Anger over ‘neglect’ by Goldrush @Marula

Pretoria – The Goldrush group yesterday said it was willing to listen to concerns raised by the Mabopane Farmers Co-operative and other organisations which protested outside GoldRush @Morula last week.

“We are passionate about working closely with the people in the areas in which we operate. We trust that an amicable solution will be reached so that our customers who visit Morula on a regular basis can continue to do so,” said Katleho Thejane, Goldrush director for bingo and casino operations.

“It is unfortunate we are being affected by the protests mainly because we are tenants in the Morula property at Mabopane.”

Mabopane Farmers Co-operative and some residents last week threatened to shut down Sun International’s Time Square, accusing the company of failing to uplift and develop the township as promised when it transferred its operation from Morula to Menlyn Maine.

The group protested outside GoldRush @ Morula – formerly Morula Sun Hotel and Casino in Mabopane – on Thursday. According to the residents, promises made during the approval of the transfer of the licence from Mabopane to Time Square had not been met.

Khanyiso Nhloko, a member of the Mabopane Farmers Co-operative and a resident of Mabopane, said they were protesting against the neglect of the community following the transfer of the licence from the area.

Nhloko said following the public hearings in 2014 regarding the relocation of Sun International from Morula to Menlyn Maine, there were various conditions to be met by all parties.

He said Sun International was to provide a R950million social obligation for the benefit of the community.

As part of this agreement, Sun International was supposed to use the money to establish a hospitality and gaming academy at Morula, with the remainder being used to empower unemployed people, particularly those from disadvantaged communities and charitable causes. “Nothing has been done and all we’re being told is that a trust had been established.”

In the application for relocation of the Morula Sun, the Gauteng Gambling Board instructed Sun International to ensure employment of members of the community at the new site.

It was also to submit a trust deed for approval in respect of a community trust to be established in respect of disadvantaged communities in Tshwane.

Within 12 months of the approval, Sun International was to ensure the approval of the application and commit to the establishment of an independent hospitality and gaming training academy. The academy was to be subsidised by not less than R950m. Funds were also to be used for improvements on the property and on-going operational needs.

Nhloko said the community was mobilising transport and getting the necessary approvals for the protest at Time Square. “The time for talking is over and we are going to camp outside Times Square for the whole weekend until they start living up to their promises.”

Gauteng Gambling Board spokesperson Wisani Ngobeni confirmed they had received a complaint from the Mabopane Farmers Co-operative. “There was no non-compliance by Sun International. Insofar as the temporary licence is concerned, Sun International has complied with most of the conditions, but a few.”

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