Limpopo transport department ordered to give back restaurant to woman
Zoe Mahopo | 2017-02-01 14:04:53.0
Ipfi Maumela‚ 33‚ has obtained an order from the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court instructing the department to give her back the keys to her Millionaires Restaurant and pay her costs. File photo
Image by: MPUMALANGA SAPS
A Limpopo businesswoman has won a court battle against the provincial transport department after it shut down her restaurant on the premises of the Polokwane International Airport almost two years ago.
Ipfi Maumela’s woes began when the restaurant was raided by police and officials from the department amid allegations that she was operating without a liquor licence‚ owed R1.9 million in rent and hired undocumented foreign nationals.
On Wednesday morning Maumela unlocked the doors to the establishment for the first time since it was closed in August 2015. Some of the furniture and stock had been removed from the store room.
Maumela said now the department would have to pay her for the earnings lost during the time when the business was not operating. She said monies owed to her still had to be calculated based on bank statements reflecting how much profit she was making.
She said winning the case also proved that the department had been misled by Gateway Airports Authority Limited (GAAL).
The GAAL is a parastatal tasked with running the Polokwane international Airport.
Maumela said none of the allegations against her had been found to be true including that she was operating a business on a national key point without permission.
Maumela said it would have been impossible for her set up the restaurant which she says cost an estimated R10 million without the GAAL management’s permission.
She said not being able to run her business was stressful. “We spent close to R1 million on lawyers. Emotionally it drained us on another level‚” Maumela said. Maumela said she had to depend on earnings made from her other business ventures‚ including a bus that she hired out and selling stands on her estate.
“It was the toughest two years of my life‚” she said.
Maumela however said she still has to decide whether she wants to continue with the restaurant business.