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Avastar employees tell of abuse

The Rivonia club has been accused of staff assault, non-payment, fraud and unlawful business practices.

Avastar. Picture: supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Allegations of non-payment, fraud, assault, threats and unlawful business practices have emerged against popular Rivonia nightclub, Avastar, and its colourful co-owner Mike Basson.

The claims have been levelled by numerous former employees and are backed-up by documents, voice recordings and eyewitness testimonies.

The club was unexpectedly closed at the weekend apparently because of technical reasons, but it is understood the landlord shut out the owners because of outstanding payment.

Over a dozen former Avastar employees said the club's modus operandi is consistent: Staff are hired, no unemployment insurance fund (UIF) or tax is paid, contracts are promised and when cash is withheld, they leave.

One man said he was owed R147,000 by Basson, while another said employees were promised contracts, but never received them.

Eyewitnesses also claim co-owner Basson assaulted a barman and pulled a gun on an employee.

"He hit his head into the wall, where it left a dent," said one man.

Other eyewitnesses said blood could be seen gushing from the man's head.

In an undercover recording of Basson, obtained by Eyewitness News , he verbally abuses a well-known DJ who is apparently owed money.

Basson denies the claims of abuse.

He acknowledges there are labour disputes, but said he s not in the wrong.

He said there were several on-going cases of fraud and instances where employees left without giving notice.

"We are busy sorting out these problems with labour lawyers."

Basson said the club would reopen on Wednesday, once an electrical clearance certificate was sorted out.

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