The Sun International (SI) group board – chaired by ex-Minister of Tourism, Valli Moosa – has announced a restructuring process that includes the closure of properties, the cutting of 1 752 jobs (1 183 jobs cut for Sun City alone) and a limited restructure of its gaming operations.

This was highlighted in a 20-page business update published on the SI corporate website yesterday, with the board members highlighting that while the restructure would be a “difficult process” it was vital for the long-term survival of the hotel and resort properties.

The business update pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic was having a materially negative impact on the macroeconomic environment, with notable implications for the South African GDP outlook and a slow domestic recovery.

“Although trading conditions are going to be challenging, we are confident that, with the appropriate level of support from shareholders and lenders, the company can trade through this crisis,” the board members noted.

Sun Carousel in Gauteng and Naledi in the Free State will be closed as part of the restructuring process and SI has proposed a restructure of its smaller gaming units (Meropa, Flamingo, Windmill, and Worcester).

This will primarily be the outsourcing of food and beverage and certain managerial restructuring, according to the update.

Although the group welcomed the June 17 announcement that casinos, restaurants, hotels and resorts would be allowed to open, the regulations still need to be published.

The ongoing restriction on interprovincial travel will impact on the opening of certain properties, such as Sun City and Wild Coast Sun, noted the board members, adding that the properties were in a state of readiness to reopen at short notice.

The SI board also pointed out that although hotels may resume operating, it was still not commercially viable to reopen certain operations, namely Table Bay in Cape Town and The Maslow in Sandton.