Tuesday, 27 September 2022 – Three months ago, the factory that manufactures for Vagabond Kayaks and five other kayak and product brands was evicted from their premises and all items in the building were attached under a warrant. After 12-weeks of defending their claim to their assets – including moulds, fittings and stock, Vagabond Kayaks’ assets are secured.
“In short, the factory was behind on their rent and they had made various arrangements with the landlord for repayment. While we can understand the landlord’s action to recover his money, we do not condone the landlord’s behaviour in locking down everything owned by the customers of the factory. He knew full well that our assets were not owned by the factory,” says Lisa de Speville, Managing Director of Vagabond Kayaks.
At the end of July, five weeks after the factory doors were locked, the factory’s assets were auctioned to recover the landlord’s rental arrears claim. The landlord purchased the factory’s three rotomoulding ovens and other assets with plans to run his own kayak rotomoulding factory. The auction realised 99.92% of the amount claimed by the landlord.
Documents wrapping up the auction were withheld from the customers by the sheriff’s office and the landlord’s attorney for a further two weeks. On the same day that they finally received a copy of the documents, the customers were served an Interpleader Summons to appear in court in early September to defend their claim to their assets.
Days before appearing in court, the landlord released the assets of the factory customers, with the exception of Vagabond and the product inventory of the kayak shop that sublet space in the building.
“In court, it became evident that the landlord’s legal counsel had not informed the court of the auction nor the payout and that they had no account of how much was outstanding on the warrant against which they were still holding on to Vagabond’s assets. This has severely affected our businesses and we can only speculate as to his motivations,” de Speville explains.
Their appearance in court left issues unresolved and resulted in Vagabond receiving a court date for a hearing six weeks later.
“As things turned out, two days later the sheriff’s office finally responded to our demand for their final accounts. On behalf of the factory, we paid little more than the cost of a Vagabond Mazowe kayak to fulfil the warrant and release Vagabond’s assets and all other items in the building that remained under attachment,” de Speville explains.
As it currently stands, the situation for Vagabond is as follows:
- Moulds and fittings are safely in their possession.
- Limited stock of Vagabond kayaks will be supplied to their South African customers over these summer months.
- No manufacturing is currently taking place.
“This has been stressful and distressing. While I’ve summarised the situation, every day of the past 12-weeks was filled with legalities, surprises, drama and even an urgent High Court application, which we won. With our assets safe and the proverbial gun-held-to-our-heads removed, I can dust myself off and look at the way forward for Vagabond,” says de Speville.
“Our local summer season starts now. The landlord’s actions have been incredibly damaging to us, not only from the loss of orders these past three months, many of which we would have been able to fulfil from stock, but also for this summer season ahead. By locking us down for three months, he removed options that would have seen us back in production for summer,” de Speville adds.
De Speville says that she is aware of many customers who planned to buy Vagabond kayaks this season. Unfortunately, Vagabond is unlikely to be able to supply for at least a few months.
“I am so sorry. I am sorry for this situation and the knock-on effect that it has for ourselves, the kayak shops that sell our kayaks and our customers,” de Speville says.
Over the next few weeks, Vagabond will fulfil dealer orders from available stock while they work on their future plans.
Information and any updates will be posted on Vagabond Kayaks’ website at www.vagabondkayaks.com and their Facebook page and Instagram profiles @vagabondkayaks.
Lisa de Speville, Managing Director
Tel: 082 936 2509
About Vagabond Kayaks
Launched in July 2018, Vagabond Kayaks is a South African owned, designed and manufactured kayak brand. Their range of kayaks focuses on recreational, plastic sit-on-top kayaks with high-performance features that give an exceptional paddling experience. Their range also includes a surfkayak, a whitewater sit-on-top, two whitewater creekers, a children’s riverrunner and a riverboard. Vagabond kayaks are exported to a number of countries. Having survived COVID lockdown, Vagabond’s manufacturing took another knock as a result of severe power-supply issues in the small Free State town of Parys. They relocated, with the factory, to George, in the Western Cape, in November 2020, for better power supply and to be closer to their local market and shipping harbours.