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Turmoil at New Dawn

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Information has come to light concerning turmoil at ICT services company New Dawn Holdings, with former executives walking out and taking numerous employees with them, and some forming a new entity.

Two former senior employees yesterday alleged that as many as 70 staff members have recently left the group's Prophesy division, with some leaving to form the new firm.

A letter, addressed to all New Dawn employees by the GG Umbrella Provident Fund managers (Garrun Group), was shown to ITWeb by a source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The letter informs all staff members that R3 million is missing, or has not been paid into the fund by the company. However, deductions for the fund have consistently been drawn from staffers' paycheques.

"It became clear something was wrong when salaries were paid late in October and November, when staff petrol cards were terminated at the end of October, and bonuses were late," adds the source.

Another source, from another company that has hired some of those who have recently left New Dawn, says: "I know they're in financial difficulties - we have employed quite a few of their staff. We hear money has not been paid into the provident fund; and some people have been asked to take a salary cut of as much as half of their original salary," he adds.

Executive walkout

New Dawn Holdings comprises Prophesy (specialising in Oracle solutions), Spectrum (SAP focused), Human Capital (labour consulting), and New Dawn Technologies (catering for a variety of outsourcing solutions including Microsoft products). Its website says the group is 100% black-owned, turns over in excess of R150m a year and employs over 350 people.

The latest accusations come a few months after 21 New Dawn sales staff were retrenched, causing much anger among those pushed out, who felt the dismissal process was unfair, and vowed to take legal action.

The source's story, supported by another employee also talking to ITWeb anonymously, is that a small handful of the Prophesy executives asked some of the senior managers from the same division to move to a new entity.

New Dawn CEO Elijah Mahlangu says the Prophesy executives "staged a walkout".

"They are stealing our staff and our customers," he said this morning.

Mahlangu denies the provident fund is missing R3 million, saying that during the migration from previous brokers, Garrun Group, to new brokers, GIB, "a certain amount of reconciliation was required".

"The claim [by Garrun] must be verified by both sides. As far as we're concerned, all the money we owed has been paid."

Legal action?

Some former staff members are bitter about recent retrenchments, while Mahlangu accuses some of his former workers of "trying to sabotage our business".

However, he does not have any firm intentions to take legal action against those who, he says, have wronged him. "I'm not in the business of fighting people, but if I'm losing business to ex-employees attempting to take customers away, then I will consider legal restraints."

He says salaries were paid slightly late, only once, in September, and petrol cards were withdrawn because staff were abusing them. "We've dismissed employees for buying petrol for their friends," he adds.

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