GEORGE NEWS - The founders of Mr. Tekkie "are elated" that Pepkor "failed to kill the startup business" through their application that sought to restrain five of Mr. Tekkie's founders from any involvement in retail that is in opposition to Tekkie Town.
The five respondents, Tekkie Town founder Braam van Huyssteen, Bernard Mostert, Dawie van Niekerk, Gert Claassens and Michael Brown, are forging ahead with their new venture. The first of two stores in George is scheduled to open on 23 November.
Judge Elizabeth Baartman granted an interim order in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday 7 November against the former Tekkie Town executives that prohibits them from being involved in any business that sells certain footwear brands.
She referred to a list of footwear in "Annexure A". But, by the start of this week, details around which brands these are, still had not reached the defendants. Mr. Tekkie CEO Bernard Mostert said, "The effect of the limited order that was granted is unclear. It purports to prevent the respondents from selling a listed range of footwear, but does not list what footwear they may or may not sell. Given that Steinhoff, under the banner of Pepkor, tried to prevent us as individuals in totality from having any involvement in retail, the pronouncement is a substantial victory for us. Three Mr. Tekkie stores opened in October with a further 12 stores to open in November.
"Steinhoff, through Pepkor, came to the court wanting to bully a group of individuals into submission. They failed comprehensively."
But Pepkor's CEO Leon Lourens said, "Today's outcome demonstrates that we have a prima facie case to enforce the restraint of trade provisions against the founders of Mr. Tekkie.
"The court order confirms that Pepkor has demonstrated a valid right in terms of the restraints of trade." He said the order provides interim protection for the Tekkie Town business while the dispute is referred to trial.
In her pronouncement, Judge Baartman said the respondents provide much-needed employment. "They should not be hampered in their economic activity beyond the effective date (1 October 2016, when Tekkie Town was sold to Steinhoff)."
When Pepkor through its spokesperson was notified by the newspaper on Monday 12 November that the list of prohibited shoes had still not reached the respondents, the company responded in a statement on 13 November that the list had been delivered to the defendants' attorneys that morning.
Mostert then confirmed that the list had been received, but said it was impossible to determine whether any items on the list, "if any at all", could be subject to the terms of the order. The items contain no style codes. He said it had never been produced before Judge Baartman and that there was never an Annexure A.
The former executives of Tekkie Town walked out from the business in June this year following the implosion of Steinhoff that had bought Tekkie Town in exchange for shares, which have become virtually worthless.
Said Mostert, "The final result of Price Water House Cooper's forensic report into accounting irregularities and alleged fraud [in Steinhoff] will bring many answers and will give momentum to our legal actions to regain ownership of Tekkie Town via restitution."
Read previous articles:
- Mr Tekkie continues trade after High Court pronouncement
- Mr Tekkie launched, 2 in George soon
- Mr Tekkie launched amid trade restraint threat
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