The board of directors of Motorsport South Africa (MSA) has agreed to accept a public apology by former motorsport competitor Steve Wyndham for untrue and libellous comments made against the organisations and several individuals involved in the sport.
Mr Wyndham attracted some attention on social media at the end of 2019 and in 2020 for posting derogatory, defamatory, untrue and inaccurate information about MSA, its directors, former directors and employees. These damaging comments included comments about the legal firm Hector North Inc.
MSA attempted to engage with Mr Wyndham but he did not respond to any invitation to meet and discuss his concerns.
Faced with unrelenting online abuse, MSA approached the High Court in Johannesburg, which granted an interim order in favour of MSA and the other applicants on 21 January 2020. Mr Wyndham ignored the court order and continued to post defamatory, untruthful and reckless statements.
This left MSA with no alternative other than to approach the High Court again as Mr Wyndham was clearly in contempt of court. On 24 July 2020, Judge Wright ordered Mr Wyndham to comply with the High Court Judgment of 21 January and, in addition, fined Mr Wyndham an amount of R100 000, suspended for two years provided that he complied with the 21 January court order. The judge also instructed Mr Wyndham to pay MSA and other respondents’ legal expenses.
Even after the second court ruling in favour of MSA and the other applicants, Mr Wyndham continued to post reckless and negative remarks on social media about MSA and individuals involved with the organisation.
The next step for MSA would have been to go back to court and the R100 000 fine would have become payable. At the same time, Mr Wyndham would have run the risk of being imprisoned for contempt of court.
It is the view of the Board of MSA that it is not in the best interests of motorsport to have Mr Wyndham incarcerated. As a consequence, the Chairman of the Board again approached Mr Wyndham and invited him to meet with MSA to discuss his grievances, and once again Mr Wyndham did not respond to this invitation, but instead posted the following apology on Facebook:
“I, Steven Charles Wyndham, hereby apologise for publishing comments about Hektor Patrick North, Motorsport South Africa Non Profit Company, Christian Anton Roux, Adrian Sholtz, Vikesh Goborrhan Maharaj and Melanie Jane Spurr on social media (Facebook) prior and subsequent to to the court order granted by the Johannesburg High Court on 21 Jan 2020.
The comments were published in a misguided attempt to further the interests of Motorsport, but were neither justified or appropriate.
MSA accepts Mr Wyndham’s apology, but reserves its right to approach the High Court if it is found that Mr Wyndham has not complied with the court orders of 21 January 2020 and 24 July 2020. This could very well result in the imprisonment of Mr Wyndham owing to his continued contempt of the court rulings against him.