Cape Town - A Parklands businesswoman has reported a white businessman to Parliamentarians for allegedly using her as a “BEE front” to secure contracts worth millions, side-lining her, and trying to buy her silence.
Mandisa Matwa, 40, reported Milprops Recruiting owner Tony Ingram, of Table View, to the National Assembly’s trade, industry and competition committee.
Milprops specialises in providing staffing solutions for the oil and gas, ship building and engineering industries.
The UDM brought the matter before the committee and asked MPs to expedite the process. Committee member and ANC MP Prince Zolile Burns-Ncamashe confirmed the committee had received the complaint and was following internal processes.
A National Treasury Central Supplier Database (CSD) report backs her claim that on March 1, 2019 she signed a contract as a 26% shareholder for Milprops, which is controlled by Ingram.
Although Ingram claims on LinkedIn he is the sole member of Milprops, the CSD report refutes this and shows Matwa owns 26% of Milprops, Ingram 49% and their late business partner, a coloured man, 25%.
The company had 0% BEE representation before Matwa and the late partner came on board.
Approached for comment, Ingram said: “Although the matter has been referred to my attorneys, I’m happy to meet Ms Matwa and settle any complaints she may still have against me.”
He said he was told by Matwa’s lawyer that the B-BEE Commission had dismissed her 2021 complaint.
Commission spokesperson Mofihli Teleki said they found that Matwa was not a Milprops 450 CC member from its establishment to date.
This was despite the Treasury CSD report recognising the company’s legal name as Milprops 450, trading name as Milprops Consulting, and her as a shareholder.
The Cape Argus has seen informal communications between lawyers who acted for Matwa and Ingram.
A WhatsApp message from Ingram’s lawyer read: “Dear Mr Roberts (Matwa’s lawyer), without prejudice, our client makes an offer for R200 000 in full and final settlement of all disputes between the parties to be paid within seven days of acceptance of this offer.”
Matwa, through her lawyer, rejected the offer. On June 1 last year, Matwa's lawyers sent Ingram letters of demand for copies of the signed document, tax returns and financial statements.
She said Ingram’s lawyers tried to stonewall the demands but eventually came back with the R200 000 offer.
Matwa’s lawyer, David Roberts, said: “We submitted a complaint on behalf of our client to the B-BBEE Commission for alleged fraud for utilising a favourable B-BBEE scorecard rating by the company transferring shares to our client, and thereafter obtaining large tenders premised on the new B-BBEE rating, and subsequent failure by the company to accord to our client the true value of the shares she holds consequent upon her being utilised and discarded when attempting to permit a recompense in accordance with the agreement between our client and Tony Ingram, as alleged.”
The CSD report lists Ingram’s email address for all three shareholders, making him the sole director recipient for Milprops communications.
Matwa said Ingram, whom she considered a family friend, called her into his office in 2017 to sign for 26% of Milprops shares.
They met through Ingram’s live-in partner while Matwa worked in Joburg and they reconnected with Ingram in Cape Town.
“I signed. I immediately requested a copy of the signed document, which he said he will give me the next day. This never happened, even with numerous reminders.”
She became close to Ingram’s family, and this lulled her into signing the contract, believing she was going to get a copy, she told the committee.
She requested documents numerous times, but time went by and Ingram’s silence piqued Matwa’s curiosity about the company’s operations and tenders.
She said Ingram’s live-in partner told her about an R800 000 a week, eight-year contract with city-based multinational company Damen Shipyards, in a tender to provide resources to build ships for Damen.
A Damen report confirms a “corporate social responsibility” link between the two companies.
Damen spokesperson Rick van de Weg said the company was investigating Matwa’s complaint to Parliamentarians as the allegations are “indeed quite concerning”.
“Damen has a stringent due diligence system in place and does not support BEE fronting, We pride ourselves with our transparent and inclusive local supply chain and, as such, strongly condemn fronting in any kind of way,” he said.
Queried on the contract’s value and whether they met Milprops shareholders, De Weg said he would not be able to meet the deadline.
Matwa said after back-and-forth exchanges between herself and Ingram, he sent her R50 000 “in Covid funds” in December 2019. In financial difficulty, she accepted the payment.
Matwa said Ingram would be “upset” whenever she requested the shareholding contract. She said he was not transparent and he “used” her.
“We will leave no stone unturned,” Burns-Ncamashe said.
He said the ANC was committed to transformation and viewed suggestions of fronting “in a serious light”.
UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa pressed committee chair, ANC MP Judy Hermans for months on the case, but he received no response.
“Parliament has failed this woman dismally,” Kwankwa said.
Hermans did not respond to a request for comment.