Wanderers face city wrath

2015-05-15 10:03
The Pietermaritzburg Wanderers Club who have been given three months’ to vacate the premises after they breached their contract with the municipality.

The Pietermaritzburg Wanderers Club who have been given three months’ to vacate the premises after they breached their contract with the municipality. (Jonathan Burton)

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LAWYERS representing the Wanderers Club in Scottsville hope to schedule an urgent meeting with the municipality in a last-ditch attempt to remain on the property.

Last year Chariots Weddings and Functions accused the club of racism, complained that their lease had been terminated and they had been refused access to the property.

A municipal investigation revealed that while the club, who are a registered NGO, had paid the city R500 per month in rental, they were subletting the property and earning tens of thousands of rands per month.

In April the Msunduzi Municipality issued a letter to the club terminating the lease as of July 31, 2015.

A club committee member said they were taken aback by the decision as they were expecting no harsher punishment than a fine.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi, in a report at a recent council meeting stated that allegations against the club regarding “racism towards a tenant to whom they had sublet a portion of the property to” was brought to the attention of the city mayor and municipal manager.

After investigation it was found that Wanderers Club were in breach of their contract as the signed lease agreement between the city and the club does not allow for any subletting without the written consent of the municipality.

“The club have been afforded a reasonable and fair period of three months to wrap up their affairs and vacate the premises and the Msunduzi Municipality reserves its legal rights,” said municipality acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda.

Madonda said while there were claims of racism, the lease had been terminated because of a breach of contract.

A Wanderers committee member, who requested anonymity, acknowledged that the club were guilty of subletting the premises without receiving written consent from the municipality.

“We are admitting to our wrong-doings but we think that the municipality is being very unfair. They could have slapped us with a fine,” he said.

Club manager Johan Barkhuizen said the club have been on the Aberfeldy Road property since the 1950s.

The club’s attorney Carlos Miranda said that he wants to arrange a meeting with the municipality to “hopefully resolve the matter directly with them”.

The municipality, however, said that any legal action brought against the Msunduzi municipality will be “vigorously opposed”.

In December the city manager wrote to the president and chairperson of the club instructing the club to withdraw their termination of lease against Chariots Weddings and Functions with immediate effect.

Subsequent letters thereafter indicate that the club did not adhere to the instruction.

“We hereby instruct you to … withdraw the termination of lease to Chariots Weddings and Functions, further to this to unlock the premises which they have taken occupation of and give them access to the premises to which you have initially sublet (without any authorisation) and let them continue business as normal until such time that this matter has been dealt with,” read the report.

Msunduzi Municipality also questioned whether the club have a valid liquor licence. The municipality instructed the club that no alcohol shall be sold from April 23 “until all necessary requirements have been met and provided to the office of the municipal manager”.

The Wanderers Club had been given three months’ notice and had until July 31, 2015, to vacate the property.

The municipality claims the club has been subletting the following facilities:

a) Soccer fields at R2 000 per month

b) The manager’s house at R3 900 per month

c) Restaurant and kitchen facility at R10 000 per month and R15 000 per function

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