NOTHING IS gold at the well-known Golden Leopards Resort at Rustenburg, North West province.
The resort, a stone-throw away from the bustling Sun City, has been treated like a spaza-shop that could affect its future and staff. The Golden Leopards Resort Group amongst others, operates both Manyane and Bakgatla resorts, in the Bojanala Municipality.
The staff morale is at an all-time low; salaries are being paid late every month; for the past five years’ there hasn’t been any salary increment.
Special Investigation Unit is probing allegations of maladministration at Christiana All Seasons Resort for the past three-years.
Who’s to blame: the North West Development Corporation, an agency of the North West Tourism, under the leadership of MEC for Economic, Development and Tourism, Keneetswe Mosenogi.
In 2015, GLR was transferred to NWDC, as the provincial agency, to help resuscitate the entity and as a result, funds were transferred to the agency. No one knows what happened to the funds.
Secondly, the very same agency was identified as quarantine sites in the province, a contract was entered into and funds were also paid to NWDC and yet again, no trace of funds is known.
According to our credible source at GLR, they’ve had numerous meetings with NWDC to resolve issues of salaries, staff morale and what happened to funds made to help the resort, all resulting in futile exercise.
“We are facing some serious challenges in our organization, which we feel the NW provincial government does not want to help the poor employees on the ground, and this causes unhappiness and uncertainty about our future,” says our Gatvol source.
The source quipped further: ”The agency (NWDC) is registered as an SOE, and since its inception there has been several changes in management which did not yield any better results for employees.
The very same officials / politicians that were deployed here in the name of bringing change have dragged the agency down the drain, money was stolen and the culprits were never arrested or nothing happened to them, but instead they are employed in the same government and occupying higher positions while the poor employees suffer.”
“Unfortunately, the staff can’t decide now to go on strike; they need that meagre salary, especially when Covid-19 is hurting the hospitality industry,” says the source.
The very same agency that owns/ manages the Christiana Hotel in NW, is being investigated by the Special Investigative Unit. It also manages the popular Madikwe River Lodge, which is an hour drive from Botswana Border Gate.
These are litany of allegations levelled against NWDC.
In response, NWDC in a statement said, with regards to the ownership of the GLR, it was transferred to the North West Tourism Board (NWTB), effective 1 April 2021.
This follows from, firstly, a resolution by the Provincial Exco; subsequent to the provincial resolution the GLR Board, NWTB Board and NWDC Board took resolutions that GLR be transferred to NWTB.
“The NWDC is currently finalising the work streams of the transfer, allocated to the various units, and the 2020-2021 Audit process,” read a statement.
On staff increments, NWDC says, “due to the financial situation and drastic decline of GLR pre 2012, the GLR Board had not approved the increments in the past 3 years. Employees were given ex gratia once-off payments in 2019/2020.
The NWDC was also not in a financial position to afford to allocate funds to GLR to allow for salary increases, as maintaining the going concern status of both entities remains the first priority.”
“The GLR Board had requested the executive and unions to investigate and identify cost-saving measures to financially sustain an increase for staff. This was, unfortunately, not ipossible and no report from management was submitted for 2020 and 2021.
It must be noted, however, despite the adverse finances of the entity, the entity still provides 13th cheques to its employees which even NWDC employees do not receive. The GLR as an entity on its own is managed by an Executive and NWDC is not in a position to comment on late salary payments or staff morale,” read a full response from NWDC.
On quarantine site, the agency said there are no outstanding funds that are due to GLR or incorrectly retained by the NWDC.
The agency also confirmed that an SIU investigation pertaining to the (Christiana All Seasons Resort) is in process, and won’t comment until the process has been concluded, and a formal report has been published.
Kaizer Kganyago, spokesperson for SIU did not respond for comment at the time of publishing.
Nehawu North-West provincial deputy secretary Ignatius Msoki, says they’re aware of the SIU investigations that have been on-going for the past three-years’ and will await the final report.
On other allegations Msoki said they would not comment until they’ve instituted their own findings.
Economic, Development and Tourism departmental spokesperson Dumisa Seshabela, did not respond for a comment after a week of submitting questions.