GEORGE NEWS - Pepkor's restraint of trade application against the new startup, Mr Tekkie, is still a court matter, but invitations are out for the official launch of the new retail chain on Thursday 25 October in St George's Mall, Cape Town.
An answering affidavit by former Tekkie Town CEO Bernard Mostert, now CEO of Mr Tekkie, was handed in at the Western Cape High Court on Thursday in response to Pepkor's application to stop Mostert, Tekkie Town founder Braam van Huyssteen, and three other former Tekkie Town executives, Michael Brown, Dawie van Niekerk and Gert Claassens, to go ahead with the new shoe and clothing chain.
In his affidavit, Mostert counters Pepkor's allegations of conspiracy to destabilise the Tekkie Town business and start an unlawful rival to its detriment. He argues that there is no rational basis for the applicant's repeated reference to the "handsome price" that the former shareholders were paid in Steinhoff shares - that it was in fact "fool's gold" and worth a fraction of the value of Tekkie Town.
There was no actual payment for the restraints signed by the respondents as part of the sale agreement of Tekkie Town to Steinhoff.
Mostert says Steinhoff went ahead to create Star and transferred Tekkie Town into the new group to insulate the "valuable" business from its creditors. Shortly after the restructuring, Star renounced their obligations in terms of the employment contracts of Van Huyssteen, Van Niekerk and himself.
"We accepted those repudiations and cancelled our respective employment contracts, and Brown and Claassens resigned." The employment contracts included a "significant" bonus in terms of an earn-out agreement that had formed part of the original sale agreement between Steinhoff and the former Tekkie Town shareholders.
Mostert states that whereas Pepkor in its founding affidavit made out the former Tekkie Town shareholders as the "villains in this piece" who have engaged in "subversive" plans aimed at destabilising Tekkie Town, in light of all these happenings, the "truly reprehensible conduct" has been that of Steinhoff and Pepkor. They seek "simply to stifle perceived competition" by a business that is more complementary to, rather than competing with, Tekkie Town. He argues that the restraint is also "impermissibly wide" with Steinhoff having businesses in almost every sector.
Pepkor also has not proven reasonable irreparable harm to Tekkie Town. Pepkor seeks to restrain Van Huyssteen until 24 May 2021 and the remaining respondents until 25 June 2021.
In the affidavit Mostert also refers to the proceedings the shareholders have instituted against Steinhoff to get Tekkie Town back, stating, "... the goodwill of Tekkie Town is likely to return to the former shareholders".
Read previous articles:
- Tekkie Town stabilised and expanding
- Mr Tekkie launches while fights for Tekkie Town wage on
- Former Tekkie Town managers interdicted
- Waarheen volgende vir Tekkie Towners
- Tekkie Town 2 in the wings
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