Rumour mill in overdrive before ZAR shuts down

2012-01-21 15:51

Business tycoon Kenny Kunene’s popular ZAR nightspot in Joburg is closing down. The club, which rose to notoriety when Kunene ate sushi off a model’s body during his birthday celebration, will move to other premises in less than six weeks.

According to one source, Kunene and his business partner, Gayton McKenzie, were allegedly not able to pay the rent for their luxurious rooftop club because the pair had blown their money “giving free drinks to clients all the time”.

Speaking to City Press, ex-con Kunene laughed off allegations of outstanding rental fees, stating that his move to shut up shop was “based purely on the property owners wanting to extend the building”.

“How can I spend R20 million on a project – leasing the place and furnishing it – only to be kicked out? I even installed a private lift last year so that my clientele could go straight from the parking to the club,” said Kunene.

“We are moving our business elsewhere to a bigger space,” he said.

A former ZAR employee told City Press that the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, where ZAR occupies the rooftop, was not on good terms with the club owners because the club had “cost” them their clients.

“The hotel suffered. No one wanted to go there because their wives would suspect them of going to the club. People also could not hang out in peace with their mistresses for fear that they’ll be caught on camera,” said the source.

But the Radisson’s general manager, Erica Olivier, vehemently denied the allegations. “No, no, no! There is nothing like that. ZAR is a tenant on the premises like we are. These rumours are totally not true. All we know is that the club wanted more space and the property owners could not give it the club,” she said.

Hendrik Breitenbach, spokesperson for property owners Savannah Properties, also dismissed the rumours of rental woes.

Kunene says he plans to “throw a shit party” for the closing.

“We are going out with a bang of a party. We will have the finest of everything for all our guests. And we will be back, just in a different space.”

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