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Green energies BEE deal sours


Cape Town - In a modern-day David versus Goliath battle, a small company has taken one of the big players in the renewable energy industry to court - claiming over a million rand in enterprise development that it says the company had reneged on.

The 100% black-owned New Tech Electrical Supplies and Construction (New Tech) has claimed that Globeleq SA failed to honour the enterprise development funding it agreed to provide.

Globeleq defines itself on its website as a power leader across the world with business interests in Africa and with operations in countries such as South Africa, Tanzania, Cote d’ Ivoire, Cameroon and Kenya.

In the country, the company’s business interests are in renewable energy and it runs a wind farm in Jeffrey’s Bay and two solar plants in De Aar and Droogfontein.

Picture: Reuters

Both plants are part of the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme.

In order to score points and comply with the Codes of Good Practice and contribute to the objectives of broad-based BEE, multi-national companies are expected to make contributions to enterprise developments to help the economy and growth of small and medium enterprises.

New Tech claimed, in the summons served on Globeleq, that in November 2017 it entered into an enterprise development agreement with Globeleq SA in terms of which the multi-national company would provide a grant of R1.5million to assist the small company transform its service offering to panel washing and vegetation control.

But it claimed that Globeleq failed to support it as an emerging supplier operating in the community and to transform its service offering, and as a result of the alleged breaches, it could not procure the requisite equipment and systems.

The agreement between the parties was scheduled to end in April.

A copy of the agreement bears the signature of New Tech but the company said it’s common understanding that the other party would sign it.

In one of the emails exchanged between the parties, New Tech was urged to read, sign and return the contract together with an invoice for panel washing at the pilot site.

Events took a turn when Globeleq accused New Tech of including a mark-up on the pricing of the services which were sourced from another company.

New Tech claimed it was not aware that it should not have done so and the matter could have been handled better, instead of ending the contract.

The company claimed the information on the pricing was obtained without New Tech’s knowledge because Globeleq approached the contracted supplier directly.

It accused Globeleq of trying to force it to retrench some employees, in an economically depressed province where jobs were scarce.

Globeleq has refuted that it had an agreement with New Tech, saying the company was rather involved in a Temporary Employment Services Agreement with De Aar Solar Power and Droogfontein Solar Power.

Globeleq also denied that it owed New Tech about R1.5m and said the matter would now be heard in court.



Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER

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