Franchisee gets rental reduction

06 April 2020 - 08:07
By Thuli Zungu
Nahwal Foster
Nahwal Foster

While some financial institutions have announced extensive payment relief for clients affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, others seem to be dragging their feet.

Consumer Line has successfully helped a reader whose service provider insisted she pay the R8,000 monthly safe rental despite her fast food franchise being shut down as a result of the lockdown.

Nahwal Foster, 32, of Wilgeheuwel in Roodepoort will now pay R4,700 rent instead.

She signed a contract with Cash Connect for an in-store safe and Fidelity cash collection, she said.

"I requested a payment holiday for the R8,000 monthly rental of the safe and they have refused outright, saying they fell under essential services and will be in full operation right through the lockdown."

Foster, a mother of two, said Cash Connect insisted that she pay her monthly rental because its safe is still in her premises although she would not be using it.

"President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on all business to play its part to cushion the blow that the national lockdown will have on jobs and the economy. Please assist me," Foster pleaded with Consumer Line.

Foster said she opened the franchise in July last year and she employs 17 workers.

"Business cashflow has been our biggest challenge but we have survived so far."

Minister of tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane signed a directive on Tuesday March 24, which ordered all restaurants, including fast food and delivery services, to shut their doors.

"I wholeheartedly agree with this directive to protect myself, my staff, customers and my suppliers and it is necessary that we all do our part to flatten the curve," Foster said.

Since the announcement of the lockdown, Foster said she has been phoning around to enquire about payment holidays or some kind of relief for the next three weeks to alleviate the potentially crippling effect the shutdown would have on her business with no success.

"My main concern is the staff wage at this stage as they are hourly earners and will not be able to afford the bare necessities should they not receive any payment during the lockdown," she said.

Foster said she has been monitoring the Unemployment Insurance Fund information channel to advise her employees.

"I have also tried to claim from the SME Fund set up by the government and in the meantime tried to free up enough cash to potentially contribute towards their wages."

A few hours after Consumer Line took up Foster's matter, Cash Connect had a change of heart. Lauren Rayne said Cash Connect, after reviewing Foster's request, has now reached amicable terms for the 21-day lockdown period.

'We do understand that some of our clients are forced to stop all trading for the duration of the lockdown period.

"We do do our utmost best to support them as best as we can to ensure that the effects of the lockdown in the aspect of their agreement with Cash Connect is minimised," Rayne said.

She said Cash Connect is in full support of the retailers who are trading to ensure that their operations are uninterrupted and uncompromised.

"We sincerely sympathise with our clients who are directly impacted by this lockdown."