Workers from the company owned by former ANC Northern Cape chairperson and premier Manne Dipico, supported by the EFF, yesterday staged a protest outside the offices of auditing firm KPMG, demanding answers from a business rescue practitioner.
About 250 workers are allegedly owed R28 million in unpaid salaries by Diro Manganese, a mining company owned by Dipico, who allegedly earned a salary and bonuses of R1 258 284.86 in July 2015.
Some of the workers staged a protest outside KPMG’s offices in Joburg to demand answers from Diro Manganese business rescue practitioner and KPMG director Gavin Gainsford. One of the workers, Phatsimo Ebusang, 28, said:
“My basic salary is R5 600 and I work as a laundry attendant. We don’t have enough food. The directors have not come to address us since we have been [in Centurion]. They live comfortable lifestyles. Our families are back at home, suffering from hunger and many things.”
Responding to questions sent to Gainsford, director of ENSAfrica in the insolvency, business rescue and debt recovery department Ntlhane Makena said Diro was placed in business rescue on June 7 and Gainsford was appointed as the business rescue practitioner on June 9.
The employees claim they have not received a salary since the rescue process started. “The company has not been operational since March 2016 and has no money to fund its operations,” said Gainsford.
“We have been engaging with potential investors in order to secure an offer that will adequately deal with the various issues facing the company. We continue to engage with all stakeholders to ensure they are aware of the process and its progress.”
He added a meeting of creditors was convened on September 9 to provide an update on the offers received so far and the various conditions attaching to each offer.
“The employees’ representative committee and the National Union of Mineworkers were present at this meeting,” said Gainsford.
“They also contributed to the eventual outcome of the meeting which required all potential investors to revise their offers to guarantee that the outstanding salaries would be settled upon approval and adoption of the business rescue plan. This has been communicated to the potential investors and we have received their final offers.”