It is a disgrace that reports of a previously disadvantaged individual who cries foul after discovering that he got the wrong end of the stick in a BEE deal do not seem to abate. Warnings have not compelled people who are desperate to make what they see as a quick buck to exercise due diligence before giving away their rights.
Victims claim that they had signed the dotted lines without reading the fine print in contracts. Deceived by smooth talking ‘partners’ who promise them investment heaven on earth, they throw caution to the wind. The following steps could prevent one becoming a statistic of betrayed BEE ‘partners’:
- Do not be deceived by an offer of a spacious office with a life size painting of a smiling Madiba, a top end HP laptop and an iphone.
- During presentation in a swanky boardroom by your would-be partners (or swindlers who knows?) ask silly questions. Do not pretend to be investment savvy or that you did have a successful stint at the JSE by nodding at every statement you can hardly comprehend
- Don’t be bedazzled by straight line graphs in a power point presentations showing how incredibly profitable the proposed venture would be, once fully operational. Do your research.
- Ask your suitors to explain what they mean when they mention the following words or phrases: ‘assuming underlying factors remain constant….’; ‘long-term deliverables’, ‘profitable-clusters’, ‘growth-oriented approach’ etc.
- Remember: an unwritten contract is not worth the paper it is not written on. Do you catch the drift? Ask your potential partners to put their offer on paper and mull over it critically, read every clause and seek a second opinion from legal experts
- If the investment involves taking deposits from people and offering them 50% returns on their capital monthly, call the Financial Services Board (FSB) immediately. You could be an accomplice to operating an illegal pyramid scheme meant to fleece gullible people. Do you aspire to be a BEE Bernie Madoff?