Limpopo businesswoman to sue airports company over unlawful eviction

(File)
(File)

Polokwane - A Limpopo businesswoman is suing the provincial airports company for loss of income after she was forced to close her restaurant at the Polokwane International Airport.

A court ruled that the Gateway Airports Authority Limited (GAAL) unfairly evicted the owner of Millionaires Restaurant from its Polokwane International Airport premises without merit.

The businesswoman, Ipfi Maumela, took the company to court in August 2015. 

The Polokwane District Court last month ruled that Maumela should be compensated for the loss she suffered while her business was closed. During the protracted legal battle, the restaurant's assets and stock gathered dust and rental charges on the hired freezers increased.

On Wednesday, Maumela addressed media as the restaurant opened its doors for the first time since 2015.

She said what she had gone through was an example of a David versus Goliath story. Without financial muscle, she said, small businesses were vulnerable to harassment.

'Toughest years of my life'

"Why did they call the police and say that we are operating a brothel?" said Maumela of alleged accusations made by the airports company.

"We won the court order and GAAL brought back the keys and were ordered to pay the cost we have suffered," said Maumela.

She said closing the business had left her in debt.

"[They were] the toughest years of my life," she added. 

GAAL spokesperson Oupa Mamabolo said the court case was not over, but that they were "engaging" with Maumela.
 
"We have another case pending at the High Court in Pretoria against Millionaires, but we are engaging them to start on a clean sheet," said Mamabolo.

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