Kenny Kunene, Helen Zille in war

kunene

The Sushi King took exception to ‘racist’ Zille involving him in a political spat and said ‘politicians like to irritate me’.

In the wake of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) disrupting a 2016 municipal elections meeting by the DA in Pretoria earlier this week, Kenny Kunene took to Twitter to call Helen Zille a racist and to leave him out of politics.

Kunene used to be the secretary-general of the PA, which he joined months after being one of the three founder members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, along with Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu. However, in 2014, after the national and provincial elections of May 7 in which the PA failed to win a National Assembly or provincial seat, he announced that he had had enough of politics and would be focusing on his business interests in future. His friend and business partner Gayton McKenzie, however, vowed to push on as the president of the PA. The party describes itself as a party “placing the interests of the coloured community at the top of the agenda”. While disrupting the DA’s gathering on Wednesday, insults were hurled at Zille amid her reminding the audience that McKenzie had been to prison. Zille was told to “voetsek bitch!” by some of the invading PA members.

ALSO READ: McKenzie, Kunene suing police minister for ‘millions‘

Kunene evidently took exception to Zille referring to him on Wednesday as “the other [PA leader] Kenny Kunene, who ran a nightclub that had bare women with sushi on their bodies”.

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Celebrity ex-cons’ Gayton McKenzie and Kenny Kunene are suing the state over a policeman who illegally confiscated alcohol worth R200k from their restaurant.

According to them, the reason behind it all was a decades-old love spat.

The “bitter love rival” and police colonel who is at the centre of it all, and who apparently abused his power and SA Police Service resources to settle personal scores, is now set to potentially cost taxpayers millions of rands in the pending lawsuit against the state.

Sandton Police Station’s Colonel Owen King twice illegally raided and confiscated alcohol, valued at more than R200 000, at the popular restaurant and bar complex in Sandton called Rivonia on Deck. While doing this, Owen claimed that the large venue, owned by well-known socialite Kenny Kunene and his business partner Gayton McKenzie, was operating without a liquor licence.

But according to an affidavit by the Gauteng Liquor Board, and seen by The Citizen, the business’s licence was valid.

In a damning ruling at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday, Judge Fritz van Oosten interdicted Owen and his commander, Brigadier Alan Billings, from disrupting operations at the restaurant.

The duo and Police Minister Nathi Nhleko were ordered to pay Kunene and McKenzie’s legal costs and to return the confiscated liquor before close of business yesterday.

The lover

In an exclusive, McKenzie told The Citizen that Owen had targeted him because of a personal matter. He said they had clashed many years ago “over a lover”.

“I’ve since moved on, but the guy still has an axe to grind against me and is abusing state resources to pursue personal matters,” McKenzie said.

“When he first raided our business, he gave me a notice to appear in court on February 14, which was a Sunday.”

McKenzie is well known for having once been a bank robber who was arrested and sent to prison. There, he eventually turned his back on crime and exposed warder corruption by smuggling secret video cameras into Grootvlei Maximum Security Prison. His friend Kunene, who was imprisoned with him at the time, was also part of the hard-hitting exposé that made the Jali commission that was investigating prison corruption a national talking point. A bestselling book was written about McKenzie’s life after he became a successful motivational speaker. He has written several books and worked in various business sectors as well as being involved in politics for the past three years.

He told The Citizen: “When I was released from prison, I vowed that I would never go back to crime. I also decided that, as part of paying my dues to the society that I had wronged, I would fight crime.

“Your newspaper recently reported on how I personally arrested a notorious and feared car hijacker. This is proof enough that I’ve honoured the commitment I made,” said McKenzie.

He added: “What this officer has done suggests that I have gone back to crime by doing business illegally. It really pains me to see a police officer abusing his position and state resources to break the same law he is employed to uphold just to settle personal scores.”

Kunene told The Citizen that the two raids, which he said were conducted in full view of “traumatised clients”, had inflicted serious damage on the business.

“We are now suing the minister of police for reputational damage and loss of income as a result of the disruption of our business.”

Added Kunene: “We have nothing against the minister, but have to defend our business, which is our livelihood. We also have an excellent working relationship with the Sandton Police Station, except for the one questionable officer.”

The colonel

Approached for comment, King laughed and said: “I am not allowed to speak to the media. I only do my job; it ends there.” He referred all enquiries to a Colonel De Klerk, whose phone was off.

Probed further about the alleged love rivalry between him and McKenzie and whether De Klerk would be in a position to respond on issues relating to his love life, he laughed and said: “I don’t have time for that stuff; contact Colonel De Klerk for comment.”

The Citizen also did not receive any response to questions sent to Minister Nhleko’s spokesperson, Musa Zondi, as well as the acting police commissioner’s spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, at the time of going to print.

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Patriotic Alliance Secretary General Kenny Kunene speaks to The Citizen during an interview at his home in Johannesburg, 25 March 2014. Picture: Refilwe Modise

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