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Tempers flare in Newtown eatery row

Posted On Monday, 25 February 2008 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Restaurants at loggerheads over ‘rowdy behaviour’

Mzwandile ThabetheThe Joburg Development Agency has had to intervene in a cat fight between two restaurants.

Ziggy Thabethe, owner of the sophisticated Sophiatown restaurant on Jeppe Street, opposite Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, is angry with Capello next door, which he says is operating as a nightclub.

At night Capello, a franchised restaurant with outlets from Lonehill to Soweto, has speakers blasting house music onto the pavement side of its sliding doors.

Thabethe said the noise was driving away his customers.

“If I knew that I was moving next to a nightclub, I don’t think I would have moved here at all,” he said.

“Friday nights, they have a club scene, DJs, big speakers outside, people dancing. Some people get rowdy and end up p*****g on my kitchen window and assaulting my bouncers,” he said.

Thabethe said that at Sophiatown’s anniversary party on February 8, singer Tu Nokwe’s performance was drowned out by the loud noise from next door and she was forced to stop her show.

The dispute came to a head last Friday when a fight broke out between two men at Capello, leaving blood splatters and bloodied tissues scattered in the restaurants’ shared courtyard.

At the same time, a bouncer employed by Sophiatown, who Thabethe declined to name, was, he said, hit with a brick on the head, allegedly by four Capello patrons.

The Newtown Capello, which was previously owned by soccer star Brian Baloyi and SABC radio boss Bob Mabena, is now owned by Sylvester Ratlabala, who this week denied that the restaurant was operating as a club. He also said he was responsible only for what happened inside his restaurant.

He said Thabethe was “just being childish and fearing competition”.

Thabethe has sent four e- mails of complaint to the JDA, his landlord .

He said he “feels they are not doing anything about the situation” .

Said Ratlabala : “It’s really sad that he can go all the way to JDA when I am just next door to him to tell his problems to, face to face.

“He has never come to me or even greeted me and I really don’t know what is his problem.”

JDA spokesman Sammy Mafu said the agency wanted to encourage Thabethe to “resolve matters through dialogue and structured follow-up rather than creating unhelpful media hype”.

He said the JDA had written to Capello and asked the restaurant “to desist from conducting itself like a nightclub and stick to the Capello franchise brand of being an exclusive, upmarket, relaxed restaurant”.

“Failure to adhere to this might result in us tabling the matter with the franchise principals,” he said.


Last modified on Friday, 16 May 2014 14:03

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