Popular restaurant faces closure

UNDER THREAT: Shivava owners Charles and Mikya Makamu are shocked by the threats of closure. Pic. Mbuzeni Zulu. 17/06/07. © Sowetan.
UNDER THREAT: Shivava owners Charles and Mikya Makamu are shocked by the threats of closure. Pic. Mbuzeni Zulu. 17/06/07. © Sowetan.

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Popular Jozi eatery and pub Shivava is under threat of being closed down - and its electricity supply is being cut off to force them out.

The neighbouring science discovery centre Sci-Bono is interested in the property. They want to turn it into a career guidance centre.

The two establishments, Shivava and Sci-Bono, are separated by the Computer Club House that teaches computer literacy and engineering to learners from surrounding schools and townships.

However, Shivava management is adamant it will not let the business go without a fight, demanding R6 million to move out.

A popular hangout spot with artistes, the BEE-type businessman and businesswoman, politicians, tourists and other professionals, the imminent closure of Shivava will deal a blow to weekend entertainment in the Newtown precinct where it is situated.

Mikiya Makam, Shivava owner, has confirmed the threat of closure to his business.

"It has taken us nearly five years to build the brand that Shivava has become. We are going to lose in terms of opportunities such as the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup and the annual Joy of Jazz festival. Shivava employs about 30 people whose livelihoods depend on the business.

"We have submitted a proposal to Sci-Bono which has signed a five-year lease with the Johannesburg Development Agency. They have not accepted our proposal, saying the money we want is too much," Makam said yesterday.

Landowners, JDA, said they did not understand the basis of the R6 million being demanded by Shivava.

"We are not party to the talks between Shivava and Sci-Bono. It is a matter between the two of them," said Sammy Mafu, JDA's spokesman.

Mafu said the JDA had offered Shivava several alternatives within the precinct but to date had had no response.

But Makam retorted: "The situation is unhealthy. Some of us sleep and dream Shivava. We have invested so much in terms of emotions and money. We do not know whether we are to stay or go, making it difficult to make improvements. They should give us R6 million, finish and klaar."

Sowetan understands that for three days last week there was no electricity supply at Shivava, and the restaurant estimates it may have lost R60000 in revenue. The main switch is controlled from Sci-Bono where the substation is situated. There is also a dispute over control of the shared parking space between the two establishments.

"We have signed a lease for five years with JDA, and we are ready to take over the premises. We are in negotiations with Shivava, but we do not know when the problem will be resolved.

"We, however, do not have that kind of money they are asking for because we are an educational institution," said Sci-Bono's acting chief executive, David Krammer.