Metrorail in the Western Cape has denied claims by small black-owned businesses in Cape Town that it is cash-strapped and unable to pay its suppliers for services rendered.
The state-owned enterprise’s regional manager, Mthuthuzeli Swartz, rubbished reports yesterday that Metrorail had failed to pay a number of companies without cause.
“Payment of service providers is dealt with on a case-by-case basis based on the contract terms.”
Disgruntled business owners told a press conference in Gugulethu this week that they were drowning in debt, with some facing foreclosure, as Metrorail had failed to cough up more than R4.2 million in payments owed to them over the past few months.
While Swartz conceded there might have been instances where invoices had been queried for a variety of reasons, or might have included fraudulent claims or services that did not meet contract terms, he denied outright the allegations of non-payment.
“Metrorail has an open relationship with its service providers,” he said.
“The contractual relationship creates a platform on which the parties interact and resolve challenges. It is curious that those who run to the media refuse to disclose their identity to enable Metrorail to investigate each case.”
With regard to the labour relations issues raised by dismissed Metrorail staffers, Swartz said Metrorail had policies and procedures in place to address employee grievances.
“Should employees who are subject to disciplinary processes not be satisfied once they have exhausted all internal processes, the country’s labour laws provide them with recourse through institutions such as the CCMA or the labour court.”
Swartz encouraged anyone with evidence of corruption to report this.
The businessmen gave Metrorail seven days to pay or face public protests. - The Cape Argus