Service provider threatens to interdict Netball World Cup board

The much-awaited 2023 Netball World Cup has been marred by squabbles over non payment of service providers with a gatvol Johannesburg-based company threatening to interdict the disbandment of the interim world cup board.

The entity, Red Cherry Media Holdings (RCMH), had initially planned to interdict the showpiece, but eventually decided to rather interdict the disbandment of the interim board until it is paid what is due to it.

This after RCMH lawyers advised it that it would be difficult to interdict the global event given its magnitude and the spinoff it brings to the country. The chilling tidbits, which have the potential to embarrass South Africa, were revealed by an irate Red Cherry executive chairperson, Sammy Mashita, this week.

This after the company sent a letter of demand to 2023 Netball World Cup NPC on July 23 demanding payment of at least R3-million for services rendered. In the letter written by Red Cherry lawyers Donaldson Attorneys Inc, the entity said during or around August 2022, it was invited to a pitch presentation to present its marketing services to the world cup board. During the presentation, said the company, it provided an estimated total budget of more than R55-million, including costs for creative, media, activations, public relations and agency fees.

“The budget excluded VAT, travel and accommodation,” reads the letter, which was also sent to Arts and Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa and his deputy Nocawe Mafu. On or about September 14 2022, the board appointed Red Cherry to provide marketing services for the much-anticipated global event. After the appointment, according to the company, it concluded a service-level agreement (SLA) with the board on February 17.

In terms of the SLA, Red Cherry would receive a request for services (RFS) from the board to provide specific tasks in accordance with the approved budget. The company would also furnish the board within 48 hours from receipt of an RFS, subject to the scope of work, a cost estimation to perform the specific requested task.

Upon receipt of the cost estimation, said the company, the board would within 48 hours, subject to the availability of the chief financial officer, provide it with a written approval or rejection of it.

“In the event of a rejected cost estimation, NWC2023 [Netball World Cup 2023 board] will provide written reasons as to why a cost estimation was rejected,” reads the letter. It said the board was expected to make payment within 30 days of the date on which the board had received an invoice from it. The company further said the board had approved its cost estimations.

“Our client has performed the services per the approved cost estimations and submitted the attached invoices to your client in respect of R751 927.01. “Notwithstanding the lapse of 30 days from receipt of the invoices described above, your client has failed and/or refused and or/neglected to make payment of our client’s invoices to the sum of R751 927.01, nor any portion thereof.”

Red Cherry said it had also not received any formal notification of the approval or rejection of the cost estimations submitted in accordance with the board’s requests for services for digital and social media campaign – “Put Your Hands Up logo”.

Other invoices include “strategy implementation and pre production and agency fees despite your client’s obligation to provide written approval and/or rejection to our client within 48 hours of receipt.

“Accordingly, and in accordance with your client’s conduct, particularly claiming the intellectual property (IP) of the ‘Put Your Hands Up logo’, our client considered the cost estimations to have been approved tacitly, or by implication, from your client’s conduct of accepting the services. “Our client subsequently issued invoices for the services it rendered in accordance with the cost estimations in the amount of R1 786 238.27.” The board failed to make payment of the invoice.

“Your client is accordingly indebted to our client in the sum of R2 451 277.63, concerning the services performed by our client in consequence of your client’s request for the same [less adjustments for credits to the value of R86 887.65].

We have accordingly been instructed to demand, as we hereby do, that payment of the outstanding amount be paid to our client by no later than 28 July 2023, failing which our client will institute proceedings against your client for the recovery thereof,” reads the letter.

Mashita said given the gravity of the event, they might not succeed in interdicting the event but remained optimistic that they would interdict the disbandment of the board. “We are patriotic, but we are treated badly and would not be treated this way if we were a white-owned company,” he said.

He added that their lawyers said because the organisation did not have assets, they would go for the assets of board members or directors. World Cup tournament director, Priscilla Masisi said she was unable to comment because their lawyers were dealing with the matter.

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