Question posted in the General Law category relating to Eastern Cape
I had lost everything in November of 2015 due to a developer that had “disappeared” with all the funds that were allocated to the project. So, I was in dire straits and desperate for work and an income. My brother offered me work and on the 12th of May 2016 I was employed at Cupboard Value Ballito with a salary of R7500.00 pm. My younger brother and his wife are the directors.
At that time I had no vehicle and would walk or make use of lifts to get to work. In December 2016, my brother said he will purchase a 2015 Nissan NP200 through Standard Bank Vehicle and Asset Finance for me and the vehicle will be paid, insured and yearly license fees will be covered through the company. When the vehicle was collected, it was taken to Nissan Ballito for a major service. On the 16th of December 2016 when the company closed for the yearly holiday, I was handed 1 key and the following was verbally discussed,
The vehicle is insured with the company insurance and Cupboard Value will pay the instalments and renew the yearly license fees. I will be financially responsible for services, repairs, maintenance and upkeep of the vehicle. I will not receive or be eligible for a salary adjustment over the period of instalments for the vehicle. “the vehicle are now part of your salary package” was stated very clearly from both the owners hence no yearly increase should be expected.
Being without a vehicle for quite some time I was grateful and did not ask or say anything. I was caught off-guard when I was handed the service invoice of R5513.89 and said that the amount was deducted from my bonus. Again, I did not say anything but was very unhappy as nothing mentioned here was discussed with me nor had I asked for a vehicle.
In September 2020 my brother said the company will not be able to make instalments on the vehicle due to Covid and is looking to give it back to the bank. My fiancé and I was getting married in October but Covid had made us put it on hold. Saying that, we had some money and I offered to the settle the vehicle on the company’s behalf to prevent me from being without a vehicle and for the company not to be negatively affected with a “repo” listing on it’s name. My brother agreed and said it was about R64,000.00. I asked him for a Bank letter stating the settlement amount. Two weeks later he emailed the letter from the bank and the amount to settle was R46,788.83. I immediately made the payment on that evening of 2nd of October 2020.
The following morning when I handed him a hard copy of the POP, his wife walked by and said “oh, thank you, you shouldn’t have”.
I did not bring anything regarding this matter up until December 2020, asking when he will be able to pay the money back in instalments like he would have paid the bank. His response was “I don’t think we can or will pay it back”. I was gobsmacked and did not have words, that is part of our wedding money.
The bank instalments was R2,815.00 per month and the balance of the R3,500.00 vehicle allowance that formed part of my salary, that was stipulated on a piece of paper and said to me on several occasions was allocated for insurance.
I was on a set salary of R7,500.00 from May 2016 to May 2019 when I was given a 10% increase to R8,250,00 which is presently the same.
On Thursday the 11th of March 2021 I was handed a “Contract of Sale of a Motor Vehicle”, Vehicle Log, change of ownership and relevant documentation from company to transfer ownership.
It stipulates on the contract of sale that I am purchasing the vehicle for the amount of R46,788.83. the same amount I had paid the bank to settle the vehicle on the company’s behalf.
What am I to do? I just think that the insurance should be continued by the company and that the instalment amounts from October 2020 to date should be paid separately from my salary every month whilst I’m employed by the company. It was made clear by the Labour Department that a allowance cannot be cancelled. My problem is that there is no written contract or indication on my salary advice about the vehicle allowance. I only have a photo of the salary and allowance breakdown in my brother’s handwriting in the vehicle file.
I’m not in the position to afford loosing part of our wedding savings and to pay monthly insurance on the vehicle.
Ray de Klerk
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