Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - The ANC is facing a lawsuit over its alleged failure to settle a R102million debt owed to a marketing agency that produced and installed thousands of its electioneering banners early this year.

Renash Ramdas, the chief executive of KwaZulu-Natal based Ezulweni Investments, has filed papers in the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg as part of his company’s lawsuit against the governing party.

Ezulweni produced and installed 30000 PVC banners that the ANC ordered as part of its last-push strategy before the May elections.

The banners were installed on poles across the country just a week before the elections.

Ramdas said in his affidavit that the 30000 banners were ordered by Luthuli House officials Nhlanhla Mabaso and Lebohang Nkholise.

The ANC was invoiced at R2900 per banner and R70 for the installation and removal of each banner.

The invoiced R102m included more than R13m in VAT. Ramdas said in his papers that he had attempted several times since May to get the ANC to pay him.

In addition to sending a lawyers’ final letter of demand, Ezulweni has also written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.

Neither Ramaphosa nor Magashule responded to him. All that Ramdas had received from other officials were promises, he said.

“Despite the lapse of a reasonable time, the respondent failed to make payments to the applicant of the amounts due,” Ramdas said.

“I have made various approaches to the representatives of the ANC in order to ascertain when payment would be forthcoming. Despite promises, however, the respondent failed to pay the amounts due.”

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party would formulate its response to the litigation once it had all the details from its officials.

“We’ll follow up the matter with relevant offices in the ANC.

“Once we’re privy to the issues and fully informed we’ll be able to come out and explain the position of the ANC on the matter,” Mabe told The Star yesterday. In a letter sent to Magashule in July, Ramdas, who describes himself as a loyal ANC member, stressed that he did not want to resort to the courts to settle the matter.

“We are cautious about disgracing the ANC but (we) will have no other option if this matter is not resolved immediately.”

Ramdas said the ANC did not even help with the required deposits during the work, pleading poverty.

“The project required a substantial investment, and a number of suppliers of material required deposits,” he said.

“I approached Nkholise and asked the respondent to assist (us) in this regard.

“Nkholise advised me that the ANC was experiencing cash-flow constraints as a result of the national general election, but assured me that (we) would be paid immediately after the election campaign.”

Ezulweni made a substantial investment towards the project.

The banners were printed at Atlas Printers in Durban and in China, Ramdas revealed.

He annexed pictures in his affidavit demonstrating the work that they did.

Ramdas also deposed WhatsApp conversations he had with ANC officials during the project.

“As appears from the photographs the manufacturing and printing of the PVC banners was a mammoth task. (Our) employees worked day and night to ensure the project was completed on time,” he said.

Another element that unsettled Ramdas was that this was the first time he had struggled to get money that was owed to his company by the ANC.

“I had a previous working relationship with the respondent and had always received payment for the work carried out.”

This is not the only lawsuit the party, which has previously fended off reports that it was broke and facing bankruptcy, is facing over non-payment.

City Press reported last month that a car rental company is suing the ANC for more than R5.7m after its failure to pay for 595 motor vehicles it rented before its last elective conference, held in Joburg.

The Star