In a far reachlng judgment, 10 directors, including former North West premier Popo Molefe, the chairman of A1tX- listed business and information technology consulting firm Simeka BSG, have been ordered jailed for 30 days if they do not comply with a previous court order within 30 days.

The directors are Molefe; his wife, Kabote; Mohammed Varachia, the chief executive; Kamal Ramslngh; Tozamile Botha; Madoda Paplyana; Surendranath Sing; Noelene Beryl de Koker, the company secretary; Alexander Evan, the legal director; and Ntombizodwa Mhlnga.

An order issued on February 20 last year prohibited Simeka BSG from unlawfully using the abbreviation BSG, a trademark owned by a competitor, Business Systems Group (Africa). The Simeka company and directors must remove all references to the letters BSG from their signage, correspondence, letterheads and Internet domain name.

Jacqueline Nobes, the financial manager of Business Systems Group, told the court It had to turn to the high court for a contempt ruling because Simeka, despite the February court order, continued to use the letters BSG in its name.

The directors had “recklessly and intentionally” failed to comply with the court order and were “making a mockery of the legal system”.

The company and its directors would only comply under threat of imprisonment “as the directors seem to consider themselves to be above the law”, Nobes said.

In desperation, Business Systems Group had bought shares and given Its lawyer, Lara Kahn, a director at the law firm Mallinicks, its proxy to attend Simeka’s annual general meeting (AGM).

In court papers, Kahn said that while Varachia had told her at the AGM that he did not intend to breach the court order, she reminded him that the company continued to do so.

In papers, Evans said Simeka and Business Systems Group were not competitors for the same clients and there was no confusion in the marketplace between the companies.

None of the directors had acted in bad faith and wilfully in not complying with the court order.

They had been led to believe that Business Systems Group would be content to await their AGM.

Varachia said yesterday that he was unaware he and fellow directors had been held in contempt in their personal capacities. “We complied already last year and there were public announcements.”

Source: Business Report – Ronnie Morris