Construction companies butt heads over R80K payment

A subcontractor linked to a construction project of a learning centre in a Free State township is up in arms alleging it was not paid in full.

However, the main contractor of Tjheseho Community Learning Centre is not budging, saying all subcontractors have been paid.

The payment dispute comes amid the construction of a learning centre aimed at serving as a skills hub under the Nketoana local municipality in Reitz.

Payment not honoured

Tseko Motholo, the paving subcontractor, is accusing the main contractor of the project Mathelemusa Trading and Projects of failing to honour the payment after he submitted an invoice amounting to R80 201.

Motholo said they were tricked into an agreement to be underpaid when starting work under the impression that the remainder of the amount would be paid when submitting the next invoice.

He said when they invoiced R137 215.55, they were disappointed to find that the main contractor would only pay R57 014.73.

“This came as a shock because we had discussions on how we would get paid, what was due to us on the next invoice. Now they pretend as if we never discussed anything with them,” he said.

“The money they paid us was not even enough to pay off our employees. Now we have to reason with them hoping that we would also get the rest of our money from the main contractor.

“They are trying to enjoy the 30% due to subcontractors for themselves.”

Hudson Mathelemusa, Mathelemusa Trading & Projects director, told Sunday World that he is not backing down, noting that he believes the company paid what was due to subcontractors.

Overpriced invoice

He said Motholo’s company overpriced after coming across documents that show what Mathelemusa Trading & Projects was getting from the project, and hoped they would be in the same level.

“We did everything in this project. We made sure that local subcontractors would also be part, and not only because it is an obligation to do so, but also because we want to see local companies flourish.

“It is, however, disappointing to see local companies trying to challenge us even after so many meetings to discuss what would be due to them.

“They submitted an invoice and we did not pay what was there because there is just no way we would do that.”

He said the subcontractor has threatened to stop work until he receives the rest of the amount that was invoiced, but insists this would not force him to pay the amount.

Mathelemusa described the invoice as bogus, claiming that subcontractors only had to get the job done and are not faced with the challenges of paying off the suppliers as all material is supplied to them.

“I really fail to understand what they are talking about. What they got is what they deserved, they better continue work as normal because I am tired of fighting this.”

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