Order against ex-worker’s ‘sabotage’

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Durban - Media 24 was granted an urgent interim interdict against one of its former employees who it claims is “sabotaging” the company’s distribution in Pietermaritzburg in an act of revenge.

The massive publishing and distribution conglomerate obtained the interdict in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday against Mnyamezeli Mntaka, the former branch manager at the company’s distribution point in the city.

In terms of the court order granted by Judge Yvonne Mbatha, Mntaka is interdicted from:

* Continuing with his campaign of sabotage against Media24 in Pietermaritzburg; in particular, by intercepting, removing and destroying magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and other documents the company is contracted to distribute on behalf of its customers.

* In any way, whether directly or indirectly, interrupting or preventing the distributing of these items or in any way engaging with Media24 employees tasked with distribution.

Mntaka has also been interdicted from defaming Media24 by suggesting its employees are dumping magazines, newspapers and pamphlets, causing them not to be distributed, and from blackmailing and intimidating Media24 by stating that he will continue to disrupt their distribution unless he is reinstated in his job.

According to an affidavit by Media24 human resource officer Hein Appels, Mntaka was dismissed from his position on a charge that he conducted business with Media24 clients for his personal financial gain.

After a disciplinary hearing, he was fired on December 13 last year.

On April 29 this year, Mntaka brought an application for reinstatement to the company with the CCMA.

The matter was settled on the basis Mntaka would not return to his former position at Media24 and the company was justified in its decision.

However, since the decision by the CCMA, Media24 claims Mntaka has personally intercepted, or got others to intercept, items meant for distribution by the company to its customers, and has dumped them all across Pietermaritzburg, including stormwater drains and garbage heaps.

“It seems Mntaka has resolved to continue with his campaign of sabotage, not only as an act of revenge against Media24 for dismissing him, but also as a form of blackmail. Media24 cannot be expected to stand by and allow such a state of affairs to continue,” Appels said.

Media24, which has built its business on its reputation for its reliable service, stands to suffer irreparable harm if Mntaka is allowed to continue with his vendetta, he said.

“We are concerned as a result of Mntaka’s actions the good name and reputation of Media24 as a reliable distributor will be harmed in Pietermaritzburg. As a result, the company will lose market share among its existing client base… a client base which will never be recovered,” he said.

Clients who have been affected by Mntaka’s actions include the Liberty Midlands Mall, Shoprite, Check-Out, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Scooters, he said.

The case has been adjourned to September 3 for Mntaka to respond.

A criminal case against Mntaka is also pending.

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