Moyo restaurant in Durban. Picture:Marilyn Bernard.
Moyo restaurant in Durban. Picture:Marilyn Bernard.

500 Moyo jobs on the line

Time of article published Apr 1, 2014

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Cape Town - The race is on to save the five remaining Moyo restaurants from liquidation.

Business rescue practitioners PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) spokeswoman Monique Horwitz said that it had secured agreement with a consortium, led by Fournews, to purchase the Moyo brand and trademarks.

“If approved, the plans would preserve jobs for the remaining 500-plus staff and provide a favourable outcome over liquidation for creditors.

She said this plan would “regrettably” not include Spier, V&A Waterfront and Fountains (Pretoria)

Some 100 staff members of Moyo Restaurant at Spier in Stellenbosch were left jobless when lawyers arrived unexpectedly to tell them the restaurant was closing down last week.

They were left with no retrenchment package, severance pay or leave.

Manager Christiaan Stewart and financial manager Carmen Jackson yesterday sought legal advice on the matter and are considering going to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Jackson said, however, their attorney had said that trying to get any kind of remuneration would be a “losing battle”.

“There are so many laws which come into play that the person on the ground gets overlooked,” said Jackson.

Stewart said he knew that the business was in trouble and that he and other managers had met the PWC “rescue team” practitioners in October.

He said they had been told there would be another meeting this month.

“They were supposed to give us feedback regarding that meeting and tell us if they were able to work out a business rescue plan, or whether it was be decided to close the restaurant. However, they came to us a month early and told us we were closing without warning,” said Stewart.

Fournews chief executive Stavros Florias said it was the preferred bidder to purchase the brand, although nothing had been finalised yet.

Florias said PWC was drawing up a business rescue plan for the remaining restaurants, which would be finalised next week.

“Next week, the creditors will meet to approve the proposal. They will need to approve the plans of all five of the restaurants for it to be a viable deal. If they do not, we will have to re-evaluate the business rescue plan,” he said.

Early last month, Moyo at the V&A Waterfront had also closed its doors and left employees without a salary for the month.

The manager at the time, who does not want to be named, said the restaurant had struggled for months to pay its rent. “We were in so much debt. It was becoming impossible to pay it all,” he said.

Moyo V&A Waterfront was the first to be liquidated, Stewart said.

It was followed by Fountains in Pretoria, making Spier the third to be liquidated.

The five remaining trademarks are Kirstenbosch, Blouberg, Melrose Arch and Zoo Lake in Johannesburg, and the Pier in Durban. - Cape Times

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