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Florida Road eateries say business has been tough since AKA and Tibz murders

Eateries on Durban’s once popular Florida Road say the much-publicized double murders of rapper Kiernan ‘AKA’ Forbes and celebrity chef Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane have contributed to a marked decline in foot traffic since the February 2023 killings.

AKA and Tibz were gunned down outside the Wish restaurant on February 10, 2023, sending shockwaves around South Africa. The incident was also captured on CCTV footage.

This week, the SA Police Services announced seven suspects had been arrested in connection with the murders of Forbes and his friend and former manager, Motsoane.

Impact on Florida Road

Florida Road, situated in Morningside, Durban, was once a hub of bustling restaurants and a popular nightlife spot that Durban residents would frequently visit.

Since the deadly shooting, businesses say their earnings have been impacted by reduced footprint to the area.

The Wish Restaurant, which is where Forbes had been before being shot dead, closed down permanently just two months after Forbes and Motsoane were shot dead.

Pumi Prudence, the manager of the restaurant Madam & Sir, said they believed many consumers that would frequent the restaurants were now nervous or scared to come to Florida Road.

Prudence said the restaurant that has been running for three years on Florida Road, has seen a decline in customers during the day and at night.

“Customers are nervous about the safety of their cars and constantly keeping an eye on them as they dine at our restaurant,” Prudence said.

Prudence said that restaurant is surviving and has to keep going because they have staff who have families that need to be taken care of.

Muhamed Rahman, manager and shareholder of Seven Seas on Florida Road, said the murders had not impacted on their business.

Seven Seas which first started as a sushi restaurant expanded to add a teppanyaki offering for customers has seen exponential growth since it opened in 2021, said Rahman.

Ismail Vindar, the owner of two restaurants on Florida Road – Ben & Bun and Glamwich – said that there has been a definite decline in business on Florida Road.

Vindar who opened his restaurants in 2019 has attributed the decline in business to two factors, crime like the murder of AKA and the poor economic climate resulting in people not having enough money.

Amy Gardiner, the owner of Humble Coffee, said that she has noted steady growth in her business since it first opened.

Gardiner who opened her shop on Florida Road in December 2022, said the February murder of AKA caused a sharp decline in businesses because most people avoided the area.

However, there was a quick turn around after a few months and things went back to normal, she said.

“Another factor that has an impact on amount of customers that visit our coffee shop is the lack of parking,” Gardiner said.

Lawrence Dinsdale, the owner of Dropkick Murphys said the murder did impact them, but there were also festering security concerns.

He said the murders heightened the awareness and alertness of criminal activities on Florida Road and highlighted the area as a dangerous place.

Dinsdale said that along with the AKA incident, the cost of living and inflation has also resulted in a decline of people visiting Florida Road.

“Following the incident, security on the Florida Road has been beefed up and the Florida Road UIP (Urban Investment Precinct) have sub-contracted a security company to manage security on the road,” Dinsdale said.

-IOL Business

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