Even the Sun King has to bow to the rain gods

Sunday Times - - Insight | Water Crisis - By BOBBY JOR­DAN

Sol Kerzner once turned a plat­te­land val­ley into a giant wave pool. Now he is sav­ing ev­ery drop he can at a new devel­op­ment de­signed to save wa­ter in drought-rav­aged Cape Town.

Next week the “Sun King” launches Kerzner Es­tate, an up­mar­ket res­i­den­tial project next to his pri­vate res­i­dence over­look­ing Hout Bay. And in­stead of vol­cano bridges and ar­ti­fi­cial waves, Kerzner is punt­ing sus­tain­able liv­ing as the re­al­i­ties of cli­mate change hit home.

The es­tate’s 48 planned homes in­cor­po­rate grey wa­ter and rain-har­vest­ing fea­tures and will be sur­rounded by drought-friendly fyn­bos. On sale for be­tween R20-mil­lion and R38-mil­lion, each one is de­signed by a top ar­chi­tect and buy­ers, who buy the con­cept home “all-in”, will have the op­tion of shar­ing Kerzner’s own hos­pi­tal­ity ser­vices, such as se­cu­rity and home main­te­nance. buy­ers

Kerzner, who has teamed up with daugh­ter An­drea for his most “per­sonal” project, told the Sun­day Times he was shocked by the wa­ter cri­sis: “Cer­tainly it is very scary. To me it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine that some­thing like this could oc­cur.

“I think it is some­thing that is ob­vi­ously be­ing ad­dressed, but hope­fully it doesn’t cause too much pain and suf­fer­ing,” he said dur­ing a tour of the site.

Now 82, Kerzner is sen­ti­men­tal about some of his biggest ho­tel achieve­ments, such as the Sun City com­plex in the Pi­lanes­berg — where golfer Gary Player fa­mously threw ele­phant dung at Kerzner when he first out­lined the scope of the project.

While dis­tant neigh­bours in Hout Bay will be thank­ful not to see any giant wa­ter slide tow­er­ing out of Kerzner’s lat­est devel­op­ment, the no­to­ri­ously per­nick­ety hote­lier has nev­er­the­less left his mark on the project, even to the ex­tent of in­sist­ing on a spe­cific size of toi­let seat.

“I’ve seen an en­tire wall moved 100mm,” said Ross Levin, who is mar­ket­ing the devel­op­ment on be­half of Se­eff Prop­erty. “The amount of de­tail and thought that goes into each and ev­ery con­sid­er­a­tion — I’ve never seen it.”

Kerzner’s ca­reer is not with­out con­tro­versy. Some in­ter­na­tional mu­si­cians re­fused to per­form at Sun

City due to his busi­ness ties with home­land lead­ers Lu­cas Man­gope and Ge­orge Matanz­ima. On the home front, his lav­ish New Year’s Eve fire­works dis­plays did not ap­peal to ev­ery­one in the Hout Bay val­ley.

But Kerzner is more fre­quently as­so­ci­ated with com­mer­cial suc­cess, as well as his frank no-non­sense style. He has been quick to wel­come the rise of Cyril Ramaphosa: “Hope­fully it will not be too long be­fore he be­comes pres­i­dent,” he told the Sun­day Times.

“There’s a whole new con­fi­dence in the coun­try and a hope that po­lit­i­cally South Africa will move in the right di­rec­tion.”

Al­though Kerzner val­ues his pri­vacy, his Hout Bay res­i­dence has fea­tured promi­nently in the news over the years, not least be­cause of some glitzy events with A-league guest lists.

In busi­ness, Kerzner may have been ahead of his time, but in one re­spect he still lags far be­hind. Levin said work­ing with him re­quired some ad­just­ments: “We had to learn to quote ev­ery­thing in feet .” He does not do the met­ric sys­tem.

WA­TER-WISE DE­SIGN An artist’s im­pres­sion of how one of the houses in Kerzner Es­tate will look, out­side and in­side.

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