Ricochet News

End of the road - Fish River Sun closing

Sep 20, 2017
End of the road - Fish River Sun closing

Following months of speculation about the future of its operations, the 3-Star Fish River Sun is closing down at the end of November. Since opening doors nearly 30 years ago, the Fish River Sun Resort had become a popular destination in the Port Alfred area.

However, the land it occupies had been the subject of a protracted land claim that spanned almost 20 years when the local Mazizini community lodged their claim in 1998.

Besides the Fish River Sun Resort property, the claim also included 56 large farms around the Port Alfred area.

Sun International, the operators of the Fish River Sun, had bought the land from the then-Ciskei independent homeland government in the late 1980s for a reported R21 million before developing it into a holiday resort, golf course and casino.

However, the SA Land Claims Commission validated the Mazizini land claim in 2010.

In 2011, Sun International and its empowerment partner, Emfuleni Resorts, appealed the decision. Early this year, it decided to withdraw its offers to settle with the community.

 

The company has now decided to abandon contesting the claim opting instead to honour the 2010 ruling citing difficult trading conditions at the resort "and the escalating costs in this matter".

In a communique sent out by the Fish River Sun management on Tuesday, the resort advised guests of the closure and that bookings made after that the 30th of November have been, regrettably, cancelled.

Over 130 staff of the Fish River Sun now face an uncertain future, but Sun International is hoping to transfer the resort as a going concern to the local community - should the negotiations fail, the resort will effectively shut its doors.

Read full statement below.