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Manci in court over Keg debt

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The former president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Clive Manci

Businessman and former president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Clive Manci, is being sued by the Ithala Development Finance Corporation for failing to pay back loans he took to start up a restaurant.

Manci, the founding director and executive chairman of Oteo Capital, who has also served on the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is being sued for more than R2 million in the Durban High Court.

According to court papers, Manci concluded a large business loan agreement with Ithala in 2010 on behalf of company Mantrarite and was advanced about R2m as “working capital” to set up a Keg and Spear franchise. A further loan of R580 000 was also made to the company.

The first loan was to be repaid in 60 monthly instalments and the second one was to be repaid in 36 months.

Ithala said in its application that Mantrarite was in default in terms of both loan agreements.

“It has failed to pay the monthly repayment instalments on due dates and has fallen into arrears in respect of both loans.”

Ithala is demanding payment of about R2.4m in respect of the loans and costs of the court action. When the matter came before the court last week, it was adjourned indefinitely.

The loans were for the establishment of the Keg and Spear restaurant at the Moses Mabhida Stadium but the business has since closed down. The restaurant was given its marching orders by the stadium’s management in February this year after it fell into rental arrears.

Manci said at the time that the Keg and Spear was in a business rescue process and negotiations were under way with both the Keg’s franchisor, Famous Brands, and the stadium management to restructure and to “reopen a more sustainable outlet”.

In a letter sent to The Mercury in March this year regarding the Keg’s eviction, Manci said he had bought the store from the stadium management for R3m and had had to invest about R1.3m since he took it over in September 2010 as it had not registered a profit.

When contacted for comment, Manci referred all questions to his attorney Rikesh Sewgoolam. Sewgoolam said they were defending the action brought by Ithala.

“Our client disputes his indebtedness…we cannot divulge any further details.”

Sewgoolam added that the rescue plan for the restaurant had been hindered by one of the creditors refusing to participate in the process.

“The appointed practitioner believed that the entity, which was financially distressed at the time, was capable of business rescue. For such a model to be successful, the practitioner requires the co-operation of the creditors. Unfortunately one creditor refuses to participate.”

He said Manci was now focusing his efforts on minimising the impact on staff and creditors.


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