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TIM Plant Hire comes out with guns blazing


… Denies allegations of partnership with Unik Construction in Maseru road refurbishment

Staff Reporter

TIM Plant Hire has fiercely denied recent social media allegations that it is collaborating with Unik Construction or any companies linked to the controversial businessman, Yan “John” Xie, in the refurbishment of roads in Maseru.

The company issued a strong statement rejecting these claims and clarifying its stance on business practices with Chinese-owned firms.

“It has come to the attention of TIM Plant Hire that there are allegations made on various social media platforms that TIM Plant Hire is currently working alongside Unik Construction and or construction companies linked to Yan “John” Xie in the refurbishment of roads in the City of Maseru,” the company stated in a statement this week.

“TIM Plant Hire categorically denies these allegations as the company is not currently involved in any partnership with Unik Construction nor is it currently engaged in any capacity in the ongoing refurbishment of roads in the city of Maseru,” it added.

It said these allegations surfaced amid ongoing tensions between TIM Plant Hire, along with other Basotho-owned construction companies, and Chinese-owned companies over significant issues such as non-payment and unfair business practices.

“TIM Plant Hire’s misgivings and reservations against the conduct of Chinese-owned companies remain unchanged as its disputes against them that span for years have still not been addressed,” the statement read.

“Thus, TIM Plant Hire as a company is not in the position to transact or partner with any Chinese-owned company until its plight and those of similarly circumstanced Basotho have been addressed,” it continued.

The company underscored its commitment to advocating for the interests of Basotho-owned businesses in the construction sector.

“TIM Plant Hire remains committed to ensuring that the construction sector in Lesotho advances the interests of legitimate Basotho-owned companies and that all Basotho become beneficiaries of the value chain,” the statement concluded.

The firm’s firm stance comes at a crucial time when Basotho construction companies are increasingly vocal about the need for fair treatment and equitable business practices within the industry.

In February this year, this publication reported that three influential local businessmen, Toloane Matekane of Tim Plant Hire (PTY) LTD, Joang Molapo, and Andre J. Bothma of Mafika a Lisiu (PTY) Ltd and LSP Construction, respectively, had unleashed a powerful outcry against what they perceived as unethical conduct by Chinese-owned enterprises operating within Lesotho.

Newsday reported then that the trio’s courageous stance was articulated through a formal letter directed to the then Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Lei Kezhong.

The letter thrust the spotlight on the contentious practices prevalent within Lesotho’s construction and civil works realm, largely orchestrated by Chinese-owned corporations.

In this gripping missive, the trio did not mince words as they detailed their deep-seated concerns regarding the modus operandi of these Chinese conglomerates.

Matekane, Molapo, and Bothma vehemently accused these Chinese entities of failing to uphold their end of the bargain, blatantly disregarding contractual agreements, and shirking their financial responsibilities.

Such actions, the trio asserted, have inflicted dire consequences upon Basotho-owned enterprises, pushing many to the precipice of financial ruin.

 “Chinese-owned companies have become a formidable player in Lesotho’s construction and civil works sector, competing and winning large lucrative deals from the government and other client bodies in Lesotho,” they stated.

They candidly acknowledged the inherent challenges accompanying this paradigm shift, notably the persistent failure of Chinese-owned enterprises to uphold their contractual commitments and fulfill financial obligations.

“The net effect of this has been to cause grievous financial hard to Basotho-owned businesses, leaving most at the brink of bankruptcy,” they lamented.

Clarifying their roles as representatives of Basotho-owned businesses, they underscored the imperative of voicing their concerns.

“We are but a small sample of companies bearing the brunt of Chinese-owned enterprises’ actions,” they clarified.

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