No more Saturday nights at the Palace, by municipal order

2010-05-14 00:00

A POPULAR nightclub in Pietermaritzburg, which has brought big-name musicians to the city, has been closed after it was discovered that it was operating illegally.

The Palace Night Club at 176 Victoria Road, opposite the Victoria Centre, was closed about a week after it hosted acclaimed Durban kwaito band Big Nuz.

The club was launched about three months ago by Sinjen Cotchobos (23) and Fano Gumede (34).

It immediately became the place to be for young party animals, hosting popular deejays such as ­Tira, King Sfiso, Fistaz Mixwell and Bongz.

“All along we thought we were operating the place legally, but we have been told that we are not registered under the [Msunduzi Municipality] as a club, and we are not supposed to sell liquor,” said Cotchobos, who is also known as DJ Stutter.

Cotchobos said their club generated a profit of about R40 000 a month. Despite an entrance fee of up to R100 per person, it was always full to capacity. He said they had an audience of most middle- class and rich young people.

However, on April 30, when DJ Sox was supposed to be playing, police stormed in at about 10 pm and ordered everyone out.

“Our customers … did not understand what was happening. Police produced tear-gas and warned people to leave.

“A few days later, Msunduzi Municipality security guards came in and told us that the municipality was going to demolish concrete fittings in the building so that it would never operate as night club again,” said Cotchobos. He said all alchohol has been removed from the shelves for safekeeping.

He said that before they launched the club, they had spent about R100 000 renovating the interior, and were paying rent of R12 000 a month.

Gumede said they are looking for another venue.

Msunduzi Municipality town planning manager Atkins Khoali said Ward 27 councillor Judy Lawrence, who could not be reached for comment, has been complaining about the club.

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