An inferno has struck the Mmabatho Palms Hotel, Casino and Convention Resort, South Africa’s premier gaming and hospitality establishment. The cause of the fire, which broke out on Wednesday morning, remains under investigation. Aerial footage of the property in Mahikeng depicts extensive damage to the building, though initial reports indicate that all guests have been evacuated with only minor injuries reported.
The CEO of Peermont Hotel Group, Nigel Atherton, confirmed that the hotel will be closed for the next three months as investigations are carried out. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, Zoleka Capa, who was staying at the resort at the time, expressed her concerns about the lack of fire safety protocols.
The Deputy Commissioner of the Provincial Police, Patrick Asaneng, emphasized the importance of conducting a comprehensive investigation and assured the public that the department’s forensic fire investigators were on the scene and would expedite the inquiry.
The Mmabatho Palms holds a significant place in South Africa’s history as the first casino resort built by the late hospitality and gaming magnate Sol Kerzner in 1977, who went on to establish Sun City in 1981, a blueprint for modern integrated resorts. The presence of high-profile guests at the resort has prompted speculation about foul play, which only reinforces the need for a thorough investigation. The incident raises questions about the responsibilities of hospitality establishments to ensure the safety of their guests and the protocols in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of such incidents.