Hans Merensky in a BIG mess again

Hans Merensky Estate was the jewel in the crown of
Phalaborwa until mismanagement has reduced it to expensive junk.
Hans Merensky Estate was the jewel in the crown of Phalaborwa until mismanagement has reduced it to expensive junk.

According to a source, Hotel Management made a deal and an alleged payment of R150 000 saw the lights return on Friday for the time being.

The situation is however critical, and could result in the total closure of the once flagship tourist attraction and community playground.

In its heydays, the Hans Merensky Estate with all its facilities was the crown of Phalaborwa, drawing tourists and new employees to the town, but in recent years the town’s people feel that Estate owner, Shamira Rinderknecht has not met her responsibilities to the community.

The golf club has also seen memberships decline from over 400 to the low 50’s in recent years. Notwithstanding the state of the golf course, membership fees and green fees are at their peak even though the club is now longer even close to its top 15 status in the country.

Course rules are not user friendly and local community members, schools and organisations who want to have golf days are forced to take their business to Hoedspruit or Tzaneen.

According to a source, at the time when PMC sold the estate, it undertook to continue to provide essential services to the estate and the home owners such as potable water, electricity and raw water at a cost, which has not yielded the income that the mine anticipated. Instead, the Estate now owes millions which it might never be able to repay.

Property values have halved and residents are moving out at an alarming rate.

Allegations have also surfaced that Hotel management started building additions for the 2010 World Cup, which to this day have not been finished and still continues to build without municipal authorisation.

The sports facilities including squash courts, tennis courts, gym and large swimming pool have been virtually closed since 2010. Local Business Chamber Chairperson, Manie Kriel has strong feelings about the state of the estate and says that: “The community is heartbroken about what is going on at the estate, it used to be one of our biggest tourist attractions, but now it is just an embarrassment”.

“There is clearly something very wrong with the way that the place is run as there seems to be no respect for the members of the club or for the community around it,” adds Kriel.

After several attempts, the management of the Estate could not be reached for a comment.

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