Sizzlers 'warned by council'

Cape Town - The murder of nine men in a massage parlour could possibly have been prevented if concerns about running a business in a residential area had been heeded, says the leader of a gay rights group.

Cape Town city council issued Aubrey Otgaar, owner of Sizzlers massage parlour, with a final warning a week before the gruesome murders after the council had received complaints about the business.

Gay and Lesbian Alliance had alerted the city council to the fact that Otgaar did not have a business licence for his enterprise.

GLA president Juan Uys, who lives in a flat opposite the murder house said the group had been concerned about conditions at Sizzlers.

"We received complaints from Sizzlers masseurs and even clients that employees were being treated inhumanely.

"They were fined for staying away from the house for more than an hour," Uys said.

Ignored council warning

Councillor JP Smith for the Sea Point ward said municipal officials had issued Otgaar with a final warning on December 15.

"They inspected the house and Otgaar refused them access to certain rooms. They could, however, determine the house was being run as a business."

Smith said Otgaar was required to apply for a business licence before January 15 to avoid legal action.

"We cannot evict people from their homes, but we do have the authority to take them to court.

"It is then up to the court to decide whether the business should move premises."

Otgaar ignored his final warning. He appears to have approached the council only three days ahead of the massacre on January 20.

Uys notes that if Otagaar and the council had acted earlier, the massacre might have been prevented.

He says the GLA is still not convinced robbery was the sole motive for the murders. Uys says he is convinced homophobia was an important motive.

It was earlier reported that Woest had been employed at Saul's Saloon and Grill. However, Woest, had worked at Walter's Grill, that had operated from the same premises before Saul's Saloon.

Saul's Saloon management have distanced themselves in the strongest terms from Woest.

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