Cape Town. 01.01..14. Ghalieb Fisher and Ismail Daniels of the V&A minstrels during a road show in BoKaap ahead of the big minstrels event on Saturday. Picture Ian Landsberg

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town says it could not fully pay the events company it hired to help with the minstrel events because there was a problem with two of the invoices.

Two employees who were sub-contracted to do work for Bharooch Event Styling and Management have complained that they were not paid on time, but the city’s mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing, Grant Pascoe, said one payment had already been made. The two other invoices “did not equate to the balance of the fees/funds due to Bharooch”.

But he said the matter had been resolved and the accounts were reconciled on Thursday last week. The correct invoices have been issued to the city.

“We are now processing payment.”

Eleanor Hendricks said she was one of 11 staff who had worked their “fingers to the bone” with Bharooch, only to be told earlier this month that there was no money to pay them.

“On the third and the fourth (of January) we worked from early in the morning until late at night, only going home for a few hours in between.”

Hendricks was predominantly involved in administrative work.

Although the suppliers were paid earlier this month, Hendricks said she was told that her money would be paid on January 6. This was then postponed to January 8.

Hendricks said she then received a Whatsapp message saying that she could not be paid yet as the city had not paid Bharooch.

There was no indication of when the money would be available.

“As far as I am concerned we were not employed by the city and the money was released to Bharooch. I feel disgusted by the fact that we literally worked 24-hour shifts and had to redo work that was not part of our criteria.”

She said when she asked Bharooch for information about her outstanding payment, she was told to “stop being immature”.

Another employee, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, said he was still waiting for payment.

“Their communication with us was very bad. They should have made an arrangement (if they couldn’t pay).”

Pascoe said the city made payments once a month and usually paid within 30 days. So far, R2 million of the R3.5m contract had been authorised for payment, he said.

“Special arrangements have been made to expedite payment. The intention is to make payment within the next 48 to 72 hours, failing which the city will make alternative arrangements.”

Bharooch Event Styling and Management was initially meant to manage the entire event, but its role was scaled down to one of “facilitation” after some of the minstrel associations complained that they were being sidelined.

Its chief operating officer, Sharif Baker, said in response to a separate query about its event experience that it had been a registered company since May last year.

Baker redirected the Cape Argus’s queries about payment problems to the city.

On Sunday, Hendricks received a text message saying that payment would be made on January 26.

Cape Argus