Having failed to take off, Mara Phones South Africa, which was rescued by Lebashe Investment Group last year, will now retrench staff.
When it opened at Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, it was hailed as being responsible for the first smartphone fully made in Africa, but operations came to a halt when the company ran into financial problems.
However, in July the business received a lease of life when Lebashe, the owner of SowetanLIVE and TimesLIVE, teamed up with businessmen Sylvester Taku and Mabuti Radebe’s MPSA Projects to buy Mara Phones.
Since then, the company, which has 68 employees, has failed to commence operations because of a dispute between minority shareholders. This is affecting the business’s ability to secure funding from a third party, MPSA Projects said.
According to the company, CEO Taku was recently suspended due to gross misconduct after the acquisition, resulting in the board being reconstituted.
MPSA Projects did not disclose the nature of the misconduct as the matter is the subject of litigation.
The company added that it was also unable to secure banking facilities, without which operations cannot commence.
“After carefully considering the above, it became clear the company has no viable alternative. It has not been able to recommence operations and there has been no work for the employees since [it emerged] from business rescue in July 2022,” Ntokozo Mahlangu, director of MPSA Projects, said.
“Sadly, the company is forced to take this difficult but necessary restructuring process if we are to ensure its long-term sustainability … Having exhausted all other options, we are now faced with the difficult task of having to restructure the business to remain agile to future opportunities,” Mahlangu said.
It is not clear how many employees will be affected.
Original Story by www.sowetanlive.co.za