Mining magnate owes plush hotel

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Mining tycoon and Botswana national Atang Sesegolo Makgekgenene was slapped with a R700000 lawsuit for rental arrears at his plush family suites at Da Vinci Hotel in Sandton.

Da Vinci Hotel issued summons out of the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, claiming the businessman and owner of Botswana-based mining company Global Initiatives owed them in excess of R700000 in unpaid instalments for his two rental apartments.

But Makgekgenene said the matter had been settled and the case would not proceed.

However, the hotel's lawyer Karel Kleynhans disputed Makgekgenene's version. According to court papers and legal correspondence exchanged between the two parties' lawyers, Makgekgenene's hotel bill at one point topped R2-million.

The correspondence suggests that he initially acknowledged the debt but asked for special treatment, stating that he had already spent about R6-million at the hotel and should be given more time to settle the debt.

According to the hotel's court papers, he had entered into a rental agreement which was partly oral and partly written to occupy two suites for himself and his family on December 31 2016.

The apartments, according to the summons, were rented at a daily rate of R2958 and R1290.32 respectively, which in total was R4248.32 a day for both apartments. The top hotel took legal action after the businessman failed to pay for accommodation and other services rendered to him, in breach of the agreement.

The court papers show that the tycoon was in arrears of R524565 by March 14 2018 for one apartment and R54465 for the second apartment.

The hotel said they sent the businessman a letter of demand, but Makgekgenene failed to clear the arrears in the seven days window period provided.

As a result of nonpayment, the hotel cancelled his agreement in writing on April 5 2018, but the businessman still refused to vacate the apartments.

"After April 5 2018, the applicant has given the respondent no form of permission or right to occupy [the rooms] ... the respondent has refused to vacate the said rooms and remain in unlawful occupation thereof," said Da Vinci's general manager Andrew Van Hasselt in an affidavit.

The hotel stated that they received a letter from Makgekgenene's attorneys, Livingstone Crichton, who informed them that their client was going to settle the outstanding amount on the same day. However, the payment did not materialise.

In a letter dated May 21 2018, the hotel informed his attorneys that his arrears had escalated to R1530000 for one apartment and R701935,44 for the other.

But instead of making payment, his lawyers reminded the hotel that their client had spent close to R6-million during his relationship with the hotel.

On June 25 the hotel issued summons for R715000, presumably being the balance due.

Makgekgenene's lawyer Kate Paterson did not elaborate on the matter, saying it is not of public interest. "My instructions from my client is that the matter has been resolved."

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