Ten­ant ac­cuses bowl­ing club’s man­age­ment of racism

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - NABEELAH SHAIKH

A DIS­PUTE over an evic­tion notice turned into a race row when the man­age­ment of the his­toric Dur­ban Bowl­ing Club at­tempted to evict a ten­ant from the es­tab­lish­ment.

Linda Naidoo, who runs Linda’s Hot Pot eatery at the club, al­leged that the man­age­ment had been try­ing since March to evict her un­law­fully, in spite of her ten­ancy con­tract only end­ing in Jan­uary.

Naidoo said when she was locked out last week, she ob­tained an in­terim court or­der to pre­vent the man­age­ment from evict­ing her.

In spite of the or­der, the club served her with pa­pers on Fri­day to have her legally evicted.

Naidoo said a sign which read “mem­bers only” was also placed out­side her restau­rant on the same day and prices of the drinks at the club’s bar were raised.

“There seem to be de­lib­er­ate at­tempts to keep pa­trons away from my restau­rant,” said Naidoo.

She said pre­vi­ously there had been much anti-in­dian sen­ti­ment swirling about at the club, in­clud­ing an el­derly white club mem­ber say­ing “the “f***ing Indians are still here”.

An­other club mem­ber al­legedly re­ferred to some of Naidoo’s pa­trons as “c**lies”.

She claimed that the man­age­ment had told her “not to en­ter­tain blacks” when she took oc­cu­pancy in Jan­uary. Naidoo al­leged this in­struc­tion was given to her ver­bally by the club’s man­age­ment.

On one oc­ca­sion, the man­age­ment pressed a panic but­ton, linked to their se­cu­rity com­pany, be­cause they be­lieved three of her black pa­trons were crim­i­nals, Naidoo said.

But the club’s man­age­ment told a dif­fer­ent story in their court pa­pers.

The club’s pres­i­dent, Char­maine Wi­b­lin, al­leged in the court doc­u­ments that Naidoo’s evic­tion was due to her not ful­fill­ing her rental obli­ga­tions. The pa­pers men­tioned that Naidoo’s lease agree­ment was for a pe­riod of one year, end­ing on Jan­uary 9, 2019.

It also stated this was sub­ject to an elec­tion by ei­ther party to ter­mi­nate the lease, us­ing a one-month notice pe­riod.

Wi­b­lin stated in the pa­pers that Naidoo was ob­li­gated to pay rental and elec­tric­ity on or be­fore the 1st day of the month.

“Af­ter Naidoo com­menced her ten­ancy, she failed to make var­i­ous pay­ments which she was ob­li­gated to.

“She was in­formed on March 28 that she was be­ing given one month’s notice. She asked for an ex­ten­sion of this notice and the club agreed to this, with­out prej­u­dice,” Wi­b­lin said. Wi­b­lin said an amount of R2 687.65 was owed by Naidoo for elec­tric­ity used dur­ing May, and this had an ad­verse ef­fect on the club’s op­er­a­tions.

The court pa­pers do not ad­dress the racism al­le­ga­tions.

Wi­b­lin said in the pa­pers that one of the racism al­le­ga­tions was Naidoo’s at­tempt to re­main on the premises.

Naidoo dis­puted that she had not paid her elec­tric­ity bills and said all pay­ments had been up to date.

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