Pirates Club, Gauteng’s oldest sports and recreation club, and a dearly loved part of Johannesburg suburban life since 1952, has had its lease agreement with the City of Joburg summarily terminated.
Erf 1319 in Greenside has been leased by Pirates from the Joburg Property Company – which is 100% owned by the City of Joburg and manages all the city’s properties – since 1952. The lease was extended for 20 years in 2012.
The land was originally donated to the council by Sir Lionel Phillips under the proviso that it should never be developed for anything other than civic sport.
Pirates Club, in existence since 1888, found a permanent home on the property after relocating several times in central Johannesburg.
City of Joburg Property Company executive manager Fanis Sardianos confirmed the lease cancellation to Saturday Citizen yesterday.
At the time of going to press, Sardianos had not responded to e-mail messages asking for the reasons for the termination.
Sources close to Pirates have alleged the cancellation was the culmination of efforts by the city to squeeze the club off the land – with their rental having risen from R75,000 to R125,000.
Their lease has now been cancelled ostensibly because Pirates allowed a recycling company – WastePreneurs – to operate free of charge on a portion of the land bordering Victory Road.
About 100 indigent recyclers rely on the site as their sole source of income.
Pirates are believed to be approaching the courts for relief in the matter.
The lease states that in a dispute, the two parties first have to meet and discuss any issues, and if they cannot agree they are obliged to go to mediation and then to arbitration. If all that fails, they go to court.
The sources believe the city council’s antagonism towards WastePreneurs is because it was partly set up by Brad Fisher, the CEO and founder of AdReach –an advertising company.
Fisher was known to have had a good relationship with the previous ANC-controlled city council.