How Ford sought to get media monkey off its back

Ford Kuga fire victim Reshall Jimmy’s family has told how the global car manufacturing giant manipulated them to tone down their media onslaught on the pretext that Ford SA was working on a settlement with the family.

Little did they know that Ford was‚ according to family lawyer‚ Rod Montano‚ in reality working on an elaborate plan to dispute that Reshall burnt to death in his Ford Kuga and that he died from a gunshot wound to the head and there was a witness statement in this regard.

The family have been waging a social media campaign against Ford SA since their brother and son burnt to death in December 2015 in his luxury Ford Kuga SUV‚ while holidaying in the Wilderness in the Western Cape.

 “The undertaking (from outgoing Ford SA CEO) Jeffrey Nemeth was that they would ultimately like to settle the matter and as a token of goodwill from our side is that we would in fact to tone down the media campaign‚” Montano said.

Police and private forensic investigators maintain that the fire was caused by an electrical fault behind the dashboard on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Ford SA is not commenting on the claims‚ with spokesperson Rella Bernades saying: “We recognise how devastating the loss of Mr Reshall Jimmy has been to the family. Given the sensitive and unique circumstances of the case relating to the death of Mr Jimmy‚ and the possibility of ongoing legal proceedings‚ we have nothing further to add on this matter at this time.”

Speaking to journalists in Pretoria on Wednesday‚ Montano said this was why in the past two months there has been little coverage on the matter‚ saying this was because the family had kept its end of the bargain.

“That was done purposefully at the request of Ford. Obviously Ford was trying to portray to the public that the matter is resolved and that the media storm has subsided to some extent‚” he said.

But‚ Montano said‚ in reality Ford’s actions were blatantly apparent in that in actual fact it was planning to pull the rug out from under the family’s feet.

“Despite what Nemeth discussed with us‚ he then has the audacity to bring out the point that in fact Jimmy was shot in his head and in my opinion it is an absolute insult to intelligence that they would lay the blame‚ the responsibility for the incident elsewhere but themselves‚” he said.

Reshall’s sister‚ Renisha‚ said Nemeth went as far as trying to turn her against the media‚ saying the media was opening up their wounds over and over again for self-gain.

But she said her response to Nemeth was that “these are the people that stood by my family’s side and that the little justice we have got is because of the media. I really like to thank you on behalf of my mom‚ my family. We appreciate everything and how you have assisted us in trying to get justice for Reshall and in the meeting with Jeff I told him that ‘you blame the media of opening wounds and here are you‚ damaging my mom and opening all the wounds that could be opened.”

The Times has reported how Ford SA had turned to God in a move the family see as a bid to silence them‚ with Nemeth requesting a meeting with Renisha and her ailing mother Polly‚ overseen by Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba‚ held in Johannesburg on Friday.

Instead‚ the family said‚ the meeting left Reshall’s mother “distraught” and traumatised by accusations that Jimmy was murdered and that the company was not responsible for his death.




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