Eatery war in The Village
The Atterbury Property Group has filed a motion at the high court with nine other applicants to have restaurants, a hair boutique, a property development group, as well as the Gauteng Liquor Board interdicted from continuing with their current business activities.
They are also seeking a mandamus to be granted against the city manager, Moeketsi Mosola, and the City of Tshwane to immediately take all legal actions and other steps enforce the motion.
“The lawsuit is the outcome of an ongoing battle by local businesses and homeowners against the unlawful trade and development by the businessman and his company and its tenant, as well at the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality which has failed to take action despite numerous complaints,” said Zahn Hulme, spokesperson for the Atterbury Property Group.
Pretoria News Weekend has the name of the businessman but has elected not to use it because he could not be found for comment.
The group’s CEO, Louis van der Watt, explained that the businessman bought homes in Hazelwood and converted them into restaurants without following the necessary procedures and city laws.
“Responsible development requires adherence to multiple regulations, starting with zoning which are there to ensure developmental is sustainable and will not have a negative impact on its environment,” Van der Watt said.
He explained that they began their development, The Club Centre, about five years ago, and three years later, these restaurants began popping up on properties leased out by the businessman.
This businessman is alleged to have flouted all the regulations required to have such establishments running, including not having an impact study done. “To get everything done would take about two-and-a-half years and council needs to give the go-ahead, which it did not,” Van der Watt said.
He said that after various attempts at trying to get the council to act against the businessman and the businesses associated with his property group, they decided to seek legal action.
Another allegation made was that the restaurants did not have proper liquor licences. “We know that they applied for a liquor licence and if the Gauteng Liquor Board does not respond within 90 days they are allowed to get a court interdict which would allow them to sell alcohol until the Liquor Board gets back to them. This is what they did.”
Among the other complaints was that parking was not considered when converting the houses into restaurants, leaving restaurant-goers without any choice but to park on pavements used by pedestrians.
He accused the restaurants of not having a proper sewage system for their businesses which affected the residents surrounding them.
“I live right next to the restaurants. I’ve been living here for 20 years,” said Francois de Wet, a resident and spokesperson for the Hazelwood Home Owners Association.
“We live with grease and blobs of fat spewing from restaurant extractor fans and raining down in our back yard. It smells of garbage from the illegal dustbin area, loud music late at night. It’s unbearable,” De Wet said.
He said that despite the unbearable living conditions they would not move.
“We’re digging in our heels. They are trying to bully us into moving and we aren’t having it.”
De Wet said there was a concerted drive to try to get the homeowners to move out so more houses could be converted to restaurants.
He said as residents they wanted the restaurants to shut down because of the chaos they were being subjected to.
“They just park wherever they want to and even where pedestrians are supposed to walk, you’ll find cars parked.
“This is dangerous because people have to then walk on the street. There have been numerous accidents caused by these cars parked where they obstruct the view of traffic.”
The businessman’s business phone listed online was not operational and the lawyers listed as representing him in the case had left the office when the Pretoria News tried to contact them.