Objection to a new development in Pretoria East, that could include a new Sun International hotel and casino resort, continues to grow. Recently, community organizations in Menlyn Maine requested that the High Court review the approval of rezoning rights for the area’s new controversial R8 billion project, due to the inclusion of a casino.
Sun International is hoping to relocate its Morula Sun Casino and Hotel from its current location in Mabopane to Menlyn Laine, and has sought approval from the Gauteng Gambling Board to do so. In recent years, Morula Sun Casino has not been performing well and Sun International is anxious to take full advantage of its license by relocating to a new and more vibrant project.
Stakeholders told a public hearing of the gambling board that they were not satisfied with the approval of the rezoning rights for the development, especially with the inclusion of a new casino by Sun International. The international gambling conglomerate will be spending R3 billion in developing Time Square at Menlyn Maine.
It was reported that no less than fourteen local organizations have applied for intervention with the High Court. South African gambling law requires that zoning rights have to be approved prior to a casino license transfer being approved. According to attorney Teresa Conradie of Motla Conradie Attorneys, the group representing the community organizations, the applicants are confident that their application to the High Court will be successful as “there is evidence to prove due process was not followed in the approval of the rezoning.”
Ward councilor Duncan Baker related that he was approached by developers in January 2013 who presented him with the plans, however there was no mention of a new casino development. It was only in the second notice published in the Provincial Gazette that the developers added an amendment that the development would include a “place of amusement”.
At the gambling board hearing, Sun International came against intense opposition, mainly from local churches and residents who were angered that a casino may be built on their doorstep. Residents are particularly angry that the casino is planned to be built adjacent to a school.
“Learners and students make use of the same public transport that Sun International clientele do; this is exacerbated by Menlyn Maine’s plan to manage public transport to the area,” noted Conradie.The public hearings continue in Gauteng.