Mr Tekkie hoping for leave to appeal in Pepkor case

Some of the owners of Mr Tekkie hope to hear on Monday whether their application for leave to appeal in a restraint of trade case brought against them by Steinhoff subsidiary Pepkor has been granted.

The current owners of Mr Tekkie - of which 16 branches have already been opened and three more are planned to open in March - are also among the former owners of Tekkie Town.

The then Tekkie Town owners, including Braam van Huyssteen and Bernard Mostert, entered into an exchange agreement with Steinhoff for the sale of Tekkie Town during 2016.

Mostert told Fin24 on Friday that, following the collapse of Steinhoff, "it became clear" that the exchange agreement was based on the Steinhoff financials which the company had subsequently admitted contained irregularities and the Steinhoff shares they received in exchange were indeed "worthless".

The former Tekkie Town owners cancelled the transaction with Steinhoff, but this was not accepted by Steinhoff. The former Tekkie Town owners have turned to the court to determine the outcome. This case is ongoing.

In September 2018 the former owners of Tekkie Town started a new business, Mr Tekkie.

This prompted Pepkor to request an urgent interdict against the Mr Tekkie owners - who are also the former owners of Tekkie Town.

"Mr Tekkie was not a respondent in the case. There is no interdict against Mr Tekkie. There is an order against some of the owners of Mr Tekkie, but no order against the business," Mostert told Fin24.

Following a hearing in November last year, Judge Elizabeth Baartman ordered that the respondents or a business they are involved in, cannot sell footwear that was sold by Tekkie Town prior to 1 October 2016 - the date when transfer of the business was made to Steinhoff.

During the hearing, Baartman instructed that Pepkor must produce a verified list of the relevant footwear it wished to include in the order. She also ordered that the respondents must have an opportunity to agree to the list and that the list must be submitted to the court. According to Mostert, Pepkor never provided the list to the respondents or the court.
"Following the order, which then contained a blank annexure, Pepkor attempted to present three lists, none of which were sanctioned by the court," said Mostert.
Van Huyssteen and the other respondents rejected all three versions of the list as it was not accurate in their view and was not brought before the court.
Mostert describes the contents of these lists as "opportunistic".

"They attempted quite blatantly to be the judge and jury in their own case," said Mostert.

This is the point the second case is at now with Pepkor's attempt to add the list after the order was made, dismissed by the court, according to Mostert. The respondents await the judge's decision on its request for leave to appeal on Monday.

On Thursday February 28 the judge awarded costs in the matter up to and including the first day in court to Pepkor.

"The Steinhoff case was the absolute root of all of this. We want our business back as we were misled. We will pursue the matter aggressively until we receive our ownership of Tekkie Town back," Mostert told Fin24.

Pepkor said in a short statement that it is happy with the cost ruling made on Thursday.

"The rest of the ruling and the application thereof is still unclear, and Pepkor will continue to follow a due legal process," it said.

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