Hi ….herewith my story!
Although I have never been a permanent employee of Nebula, my recurring contract with them, for a period of 3.5 years, was(is) deemed to have the same value as a permanent contract with them. My outstanding fees were also unilaterally decreased, and I received about a third of what they owed me in May 2010. My six month contract of Sep 2006 just kept on being renewed based on requests by Nebula to assist them with a variety of initiatives – all of them based on my initiation of these matters.
Whilst I was busy negotiating a JV with Nebula over the period Mar 2010-May 2010, I received an abrupt and surprising notification from Nebula that my services are no longer required. At this time I had provided a JV business plan, and we had a draft contract under discussion for the JV to operate in the Telco market. My immediate reaction was to notify them that I will seek legal advice prior to response, and at the same time register the case with the CCMA.
This sparked a comedy of harassment activities by them:
- I was summoned in writing to a disciplinary hearing, citing the most ludicrous charges. – I declined the “invite” as I was not a permanent employee, and legal advice indicated that by attending this “hearing” I’d be admitting to the charges having merit, and that I view myself as subject to Nebula’s employment policies and practices.
- As a result of the above not working for them, Nebula proceeded to attempt obtaining an “urgent supreme court interdict” against me “operating in unlawful competition” with them.
- Their “case” was that I was associated with Telfree (I am a value added reseller) – a virtual telecom carrier – and that Telfree was a direct competitor to them. – My response, supported by a Telfree affidavit blew this out of the water, in that Telfree sells technology solutions and Nebula (being supplier and technology agnostic) sells an advisory consulting service. The analogy being that if Telfree was a “competitor”, so would Telkom, MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, etc be – which of course is ludicrous.
- Hereafter they challenged Telfree directly, and of course in the process making a dog and pony show at trying to discredit me, reaching the levels of “IP theft” and a variety of equally unfounded allegations. – Telfree discounted them with extreme disdain and made it clear that it will do business with whomever it seems fit and that should Nebula continue along this course, Telfree will act in its own interest against Nebula.
- This added further fuel to the fire. In their responses they continued to try and “threaten” me at what could happen to me if found “guilty”, and that their case is so strong that neither the supreme court nor the CCMA will entertain my case.The results were as follows:
- They did not feel strong enough to face my response to their summons and allegations in the first supreme court hearing, hence they asked for a postponement of the case.
- They did not pitch at the first CCMA session. Supposedly because D.M.Nel was overseas – of which no proof was provided to me at the time.
- They lodged a second response to the supreme court, now citing immaterial “dirty washing” type of matters to try and strengthen the case – also “offering” to “settle” if I was willing to drop the CCMA case. They seemed petrified at the CCMA case for some reason.
- I did neither.
- The case went to the supreme court for the second hearing, and on the same morning they offered to settle. Practically on the steps of the court. They would pay my damages and legal fees, as well as issue a communiqué to everyone involved as to the “amicable settlement” of the matter – provided I drop the CCMA case.
- I accepted the offer – they paid and I was happy.