Vodacom Litigation: MDPS Refusal To Be Hijacked By Corruption Was its Downfall

"When are you going to act on the fact that the report was tampered with? As an internal matter, why should it go into arbitration?"

Vodacom. Image source: INCE Connect

MDPS (Mobile Diesel Power Systems) is out of business because a report was tampered with which exonerated the KwaZulu Natal-based small business, the chairperson of the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development Ruth Bhengu, said in a voice clip.

The company is involved in a fierce battle with mobile phone giant Vodacom after settling out of court with Sweden’s telecoms giant Ericsson.

The central claim is that Vodacom suspended its services after false claims related to buying diesel for running the mobile phone operators’ generators for its mobile phone towers in KwaZulu Natal. MDPS has never made any admissions to the fraud allegations.

The mobile phone operator said it received the summons on 28 November. MDPS is claiming R276 489.15 in respect of monies that it alleges is due for services and/or equipment. The operator also said MDPS is further claiming about R97 million in respect of damages which it alleges it has suffered.

MDPS had to close down and the owners were forced to sell most of the vehicles and generators while their staff were left without work.

The voice clips marked a new blow to Vodacom, which is planning to defend the action.

In the clip, Bhengu says: “MDPS is not out of business because MDPS has been found by a court of law as being stolen diesel. No. MDPS is out of business because a report was tampered with which exonerated MDPS and it was then changed to reflect that MDPS is wrong. And the results was that MDPS should be out business because MDPS had refused to be part of corruption.”

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Arbitration is a Delaying Tactic By Vodacom

In another clip, Bhengu argues: “They come and present arbitration because they know its a process that is going to prolong a matter that has been in arbitration … shut the mouth of parliament and avenue of parliament. So, parliament must keep quiet and not engage on this matter and you allow for that process to happen. Well, you were sitting with a report that has been tampered with about MDPS. When are you going to act on the fact that the report was tampered with? As an internal matter, why should it go into arbitration? Why don’t you take on the managers who come and say it was a mistake to do 1, 2, 3,  4? And then point to them that mistake has resulted in this company having to suffer. What do you think the country would be if after all the noise that has been made about state capture and corruption the President kept quiet and not appoint the Zondo commission. Why don’t you investigate? Why all your investigations are finding your employees having not done anything wrong when you Lynda (Lynda Marthinus, Executive Head: Black Empowerment Enterprise at Vodacom) are still there to actually ensure that small businesses are treated fairly?”

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Bhengu on Corruption and Kickbacks

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“We Will Clear Our Name. We have Done Nothing Wrong”

Peet and Heidi-Anne Thuynsma, owners and founders of MDPS (Mobile Diesel Power Systems), have been fighting Vodacom for close to three years.

Listen to MDPS story as told by Heidi-Anne. The first person to talk is Lynda of Vodacom – then Themba Kinanana of Vodacom next. Then Mr Essof of Ericson. Heidi’s speech follows.

Corporate Bullying of SMMEs

Henro Kruger, a member of the Portfolio Committee and DA MP, talking about corporate bullying of SMMEs.

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