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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Pick n Pay meets with EFF after Malema threatens store shutdown

The red berets accused Pick n Pay of turning against franchisees in black communities and leaving them with debt.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has met with retail giant Pick n Pay following claims of unfairness and exploitation and threats of national shutdown of its stores by leader Julius Malema.

The red berets accused Pick n Pay of turning against former franchisees in black communities and subsequently leaving them with a huge debt.

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The meeting between the EFF comes after the party wrote two letters to Pick n Pay requesting a meeting, failing which Malema threatened to close every one of their stores across South Africa, and vowed to take “militant action” if their last warning was not heeded.

EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu and Treasurer General Omphile Maotwe met with Pick n Pay Group Chief Executive Officer Pieter Boone and lead independent non-executive director Jeff van Rooyen in Johannesburg on Monday.

The EFF said it had a constructive meeting with Pick n Pay to discuss allegations that the retail giants franchise model and market store initiative were damaging to their interests, and raised systemic issues of racial and financial discrimination.

“In a collaborative effort to build trust, and to seek a consensus on the way forward, it was agreed that an independent inquiry led by a senior counsel will be set up to review the company’s actions, policies, and conduct, in relation to its franchise and market store scheme, and in particular the outcomes for former black franchisees.”

The EFF said the senior counsel and the scope of the inquiry will be agreed by the parties.

“Transparent one-on-one consultations will take place as a matter of urgency between Pick n Pay and individual former franchisees and market store owners to investigate and seek to resolve individual grievances raised.”

“The duration of the independent inquiry, Pick n Pay will suspend any legal action for the recovery of monies owing by any former franchisee,” the EFF added.

The EFF and Pick n Pay also agreed the allegations made require urgent attention, and are committed to this process in good faith.

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