‘Gold Reef Casino Resorts (GRCR) is suing M-Net and Carte Blanche for R24m in damages, after the current affairs programme’s questioned the safety of Gold Reef City’s theme park rides. It claims the report was unjustified, and caused revenues to plummet.
CEO Steven Joffe attributed the group’s slightly depressed growth for the year to end-December entirely to the 14,4% drop in the theme park’s revenue that saw the operation only break even for the year.
“Compounding the 21% fewer visitors to the theme park than in 2004, legal and marketing expenses increased to address the damage caused by Carte Blanche’s blatantly inaccurate condemnation of the safety of certain rides,??? he said.
Joffe said considerable amounts have been invested in maintaining the safety of its rides, “which has been affirmed by experts and is regularly subject to government-sanctioned and international expert inspections.???’
The report aired earlier this month painted a very different picture:
“Zaa Nkweta (Carte Blanche presenter): “But just how safe are these rides and what laws are in place to protect the public? Gold Reef City told us that they adhere to the highest safety standards and prescriptions of the law.???
Voice of Dewald van der Walt (Operations Manager, Gold Reef City): “The Occupational Health and Safety Act acts as a guide, yes. So what we do once a year on all our rides…well, most of the rides, depending on the schedule…we perform non-destructive testing. What that means is we dismantle the rides… all the critical parts… and they get tested with ultrasonic tests. If need be, they get X-rayed to make sure that the critical parts are still safe.???
Just more than three weeks ago Carte Blanche obtained video footage that tells a completely different story.
It showed that several rides at Gold Reef City were in an advanced state of disrepair – with cracks, rust, bad maintenance and neglect visible everywhere.
It could be a life threatening situation, or worse – a pending disaster – according to experts.”
It is likely that the litigation will take some time to finalise and may yet form the basis for a follow up report in due course. This case will, no doubt, have a bearing on the responsibility news organisations have when it comes to warning the public about possible safety risks.