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Free State woman must leave Toyota SA alone - court rules

2017-08-31 11:44

Mike van Rooyen, Netwerk24

Bloemfontein - A Wesselsbron woman must keep her opinions on Toyota South Africa to herself, Judge Corné van Zyl has ruled, issuing a prohibiting order at the High Court in Bloemfontein, reports Netwerk24.

Defamatory comments

Elmarie Wepener, 53, may not publish defamatory comments, threaten or harass Toyota employees or interfere with Toyota's operations, said Van Zyl.

At the centre of the case is a 2001 Mitsubishi Colt bakkie which she purchased on January 27, 2006, at Hugo & Hugo Toyota in Vredenburg. 

In addition to the bakkie, she purchased an extended guarantee until January 27, 2008. The bakkie then suffered mechanical issues which, reports Netwerk24. cost R40 000 to repair at Toyota Wesselsbron.

She refused to pay and a lawsuit was issued against her. Early in 2010, she threatened Toyota South Africa with legal action. Nothing was heard from her for the next four years.

She then called Toyota's head office in Sandton. A letter followed with a claim of R33m for loss of income, travelling costs, legal fees, medical costs and damages for defamation. 

Audi R8

A flood of calls, emails, Facebook posts as well as claims for new vehicles to replace her bakkie followed.

She had quotes for an Audi R8 to the value of R3.4m and a Bentley (R3.2m) sent to Toyota, reports Netwerk24.

At one stage she also threatened to go to Welkom – in a taxi – to purchase a new car for herself at Toyota's cost.

By August 2016, her claim had risen to R56.8m, reports Netwerk24.

Toyota explained to her that they weren't involved in the guarantee contract and referred her to the ombudsman, which didn't satisfy Wepener. Van Zyl ruled that her claims were unfounded and provoking.

Her unlawful conduct could cause Toyota irreparable damage, if it hadn't already occurred, said the judge. If she was not stopped, ruled Van Zyl, she would probably continue her campaign of harassment, threats and defamation against Toyota. 

Van Zyl ordered that Wepener remove all posts on Facebook or any websites. She also has to pay Toyota's legal costs.

Do you agree with the court ruling in this case? Have you been involved in a legal battle with an automaker in SA? Share your story with us

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Read more on:    toyota  |  bloemfontein  |  bakkies  |  judiciary

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