Bank still look­ing at op­tions to ‘sal­vage’ fac­tory

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - NORMA WILDENBOER STAFF RE­PORTER

WHILE Sas­fin Bank is cur­rently in the process of putting his­toric city cloth­ing fac­tory Jaff and Co. (Del­swa) into liq­ui­da­tion, it has in­di­cated that it is still meet­ing with par­ties “with a view to sal­vaging the cloth­ing fac­tory and sav­ing jobs”.

The Jaff and Co. cloth­ing fac­tory, which has been part of Kim­ber­ley’s busi­ness land­scape for more than 70 years, closed its doors on Mon­day, leav­ing nearly 300 work­ers un­em­ployed.

It emerged on Mon­day that Sas­fin had taken the de­ci­sion to liq­ui­date the com­pany, which has had a fac­tory in Kim­ber­ley since 1946. In a SMS sent out to the nearly 300 work­ers, Jaff and Co. fac­tory man­ager, Arif Motlekar, told em­ploy­ees that Sas­fin had on Fri­day in­structed all monthly staff to va­cate the build­ing and that it (Sas­fin) had sent a se­cu­rity team to take pos­ses­sion of the keys to the fac­tory.

Sas­fin yes­ter­day re­sponded to the liq­ui­da­tion de­ci­sion, which was de­scribed by Cosatu in the North­ern Cape as “heart­less ac­tion”, by stat­ing that it (Sas­fin) had been a fun­der to Jaff and Co. over the last few years but that the com­pany had “in­curred losses and was un­able to turn its po­si­tion around, de­spite Sas­fin’s sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment of fi­nance and re­sources”.

This is ac­cord­ing to Sas­fin spokesper­son, Cathryn Pear­man, who added that Sas­fin had “gone be­yond what would be ex­pected of any bank in try­ing to save the com­pany and its em­ploy­ees’ jobs by fi­nanc­ing and sup­port­ing the busi­ness dur­ing dif­fi­cult times”.

“Th­ese loans were ap­pro­pri­ately pro­vided for in Sas­fin’s 2018 fi­nan­cial state­ments. Due to Jaff’s trad­ing po­si­tion, op­er­a­tions were shut down on Fri­day, Septem­ber 28. Con­trary to me­dia re­ports, Sas­fin com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing suf­fi­cient ex gra­tia fund­ing to en­sure that salaries, wages and UIF (up to the end of Septem­ber) are paid in full,” Pear­man stated.

She added that Sas­fin was in the process of putting Jaff and Co. into liq­ui­da­tion while si­mul­ta­ne­ously meet­ing with in­ter­ested par­ties “with a view to sal­vaging the cloth­ing fac­tory and sav­ing jobs”.

Cosatu ear­lier said that Jaff and Co. had dis­played “a spite­ful and a don’t-care at­ti­tude, which con­firmed how delin­quent some em­ploy­ers can be­come re­gard­less of how much con­tri­bu­tion the em­ploy­ees have brought to their com­pa­nies over the years”.

“Some em­ploy­ees have worked there for over 20 years and even more than that, but here they are now fac­ing a very des­o­late fu­ture. It is de­plorable to tell em­ploy­ees that, as a busi­ness owner, you never knew that your busi­ness is not do­ing well un­til the day you de­cide to close down. The em­ployer should have con­sulted in ad­vance and dis­closed all in­for­ma­tion re­quired to all stake­hold­ers in or­der to map a way for­ward and to pre­pare every­one psy­cho­log­i­cally for any even­tu­al­ity.

“We are go­ing to work hand in glove with our af­fil­i­ate Sac­cawu to en­sure that the work­ers are not taken for a ride and that this em­ployer in­stead fo­cuses on keep­ing the busi­ness open in or­der to save the jobs of over 300 em­ploy­ees.

“The ter­mi­na­tion of 300 em­ploy­ees equates to fur­ther im­pov­er­ish­ment of about 1 500 peo­ple who de­pend on the wages from th­ese em­ploy­ers.

“We can­not al­low this to hap­pen, es­pe­cially in a city and Prov­ince that are plagued by such a high lev­els of unem­ploy­ment,” Cosatu pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary, Orape­leng Mo­ral­adi, said.

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