Picture: Markus Schreiber/African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - A white Volkswagen Tiguan was the subject of a bitter legal tussle between a British man and his now former South African lover - the man insisting he had bought the car for her as a gift and that it was his to drive whenever he was in the country.

Sweetness Khomola’s relationship with Garry Cotterill soured last month, and she moved out of their luxury townhouse in Pretoria East. She went back to her parental home in Atteridgeville.

Khomola said in papers before the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that she needed “her” Tiguan as life without transport in Atteridgeville was difficult.

The project engineer at a major car manufacturer said the Atteridgeville area was notorious for unauthorised sporadic strikes which “almost always disrupted the public transport system”.

She said even when public transport was running, delays were endless.

Khomola wanted an urgent order that her former lover hand the car over to her. He instituted a counter application in which he wanted to interdict her from using the car pending a further application to finally determine its ownership.

Judge Norman Davis at the end ordered that the Tiguan be parked in the garage of Cotterill’s home “under security” and that neither party use it until the issue was resolved.

Khomola was also ordered to hand over the keys and registration papers of the vehicle to the sheriff of the court to be kept “in custody” until it was determined who could get the car.

Khomola said in an affidavit that she moved in with Cotterill about a year ago. A few months down the line he bought her the vehicle for R680000 as a gift. The car was delivered to her and registered in her name.

Last month she travelled to work in the company car and left the vehicle in the driveway of their home, but had the keys with her. Cotterill was at the time in the UK.

That morning she received a WhatsApp message from him, which she said ended in a quarrel.

When she returned home, she was told by the estate security that she could not enter the gates and was not allowed access to the Tiguan.

“My access card was blocked and my fingerprint identification removed from the security system.”

She returned to the estate with the police as she wanted to fetch her belongings, but was still refused entry.

Cotterill returned the following day and Khomola again went to the estate with the police. This time she was allowed access and fetched her belongings. Cotterill, however, would not let her touch the car.

A few days later, she received a letter from his lawyers in which she was accused of registering the vehicle in her name while he was out of the country. She was also accused of removing the keys from the house and told the car was his.

Khomola said the matter was urgent as life without the vehicle was difficult. Cotterill, in his affidavit, said she had only herself to blame for the situation.

Pretoria News