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Successful Nautilus bidder pulls out, reopening field

A new tender process will be launched to award the Nautilus site at Grotto Beach after the successful bidder announced on social media he will no longer make use of the site.

Niël du Bois, founder of De Vette Mossel, which won the tender for the site, said on Saturday the company’s preferred site for its Hermanus branch has once again become available.

“The site is at the Prawn Flats, next to the slipway,” Du Bois said. He explains the site forms part of the De Mond development. “It is a more suitable location,” he said. “We prefer to have our restaurant in a secluded spot.” He added that the Nautilus site is available for only five months of the year.

Du Bois hoped to have the restaurant up and running by 1 December. “We still need to gain all the relevant approvals. We have submitted our building plans and hope that the process will be a speedy one. However, if approval is not gained we will open our doors next year only.” The Overstrand Municipality came under fire after it emerged Dutchies, the restaurant at Grotto Beach, was not awarded the Nautilus site.

Several allegations were made on social media that the process had been unfair. Municipal Manager Coenie Groenewald, however, said the correct procedure was followed by the municipality at all times.

Joke Gonggrijp, owner of Dutchies, says she will appeal the outcome of the tender process. “We have operated our Beach Lounge for three years, and started it from scratch.” She said they have invested heavily in the Beach Lounge. “We are overwhelmed by the support the community has shown towards us.”

Groenewald confirmed that the municipality received an appeal against the outcome of the award of a Summer Lounge at Grotto Beach.

“We have been informed over the weekend that the successful tenderer withdrew their bid,” he said. “As we have not received any other responsive bids, we will repeat the process afresh.”

Du Bois, reacting to the criticism on social media, says he is all for robust conversation, but was disappointed by the “falsehoods” in them.

He says the new owners and managers of the De Vette Mossel Hermanus branch are not “outsiders”.

“My son, Gustave du Bois, and his wife Charné, who live in Hermanus, will own and manage the restaurant,” Du Bois said, adding that the Overstrand Municipality has been fair throughout the tender process.

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