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Bizstrat – Organiser of Construction Risk Africa Conference under fire

[UPDATED] Sheqafrica.com cancelled the marketing of the Construction Risk Africa annual conference organised by Servigraph 30 CC, trading as Bizstrat, just 48 hours after the AISE Payment Risk Register was launched on 14 February 2019 and terminated all relations with its owner, Dhanesh Ramparsad.

The Conference has been re-scheduled after the 2018 event did not attract the big players in Construction Industry, but Sheqafrica.com will no longer be a partner in the event. The conference website has been suspended since and the domain name will be offered for sale.

According to a source close to the Conference Program Director’s office, Bizstrat does not have the resources to make a success of an event of this magnitude and the organiser’ current state of financial affairs is too risky for them to participate.

Sheqafrica.com has also learnt that the initial marketing campaign was highly fraudulent, as some of the speakers at the conference were not even aware of the event taking place. They were never invited to the conference, but their names were used for the purposes of attracting delegates.

Sheqafrica.com herewith formally apologizes to the Construction Industry for promoting the Construction Risk Africa Conference and any inconvenience this may have caused. We also want to apologize to all the speakers we invited, creating an expectation in the process, for wasting your time and resources.

According to reports on Hellopeter.com, this company has been at it since 2015. Bizstrat, a Randburg based training company has been organising events, postponing events and then canceling them, leaving the delegates who paid for courses without answers and facilitators wondering why they are not getting paid. Bizstrat is also not responding to allegations and reviews on Hellopeter.com.

It is not only delegates that suffers the consequences of Bizstrat’s conduct, as some training facilitators have also been cheated. Sheqafrica.com have learnt of at least four persons who have worked for Bizstrat, and never got any payment for their services. It is estimated that the total exceeds R120 000 in unpaid facilitators fees.

An internationally acclaimed facilitator, who wants to remain anonymous, told Sheqafrica.com that he was asked at the very last minute by Bizstrat to facilitate a course as the booked facilitator let them down. “It turned out that courses are marketed using a facilitator’s professional experience, and they don’t even know about it. All I can say is that if you do get an invitation from Bizstrat for any form of event, ask for the contact details of the facilitator and confirm it yourself. Don’t believe a word they tell you, as their word is as empty as their bank account. I have managed to get hold of a few other facilitators, and this Ramparsad is renowned for paying below the line and expecting exclusivity and he owes most of us for one or more assignments. They should not be in business and are giving the CPD training industry a bad name.”


AISE Payment Risk Register gets attention

Within three days after AISE announced the launch of its Risk Registers, three companies have been listed for non-payment for services rendered.

AISE also linked to reviews by the public on HelloPeter.com as a means to indicate the responses of the reported companies to the complaints they received.

The total value of “bad debt” listed within the first week of the AISE Payment Risk Register, amounted to more than R170 000 since 2015. Although debt older than 3 years have prescribed, it is known for some entities to “go under” and surface a few years later under the same name and style.

One such company is CASI Training who ran four Construction Contract Seminars in March 2015. The course facilitator was paid for 2 of the 4 events and the account was handed over for collection. The debt collectors later reported that the owner moved back to Zambia and the debt was unrecoverable.

In September 2018 CASI resurfaced with the same course facilitated by a person from Uganda and according to feedback by one of the persons attending at the Sierra Hotel in Randburg, they were still busy with the first day’s work after two days of struggling. This is clearly an indication that CASI ran out of qualified facilitators willing to work without getting paid. The end result is nothing more than reputation damage.

In another incident, A Courier company in Tzaneen owes a consultant for a Health & Safety File delivered a year ago. The company has made no attempts to dispute the allegation of non-payment and failed to provide proof of payment. Yet, if you get your parcels delivered, they want their money.

According to the AISE Website, there are three more risk registers and a few will definitely attract attention. One is the Plagiarism Register, listing people who sell other people’s work as their own, and the Competency Register, allowing clients to report incompetent and unethical conduct by consultants.

AISE is a community driven service based in Ireland and hosted and maintained by Africa Media. Access to the registers is free to legitimate companies in Africa. According to Johan du Preez, AISE’s National Risk Rating Manager, anyone can register for access, but only registered domains will be approved. This means that using a gmail or any other free mail domain will not grant you access.

“We have to protect people from abuse.  If a consultant claims he or she has not been paid, we first need to make sure the consultant is not just a registered fly-by-night. Domains are not expensive and if a consultant is serious about business, a gmail account is a lame way to demonstrate it.” Du Preez said. “We also check websites to see if there are any form of rivalry at play, as we do not intend to get involved in smear campaigns. Bad business is bad enough. Bad attitudes does not make it “okay.” The whole concept of steeling from Peter to pay Paul is enough reason for us to warn our subscribers.” Du Preez concluded.

Sheqafrica.com reported a few days ago on the AISE Risk Registers, and questioned the benefit thereof. And while the jury is still out, it saved ourselves some embarrassment.


 

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Jessica van Zyl
Editor-in-Chief
Jessica has 12 years experience in investigative journalism and technical report writing.