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WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15603
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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An employee that we re-trenched was allowed to keep a company

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An employee that we re-trenched was allowed to keep a company laptop until we needed it again. This employee is now refusing to return the equipment. He has agreed to return it a number of times and has set appointment times for the handover. He does not arrive for the appointments and then reschedules, continuously.

We have advised him that the continued use of the laptop is unauthourised. Does this constitute theft? Are we able to lay criminal charges?
Good day and thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try and assist you today.

Technically, it is not theft, because he did not take it. You gave it to him. It is a civil matter and not a criminal matter.

You may go to the SAPD who will phone him on your behalf and that may drive the issue to a conclusion. In other words, the SAPD could potentially threaten him with theft charges on your request, but it is unlikely that they would be able to follow through on that.

Unfortunately, your recourse would be to get a so called "rei vindicatio" order, whereby he is ordered to return the goods. Should he refuse, that would then be a criminal offence for which he can be arrested.

Unfortunately, you would need that assistance of an attorney to draft such an application or compile the summons.

I know that this is probably not the answer that you have hoped for, however, I hope that you can still get some value out of it. I try my best to provide you with a legally sound and accurate answer and however much it pains me, it is not always good news. Trust me when I say that I wish I could provide you with a more optimistic answer. If you have follow up questions before you rate, feel free to ask them at no extra cost. If you are satisfied with the service, kindly rate it positively. I do not get anything unless you rate the service.
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