Sheik fails to honour R155 000 pay­ment due to for­mer man­ager

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Guy Rogers rogersg@times­me­

THE owner of Thaba Manzi Game Farm near Hu­mans­dorp, Sheik Kha­laf Al Otaiba, still has not paid a for­mer re­serve man­ager the R155 000 owed to him fol­low­ing a Fe­bru­ary 27 Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion (CCMA) un­fair dis­missal rul­ing.

Jef­freys Bay at­tor­ney Fanus Heystek, who is rep­re­sent­ing Jaco Bester, said on Thurs­day that the mat­ter was now headed back to the CCMA.

“Jaco has not been paid out yet, but we re­ceived con­sent from the sheik’s at­tor­neys on Wednesday that we can ap­ply to the Labour Court to have the mat­ter re­ferred back to the com­mis­sion, which will speed the process up as much as pos­si­ble,” he said.

“With Jaco down and out fi­nan­cially we’re pur­su­ing this route as the best op­tion and we’re con­fi­dent of get­ting the same or­der from the com­mis­sion – af­ter which there can­not be a re­peat re­quest for re­view.”

The CCMA rul­ing, which called for the pay­ment to be made by March 10, awarded R155 000 to Bester for salary and leave owed.

He was dis­missed af­ter tack­ling his bosses on the need for more money to main­tain fenc­ing and care for the game.

On March 30, with this dead­line hav­ing been missed, the sher­iff of the court ar­rived at Thaba Manzi to at­tach prop­erty.

The sher­iff pulled back af­ter Al Otaiba’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives de­posited surety cov­er­ing the money owed but they then sub­mit­ted an ap­pli­ca­tion to have the rul­ing re­viewed.

Al Otaiba’s other re­serve, Blaauw­bosch Pri­vate Game Re­serve be­tween Uiten­hage and Steytlerville, was also in the spot­light last month af­ter the pro­vin­cial en­vi­ron­ment de­part­ment or­dered that one of its ele­phants, which was re­peat­edly es­cap­ing, be shot.

The shoot­ing sparked an out­cry from con­ser­va­tion­ists who said if the au­thor­i­ties had clamped down sooner on the owner af­ter pre­vi­ous ev­i­dence of mis­man­age­ment – in­clud­ing not main­tain­ing elec­tri­fied fences and fail­ing to ad­dress ele­phant herd dy­nam­ics – the shoot­ing could have been avoided.

The de­part­ment said it had is­sued warn­ing no­tices to Al Otaiba re­gard­ing the man­age­ment of both Blaauw­bosch and Thaba Manzi.

A spokesman for Al Otaiba – who is a prom­i­nent mem­ber of a pow­er­ful United Arab Emi­rates dy­nasty – said Blaauw­bosch had done all it could to pre­vent the shoot­ing and con­tain the ele­phant.

Ahmed El­garib said it was un­true that the power was of­ten down in their fences, as stated by Cockscomb Agri­cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Vic­tor Watson.

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