City ‘squandering ratepayers’ money’

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IOL ST Bowling club 02 THE STAR Chris Moffatt, owner/manager of the Zoo Lake Bowling Club, and staff were locked out after the sheriff of the court closed the premises. Photo: Antoine de Ras

Johannesburg - The City of Joburg stands accused of wasting thousands of rand of ratepayers’ money in unnecessary litigation.

On Monday afternoon, the Zoo Lake Bowling Club won an urgent interdict in the South Gauteng High Court in Jobug to prevent the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) from evicting it from its premises.

It will be open for business on Tuesday.

In the morning, the sheriff of the court arrived at the club and gave them an hour to vacate the premises and to tell its 30 members of staff to leave.

Club member Ronnie Veitch said they removed the valuables from the clubhouse, and the sheriff returned later to change the locks.

“Our staff were sitting in limbo the whole day, not knowing if they had jobs to return to. We immediately went for the interdict, which we won, but at what cost to ratepayers?

“They city was prepared to allow the Zoo Lake Bowling Club buildings and its greens to stand empty and vulnerable to vandalisation for the next year while it negotiates a new lease for the club, rather than allow it to continue operating while it does that,” he said, adding that the club was expected to reopen on Monday night.

On Thursday, Judge Gregory Wright ruled that the tender given by the city and the JPC to Kenako Consulting had been awarded unconstitutionally, and that the tender process had to be rerun from the start.

The attorney handling the matter for the club, Gabriel da Matta, said the club had offered at the weekend to enter into a temporary arrangement with the council to occupy the premises, subject to paying a market-related rental and maintaining the property and the greens, exactly as the successful tenderer would have had to do.

“We held meetings with the city attorneys at the weekend, undertaking to uphold the eviction order should our tender once again not be successful, but they refused and said we should be out by Sunday night, which we did not do,” he said.

“We are now going to be forced to appeal the eviction order. We are shocked and disappointed at the waste of ratepayers’ money. A new tender can take up to a year because there are various procedural aspects to the process,” the attorney said.

“It is the view of the bowling club that the city’s refusal to allow the club to stay in occupation of the premises is illogical, because it means that the property will be vacant and the greens will not be maintained, and the city will not be receiving any rent while the new tender may be awarded to the Zoo Lake Bowling Club,” he added.

Da Matta said the appeal papers against the eviction order were filed on Monday.

Joburg’s Nthatisi Modingoane on Monday said the JPC would start the eviction process.

The JPC did not respond to a request for comment.

The Zoo Lake Bowling Club has been operating for 83 years.

[email protected]

The Star



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