GEORGE NEWS - The Pepkor application to enforce trade restrictions against former Tekkie Town founder Braam van Huyssteen and its former CEO, Bernard Mostert, will be opposed.
So says Mostert, CEO of Mr Tekkie, the new retail chain that he and Van Huyssteen envison to launch in November.
Pepkor brought an application in the Cape Town High Court on Monday 10 September for an interdict to restrain them from going ahead with establishing the new business.
The two respondents were directors of Pepkor until recently. Three former Tekkie Town managers, Michael Brown, Gert Claassens and Dawie van Niekerk, are also respondents in the application. Pepkor contends that the five are in contravention of restrictive provisions in their employment contracts and they are "well positioned" to use confidential information that they obtained while employed by Pepkor, in their new business.
Meanwhile, a large first floor office in Dynarc House in George is abuzz during the day with a team of about 60 people doing the footwork to get Mr Tekkie off the ground nationally. Most of those working here were sourced from the 110 employees who in June this year walked out en masse from the Tekkie Town premises in George, following the exit of almost all the senior managers, including Mostert.
Pepkor in a media statement refers to "aggressive attempts" of Mr Tekkie "to unlawfully compete" with Pepkor’s Tekkie Town shoe chain. In its court application, it maintains that the mass management exit was a conspiracy to drive Pepkor's share price down in the hope that Tekkie Town's value would fall. This would enable them to make a lower offer to buy it back. Van Huyssteen and his partners sold Tekkie Town to Steinhoff in 2016 after which it changed hands to Steinhoff subsidiary Steinhoff Africa Retail (Star, now Pepkor). Van Huyssteen and Mostert were appointed as directors in Star.
In its court application, Pepkor submitted e-mail records of communication between a business acquaintance of Van Huyssteen and Van Huyssteen and Mostert's lawyer in which he speculates on ways that they could get Tekkie Town back. Pepkor contends that this points to the alleged plot against Tekkie Town.
It maintains that at the time of this communication, Van Huyssteen and Mostert were both still directors in Star, and that their conduct meant that they were neglecting their fiduciary duties to the company.
Mostert told the George Herald, "It is disappointing, but not surprising, to see Pepkor's allegations being riddled with half truths, speculation and lies, and like before we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that their allegations are handled correctly and are refuted. We are moving ahead while we trust that our shareholding in Tekkie Town will eventually be restored through our claims against Steinhoff and Pepkor following the alleged fraud that has led to Steinhoff's failure.
"We are here (Dynarc House) until we succeed in our eviction order against Tekkie Town and Pepkor," he said, referring to the Meul Street premises of the Tekkie Town head-office, a property owned by Van Huyssteen.
Read previous articles:
- 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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