Bank still looking at options to ‘salvage’ factory
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.