Chicken takeaway shop evicted for unpaid rent, owner blames money woes on Covid-19
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Cape Town - The owner of a chicken takeaway business in Observatory has said he is “heartbroken” after a Western Cape High Court judge ordered the eviction of the business from the premises following a successful suit by the landlord over unpaid rent going back a year.
Speaking after the judgment by Acting Judge Adrian Montzinger, Pelo Chicken’s owner Clifford Sibanda blamed Covid-19 lockdowns for his money woes.
“Things are very tough for me now, I have had to retrench all my staff, the banks won’t even look at me. I have already lost my house.
“We opened during lockdown in July last year. I hope to appeal the matter but for now we have to close down and get out by the end of the month,” said Sibanda.
The case was brought in September 2020 by Pelo Chicken’s landlord, Acrewood Property Investments.
During the final hearing last week, Sibanda, who had been representing his business throughout, tried to have the matter postponed in an attempt to find a lawyer to handle the case.
Acting Judge Adrian Montzinger would not allow the request for postponement and said: “This is thus not a situation where the respondent (Pelo Chicken) was surprised by the institution of the court proceedings seeking its ejection. It has effectively had an opportunity to obtain legal representation since September 2020.
“The application for a postponement properly contextualised cannot be seen in any other light but as an attempt to delay Acrewood Property Investments’ quest to obtain its relief.
“The applicant has suffered the inability of the respondent to pay rental for a period exceeding a year. In addition, because it is evident that the respondent is unable to settle the arrears and current rental, a postponement with a costs order will solicit the same consequence.”
The essential material terms of the lease agreement provided for a lease period of five years commencing July 1, 2020 at an amount of R20 125 rental per month, as well as the effects and consequences of the obligations.
Court papers showed that Pelo Chicken failed to pay rent from the very beginning of the lease.