Seven permanent staff members and five casual workers have lost their jobs after United Cash and Carry in Cobden Street went under provisional liquidation last month.
The Sheriff of the Court was in United Cash and Carry in Cobden Street on Thursday 28 January to count stock.
Owner Tony Coopasamy said he’d been advised to go under liquidation after he found himself owed close to R2 million following the 21 October xenophobic looting of spaza shops in Grahamstown.
“They virtually destroyed around 300 stores and some of the guys couldn’t go back to business.
“A lot of my customers are owners of those shops and unfortunately they owed me plus-minus R1.8 million. Because of them losing their stock and their shops, I wasn’t getting any payments – and I doubt I will be getting any money from them. A lot of them have closed their businesses and left town.
“I was advised to not trade, because to continue trading, knowing that I would not recover any of my money from my debtors, would be regarded as reckless trading, for which you can be prosecuted.
“The only option I had was to declare myself provisionally liquidated.”
Coopasamy said the matter was in court at the beginning of January, where provisional liquidation was handed down. The final liquidation would be handed down later this month, he said.
“It wasn’t viable to stay open. We had the expense of 12 staff members, without getting any money back from our debtors.”
Coopasamy used his pension money from his previous employer to establish the business, which had run successfully for seven years, he said.
“Plus I’ve taken loans on my house and so on. So around R1.2 million is what United Cash and Carry owes me.
Coopasamy does not expect to recover his investment in United.
“We’re simply not going to get that money that’s owed to us.”
He says there’s no chance of re-opening the store to try and recover some of the losses.
“First of all, the liquidation means I’ll be blacklisted by my suppliers. And second, to raise funds again to open up a business is virtually impossible. I’ll just have to see what I can try and do.”
Coopasamy took a second bond on his house to buy in extra stock for the business to try and make it viable, he said. He also took his credit card to the limit to try and buy in more stock. “But unfortunately it wasn’t enough to make the business viable.”
Coopasamy said he was very fortunate to have the support of his four children in riding this crisis, and his wife is employed.
Former cashier in the business Maybrey Klein was assisting the Sheriff in the stock count last week.
“Now that the job is over, it’s job hunting, because there are no jobs in Grahamstown.
“For the time being, I’ll stay at home a little bit,” Klein said.