Knott-Craig was set to join Cell C as its new CEO on 1 April 2012, but Vodacom argued that his restraint of trade agreement with them prohibits him from joining a competing company within a three year period after leaving Vodacom.
Knott-Craig’s initial restraint of trade agreement, with a similar three year restriction, was signed when he left Vodacom in September 2008.
Knott-Craig explained on the Redi Tlhabi show on 702, that his initial restraint of trade agreement only prohibited him to work for other cellphone companies in South Africa.
After Telkom sold its stake in Vodacom, however, Vodafone wanted to stop Knott-Craig from working at Telkom and many other companies. The two parties negotiated a new deal which included a consultancy position for Knott-Craig.
“The shareholders and directors approached me and said they did not want me to work for anybody else, ‘plus you can consult for us as part of this deal’,” said Knott-Craig.
Knott-Craig accepted the deal, where he was essentially paid to not work for other companies.
The contentious issue relates to Knott-Craig’s consultancy agreement with Vodacom – a position for which he was paid a salary.
Vodacom argued that Knott-Craig’s consultancy agreement with the company means that he was still employed by Vodacom as a consultant until 31 March 2012. This in turn means that the three year non-compete clause in his contract prohibits him from joining another competing company before 1 April 2015.
Cell C and Knott-Craig said that they will appeal the court ruling, but that Knott-Craig will not start to work at Cell C until the matter has successfully been resolved.
For full details about the court case and related information, click here.