catered for the event from the October 24 to 28, she said.

"No payments came through after we catered for their guests and she [Shiviti] started avoiding my calls," Busika said

She said Shiviti later passed the buck to Alex Stemela of the NYDA.

"Some people were paid what was due to them by Sasu after they rendered their services at the same summit except me," Busika said. "All I've been getting are excuses from Shiviti. If she is not getting tax clearance from Sars, she would be blaming NYDA for delaying the process."

Though the NYDA offered to pay her the money, this promise has not been fulfilled, Busika said.

"They too, have their own excuses," she said. "It's December now and am still getting stories."

Attempts to get comment from Shiviti proved futile as she did not answer her cellphone or text messages.

However, NYDA executive chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni confirmed that it had sponsored Sasu with R100,000.

In turn, Sasu had to source its own service providers for transport, accommodation and catering.

"For us to make any transfers to Sasu, it must comply with regulations as stipulated in the Public Finance Management Act and Treasury regulations which, among other things, require a valid tax clearance," Mtsweni said.

He said due to compliance issues, it had taken time for the NYDA to process payment to Sasu. "It is only recently that all requirements were satisfied and payment processed," Mtsweni said.

He said the NYDA has sought to assist Busika, who is not an NYDA service provider, by ensuring Sasu pays her for her services.

"While we truly sympathise with the unfortunate situation she has outlined, we wish to stress that this is by no means a liability of the NYDA but that of Sasu," Mtsweni said.

Mtsweni said he would follow up to ensure that this payment is made as her situation suggested malpractice and was unfair to the supplier.

" I have instructed the CEO and Mr Stemela to bring this matter to finality," said Mtsweni.