Aquarium restaurant evicted after failing to pay rent since February

Aquarium restaurant evicted after failing to pay rent since February.
Aquarium restaurant evicted after failing to pay rent since February.
Image: 123RF/stockstudio44

Two court judgments have sunk the restaurant at Cape Town’s aquarium after it stopped paying rent almost a year ago.

After ordering the eviction of Vista Marina in November‚ Cape Town high court judge Ashley Binns-Ward has ruled that the eviction can go ahead even before the restaurant has exhausted the appeal process.

His judgment means restaurateur Thelma Vogiatzis‚ who opened the restaurant at the Two Oceans Aquarium in September 2016‚ now has 10 days to vacate the premises at the V&A Waterfront.

Vogiatzis’s company‚ Aquarides Entertainment‚ also runs the aquarium’s tuckshop‚ gelateria and coffee shop.

The eviction application was brought by the trustees of the Two Oceans Aquarium Trust‚ who include Waterfront CEO David Green and Norbert Sasse‚ CEO of Growthpoint Properties‚ which owns 50% of the V&A.

On November 8‚ Binns-Ward ordered Aquarides to vacate the aquarium premises within 10 days‚ after hearing that it had paid no rent since February and a payment it attempted to make in September had been dishonoured by its bank.

On December 5‚ he denied the company’s application for leave to appeal‚ saying he was “virtually certain [that an appeal] would be doomed to failure”.

On Tuesday‚ Binns-Ward granted the trustees’ application for immediate eviction‚ agreeing with their argument that Aquarides should not be allowed to remain at the aquarium for many months while it exhausted the legal process.

The judge said the trustees were now attempting to force the winding-up of Aquarides‚ and were likely to succeed.

“As time goes by‚ however‚ the debt … in respect of past rental … continues to grow. The [trustees] have only one opportunity to rent out the premises at any given time and [Aquarides’] continuing occupation of the property without paying rent is keeping [them] out of turning that opportunity to gainful account.

“The probability that the trust will suffer irreparable and ever-increasing harm for as long as [Aquarides] stays on in the premises - under cover of its cynical resort to the courts’ appeal procedures - is starkly evident.”

Source: TMG Digital.