Local school loses tuck shop case

2017-05-14 19:44
Hayfields Primary ordered to allow tenant to return after alleged victimisation.

Hayfields Primary ordered to allow tenant to return after alleged victimisation. (File)

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A Pietermaritzburg school has been ordered to stop interfering with their tuck shop tenant and his business after months of alleged victimisation.

Santosh Sivechurran sought an urgent application from the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court against Hayfields Primary School. He has been leasing the tuck shop facilities since last year.

The court ordered the school and its governing body to allow Siverchurran to return to the tuck shop.

In the event that the school refuses, the court ordered the sheriff to remove all locks at the tuck shop and replace them with locks provided by Sivechurran­.

In his application to the court this week, Sivechurran said he was first appointed in March last year by the school governing body (SGB) to run the tuck shop for a one-month trial at no rental cost. After the month, he was told by the SGB he would be able to sign a three-year contract with them and continue his services at the school.

Sivechurran continued to manage the tuck shop but said no contract was drawn up despite him asking the SGB on numerous occasions.

“I was always under the impression I would be able to run the tuck shop until March 2019 and based on this expectation I invested monies, equipment and staff,” he wrote in his affidavit.

After successfully managing the tuck shop for 10 months, Sivechurran said he was called to a meeting by the school principal and told that his services had been terminated and he had to vacate the premises by the end of March.

Sivechurran said he was forced to approach his lawyers, Subhash Maikoo and Associates, who wrote to the school telling them that his verbal agreement was a three-year contract with Hayfields Primary and he would not vacate the premises at the end of March.

“On March 29, I attended to the tuck shop and found that all stock was removed,” he said.

Since then, Sivechurran said he stood his ground but was “continuously intimidated” by the school, which called the police on a number of occasions “in an attempt to scare the employees of the tuck shop which include my wife”.

The tipping point for Sivechurran was last week when four teachers allegedly stood outside the tuck shop and told pupils they were not allowed to purchase anything from it. After another letter from his lawyer, Srish Partab, to the school telling them they were acting unlawfully, Sivechurran said he was denied access to the school and has since not been allowed on the school premises. His microwave, freezer, pie warmer, safe, electric stove and other utensils were still in the tuck shop on the school property to which he now has no access.

“I will lose out on business from the school pupils and have since been advised that the school itself is operating a tuck shop from one of the classrooms. This fortifies my view that it was always [the school’s] intention to simply get rid of me,” he wrote in his urgent application.

The court also ordered the school to pay all of Sivechurran’s legal costs in the case.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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