WINDHOEK – A popular restaurant and hang out spot, The Garden Inn 13 situated at erf 741 Bismarck Street is fighting tooth and nail to keep its doors open after they were served with a letter from the messenger of the court that states that they should stop trading unlawfully as from receipt of the letter, which is dated 14 February 2019.
According to Bomba Shiguedha who is the co-owner of the establishment they are accused of running a bar on the premises, with their clients spinning cars on the streets, bringing criminals and broadcasting loud music amongst others. This, he vehemently denies as he has never received any warning from the City Police neither has there been a case registered with the Namibian Police (Nampol) in which criminal activities are said to have taken place.
The Garden Inn 13 opened its doors to the public in July last year, but they already took ownership of the establishment in April, while awaiting their fitness certificate and liquor licence from the City of Windhoek (COW) which was eventually granted.
A disgruntled neighbour who is known to Shiguedha is said to be the one who has instructed their lawyers and the COW to put a stop to their operations. The reasons cited is that the business is supposed to be operating as a business and not a bar.
Digging further into the matter the lawyers picked up that the establishment is only zoned off for office purposes. But, according to Shiguedha’s understanding and that of the owner before signing the rental agreement, the space was meant for business purposes for which they were granted the paperwork to trade as a restaurant.
They have since responded to the letter with their lawyer and awaiting a response in the meantime. They have been advised by COW to further seek a consent letter which should be signed by their immediate neighbours, which should be done only by a consultant that charges a minimum fee of N$35 000, which also does not guarantee that they will get permission to operate.
“We trying to do something right by the book, but now the system is set up for us to fail, maybe we must go back and become criminals because they look at us in that light. Is it because this is a flourishing black establishment that we’re facing such hurdles?," he asked.
Bomba says that the fate of his 25 permanent employees is in the hands of COW, as they’re constantly fearing the place would soon shut down.
‘’I pay salaries of my employees and pay rent of up too N$11 000 with municipal bills as much as N$18 000 on a monthly basis. All I’m asking is that we can find a compromise to work together including my disgruntled neighbour. I believe we can find an amicable solution, as the system should work to benefit all of us,” he said.
City of Windhoek spokesperson, Harold Akwenye confirmed that the said establishment should get a consent letter, for the neighbours to sign giving The Garden Inn 13 the right to operate. "It is normally the law that the consent letter indicates what time their operating hours are going to be and stating that they are fine with it. The neighbours have to take into consideration the noise and traffic congestion when it becomes full," he said.
2019-06-14 12:02:38 4 days ago