R699 for a car?–?and R40?000 for a florist

2014-07-20 15:00

The man behind the R699-a-month car scheme paid a florist R40?000 and spent about R112?000 each month on flowers for his home and office.

One of Albert Venter’s former employees has told City Press’ sister newspaper Rapport that Venter “had a flower arranger, a chef, a butler and four domestic workers”, who each earned salaries of up to R40?000 a month.

“The account for flowers for his house and offices was about R28?000 a week and he regularly wrote out cheques of R20?000 to have each of his luxury cars polished.

“His motto was that we should do nothing to save him money,” the employee said.

“Ferrari Champagne at about R400 a bottle was his favourite drink, and it flowed generously when he held regular parties at his house.

“His shirts and trousers he bought at clothing stores in Sandton City for nothing less than R14?000 an item. Many of his clothes he only wore once and we regularly found shirts and trousers costing thousands of rands in the bin and took them home.”

The household was run like clockwork.

“Everything had to be perfect and no one was allowed in the house after 5pm. When he was dissatisfied with your work, he would phone you at night and come down on you like a ton of bricks.

“He treated his staff well, but when his money started drying up, he fired us immediately with no warning.”

That was in November, when the controversial scheme started to run into real financial trouble.

Venter refused to speak to Rapport.

Some car manufacturers are reeling after the scheme came apart: they are stuck with a surplus of entry-level vehicles because Venter cannot sell the cars he ordered from them.

On condition of anonymity, a car dealer said Renault SA had an oversupply of 400 entry-level cars ordered by Venter’s Satinsky 128 motor dealership that it did not deliver.

Duncan Heuer, a lawyer from Port Elizabeth, announced that he would launch a class action lawsuit against Satinsky 128 and the banks on behalf of the R699-vehicle owners.

On Tuesday, the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth will make a final decision on Heuer’s application for a class action.

“We are going to apply for an urgent interdict that consumers’ accounts may not be debited while we are looking at the facts of the case,” he said.

By Friday, more than 500 people had indicated they would be part of the class action, said Heuer.

The National Credit Regulator has also said it would investigate Satinsky 128 and banks that lent money to people to buy cars through the scheme.

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