ANC sued for failing to pay for 595 cars

2019-07-15 01:07

The judgment, the latest in a litany of cases lodged against the party, highlights its state of indebtedness

An Ekurhuleni-based car rental company is suing the ANC for more than R5.7 million, including interest, after the governing party failed to pay for the 595 motor vehicles it rented ahead of its Nasrec conference, held in December 2017.

Sizwe Car Rental, based in Isando, east of Johannesburg, applied to the Pretoria High Court earlier this month to have an order for judgment issued against Luthuli House for rental fees covering the period between August 2017 and July 2018.

The vehicles were rented from airports and motor depots countrywide and invoices were issued for them.

The ANC has until Wednesday to inform the court whether it disputes the claim and intends to defend it.

Judgment, as has been claimed, may be given against the party without further notice if it fails to comply with the court deadline.

Sizwe, which has a 24-year track record in the rental industry, said it had repeatedly sent invoices to the ANC in respect of each motor vehicle rented, and at the completion of each rental contract.

But payment was not made by the due date – and is still outstanding.

“In breach of the obligations towards the plaintiff (Sizwe) and the terms and conditions of the written car rental contract, the defendant (ANC) failed to make payment on any of the invoices … upon receipt of the said invoices or at all,” said the rental agency in court papers.

Sizwe said it did not have the original contracts, but the ANC does.

When presenting the party’s financial affairs at Nasrec, then treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize said the ANC was technically insolvent as its liabilities far exceeded its assets.

He reported a R215 million debt and a R47 million budget deficit in the previous financial year.

The party’s dire financial state was blamed on the hundreds of millions of rands spent on winning votes in the 2014 general elections and the 2016 local government polls, for which up to R750 million had been splurged.

But this has not stopped service providers from hauling the governing party to court.

In August 2018, the ANC was again being sued – this time, by service provider Congress Rental SA, which claimed R500 000 from the party for supplying conference equipment at both the 2017 Nasrec conference and the policy conference, held by the party a year earlier at the same venue.

The company claimed that its conference equipment, including receivers and headphones, was either stolen or lost during the conference.

And, two months later, service provider Onsite Insight Conferencing Solutions claimed R265 000 for interpreting services at both the national and the policy conference.

In January this year, the ANC lost its website content to Unwembi Communications, which sued the party for R32 million for unpaid services, which included website development and hosting, as well as running the membership system.

The party’s bid to have its domain name returned to it under intellectual property laws failed, forcing Luthuli House to register a brand-new website on a different domain.

In June last year, the ANC Youth League was declared bankrupt in court after it failed to settle legal bills.

A few hours after the insolvency judgment was granted, the league said it was able to settle the debt – but it was too late.

The ANC was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.


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January 19 2020