Holes in watering hole lease

2014-04-05 00:00

THE awarding of a lease for a watering hole on the Scottsburgh beachfront in a pavilion built by the local municipality has drawn flak for allegedly contravening tender regulations.

Umdoni Municipality advertised the lease for a pub through public tender and awarded it to Tholakele Maintenance and Renovation Services but civil rights movement AfriForum says the lease was incorrectly awarded.

According to AfriForum’s KwaZulu-Natal community organiser Chris Fourie, the lease was signed despite contravening several regulations.

“Tholakele did not supply a tax certificate with their application and the municipality did not check with SARS whether its finances were in order,” Fourie said.

Fourie said that after Tholakele withdrew its application for the lease due to financial constraints, municipal manager Xolani Luthuli still went ahead and awarded them the contract.

The next tender in line was that of Cooky Myburgh, owner of the Wimpy next door for 23 years. “AfriForum was reliably informed that a senior member of the Umdoni council said in a meeting that ‘the pub can’t go to the white lady’,” Fourie said.

Fourie asked for the taped recording of the meeting, but said municipal manager Xolani Luthuli did not forward the request.

Meanwhile, Fourie claims Tholakele has sub-let the venue to a third party, who has entered into a franchise agreement with Famous Brands to operate a Keg restaurant. This is in contravention of the lease agreement.

Municipal spokesperson Sbonelo Hlongwane said he could not comment on the matter during an ongoing investigation, but declined to say whether the investigation concerns the awarding of the lease.

Fourie is set to meet with Local Government MEC Nomusa Dube to ask that her department conduct its own investigation.

“We want the decision of the panel to award the lease to Tholakele to be declared invalid so the correct processes can be followed next time,” he said.

Democratic Alliance councillor Edwin Baptie said Scottburgh’s beachfront pavilion is in a terrible state. “It’s been eight months and that pub is still empty, but meanwhile the municipal manager approved the expenditure of more than R600 000 for the upgrading of the interior.

“Yet the rent hasn’t been paid and the place is not operational,” Baptie said.

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