Businessman takes fight with Shell to high court

Entrepreneur Jeffrey Maaga is not backing down from his fight with petroleum giant Shell to have two multimillion-rand contacts that were terminated by the company reinstated.

Maaga’s company, Matemeku Petroleum, entered three deals, distribution, supply and support agreements, with Shell in 2017.

The distribution agreement meant Matemeku became a distributor of B2B (business-to-business) products for Shell. This entailed being a distributor for Shell, servicing industrial markets such as mines, transport industry, energy industry any other business that buys bulk packed products.

The support deal backed B2C (business to consumer).

At the time the deals were concluded, Mosong Capital held a 51% stake in Matemeku, Maaga had a 34% share while Longlasting held the remainder.

Matemeku was obliged in terms of clause 13.1 of the agreement to inform Shell immediately if there was a change of control in Matemeku “resulting in direct or indirect of the claimant not being held by the same entity or entities as at the date of the distribution agreement”.

The relationship soured in 2018 when Mosong sold all its shareholding in Matemeku to Maaga and Longlasting after a confict of interest emerged to Mosong’s other dealings in the petroleum industry. Mosong Capital, a 100% black-controlled company, was founded by Moss Mashishi and Tidi Khobane.

Mosong’s current interests are in beverages, property, petroleum, hospitality, broadcasting and agriculture.

Shell then ended the agreements on the basis that Matemeku had breached clause 13.1 of the agreement as it relates to change of control.

Matemeku and Shell then went to arbitration. Senior counsel Garth Hulley ruled that Shell was within its rights to terminate the agreement.

Maaga has now approached the Joburg High Court to set aside the arbitration award.

“It is imperative to note that in terms of clause 13.1, the obligation stemming from that provision related to the duty on the applicant [Matemeku] to merely inform the first respondent [Shell] of such change. The change in control is not permissible in terms of this provision,” Maaga’s affidavit reads

“Contextually, the prupose of the above provision related to the need for the first respondent to vet the shareholders of the entity that is transacting with and where such change has been effected there was need for the first responded to assess the transaction in terms of the new persons/entities that were not initially evaluated at the time of contracting.”

Judgment was reserved. Shell did not respond to questions. .

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