Tag Archives: accreditation

SA Butler Academy apologises to 2019 student Lin Yang, and to refund her costs by court order!

In 2019 I met Lin Yang, a Singaporean who studied at the South African Butler Academy at what it claimed to be a world class institution, given the marketing promises made on its website. She was expelled from the course on the third day of her studies, allegedly due to being late for her classes. She was not refunded her course fees , and headed to our High Court on a three year journey to obtain her fees and costs back.

After her experience with the SA Butler Academy she embarked on extensive research about the training institution, evaluating its website in the English and Chinese webpages, its brochure, and any other communication about the institution on Google. She interacted with close to 90 other students of the institution, receiving input from them, finding that there were a large number of similar experiences.

In doing so, she found my 2013 Blogpost about the SA Butler Academy and its misleading marketing, which I had discovered by analysing its website, after I had a bad experience with a student of the institution as a short-lived guest house employee.

My 2013 Blogpost visibility arose from the number of students who have found it on the first page of Google when one searches ‘SA Butler Academy’, despite intensive attempts by the institution to fill its space with links and videos as to push my Blogpost further down onto page 2 or even lower. My Blogpost doggedly remains on on page one of Google, even ten years later!

Miss Lin and I met, and since then we have remained in touch. She refers SA Butler Academy students who have problems with the institution to my SA Butler Academy Blogposts, including the 2013 one. In the past three years Miss Lin has been determined to find any avenue to evaluate the truthfulness or not of the SA Butler Academy claims made on its website. She found, for example, that :

*. SA Butler Academy owner Newton Cross had not been the Butler of the late President Mandela, as claimed. Miss Lin reported this to the Mandela Foundation, which pressurised the institution to remove his name from its website.

*. Miss Lin was shocked that a photograph of her and a classmate was used on the Academy website for publicity purposes, despite only attending two days of the course and being a litigant against the Academy.

*. She discovered that the SA Butler Academy could not provide proof for the following claims made by the institution on its website:

#. That its courses are accredited

#. That it has proof of its claim of ‘No. 1 Butler School in the World’

#. That SA Butler Academy owner Newton Cross holds a claimed qualification from the ’Buckingham Palace Butler School’

#. Newton Cross’ claim that he worked as a Butler on the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship, when he in fact was merely a waiter.

#. That Newton Cross has worked as a Butler, as claimed, for Former President Bill Clinton, Former President Bush Senior, Former President Mbeki, the late President Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, golfer Tiger Woods, and a number of other celebrities.

#. The partner businesses SA Butler Academy and Guild Recruitment jointly misled students: the SA Butler Academy promised students that they would receive jobs via its Guild Recruitment. Guild Recruitment would advertise Butler jobs, encouraging prospective applicants to do the SA Butler Academy course if they were not already a student or graduate of the institution.

Miss Lin also lodged complaints with the following authorities :

*. The City of Cape Town, for a building accommodating the SA Butler Academy students whilst on the course (students were forced to use the overcrowded accommodation and were charged an additional fee), in violation of a City by-law to use private accommodation for commercial purposes.

*. The Equality Court, which became a directional hearing, and advised that it was not the correct forum for her to claim the funds owed.

*. The National Consumer Commission, where she and 22 other past students of the SA Butler Academy have a class action against the institution.

*. As her residential address and photograph were published on the SA Butler Academy website, Miss Lin approached the POPI (Protection of Personal Information) Regulator to lodge a complaint.

*. Carte Blanche, to whom she and other fellow students reported the matter, and in November 2020 Derek Watts interviewed Miss Lin and I about the misleading marketing claims made by the SA Butler Academy on its website, followed by the broadcast in December 2020. This was a powerful step forward for Miss Lin, yet the institution persevered in not refunding her the course fees. A large number of students interacted with Miss Lin after this exposé on Carte Blanche.

https://www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog/cape-town/carte-blanche-exposes-sa-butler-academy-marketing-deception-first-exposed-on-whaletales-blog-in-2013

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php/?id=100068498080492

Given the amount of pressure which Miss Lin was placing on the SA Butler Academy, the institution created a page of disparagement on its website, defaming her and claiming that she had mental issues. I too have the ‘honour’ of featuring on such a page on the institution’s website, a rage reaction about the high ranking of my 2013 Blogpost, hoping that it would diminish the credibility of my 2013 Blogpost, which obviously has impacted on the credibility of the SA Butler Academy.

Ultimately Miss Lin appointed legal firm Dunsters Attorneys, and excellent advocate Adam Brink, for legal action. A year ago she and the legal team were granted 3 August 2023 as the court date. The SA Butler Academy started an interlocutor motion, requesting R500000 security for costs, possibly to persuade Miss Lin to withdraw her case, but this motion was rejected by the judge as she is regarded an Incola.

On 3 August 2023 an Agreement between Miss Lin and the defendants South African Butler Academy cc, Butler Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Butler Training (Pty) Ltd, Guild Recruitment (Pty) Ltd, Newton Hilton Cross, and Willem Adriaan Coetzer was made a Court Order (Case number 10430/2020):

1. The Defendants will repay to the Plaintiff the fee paid by her of USD 5200, at the exchange rate on the date of payment by her to the Defendants, plus the sum of R32 947, 62, plus interest on both sums at the prescribed rate from 30 April 2019.

2. The Plaintiff abandons any claim against the Defendants for damages flowing from the defendants’ unauthorised use of the Plaintiff’s image for publicity, and the violation of her dignity.

3. The plaintiff withdraws the complaint with the National Consumer Commission and the Information Regulator against the defendants.

4. The Defendants will pay the Plaintiffs costs on a party and party scale, subject to the following:

4.1. limiting the Plaintiff’s counsel’s costs with respect to appearance at the trial to those incurred for the hearing on 3 August 2023; and

4.2. Each party to pay their own costs reserved in the order of the Honourable Justice Meer of 24 February 2021; and

5. The parties will agree to publish the joint statement annexed hereto marked ‘A’ ‘

I took on the SA Butler Academy to also assist other aggrieved past students as well as future students to be protected against the misleading marketing of the institution’, she said. She is particularly concerned about protecting the rights and interests of female students, stating that not all students have other qualifications from reputable educational institutions as she has been fortunate to experience.

In the past four years of living here, waiting for the Court date and action, Ms Lin experienced the beautiful natural resources of our country, praising them, and expressed the hope that there would be better governance of them.

She thanked her legal team for their dedicated action in her case against the SA Butler Academy, her advocate being happy with the positive outcome.

She wishes her fellow 22 students well at the National Consumer Commission in their class action against the SA Butler Academy. Ms Lin is no longer part of this action.

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323

Twitter:@Ulmenstein

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New Cape Vintner Classification association of heavy weight wine estates launched!

Cape Vintner ClassificationA new association of independent wine estates belonging to industry heavy weights was launched at Ellerman House in its new Wine Gallery yesterday. Cape Vintner Classification (CVC) aims to build our country’s reputation as a producer of world class wines, and to ‘promote the Cape’s distinctive site specific wines‘, according to a report in fin24.

The association’s mouthful of a name, which does not seem customer driven, has a logo which includes the date 1659, the first year of wine production in the Cape, and creates an identity and logo look similar to the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Companje, or Dutch East India Company).

The association was formed by Johann Rupert, owner of Anthonij Rupert Wines, L’Ormarins, and Rupert & Rothschild, all in Franschhoek, which wants to introduce an accreditation system which gives wine buyers confidence in the integrity of the wine and its origin. It is said to be an association of individuals rather than of wine estates.

Rupert is critical of bulk wine exports and the damaging effect it has on our country’s wine reputation, and about some members of WIETA, the agricultural ethical trade initiative of South Africa.  The standards set for CVC will be higher than those of WIETA and Fairtrade.

Membership costs R16000 a year, and a minimum membership requirement is Continue reading →

2010 World Cup Golden Ball Award goes to Paul the Octopus!

Never in the history of World Cup soccer has a “player” made world TV and newspaper headlines as has Paul the psychic octopus.   We nominate him for the Golden Ball Award for being the most on-the-ball player of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, having correctly predicted Germany’s four wins and two losses.  

Paul lives in an aquarium in Oberhausen in Germany, but is British-born.  He started duty in the UEFA Cup final in 2008, but made an error when he predicted that Germany would win against Spain.   He was a little known player then, especially due to his incorrect prediction.  But since the start of the 2010 World Cup he has been spot-on with the results of each match, predicting Germany’s wins over Australia, Ghana, England and Argentina, and its losses against Serbia and Spain.  

All eyes will be on Paul as he predicts Germany to take 3rd place against Uruguay in Port Elizabeth today.   He has also bravely stepped out of his league in predicting the winner of the World Cup Final to be Spain, in its match against Netherlands tomorrow.

Poor Paul is being heavily taxed, in that he is now being asked to predict all sorts of other things, such as whether German coach Joachim Loew will renew his contract.

Paul has become such a talked-about VIP that he has his own Twitter page now (@PPsychicOctopus), and boy can he Tweet non-stop, usually putting some “biped” down when he/she make comments he does not like, and just in general, when he feels like it.  He is a cheeky opinionated chap!   He attracted 422 followers in just 2 days, and is hoping for 1000 by tomorrow.  He picks up almost every mention about himself on Twitter, and then replies to it. He has been featured on CNN, ZDF, BBC and SkyNews, and made the front page of the Cape Times and Germany’s Bild, and no doubt many more international and local newspapers.

While I am having fun, I am awarding some other unofficial 2010 World Cup awards:

Goldie Locks Award: goes to Diego Forlan of Uruguay, who has beautiful blond hair kept in place with a blue aliceband, and has the most beautiful blue eyes, for sure the most beautiful soccer player in the World Cup (on the other hand, Wayne Rooney has already been selected by the media as the ‘ugliest’ player of the soccer tournament)

Golden Trend Award:  Cristiano Ronaldo receives this award, for his black nailpolished toes, as seen on German TV station ZDF yesterday

Golden Coach Award:  superstitious German coach Joachim Loew wearing his beautiful blue jersey at every match in which Germany played, and refusing to wash it to not break the luck of his team, that is until it lost against Spain this week.    He was by far the best looking coach of all teams.

Golden Moneybags Award without a doubt goes to FIFA and its President Sepp Blatter, for taking all its money out of South Africa, untaxed as per its contract with the South African government, especially all the MATCH booking monies.  Ticket sales will have largely been received by credit card in Switzerland anyway.

Golden Service Award goes to the 25 000 or so volunteers at 10 stadiums and at the Fan Parks in Host Cities, as well as at airports and FIFA-designated hotels, who worked for a pittance of R 100 per day, irrespective of how long their working hours were.   Volunteers were specifically forced to sign away their rights to protection under South Africa’s labour legislation, such is the power of FIFA!   Volunteers were not even allowed to receive a copy of their 4-page contract.  Volunteers were the machine that made the running of the World Cup smooth and largely incident-free, in offering Spectator Services, Language Support, Transportation, Accreditation, Hospitality, IT and Telecommunications, and many more services to make the World Cup happen.   The ridiculously low “stipend” has to be taxed, at least 30 % being deducted, even for the meal allowance when it was first paid into the bank, while FIFA patted itself on the back for its 25 % increase in its media and marketing income for this World Cup, and announcing that millions of dollars will be paid to Football Associations and its executive.

Golden Aches Award goes to the World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC), for forcing its 25 000 volunteers around the country to spend half of their R 120 daily meal allowance at a McDonald’s close by, for the past 40 days.  The Green Point branch, which is right at the Stadium, made a fortune from the Cape Town LOC for daily vouchers to the value of R 60 – it could easily be R2 million – out of a blind loyalty to the fast food company’s sponsorship of the World Cup.

Golden Handcuff Award goes to the S A Police Services for safeguarding South Africa and the soccer fans, and for taking over the security services when Stallion Security staff striked in Cape Town and in Durban at the start of the World Cup.   They were patient, dedicated and worked in the pouring rain in Cape Town at three of the matches, and in cold winter conditions for the other five matches, as well as on non-match days, checking bags and other belongings, keeping everyone inside the Stadium safe.

Golden Key Award goes to FIFA and the LOC, for forbidding its volunteers to criticise the two bodies whilst they were on duty, as per the volunteer contract.   What they did not understand was the power of word-of-mouth, aggrieved volunteers talking to each other and posting comments on the Cape Town Volunteers blog  www.ctvolunteers2010.wordpress.com.    E-mails were sent to other volunteers, and one even approached the Weekend Argus about the McDonald’s forced-diet, that uniforms were not supplied to all volunteers in the 5 weeks of them doing duty, prejudicing some in not working inside the stadiums and therefore not seeing all the matches, and that transport problems meant that volunteers stood in the rain and cold waiting for transportation to take them home after matches.

Golden “Gees” Award goes to all South Africans, who become ‘Proudly South African’ in the past month, becoming soccer fans (who was it that said that ‘White’ South Africans do not support soccer and do not watch local matches?) in addition to loving rugby; who went to watch the Stormers and the Blue Bulls play at Orlando Stadium in Soweto (I mean, have you ever?!) and loved the “gees” there just a short while prior to the start of the World Cup; for walking the Fan Walk  (153 000 in Cape Town last Saturday alone) and calling for the Fan Walk to become a permanent feature, locals requesting Capetonians to walk it once a month; for the loyal support for Bafana Bafana, a team we scorned and mocked prior to the World Cup, but who did us proud; and made us proud Africans, supporting BaGhana BaGhana when this was the last African team left in the tournament.

Golden Liquid Award goes to the beer producers and all the staff at pubs and restaurants around the country who made sure that soccer fans remained liquid, either to celebrate or commiserate their teams’ performance!   Vaughn Johnson’s Wine Shop sold 10 000 beer cans in the 4 hours prior to the England versus Algeria match in Cape Town, he says.

Golden Balls-Up Award goes to ACSA Durban for damaging the image of the country when flights bringing German and Spain fans to Durban on Tuesday after the match had finished, due to a congestion of aeroplanes at the new King Shaka airport in the city, reportedly due to private jets clogging up the parking bays and refusing to move their planes, the FIFA one being one of them!  Not surprisingly FIFA and the LOC have distanced themselves from any responsibility for this mess-up.     

Golden Fans Award goes to all the wonderful soccer fans, both local and international, that became infected with the “gees” of the World Cup, who got to endure the vuvuzelas and even bought their own, for dressing up in wigs, painting their faces, and proudly wearing their country’s flags – I can see a whole new fashion trend in proudly-South African colours.   They brought their dollars, pounds and Euros, and bought beers, ate at restaurants (manly pizzas, burgers and steaks), stayed at good value guest houses and did some sightseeing locally.    They showed up FIFA’s MATCH by making their own accommodation bookings (at non-MATCH guest houses) and by buying their own match tickets, instead of falling for MATCH packages.

Golden Rip-Off Award goes to MATCH, the hospitality and ticketing agency of FIFA, which conned the accommodation industry for a second World Cup, promising good accommodation returns, forcing establishments to give 80 % of their rooms, promising not to cancel rooms as it did in Germany four years before, and for adding an unjustified 30 % commission to accommodation rates, giving South Africa an unfortunate image of “rip-off pricing” in the European and English media, thereby keeping soccer fans away from the country.   As if this was not bad enough, the unfortunate accommodation establishments that signed with MATCH received the majority of their rooms back, just a few weeks before the start of the World Cup.

Golden City Award goes to Cape Town, which to date has had the highest number of goals scored (22) of all stadiums, and has achieved the highest occupancy of stadium seats, said Cape Town Stadium Venue Manager Terral Cullen at a Volunteer Farewell Lunch earlier this week.  The Stadium was moved a few meters and a new one built, for the benefit of the view from it onto Table Mountain.   Ironically it was not the mountain that became the focus of the world media, but it was the Stadium itself that formed the backdrop for report after report about our beautiful city and the matches that were taking place.  Even the sport commentators would refer to the beauty of the city during their match commentary.   President Zuma claimed it as the best World Cup city, and FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said the Cape Town Stadium had the best pitch and was the most perfect stadium, so much so that the Olympic Committee has requested Cape Town to bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.  What an accolade!   Sepp Blatter has taken IOC President Rogge around Cape Town, and personally has recommended the city.  We know that what President Blatter wants, he gets!

Golden Card Award goes to the World Cup referees who loved the red and yellow ones, waving them at players at great regularity, and influencing outcomes of matches as a result – Klose and Mueller’s red and yellow cards were examples for the German team.

Golden Flop Award goes to all soccer players who collapsed every time another player bumped into them – from a distance many of them looked like primadonnas, hoping for a free kick whenever they flopped onto the grass

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

2010 accommodation registration surprises and “FEDHASA scandal”!

If the media release had not been issued by BUANews, the government’s information agency, one would not have believed what one was reading when picking up the release about S A Tourism’s new accommodation portal via Google Alert on 9 December.

The release makes the following startling announcements, none of which have been shared with the accommodation industry directly:

1.  “Establishments to be used during the 2010 FIFA World Cup will need to register the details of their accommodation booking and listings at www.rooms4u.travel” – the “portal” is set to be “… launched in February”.   It is meant to offer”…smaller players the opportunity to market themselves as there was no registration fee to join –  a fee was only payable when bookings were successful” – this means that booking commission will be charged. (The website contains extremely little information, with only 2 pages, one to seek accommodation, and the other to register accommodation.  The logos of TOMSA (Tourism Marketing Levy of South Africa), SATSA, TBCSA (Tourism Business Council of South Africa) and FEDHASA are the only signs of attempting to bring credibility to the website.

2.   “…all establishments would be pre-registered on the booking portal and the Federated Hospitality Industry of South Africa (FEDHASA) would be undertaking a process to verify information on each provider during the course of this month and January”

3.   A contact centre will be established, with a website (www.southafrica.net) and a call center (+27 87 803 INFO), accessible 24 hours a day, in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Portugese.  The website will also contain information about tourist attractions, transport, restaurants, activities and routes, as well as what to do in the case of an emergency.

We ask the Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk:

*   why have accommodation establishments not been notified by the Department/South African Tourism about the requirement to register?

*   why would such a website only be launched in February, 4 months prior to the World Cup, when all the booking action is happening right now, directly after the Final Draw?

*   why do accommodation establishments have to declare any bookings to a central website?   Is there a law to dictate this?

*   who is behind the www.rooms4u.travel website?  Do accommodation establishments pay commission for bookings received?  How much?   Why is there so little information on the website – there are no credentials presented, no “About Us”!

*   what qualifies FEDHASA to verify the information about accommodation establishments – it is a hotel association, that is not in touch with the small accommodation sector and its needs.   It is an industry association with barely any full-time staff – only having secretarial staff in the regional offices.  FEDHASA closes its regional offices for almost a month from mid-December – to mid-January.  How will they cope in doing this “verification” over this period, at a time when the accommodation industry is at its busiest?  What is that they will verify?

*    Why does the call centre not offer assistance in more languages – to assist visitors from the two Koreas, Japan, the other African countries, and in South Africa’s vernacular languages?

Even more bizarre was the news release from Cape Town Tourism, proudly announcing that it will register private accommodation of Capetonians in a separate “temporary accommodation tier”, for which they will pay a membership fee.  In return, they will have their property assessed by Cape Town Tourism, which will lead to membership accreditation, representation on its website www.capetown.travel/2010, and promotion of the properties via Cape Town Tourism’s call centres and Visitor Information Centres.   Furthermore, and probably at an additional fee, the release says that “Cape Town Tourism will also offer assistance in the areas of brochure compilation, marketing, and visitor requirements to ensure that temporary accommodation service providers offer a remarkable experience”

We ask Cape Town Tourism:

*    Why have you not informed us as members of Cape Town Tourism about this?

*    Why are you taking business away from your membership base, who have supported you loyally over the years, when professional accommodation establishments are not yet fully booked for the 2010 World Cup?   Do you need additional income so badly that you have to include private home owners into your membership base?  

*    What survey have you done to establish what our availability is for the World Cup, especially if we have not contracted with MATCH?

*    Why would you want to divert attention from your stated objective, i.e. to market Cape Town and its products, to advise and organise non-professional private home owners in their marketing?

Post Script:  New Tourism Portal 

After the first draft of this story was written, we came across the following post, via Twitter, from Capeinfo.com.  Carl Momberg is not known to be shy about what he says, and his story on what he calls the “Tourism Mafia”, and which he quite rightly refers to as a scandal, follows: 

“Are the Minister of Tourism and his Department (DOT) a bunch of blundering idiots or are they getting into bed with a tourism mafia?  Their latest announcement seems to be ill-conceived and acknowledges that accommodation arrangements for the 2010 World Cup are not as rosy as he claims.

Here are the facts:

It started on Tuesday when we received an email from a website called rooms4u claiming to be the official South African accommodation and bookings portal, accredited by FIFA, and supported by the DOT, SA Tourism, Fedhasa, Tourism Business Council of SA, etc.

Now everybody in the hospitality industry has been subjected to a flood of emails from new websites that promise the world and his wife for 2010, so our first thought was that this is another scam.  And we wrote to the DOT, 2010 Organising Committee, SA Tourism and Fedhasa saying, “What’s going on?”

Website ownership is in the public domain so we looked it up.  rooms4u is owned by Kiara Holdings and its MD is Brett Dungan, who is also the CEO of Fedhasa and the chair of the Tourism Business Council.  Could he have the clout to grab all those bednights that the World Cup needs so badly, and that many others have been working very hard to cater for?

Only the DOT responded to all our emails and it was with a phone call the next day from the Head of Communications.

He confirmed that rooms4u is the new official South African accommodation and bookings portal.  It is accredited by FIFA.  There was no tender or public awareness process because it is a businesswide initiative, he said.

So why is the website owned by a private company?  He didn’t answer that but kept repeating that it’s a businesswide initiative supported by MATCH, SA Tourism, Fedhasa, etc.

Why were provincial and city tourism authorities unaware of all of this, since many have devoted a lot of effort to 2010 and the World Cup?  He sidestepped that one too but said if we have problems with the new portal, we must take it up with our provincial tourism authority.

He promised to email the press release with the announcement several times, as though that would solve all disputes, but it never arrived.

Sorry, this sounds like a scandal in the making.

A week ago, SA Tourism was still discussing mechanisms to link 2010 fans to the existing portals offering online booking, and they were considering a panel of approved websites.

Calvyn Gilfellan, Cape Town Routes Unlimited’s CEO, was surprised when CapeInfo told him about the Minister’s announcement.  “Both SA Tourism and DOT’s position on booking portals was consistently one of not getting involved. They have left it up to the provinces, local tourism organizations and private sector,” he said.  Both Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) and Cape Town Tourism rely on booking commissions for revenue.

He agreed that the whole thing is irregular because they knew nothing about it, although they are in frequent contact with the DOT and are working on three initiatives with them.

After further enquiries, Gilfellen wrote saying that “SA Tourism has come back to us and suggested that it be an urgent item on the agenda for Friday’s national marketing manager’s forum in Johannesburg.”

The DOT advised CTRU to ignore my questions saying they would respond to them.  We’ve received nothing.  A further email to Sindiswa Nhlumayo, deputy director-general of tourism, also elicited no response.

This has all the makings of another scam and scandal.

rooms4u advertises free listings but there are no terms and conditions. They say an (optional) allocation and booking system will follow in March 2010  and “your world-wide exposure to all travelers and potential customers will commence.

There is no mention of any booking commissions or other fees that might be introduced when the world-wide exposure commences.  Will this official website offer free bookings and exposure or, if MATCH is part of the rooms4u equation, does that mean that the total fee will again be 30–40%?  It’s only good business practice to state this upfront.

And what will happen to rooms4u after the World Cup?  Will it be closed down or will it continue to compete with other websites, as South Africa’s official accommodation and bookings portal? Will government continue to promote it after 2010?

Surely it is the public’s right to see the contract between the Department of Tourism and Kiara Holdings, or are Fedhasa and the Tourism Business Council a front for Kiara Holdings?

The boards of SA Tourism and the Tourism Business Council comprises some heavyweight businesspeople known for their integrity.  One wonders if they were fully informed of the process or has this caught them by surprise too, like the provincial and city tourism authorities?

This sends out all the wrong messages.  It seems to say that if you sit on boards, you can get a slice of the cake.  Surely the Minister must have been aware that the appointment of a single website owned by a high profile businessman would come under public scrutiny?

The old British Tourism Authority had a very clear way of levelling the playing field but still giving website visitors access to online booking.  They published a list of criteria for accredited websites offering online booking.  They linked to all websites that met their criteria and took no commissions.

But if MATCH is there wanting their pound of flesh, that’s not going to happen.

MATCH got things badly wrong in South Africa.  They had to change their usual rules.  SA doesn’t have the stock of graded accommodation they could call upon elsewhere, and they tried to embrace the small accommodation sector that provides the bulk of all rooms in SA.   But they didn’t change their modus operandi to go with it.  They have been bad communicators and tried to impose big hotel practices on more laissez faire establishments.

With this announcement, ‘Kortbroek’ van Schalkwyk seems to have been caught with his pants right down.”

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com