Johannesburg - An alcohol trading group has won an order to evict a downtown Joburg low-cost independent school from its premises for non-payment.
The South Gauteng High Court in Joburg this week ruled in favour of the application by Oasis Liquor Wholesaler to evict Destiny Girls College from its premises in Doornfontein.
Judge Pieter Meyer gave the school 30 days to vacate the premises or risk being ejected by the sheriff.
The girls at the school look set to have no school to go to unless interventions are made.
Oasis rented the premises to the school from December 1, 2017. The parties agreed rent would be R27 000 each month and that the school would also pay for electricity and water.
Payment statements deposed before the court showed Oasis was owed over R570 000 by the time it informed the school’s management of its decision to cancel the lease agreement. The liquor group informed the college of the cancellation decision in August 2020 and filed the eviction application in the high court in September.
Destiny Girls College argued in court that the cancellation of its lease was unlawful because it came when the country was still under lockdown.
It also said Oasis had overcharged it for water and electricity, and therefore its lease cancellation was invalid.
The school’s annual fees range from R8 400 for grades 1 to 3 to R12 000 for Grade 12. It obtained a 63.6% pass rate in the 2020 matric examinations, out of their 11 learners who wrote them.
Judge Meyer rejected the school’s argument that the cancellation of its lease during a state of disaster was illegal.
“Regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act … find no application in so far as the lease is a commercial lease,” the judge ruled.
The school’s position that the lease cancellation was invalid because it was based on inflated charges for water and electricity was also unmeritorious, the judge said. “The applicant is entitled to rely at least on the non-payment of the monthly rentals by the respondent as justification for its cancellation of the agreement, which is not a different reason but only part of the reason stated in its letter of demand and notice of cancellation,” the judge said.
By Thursday, the school had not yet decided on its next legal step, attorney TML Mashitoa told The Star: “We haven’t yet consulted with the client.”