'Anti-Cell C banner is unlawful'

Lawyers representing Cell C told the court the banner put up by George Prokas is unlawful.

FILE: The banner erected by George Prokas outside the World Wear shopping centre in Fairlands, Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Cell C says a disgruntled customer who put up a banner criticising the company abused his freedom of speech.

The banner which appears professionally printed, bearing the Cell C logo, reads, "The most useless service provider in South Africa, Cell C Sandton City".

In an urgent application in the High Court in Johannesburg yesterday, the mobile operator argued that the banner was defamatory.

It was put up by businessman George Prokas on Beyers Naude Drive last week who complained that he received bad service at Cell C's Sandton City branch.

The banner has since been defaced and changed by an unknown person, but Cell C says the damage is already done.

Another lawyer representing Cell C, Christopher Whittcutt, told the court the banner put up by Prokas is unlawful.

It also emerged that Prokas wants Cell C to pay back the money they owe him for a debit order he cancelled on a phone he hasn't used since last year, which has run up a bill of over R5,000.

Judge Sharise Weiner asked Whittcutt why they had not sought an interdict to stop the banner from being put up as Prokas notified them that he would be doing this after his complaints were repeatedly ignored.

The banner had cost the customer over R60,000.