David Tlale and business partner face eviction over arrears

Fashion designer David Tlale has fallen behind on the rent for his design studio.
Fashion designer David Tlale has fallen behind on the rent for his design studio.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Internationally renowned fashion designer and reality TV star David Tlale and his business partner Lufuno Nemukula are facing eviction from their Joburg studios.

That's if the wishes of their landlord, Olitzki Property Holdings, are endorsed by the South Gauteng High Court.

The property company, which rents out office space in Joburg, Cape Town and other cities, filed papers late last year claiming Tlale had failed to pay rent for more than six months, but continued to occupy his rented office space in Newtown, downtown Joburg.

Sunday World can reveal that Olitzki has now filed amended papers and is also gunning for Tlale's new business partner, Nemukula, who joined Tlale late last year.

In its papers, including a draft order seen by Sunday World, Olitzki is demanding that Tlale, who has showcased his designs at the New York Fashion Week and the Paris Fashion Week, must foot the bill or face eviction.

The company has also asked the court to demand the same from Nemukula.

Tlale and Nemukula are the co-directors of a company called 129 DT, which signed a lease agreement with Olitzki to rent office space for use as a design studio.

According to the lease agreement signed by both parties and which is attached to the court papers, Tlale and Nemukula were expected to pay over R31000 per month towards rent.

However, the payment log indicates that Tlale had paid only the deposit and had failed to make any other payments for 21 months.

In the papers, the property company is demanding that Tlale and Nemukula also fork out an additional 10% over and above the R350000 they owe.

Nemukula, who said he was an avid traveller, confirmed he was Tlale's business partner on the venture, but said he was not aware of the lawsuit.

He said he had joined in on the deal late last year and was made aware of the debt by Tlale. "I will settle it as soon as I come back to Joburg. I was not aware that the landlord had already gone to court," Nemukula said.

Despite his earlier denials that rent was owed to Olitzki, Tlale confirmed that his company was in the red on the rentals for the office space. "As a business person, of course we do go through some stuff, but we made arrangements to pay the balance," he said.

The respected fashion designer also chided his landlord, saying there was no need to go to court as they were not running away with the money. "It's not even the R300000 they are claiming in the papers. It's less than that amount," Tlale said.

Olitzki's head of commercial leasing Anton Jaffe said the property company could not comment on a matter that was before the court.

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