Sunday, April 2, 2023

Employees claim unfair treatment of some patrons at Lion Park Resort

Lion Park Resort, 15 kilometres south of Gaborone, is being accused of several incidents, including alleged discrimination against deaf patrons.

While Lion Park resort is a public amusement centre funded with over P100 million of the tax payers’ money, employees claim the manager runs it like a private exclusive resort reserved for members only.

Employees allege that whenever white patrons from South Africa visit the resort black people are segregated. Worse still, black people are denied entry into the resort despite having fully paid their bookings.

Just recently, citizen patrons with hearing disabilities were turned away from the resort at the insistence of white male patrons from South Africa.

A security guard, Odirile Mosienyane, who was on duty, confirmed the incident. He told the Sunday Standard that more than a dozen or so white males were camping at the resort when about ten deaf patrons entered the resort. They had successfully booked with Lion Park and fully paid.  

But the white patrons did not like the sight of the deaf black people and ordered that they be removed from the premises.

“The white men ordered me to tell the disabled men that they [white men] had exclusive privilege to use the resort that day and would not mix with other people. I had to confirm with the manager so I telephoned the Manager at his home. He instructed me to obey the orders of the white men,” said Mosienyane.

Mosienyane then informed a sign language interpreter accompanying the deaf patrons that he had a situation and subsequently asked them to leave the resort.

It is unclear if the patrons were refunded their bookings fees.

A newly employed lady at the resort who receives bookings, identified only as Fatimah, said she did not know about the incident. Fatimah said her boss had travelled to his home country. She did not have his contact details in South Africa.

Workers, a majority of whom with poor education and limited skills, allege that the manager does not only assault workers verbally and physically but fires them willy-nilly.

Workers at the resort allege that a man who had booked for children during his son’s birthday has been banned from the resort.

His crime, it is alleged, was that he had asked to be refunded money for meals for a certain number of children who did not show up at the resort since he was charged meals per person.

Apparently, that gave the manager beef and he flatly refused. A bitter argument allegedly ensued and the citizen patron was banned from the resort.

In another incident, the manager is alleged to have splashed water over a group of Indian patrons who sat by a swimming pool just for the heck of it. 

Workers at the resort further allege the manager assaulted a former employee and habitually fires kitchen staff.

Coordinator for people with disabilities at the Office of the President, Thomas Motingwa, said his office was dealing with the incident after being approached by workers at the resort.

“We are still trying to locate the victims. Our biggest problem is that the lady who received the bookings with a list of names of the disabled patrons has been fired,” said Motingwa.

Motingwa said his office is currently engaged in tracking down the victims with a view to fully understand the circumstances under which they were turned away.

“We would not entertain a situation in which people with disabilities are discriminated against,” he warned.

The Botswana Society for the Deaf acting Director, Orapeleng Mokgosi, said she was shocked to learn about the incident.

“I am hearing this for the first time from you,” she said and promised to launch her own investigations.

The BDC has been alerted to the incident.

“The matter has been brought to our attention. We are still investigating the incident. We will get to the bottom of the issue and advice accordingly. We try as much as possible to uphold professional ethical standards,” said the BDC spokesman Gomolemo Zimona.


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