Dendairy turns to court over critic

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
ONE of the country’s leading dairy companies, Dendairy (Pvt) Limited, has approached the High Court seeking an order directing a disgruntled consumer to pull down a video, which he posted on social media tarnishing the company’s image.

Mr Aleck Phiri recently bought 500ml bottles of milk processed by Dendairy from an unidentified supermarket. However, upon consuming the milk he realised that it had gone bad.

Mr Phiri then engaged Dendairy and the company apologised and subsequently offered him the number of bottles of milk he had bought.

However, Mr Phiri refused to accept the milk and instead demanded US$500 000 claiming he fell sick as a result of the bad milk he consumed.

Dendairy refused to comply with his demands and subsequently engaged a lawyer to handle the matter.

An aggrieved Mr Phiri then took to social media.

He posted a video on Facebook and other social media platforms urging the nation to boycott Dendairy products.

In the video, which has since gone viral, Mr Phiri is seen washing his bicycle using fresh milk branded Dendairy and uttering several damaging words about the dairy company.

In the same video, he accuses the company’s shareholders of being racists with “no interest of Zimbabweans at heart.”

Dendairy, through its lawyers Mutatu and Partners, filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court citing Mr Phiri as a respondent.

The company wants the respondent to be interdicted from recording videos, audios or publishing anything on social media platforms which damages its reputation and brand.

Dendairy also wants Mr Phiri to be ordered to take down the video which he posted on social media.

In his founding affidavit, Dendairy accountant, Mr Tendai Pawandiwa said the respondent’s actions were driven by malice.

He said Mr Phiri sought to extort money from Dendairy through unscrupulous means hence there was a compelling need to block him from continuing with his unjustified actions.

“Further, the respondent did not avail any medical report showing that his symptoms had been as a result of consumption of the milk. He however, demanded a settlement and did not accept the apology as he called it ‘nonsensically vague apology’,” said Mr Pawandiwa.

“Of concern is that instead of taking up the matter to the courts, he made a four-minute video attacking the integrity and standing of Dendairy brand and posted it on Facebook on July 16, 2020. I was surprised when I was sent the video on WhatsApp by a friend inquiring on why the respondent was stating damaging statements.”

In the video, Mr Phiri is seen with two cartons of Dendairy milk. He is then asked by a person recording the video what he intended to use for washing his bicycle since he had no water.

In response, Mr Phiri said he was going to use Dendairy milk he had just bought from a local supermarket since “it was rubbish and harmful to health.”

Mr Phiri claimed that after consuming the milk, he started experiencing a torrent of headaches, stomach aches and swelling on his stomach.

“He stated that all Dendairy milk products were not suitable for human and dog consumption. He even mentioned that Dendairy is owned by racist whites who have no Zimbabweans’ interests at heart and urged consumers to boycott their product in supermarket shelves,” he said.

Mr Phiri is yet to respond to the application. — @mashnets

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