Tenant accuses bowling club’s management of racism
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.