Businessman’s other staff are all the victims

2015-07-08 09:34
Kay Makan.

Kay Makan. (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

FORMER Pietermaritzburg electronics businessman Kay Makan says Delene Singh, the woman partially responsible for the collapse of his electronics empire, “made a mistake”.

Makan, diagnosed with rare embryonic cancer, said yesterday he is hopeful of a “fitting” decision when Singh is sentenced later this month.

“She played the major role in the closing down of all our stores, but also the economy catches up with you. I have followed similar cases in court and I have noticed that the law does not allow someone to steal from another person and get away with it.”

Makan’s electronics business interests began in 1973 when he partnered with Govan Mani and opened a store downtown in Church Street. Years later, in 1991, he ventured on his own and opened Kay Makan Electronics in then Commercial Road (Chief Albert Luthuli Road).

“From there, business just boomed. We took off and opened a store in Victoria Road in 1993, and the two other stores, in Umhlanga and Liberty Midlands Mall, followed. Business was flying, but some things have to end,” he said.

Makan is known for his philanthropy and continuous generous sponsorship of community projects in and around Pietermaritzburg. In 1991, he assumed the role of chairperson of the Community Chest. It was a position he held for 11 years, the second-longest serving chair of the organisation. In the same year, Makan introduced the annual Kay Makan-Community Chest Race Day. Makan and his business had also become well known in the city for their bread donations.

Outside the Chest, his commitment to community service was recognised in several awards over the years: in 1996, he was awarded the Golden Peacock by the Indian Academy of South Africa for his “contribution to uplifting the disadvantaged, leadership to the business world, and his fight for justice and equality”, and in 2002 he received a Community Service Award from the Rotary Club of Pietermaritzburg.

On Monday, former Kay Makan accounts clerk Singh (33) pleaded guilty to stealing over R1 million from the business since 2008. Singh said she would steal signed blank cheques, fill out the details on the cheque and then deposit it into her personal bank account. It was further stated that most of the money stolen was gambled away at a local casino.

“The theft impacted the cash flow to such an extent that I had to negotiate with senior employees to reduce their salaries,” said Makan in his victim impact statement to the court. He said more than 70 staff, some working there for nearly 25 years, were retrenched, and some are still unemployed while others have taken on “menial jobs to make ends meet”.

Singh has already paid R100 000 to Makan in “an arrangement” between her father and her former employer. However, the payments stopped when Makan allegedly asked for the balance of the money to be paid in three months, which Singh said was “beyond our means”.

Singh will be sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on July 30. The state has argued that although Singh has three young children, the victims in this case are the Kay Makan employees with families who are now without jobs.

Commenting on The Witness Facebook page yesterday, Chris Black wrote, “So sad, particularly as the victim is a wonderful man who has contributed so much to PMB and charitable causes over many years.”

Wesley Gold wrote that he was “disgusted to hear this”. “Kay Makan is such a ­community-driven man and PMB’s rags to riches story.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  business

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.