Fee bearing image – Cape Town – 140901 – Ganda Xolelwa waiting infront of the office. Workers of Siyaya Cash Loads gathered outside their offices in Voortrekker Road, Parow claiming that they have not been paid their salaries for a long time. Reporter: Rebecca Jackman. Photographer: Armand Hough

Cape Town - Siyaya Debt Solutions’ company motto is “fair, from the first day”, but some employees at its Bellville franchise say they have worked for months without pay.

Thobela Hobongwana has worked at the call centre for two months and says she has not received a cent of the R3 000 basic monthly pay or the commission she was promised when she started.

The company offers debt counselling and loans.

Hobongwana is one of about 25 employees who say they have not been paid since they joined.

After months of asking where their money was, they banded together last Tuesday to demand their pay. They say they were chased out of the building.

A manager they only know as “Naz” told them they could return to the office on Friday. When they did so, they waited for hours and were then told the money would be cleared over the weekend.

They returned for their money on Monday, but security would not allow them to enter a second call centre, across the road from their building, where they had been told their managers were based. Security employees told them they could not call a manager to speak to them.

Financial manager Gerardo Joseph came to the door to speak to the Cape Times and said “the people” worked for Nadhir Pillay, the owner of the Siyaya Bellville franchise across the road.

Pillay said he ran the franchise, but all paperwork, administrative processes and finances were done by the parent company Siyaya Debt Solutions.

Joseph said Pillay was in arrears of about R16 000 as he was not making enough. For this reason he had not been paid and had not been able to pay his staff.

It could not be established what Pillay was required to pay the parent company each month.

Pillay confirm that he owed the company money and could not pay his staff. He said he had been evicted from the building. “My hands are tied. I’m down to the bone.”

Pillay said the owner of Siyaya Debt Solutions, who was on holiday in London, had given “the go-ahead” for him to move into a larger space and take on more agents.

Pillay said he was then moved back and forth between his old, smaller space and the new larger space before being evicted. During the moves the centre repeatedly lost power and in the past three weeks his company could log calls for only two days.

He said that is the reason his franchise did not bring in the required funds. “When Siyaya pays me out, then I pay my people,” Pillay added.

“I’m supposed to pay them, but how can I pay them with no funds?”

Carmelita Cloete started working in the call centre on July 10. She said she received a payslip in July, but no money.

The employees said they would go to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

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Cape Times