On 17 November 2020, His Lordship Mr Justice Wright granted an order against Mr Wyndham declaring him to be in contempt of the previous court order granted by the Johannesburg High Court on 23 July 2020.
This is the second time that Mr Wyndham has been declared in contempt of court this year.
The Johannesburg High Court has ordered Mr Wyndham to be committed to prison for a period of 6 months and a warrant for his arrest and detention has been authorised by the Johannesburg High Court.
The Johannesburg High Court has also ordered Mr Wyndham to make payment of a fine of R100 000.00 to the Registrar of the High Court within 48 hours. Mr Wyndham has also been ordered to pay the costs of the contempt application on a punitive scale.
His Lordship Mr Justice Wright ordered that the prison sentence imposed on Mr Wyndham be suspended until 17h00 on 15 January 2021 on condition that Mr Wyndham immediately complies with the High Court orders of 21 January 2020 and 23 July 2020.
As many of the readers who have followed the various Facebook posts and comments authored and published by Mr Wyndham over the course of the last year will know, Mr Wyndham has acted and continues to act in an uncontrollable and malicious manner and in direct and wilful breach of the court orders granted by the Johannesburg High Court on 21 January 2020, 23 July 2020 and now 17 November 2020. MSA has (and always will) embrace the constitutionally enshrined right and freedom that every person has to express him- or herself, but not when the exercise of that right results in unlawful and criminal acts of defamation and malicious and unsubstantiated attacks on Facebook or other forms of social media.
Mr Wyndham’s conduct has not only deprived MSA of the benefits and the protection of the court orders granted in its favour, but his conduct has impaired the proper administration of justice and undermined the very sanctity of those court orders.
Since the granting of the first court order on 21 January 2020, Mr Wyndham has uncontrollably and maliciously continued to author and publish false and defamatory posts on Facebook in direct contravention of that court order. His conduct has necessitated two applications to have him declared in contempt of court.
Following his persistent and repetitive breaches of those court orders, the Board of MSA indicated its willingness to meet with Mr Wyndham in an attempt to resolve the matter and to avoid the serious consequences that would result if MSA and the other applicants should again be forced to approach the Johannesburg High Court.
Mr Wyndham delivered a purported apology on Facebook that differed entirely from the proposed apology authored by his attorney where he proposed to confirm that none of the statements made by him on Facebook were supported by any admissible evidence. Mr Wyndham almost immediately after publishing his purported (and entirely different) apology continued to defame MSA and various other members of the motorsport community on Facebook.
Yesterday, Mr Wyndham attempted to persuade MSA to postpone the application scheduled to be heard in the Johannesburg High Court earlier today, yet at the same time continued to maliciously attack and defame MSA and others on Facebook. It is clear that Mr Wyndham has no respect for the court orders granted by the High Court or that he genuinely wishes to engage with MSA to resolve any differences.
Mr Wyndham has, to date, not answered a single allegation made by MSA and the other applicants in a variety of affidavits comprising many hundreds of pages (all of which are statements under oath). Instead, Mr Wyndham has continued with his malicious campaign and attacks on Facebook without having produced a single document or statement under oath in support of what he contends – one needs only to ask why?
Says Mr Anton Roux, the Chairman of the Board of MSA, “This entire debacle is regrettable and disappointing. An invitation was extended to Mr Wyndham many weeks ago to discuss any grievances he may have with MSA and the Board prior to getting to this point. At the eleventh hour and after engaging in numerous new and amplified attempts on Facebook to maliciously defame MSA and various people, Mr Wyndham sought to postpone the contempt of court application. His conduct evidences bad faith. This is not conduct that can be expected from someone who has a genuine intention of resolving anything.
All that Mr Wyndham has endeavoured to achieve is to engender negativity for motorsport in South Africa. MSA remains committed to the development and support of all forms of motorsport in South Africa and will continue in its endeavours to instil confidence in motorsport in South Africa despite the challenges we have all faced in this very difficult year.”
For more information and background, please note:
1. Statement on recent social media allegations – January 28, 2020
2. Ruling in favour of Motorsport SA and others goes unopposed – March 2, 2020
3. MSA welcomes further court ruling in its favour – August 5, 2020
4. MSA accepts public apology of Mr Steve Wyndham – October 29, 2020
5. Steven Wyndham - MSA and fellow respondents to return to court