R27m lodge for Plat­fontein

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - SANDI KWON HOO CHIEF RE­PORTER

THE PLAT­FONTEIN farm­house that was left to rack and ruin is ex­pected to be up and run­ning as a lodge and con­fer­ence cen­tre be­fore the end of the year fol­low­ing a R27 mil­lion re­vamp.

The na­tional Depart­ment of Tourism funded the con­struc­tion, which is com­plete and only fin­ish­ing touches still need to be done.

The lodge will be un­der the stew­ard­ship of In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion So­lu­tions (ICS), on be­half of the Plat­fontein Com­mu­nal Prop­erty As­so­ci­a­tion (CPA).

The managing director of ICS, Clarissa Carstens, stated that the 12-bed fa­cil­ity should be op­er­a­tional by the end of Oc­to­ber.

“The lodge will be of a four star grad­ing stan­dard and will be equipped with wi-fi. We have signed a 15-year lease where we will rent out the premises in our pri­vate ca­pac­ity and pay a por­tion of in­come gen­er­ated to the CPA. The con­fer­ence cen­tre will be able to ac­com­mo­date 500 peo­ple,” said Carstens.

The lodge, which is si­t­u­ated on the Plat­fontein farm owned by the !Xun and Khwe com­mu­ni­ties, was placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter it was rocked by al­le­ga­tions in 2016 that se­nior mem­bers of the CPA were in­volved in the dis­ap­pear­ance of R3.5 mil­lion that was meant for the fa­cil­ity.

The money paid over by pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in 2008 to up­grade the farm­house – to in­clude a lodge, res­tau­rant, bar, tea gar­den, cul­tural vil­lage and arts and crafts cen­tre – never went where it was in­tended.

The farm­house was left van­dalised and in a derelict state, where it was over­grown with weeds and the roof had caved in.

Live­stock and game that was do­nated to turn the fa­cil­ity into a tourist at­trac­tion also dis­ap­peared from the farm.

In 2013, the Min­is­ter of Tourism had in­di­cated that R9.5 mil­lion had been al­lo­cated to the North­ern Cape Plat­fontein lodge project to con­vert the farm­house into a 10-bed sa­fari lodge, im­prove fenc­ing and cre­ate a pic­nic camp and re­cep­tion area.

The pro­vin­cial Depart­ment of Fi­nance, Eco­nomic Af­fairs and Tourism yes­ter­day re­ferred me­dia en­quiries to the na­tional Depart­ment of Tourism, who in turn re­ferred the en­quiry to Work­ing for the Tourism Team, where no contact de­tails could be traced.

Ac­cord­ing to an in­side source, ICS was cho­sen as the ser­vice provider af­ter an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est was ad­ver­tised.

“A tourism man­age­ment com­pany had to be ap­pointed as the Plat­fontein com­mu­nity do not have the busi­ness know-how to op­er­ate a hos­pi­tal­ity fa­cil­ity. The aim is to share skills, men­tor and ul­ti­mately hand over the fa­cil­ity to the com­mu­nity. In terms of the con­tract, staff will have to be em­ployed from the lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

He stated that based on the ex­pe­ri­ence of ICS, in managing the Mit­tah Seperepere Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, they were se­lected as the best can­di­date.

“The ser­vice provider will have to pay for their own ex­penses such as wa­ter and lights and they will have to bring in their fi­nances. They will rent the premises from the CPA and will not be paid by the Depart­ment of Tourism.”

He in­di­cated that they were still fi­nal­is­ing the con­tract as well as the terms of agree­ment be­tween ICS and the CPA, in­clud­ing the profit shar­ing con­tract.

“The con­trac­tor will be able to give in­put on how the fa­cil­ity should look. Con­struc­tion is com­plete and the lodge should open its doors be­fore the end of the year.”

He added that a hun­ters and game lodge, game drives and hunt­ing fa­cil­i­ties would be in­cor­po­rated as part of the tourist at­trac­tion.

“The project aims to ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.