‘Not a strip club, yet’

2014-06-06 00:00

IS the owner of Teazers in Durban planning on opening a strip club in the heart of Umhlanga or is it all one big tease?

Shaun Russouw (47), who owns Teazers Durban in Springfield Park, recently purchased Gordon’s Bar in Lagoon Drive and moved into the premises on May 1.

Russouw told The Witness that while he is considering the possibility of turning it into a strip club, he has yet to make his mind up.

However, even considering opening a strip club has sparked protest from local residents.

Umhlanga councillor Heinz de Boer has been deluged with phone calls and SMSes from people who have heard that a strip club is being opened in the area.

“They are strongly opposed to it,” said De Boer. “And as the representative of the community I have to oppose it. Personally, I don’t think it’s the right place for such a venue.”

Russouw said people “who are complaining have got nothing better to do. Heinz de Boer categorically says it can’t be opened because the area is not zoned for it. But what zoning applies? Nobody knows”.

De Boer acknowledges Russouw hasn’t said he’s definitely “opening a strip club … but he’s said he’s considering starting one and talked about it being an upmarket lounge”.

“When I spoke to him he defended the concept of a strip club. He said this is a tourist destination and tourists expect these kind of facilities.

“But the town planning scheme generally does not support this type of business in this area,” said De Boer. “If he does want to open a strip club I imagine he will have to go through a rezoning application.

“I have spoken to the town planning people and they say the scheme in that area does not allow for an adult lounge.”

While Russouw mulls over what to do, he says another stumbling block is the confusion over what licence to apply for. “The municipality says Johannesburg has a licence for strip clubs but not Durban. I was told there is a licence for an escort business but it’s not that kind of business.”

So what kind of business would the future “adult lounge” be?

“Adult entertainment,” says Russouw, who points out that establishments “with gambling machines offer adult entertainment; a bar, that’s adult entertainment. Strippers, they are adult entertainment.”

Russouw does have a licence for music. “That’s for live entertainment — strippers are live entertainment.”

However, De Boer said that while Russouw might have a licence for music that includes live entertainment, “stripping doesn’t fit that definition but would be considered adult entertainment and an appropriate licence for adult entertainment would apply”.

Russouw has completed some renovations since taking over Gordon’s Pub. “I discovered the neighbours were having a problem with noise,” he said. “I’ve since soundproofed the room and raised the boundary wall to lessen the sound of cars.”

Currently the pub is open but the restaurant section is closed.

“Now people are saying I’m going to open a Teazers,” says Russouw, who is reported to have said if he did decide to open a strip club he would call it the Diamond Grill and Lounge.

“People say I’m bringing drugs and prostitution to the area. I’m not, it’s there already, I’m not bringing it. There was a R5 million drug bust in Chartwell Drive in Umhlanga in Jan­uary.

“And there have been quite a few drug busts in blocks of flats around Gateway, so if the guys are setting up shop around here what does that tell you? Business must be good,” he says.

“It’s all a case of double standards. There’s a sex shop, the Bedroom, just along from here right above Woolworths. That’s adult entertainment in the same road as I’m in.”

Rossouw in court case over ex-owner’s will

Shaun Russouw, new owner of Gordon’s Pub in Umhlanga, became manager of Teazers Durban in Springfield Park in 2000 and took over ownership in 2006.

Teazers — “the teaze without the sleaze” franchise — was started by Lolly Jackson who was murdered in Edenglen, Johannesburg, on May 3, 2010.

“After Lolly was killed I had problems with Demi [Jackson’s widow], “said Russouw. “There was a disagreement over arrangements I had with Lolly.”

This relates to Jackson’s will in which, Russouw claims, the Durban club and Jackson’s green Lamborghini were left to him. This is now the subject of a court case.

Cypriot national George Louca is currently awaiting trial in Johannesburg, charged with the murder of Jackson.

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