Question posted in the General Law category relating to KwaZulu-Natal
Me and my boyfriend decided to start an uber business in 2019. I took a vehicle through the bank finance in May 2019 and we started the business and he was managing it. In March 2020, I took a second vehicle also on bank finance. Everything was going well until 2021 June, he started reporting problem after problem and breakdowns on vehicles. I have since been paying installments until today. In August 2022 I told him that I was over indebted and he took over the insurances but continued with the non payment. Beginning of March 2023 I told him to bring the vehicles back so I can return them to the bank and he has been refusing ever since. I would like to know what my options are since I have been to the police station and they told me they will not assist without a letter from the lawyer.
Message from the Lawyer
I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.
So it sounds like you started a business with your brother in a partnership, whereby you would supply the vehicles to the business and your brother would manage the operations of the business. It sounds like your business is going through some hard times, financially speaking, and that your brother appears to want to continue with the business but you find yourself over-indebted and do not think that the business can continue the way that it is going.
What you need to do is to terminate the business through the partnership. You need to send your brother an email setting out that you no longer want to continue with the business because of financial issues, and that you are giving him notice that your partnership is terminating, and that you demand the return of your vehicles.
You need to do this step to formally terminate the partnership. Otherwise if you just go to court your brother will say that there is an agreement between the two of you. You need to act first to cancel that agreement. Only then can you legally say "give me my cars back".
The police won't assist you because this isn't a criminal issue. It is a civil (business) dispute between two partners in a business.
So what you might ultimately need to do is to apply to the magistrates court for an order that your brother hands the cars back to you. This would mean that you would need to launch a court application in the magistrates court and explain, in an affidavit, the whole background of the matter, and then tell the magistrate what you want. i.e. the return of your cars.
The magistrate will then grant a court order forcing your brother to return the cars to you. If he doesn't, then the sheriff would be authorised to go fetch them.