JOHANNESBURG – Pepkor subsidiary Tekkie Town has taken legal action to prohibit former senior managers from establishing rival chain store Mr Tekkie as the Tekkie spat continues.
The court action threatens to throw a spanner in the works for the roll-out of Mr Tekkie stores, scheduled for November and follows months of tension between Tekkie Town and its former top brass.
Pepkor said yesterday it had applied for an urgent court order to enforce the restraint-of-trade provisions against Braam van Huyssteen, the founder of Tekkie Town, and Bernard Mostert, the company’s former chief executive.
Van Huyssteen and Mostert are first and second respondents, while Pepkor Speciality Limited and Pepkor Holdings Limited, which was previously called Steinhoff Africa Retail, are first applicant and second applicant.
Michael Brown, Gert Claassens and David van Niekerk, as well as AJVH Holdings, are also respondents in the court papers. Mostert and Van Huyssteen are directors and founders of AJVH Holdings, through which Mr Tekkie is trading.
In the court papers, JSE-listed Pepkor alleged that the former executives had breached and continued to breach the anti-solicitation provisions.
“They now want to breach their restraint provisions. They are also embarking on unlawfully competing with speciality,” the court papers said.
Pepkor chief executive Leon Lourens said in a statement yesterday that the former executives had been moving to undermine the business.
“Based on supporting documents, affidavits as well as evidence of retrieved deleted emails, it is clear that all the disruptions in respect of the Tekkie Town business over the last couple of months have been part of an orchestrated plan by the former executives.”
Mr Tekkie said it would oppose the legal action, with Mostert saying it came as no surprise.
“We will oppose the application and meticulously point out the lack of disclosure, the patently false claims, the half-truths and the speculative nature of the Pepkor application.
“Mr Tekkie is a win-win for all South Africans and stakeholders in the retail landscape - suppliers, landlords, career-seekers and, most of all, consumers,” he said.
He added that Mr Tekkie would be bringing an innovative story with true South African resilience to the market. “We are proud of that and we are surprised that a behemoth the size of Pepkor could be shaken by our idea.”
Pepkor shares closed 3.22percent lower at R16.64 on the JSE yesterday.
– BUSINESS REPORT