A delegate holds an ANC flag while attending the party's 53rd national elective conference in Mangaung, Monday, 17 December 2012. Delegates at the conference completed their nominations for the party's top six officials on Monday afternoon. Picture:Werner Beukes/SAPA

Durban - Some of the contents of the ANC’s bank account have been attached because it failed to pay businesses that provided services for its centenary celebrations last year.

A Durban events company that was subcontracted to supply catering equipment for the January 8, 2012 event in Bloemfontein is one of the companies that has been waiting more than a year for full payment.

The company has not been paid as the ANC has not yet paid the main contractor, Metrolink Event Management Solutions, for the hospitality service.

After legal action, an undisclosed amount in the party’s bank account was attached for the purposes of repayment, but subcontractors said they believed it to be less than they were owed.

Durban-based company Cheers Hiring, which supplied cutlery, crockery and small kitchen equipment for the event, is now battling with cash-flow shortages as it is still owed R75 000.

Furthermore, it was not able to pay its staff Christmas bonuses.

“I was paid half up front,” said Cheers Hiring owner Darryl Cheek, “but I am still waiting for about R75 000 which was due after the job was done. We are more than a year down the line now.”

Cheek said that he had made payments in advance for staff wages, accommodation and truck rental to transport his equipment, among other things.

“So we made no money from this at all,” he said.

Cheek said the amount his company was owed was substantially less than was owed to some of the other contractors.

The main catering company is still owed R760 000, after being paid R400 000 in advance. Staff at the company were also not paid Christmas bonuses.

Another subcontractor, Wings Inflight Services, is still owed 60 percent of its total due, but is hoping to gain clarity next week as to when and how much it will be paid as negotiations are now taking place.

But getting answers from Metrolink proved difficult as, the subcontractors say, those involved seem to be “running scared” as they do not want to offend the ANC and risk future tenders.

“But I do not want any more tenders from them if they don’t pay,” Cheek said.

Sundru Pillay, of Metrolink Event Management Solutions, did not want to speak to The Mercury, saying only that “it has all been sorted”.

But when pushed to explain whether that meant everyone had been paid, he replied: “An arrangement has been put in place.”

In e-mail correspondence to the subcontractors on March 1, 2012, Pillay wrote: “I need to assure you all that payment will be made, but please bear with us.

“This wait will be worthwhile as we have been assured future business.”

In December he told subcontractors that an attachment order had been signed.

Although the ANC did not respond to questions from The Mercury, in an e-mailed response to Pillay, also on March 1 last year, the party’s chief financial officer, Bongani Mahlaleni, said: “I wish to reiterate that the treasurer-general is busy fund-raising to settle all centenary debt, including (that of) Metrolink catering.

“The nature of fund-raising is that the funders do not always pay the promised amount timeously, resulting in the delay in us receiving the funds to settle the outstanding balances.

“We shall make our best endeavours to settle the outstanding balance by the March 6 or as soon as we receive the funds from the funders.”

[email protected]

The Mercury