Club owner shocked at closure notice

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Umhlanga residents Shaun and Jenni Caine want to shut down two night spots opposite their upmarket apartment at The Pearls.

Durban - An uMhlanga restaurant and sports bar has distanced itself from a spat with a resident about alleged noise and unruly behaviour.

Brent Greyling, the owner of Cottonfields, an Irish restaurant and sports bar, said he was shocked that the eThekwini Municipality had decided to issue a closure notice without an investigation or any input from him.

He was responding to an article in the Daily News’s sister newspaper The Sunday Tribune, which reported on the battle between Cottonfields, XS Nightclub and Shaun Caine, a resident of The Pearls flats in uMhlanga Rocks.

The establishments share a rooftop venue in uMhlanga, but apparently operate at different times.

Caine alleges that both businesses are operating without a licence and has called for them to be shut down.

He said he had been living “in hell” for the past six years.

After a series of meetings with the municipality to discuss the loud music, the city issued Cottonfields with a closure notice and restricted XS Nightclub’s trading hours to four hours on Friday and Saturday, and three on Sunday.

David Morkel, the owner of XS, said he would be contesting the restriction.

“How can a business survive on 12 hours of trading a week?” he asked, adding that the ruling was going to financially ruin him.

Caine told The Daily News he had no alternative but to take the matter on in his personal capacity. Before that, the municipality had done nothing about the noise levels at both establishments.

He said neither business had any of the required licences to operate and that the building was not designed to handle hundreds of patrons, with specific reference to the rooftop venue.

Caine said it was not something that occurred only during the festive period but happened throughout the year.

Greyling was granted an urgent interdict by the Durban High Court overturning the closure notice until mid-January, when the city is expected to provide reasons why the restaurant should close its doors.

Greyling and Morkel said on Thursday they were never invited to any meetings and denied the complaints about their businesses.

Greyling said the closure notice was granted in respect of a section of the Business Act pertaining to a restaurant licence.

He said he brought an application in the Durban High Court where he produced his licence and e-mails and SMSes to Caine to meet him to air his concerns about the restaurant.

His attempts to meet Caine were unsuccessful and largely ignored.

Morkel said he was fully licensed to operate as a nightclub and his licence had never been in dispute before.

Caine described the rooftop of the building as a “disaster waiting to happen”, likening the situation to the Tongaat mall collapse which claimed two lives.

Greyling said the building had been there for 18 years and the structure was still the same. His restaurant, which operated until 11pm, was separate from XS and had never been a nightclub.

He distanced himself from XS and disputed Caine’s claims that there were up to 300 people on the rooftop.

He said there were only 70 seats and the roof was open on Fridays and Sundays only.

Greyling and Morkel said it was unfair that meetings were held without them and that Caine’s behaviour was bordering on harassment.

rizwana.umar@inl.co.za

Daily News


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