Casino brings Sun to Breede River Valley - Monday 28th of November 2005

Construction has begun on the new R156-million Worcester Casino complex owned by listed gaming and hotel group Sun International and its black empowerment partners, with the opening set for September 2006.

At a sod-turning ceremony held over the weekend, Hassen Adams, deputy chairperson of the new casino company, said the investment would do much to promote the visitor and leisure industry in the Breede River Valley.

The project will feature a 250-slot machine casino, a conference centre accommodating up to 120 delegates, a buffet restaurant, a sports bar with live entertainment and retail shops, as well as a childrens entertainment area incorporating a nursery and crèche.

"Our project has been conceptualised in such a way as to ensure that the economic benefits arising out of our investment remain as far as possible in the local economy," said Adams.

"The new property will be a catalyst for other new investment in the region, and it will create sustainable employment, and new business opportunities for the people of the Breede River Valley.

"This is also a further step forward in the transformation of our provinces leisure industry, as 60 percent of the equity in our company is in disadvantaged hands, and strict protocols will be instituted to ensure that broad-based empowerment takes place at every level of the value chain.

"We have adopted the nationally-acknowledged Targeted Access Programme (TAP) to ensure that we meet our empowerment objectives.

"We will give preference to SMEs and empowerment firms in the region in respect of the procurement of goods and services, and in the awarding of concessionaire opportunities.

"Through TAP, we are able to measure and audit our performance against these goals", he said.

The complex will be developed and managed by Sun International, which also has 40 percent of the equity, out of which will come 3.5 percent for employees at the complex. Grand Parade Investments, and other empowerment shareholders, including the Breede River Valley Community Trust, own the balance of the equity.

Sun Internationals chief executive-designate, David Coutts-Trotter, said the tourism and leisure industry was South Africas most rapidly expanding economic sector, and in the Western Cape in particular had "obvious potential" to create robust growth and prosperity in the region

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