PEOPLE, PEOPLE, people… that’s the definition of three pillars new ‘boss in town’ Brett Hoppé- General Manager at the iconic Sun City Resort, would be focusing on.
Without people, everything comes to a standstill and this resort cannot afford to, its like my leaves, without them, I’m doomed- he exclusively tells this reporter during a lengthy interview inside his sportingly decorated office, a shy away from the world’s greatest Gary Player Golf Course.
Hoppé, he confirms, makes a return to the resort as part of redefining and enhancing its relevancy after a hefty billion rand investment was made by the Sun International Group last year.
Part of investment will also go towards aftermath of floods in 2019 that besieged the resort, amongst others.
“My task and the team is to come up with tangible marketing strategies that will see developments, create synergies with private sector, build a strong balance sheet and refine our working relationship with communities, amongst others,” says Hoppé, a (52) proud Eastern Cape born.
With more than 28 years within the Sun International group, from operational, gaming, marketing and business acumen, Brett’s key strengths are his capacity to innovate, inspire and lead people; this combined with relentless energy makes him a formidable force within the hospitality industry.
Business in our communities namely mining should and must come on board, be cohesive and stop operating in silos, like in the past, that would be some of my fundamental plans to change that mindset to work in tandem, he retorted with a stern voice.
As part of community outreach programmes the resort launched what is called ‘adopt a guesthouse’ in adjacent areas namely Ledig, Chaneng and Mogwase, a shared value programme and reciprocation – that means taking guests to those guesthouses as part of transfer skills initiative.
“By so doing, it creates job opportunities for our people particularly youths who are the future of our country. If we don’t create platform for sustainable jobs for them who would?” he asked with teary eyes.
This means community tourism and our CSI projects will be tangible and yield desired results for us as Sun City resort- it says we’re on the right track, although transformation within the tourism sector is still a headache, he says unashamedly.
Talk of transformation he made a mention of two key employees namely Josiah Montsho -Manager at The Palace and Julius Ramotse – who both have been with the resort and were given opportunity that in the past were given to other races. “They continue to excel in their respective roles, now that’s a good story to tell, not a window dressing.”
Going forward they’re in talks with the Pilanesberg Game Reserve management to resuscitate what needs to be done such as growing the park towards Madikwe Game Reserve as part of the corridor, that would be in the same breath as the Kruger National Park.
Posed whether the Pilanesberg Airport could see the light at the end of the day, Hoppé minced no words and pointed out they’re hard at work meting out plans on how to mitigate this matter as it will be beneficial from tourism perspective, create jobs and huge economical benefits will be attained by locals.
“The infrastructure is there, that means we’re only left with operational funding for take-off hence the talks with responsible committees.”
He also confirmed an Aviation School could be created depending on feasibility studies, and so on.
All this forms part of a very coherent and sustainable, strategical economical plan that would benefit Sun City resort and communities, he reiterated.
With the unemployment rate standing at 30% countrywide, Brett did not clutch his straws when he indicated that no job is too small- a fundamental message he punts to his management team and staff complement of 5000 that includes procurement.
“We’re all going to fold our sleeves and teach one another that no job is too small- by so doing it teaches us Ubuntu which Sun City resort pride itself with- ‘as indicated without leaves I cannot operate in silo’,” says Brett, who says him coming back was a choice easily done, due to love for people, deep care and its three pillars PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE!
From the SED point of view, Khumo Magano- Socio Economic Development, Community & Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Sun City Resort, says in partnership with the Royal Bafokeng they hosted a Basketball camp for eight SADC states last year at the resort, whereupon completion a girl known as Lesego from Luka (not far from Sun City) was provided a full US scholarship bursary.
“This goes on to show how committed the company is when coming to sport, especially Basketball that is still relatively unpopular in our communities. Our message to our kids and youth’s is seize the moment because this sport is growing and you don’t wanna be left behind,” warned Magano, unflinchingly.
Economically and socially – some of the local projects built and initiated by the resort in partnership with other partners will stand them in good stead, provided they’re used to optimum best, continued Magano, who indicated has been with the resort for more than twenty-years.
Finally, on the pandemic Coronavirus, Brett says, its unfortunate its happening now when the country is grappling with economic conditions but is buoyant it will be contained and eradicated, though latest figures indicate tourists from China (both Sun City and SA’s biggest markets) has gone down to 87%, very alarming but not impossible to overcome.
He gave an account when one of the private sector executive’s asked vehemently “why don’t you ban all Chinese tourists in the resort?” a point he said showed a lack information and ignorance.
“It shows an enormous awareness campaigns must be executed.
As for the resort we’ve put in measures to control and curb the spread of the virus that is now pandemic- such as sanitisation for guests to staff to no longer use biometrics but access cards as they enter and live the resort. We’ve also advised them to use gloves at times as precautionary measures,” noted Brett, who made a mention ‘I’d like to see things from half full glass’ perspective.
As we bade ourselves goodbye with my colleague and senior photographer Jacob Mawela, Brett handed yours truly a signed rugby ball by 2019 Rugby World Cup winning team member Trevor Nyakane, a sign that a new breath of life is taking shape at one of the world’s favourite playground Sun-City not ‘Sin City’ (no pun intended).
As for Mr Hoppé, he’ll keep on hopping for a greater use…
Image Jacob MAWELA (Sun City Resort General Manager, Brett Hoppé and Khumo Magano -Socio Economic Development, Community & Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Sun City Resort, took time off their tight schedules to pose for a snap on the Gary Player Golf Course).