Johannesburg - If you mess with the national president of a motorbike club, you will be blacklisted from every other motorbike club in the country.
This was the warning from the head of the Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club, Albert Janse van Vuuren.
He won the court case instituted against him by a fellow member, Yster van Eeden.
He had wanted to be reinstated as regional president of Ghost Riders Limpopo after Janse van Vuuren, national president and founder of the club, stripped him of this honour.
It was a case of David taking on Goliath; in the motorbike world - a member does not take on a national president.
Not only did Van Eeden lose his case in the Polokwane High Court, but his turning to the law had caused him to be blacklisted by the motorbike brotherhood.
“In our world, the word of the national president is the final word. You do not turn to court. You sit around the table and talk it out,” Janse van Vuuren told the Pretoria News.
He said all Van Eeden had to do was to call him and talk things through.
Janse van Vuuren said his club was family orientated and didn’t believe in violence or settling disputes with fists.
“But he broke the code of loyalty, which is very important in the motorbike world. Even if he asked 10 times for forgiveness, it will not make things right. No other motorbike club in the country will ever accept him as a member.” In what is to be a first worldwide, Van Eeden, an advocate, took his national president on in court.
He said Ghost Riders Limpopo and Ghost Riders Ysterberg (in Mokopane) were fed up with Janse van Vuuren.
They had been ousted from the club and wanted back in - urgently. One of the reasons for the urgency was a big motorbike bash in Limpopo this weekend, which they wanted to participate in as members of the club.
But this was not possible after the high court turned down the application on technical grounds. Janse van Vuuren’s advocate, Hilton West, argued that Van Eeden did not have the legal standing to bring the application as he is part of a group. He can thus not litigate on his own in a matter concerning the club. The court accepted this argument and did not go into the merits of the application.
Van Eeden is now not only without a club to which to belong to, but he is also left out of pocket as the court ordered that he had to foot the legal bill. Janse van Vuuren’s lawyer, Konrad Rontgen, said: “It is unheard of that a motorbike chapter (region) takes the national president to court be- cause they are unhappy with a decision he took. In the motorbike world the word of the national president is final. That’s just the way it has been forever.
“The cuts (leather jacket with club’s insignia on it) belong to the club and never becomes your property.
“After you have been ousted from the club, you must hand back your cuts. Without your cuts, you don’t belong to the club. To go to court and demand that it decides on your ownership of your cuts is simply a no-go.”
Janse van Vuuren meanwhile said the fact that Van Eeden elected to settle the dispute with the law books left a bitter taste in his mouth.