File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Company owed R102m by ANC reveals in letter to judge hardship it faces due to party’s refusal to pay up

By Bongani Nkosi Time of article published Sep 16, 2021

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Johannesburg – Creditors and owners of the company that the cash-strapped ANC owed R102 million to are enduring financial hardships due to the party’s alleged refusal to cough up.

Lawyers for Ezulweni Investments have written a letter to Gauteng High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo detailing the stakeholders' struggles as the legal stand-off between the company and the ANC drags on.

Sarlie & Ismail inc, a legal firm based in Bezuidenhout Valley, wrote to Judge Mlambo this week to plead their client's request to expedite the re-hearing of the matter.

According to a May ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), a full bench of the South Gauteng High Court needed to be constituted to hear Ezulweni's application.

After launching its application in 2019, Ezulweni trumped the ANC three times before Acting Judge Urmila Bhoola in the same high court.

Judge Bhoola ruled that all evidence before her proved that Ezulweni entered into a valid oral agreement with ANC officials to produce and install 30 000 PVC banners ahead of the 2019 elections.

The ANC, a party so broke that it battled to pay its employees, sought to appeal Judge Bhoola's ruling at the Bloemfontein-based SCA. It denied owing Ezulweni, saying it carried out the work without proper authorisation.

Judge of Appeal Daniel Dlodlo and Acting Judge Aubrey Ledwaba granted leave to appeal, but directed that it should be heard by a full bench of the South Gauteng High Court.

The date of the fresh hearing was yet to be issued, prompting Ezulweni to instruct its legal representative to ask Judge Mlambo to speed things up.

“Our client, the respondent, hereby humbly applies to the Judge President to expedite the hearing of the application before the full bench of this honourable court," said the letter from Sarlie & Ismail, which The Star has seen.

“We respectfully submit that the circumstances warrant that the appeal is of considerable urgency, and that in the interests of justice and fairness, an expedited allocation for the hearing of the appeal be granted."

These circumstances included the hardships that Ezulweni stakeholders endured.

The creditors included people who assisted Ezulweni with capital to produce the banners. Ezulweni previously stated in court papers that the production was carried out in China and Durban.

Some of the creditors expecting their money now struggled to pay bonds, while Ezulweni owners were forced to sell their personal belongings, the law firm told Judge Mlambo.

"Of the many persons and entities being severely prejudiced, the situation of these two creditors tug at the heartstrings: they have not been able to meet bond repayments on their primary and only homes since May 2019 resulting in foreclosure proceedings by the financial institutions that hold mortgage bonds over the homes," said the letter.

"We can vouch and if need be, provide details specifically of attempts to assist these two persons with legal representation funded by our client, where we have attempted to stave off the judgment and sales in execution of their homes, arising from such substantially delayed payment on the part of our client.

"To be candid, our client, the respondent, itself is in dire financial straits arising from the protracted non-payment and satisfaction of the judgment debt. Its directors and shareholders have literally had to sell off many personal assets in order to put food on the table."

@BonganiNkosi87

The Star

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