Mix up of R60 000 at guesthouse
The Knysna municipality has launched an internal audit following the allegation of a local guesthouse manager that the municipality owes R60 000 in unpaid accommodation fees.
According to Werner ErasmusLe Grange of On the Estuary Guesthouse, he has been struggling to get payment, alleging that the municipality made a booking with him for 13 SA Airforce pilots during the Knysna fires in June.
“We already had three families staying with us free of charge, along with a crew from Working on Fire (WoF) that was getting a reduced rate for the 12 rooms they were using. When Tourism phoned on 9 June asking us if we had space available, we told them what was left and they said a woman from the municipality would contact us,” said Erasmus-Le Grange.
Erasmus-Le Grange said 10 minutes later a lady from the municipality phoned asking if they had space for the pilots. “She spoke to my reservations assistant who first confirmed a reduced rate with me before giving it to the woman. This was the lowest possible rate we could give. The pilots arrived the same day and only left on 17 June. They occupied 13 rooms,” said Erasmus-Le Grange. The WoF crew booked out on 18 June and the three families left on 4 August.
During the pilots’ stay, Erasmus-Le Grange said, he incurred a lot of extra expenses by going far beyond what was expected of the guesthouse. “We washed their linen and clothes free of charge and provided them with juice and water throughout their stay, also free of charge - these are just some of the extras we offered,” he said.
But to get payment for the pilots’ accommodation, has proved impossible, said Erasmus-Le Grange.
He has been sent from pillar to post, not only to get payment, but to find someone who could confirm the booking in the first place.
“First I was told the booking was never made, then the story changed and I was told the person who made the booking was under the impression it was all free. All the while being sent from one person to the next. Why would my reservation assitant have confirmed a reduced rate with me if it was free?”
As on 24 August, the bill, Including interest, for the pilots’ stay, came to R62 570.
Knysna municipal manager Kam Chetty said the matter has been referred to an internal auditor to investigate.
On the Estuary guesthouse manager Werner ErasmusLe Grange.