Sad day for Kwagga fans

2015-07-17 08:09
Store manager Vaseela Naidoo takes a bite out of the legendary Kwagga burger at Hayfields Kwikspar and Engen Garage.

Store manager Vaseela Naidoo takes a bite out of the legendary Kwagga burger at Hayfields Kwikspar and Engen Garage. (Ian Carbutt)

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THE end of the legendary Kwagga ­burger may be near as the popular ­Hayfields Kwikspar’s lease comes to an end in two months.

The Hayfields Kwikspar and Engen owner Dr Keith Wimble released a statement on the Kwikspar’s Facebook page on Tuesday announcing that their lease from the South African National Road Agency (Sanral) will be up in September.

“Sanral is unable to extend the original lease beyond the 25 plus three extra years that they had granted Engen.

“Consequently during the last week of June this year Sanral, through their property agent, placed an advertisement calling for interested parties to tender to lease the property on which Hayfields Kwikspar and Engen Service Centre are located.

“Time has flown by. My staff and I have been privileged to serve the Hayfields community for all of 28 years,” said Wimble.

He added that although the advertisement for the lease had already been placed in a local paper, he would do his best to make a “competitive bid to secure the lease” but was not assured of winning.

The Kwikspar has become known as “legendary” for police, paramedics and students over the years, many of whom expressed great sadness at the prospect of the lease not being renewed.

An SAPS member, who asked not to be named, said he was very disappointed to hear the news and hoped Sanral would reconsider the lease agreement.

“We all go there for our coffee, which they always gave to us for free and to get together with other emergency services after a long shift.

“That place is legendary. We always go there for a Kwagga burger after a big job,” he said.

A paramedic who frequented the Kwikspar said he was “heartbroken” when he heard the news through staff at the Kwikspar.

“From an emergency service point of view, it will definitely be missed, especially in the winter months when that cup of hot coffee saw you through your cold night shift.

“It was also a very social place for everybody from SAPS, fire department, ambulance services and traffic departments. It is an icon and a landmark for us,” he said.

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business director Melanie Veness said Sanral “must, in terms of the legislative requirements, go out to open tender, and cannot guarantee who the tender will be awarded to”.

“Whoever is awarded the tender, would certainly take the current tenants into consideration; they would be foolish not to. I am sure, too, that the tenderer’s intended plans for the site would be taken into consideration by Sanral when the tender adjudication was undertaken.

“I am a big Kwagga fan. I must admit to having eaten many a Kwagga burger in my youth, and I took great pride in introducing my teenage children to this institutional Maritzburg fare. It would be very sad if the Kwikspar had to close, but I really can’t see this happening,” said Veness.

Ward councillor for the area Sandy Lyne said she agreed the Hayfields Kwikspar had provided invaluable service to Pietermaritzburg residents over the last 28 years. “The Engen Service Station and Kwikspar have undoubtedly provided valuable service to the residents of Hayfields during the past 28 years and one would hope that, for the sake of the residents and staff employment, the service continues.”

However, she said the illegal parking of trucks outside the Kwikspar remained a major issue for Hayfields residents.

Sanral eastern region manager Logashri Sewnarain acknowledged that the Kwikspar “provided 24-hour service to the public” but could not, by law, extend the lease. “Sanral is currently investigating the future use of this land and is therefore only able to offer the land on a short-term basis at this stage. The future use of the land has not yet been determined and a detailed investigation is currently under way.

“Kwikspar is not our tenant; they are a sub-lessee and consequently we are not in a position to simply extend their lease agreement,” said Sewnarain

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  food

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