WATCH: Bosasa staffers shut out of offices as panic sets in over company's future

2019-02-22 11:08
African Global Operations employees gather outside the company's head office on February 22, 2019. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

African Global Operations employees gather outside the company's head office on February 22, 2019. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

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Workers at the beleaguered services firm African Global Operations (AGO) - formerly known as Bosasa - were shut out of their offices on Friday, as confusion over their futures continues to grow.

On Monday, AGO confirmed it had applied for voluntary liquidation after its bankers, FNB and ABSA, told the company they were closing their accounts due to "reputational risk".

Staff arrived for work on Friday morning and parked their vehicles outside the company's main offices in Luipaardsvlei, Krugersorp.

Some workers said they had downed tools, while others said they had been barred from entering.

It's understood that a meeting will be held on the premises on Friday morning.

READ: Liquidator moves to secure documents, computers at Bosasa head office

A senior worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the appointment of the new administrator and reports that the banks had closed Bosasa accounts had staffers worried.

"We don't know if there is a future for us here. We are panicking and no one has explained to us what's happening here. We have parked our vehicles on the streets because we don't know if they are safe inside the building," he said.

The employee said many of the workers wanted government to take over the 10 Bosasa-serviced facilities.

"We have facilities that already belong to the Department of Social Development and we demand government to take them over and insource us as workers. We have the relevant experience and we call that the department must let us continue working where we are working now.

"We don't know what to do. We are in the dark and no one is explaining to us what is the way forward," he said.

Of the 10 youth facilities that are managed by AGO, only one in Gauteng is privately owned, while the rest are controlled by government.

WATCH: Is this the end of Bosasa?

The employee said something else that had sparked panic was the early payment of salaries on Thursday, five days earlier than normal.

"When we received our salaries last night, we phoned each other to confirm if indeed the monies we had received were our payments.

"We don't know why we were paid early. Some think that maybe the company is closing down," he added.

ALSO READ: The multibillion-rand Bosasa state contracts likely to be affected by the company's impending liquidation

Another senior employee, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said AGO's finances were in "a mess".

"The administrator is going to be shocked when he checks out books. It's a mess. Nothing in our books is in order. He is going to work hard to ensure that the books are in order," he said.

Trade union Fawusa (Financial Sector and Allied Workers Union of South Africa) said it had been informed Bosasa's board had been dissolved.

Fawusa chairperson Onkabetse Moagi said they were informed by the liquidator Cloete Murray that the board was dissolved on Friday morning.

"We learnt yesterday later that there would be a briefing session for all unions at Bosasa."Our concern is job security for all our members. However, we have been told by Murray that day to day day work will continue," said Moagi.

He added that Murray promised to give them feedback next week.

"He promised that a new website will be launched soon to update workers on developments. Workers have been paid their February salaries and he has promised that they will also be paid by the end of March."For now our members will continue working as normal," Moagi added.

On Thursday, a Johannesburg-based insolvency practitioner told News24 that he had moved to secure documents and computers at AGO's head offices.

The Master of the High Court in Johannesburg appointed the liquidator to oversee the winding up of the company and around 10 of its subsidiary entities.

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Read more on:    bosasa  |  ago  |  state capture inquiry  |  state capture  |  corruption
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