While national figures on rhino poaching went down in 2018 it increased in Mpumalanga, according to the deaprtment of environmental affairs.
Officials at the Private Security Sector Provident Fund say they are taking legal action against Vusimuzi Kgomu for deducting money from his hundreds of guards but not sending it to the Fund, saying this “is tantamount to fraud”.
Kgomu, a local businessman from the Secunda area of Mpumalanga and who is set to open a pub in the Secunda township of Mbalenhle Extension 4, is the owner of the EL Gondor Trading – a security company in the area.
EL Gondor is said to be employing hundreds of guards in the Bethal, Secunda, Standerton, Leslie, Kinross and Evander areas and Kgomu is deducting money from these guards but not paying it over to provident fund.
Kgomu’s company has been deducting about R200 from each of his security guard employees but the Fund says this money has not come to them.
Provident funds assist workers in the event of death, retirement or loss of employment.
Two security guards who spoke to the 013NEWS reporter said they began working for Kgomu in late 2014, guarding municipal premises in the Govan Mbeki and Lekwa municipalities but when they left his company three years later they discovered that the money that Kgomu had been deducting from them is nowhere to be found.
One of the guards said he began working for El Gondor security in November 2014 and left in November 2016.
“Between November 2014 and August 2015, R197 was deducted from him every month. He then deducted R215 between September 2015 and November 2016, every month,” the guard said.
Kgomu is said to be owing over R2 million that he has been deducting from the guards but when answering media questions Kgomu said that’s a lie. He said the amount he owes to workers is actually R800 000.
Sindiswa Changuion from the Private Security Sector Provident Fund said they are moving forward with legal action against Kgomu to recover what belongs to the workers as this is “is tantamount to fraud”.
“Immediately when you deduct money from workers and do not send it to the Fund you’re committing fraud,” she said.
“The Fund is currently in a process of litigation with this employer as it is in contravention of the Pension Funds Act,” said Changuion.
She added that the outcome of the litigation “will determine the course of action/ relief for the workers that are currently affected by the non-compliance of the employer”.
She said as a Fund they experience a lot of challenges with non-compliance.
Although Kgomu’s EL Gondor Trading is registered with the Fund and makes it possible for officials to recover what he deducts from workers, a string of other security companies are not registered with the Fund, making it hard for the guards to recover it.
“Non-compliance with the Private Security Sector Provident Fund is quite prevalent,” Changuion told the reporter.
“The PSSPF compliance officer and legal team manages these issues on a daily basis,” she said.
Another guard said he understands Kgomu owes all of them R2.5 million, including those who left as “he employs over 500 guards around”.
“He owes me R7000 if I calculate what he deducted from me, not what he was also supposed to contribute,” the guard said.
“So other employees are dismissed but they can’t claim their money from the fund because he is not sending the money to the fund.
“The employees joined a union for them to be assisted because there was a lot of things that were not going right and last year we were on strike from 12 December until 15 December 2016, thinking the matter will be resolved.
“But now even the union now it’s difficult for them to work because the company wants to kill the union organiser concerning this matter because he doesn’t want to take the bribe from the company,” the guard said.
Asked about the issues, Kgomu asked that his lawyers be given the chance to look into the matter.
“I don’t discuss my company in the media,” said Kgomu.
“My attorneys are looking into the matter. Finish and klaar,” he said.
(edited by ZK)
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