The iconic Mmabatho Palms Hotel and South Africa’s oldest casino in Mahikeng burnt down in the early hours of the morning.
The new North West Premier Bushy Maape has described the fire that saw the Mmabatho Palms Hotel in Mahikeng in the North West engulfed in flames on 8 September as a major setback for the province’s tourism industry.
The four-star resort, which also featured the 44-year-old (and oldest casino) in South Africa, is situated adjacent to the Leopard Park golf course, reports The Citizen.
Now, reports suggest that the fire, which broke out early on 8 September, saw the hotel and casino razed to the ground. On Facebook, Peermont Hotels Casinos and Resorts also confirmed a fire at its Mahikeng property, Mmabatho Palms, Hotel, Casino and Convention Resort in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The police and fire departments are said to be on the scene and are in the process of investigating the incident.
It is reported that while there are surely older casinos in South Africa, given the illicit nature and widespread popularity of gambling, there is no older casino registered with the Casino Association of South Africa than the Mmabatho Casino.
Ever since 2019, a total of 39 casinos were operational in South Africa. It was found that the casino industry is by far the largest and most prominent component of the South African gambling industry. This is considerably lower than 2 000 casinos that were operational in the country in 1995.
While the Mmabatho Casino was considered to be ‘iconic’, now various videos on social media have since confirmed the destruction of the hotel and casino – of which only a few palm trees and the pool remains.
Many have since expressed their sympathies on social media, saying that its destruction is a real shame.
“That’s so sad!!!!! I grew up along the poolside every December with my family at that hotel. Special memories!” Lauren Smith said on Facebook. “This is heartbreaking,” said Lindiwe Jele.
“Very sad guys, mmabatho palms is gone [sic],” said Keitumetse Marekwa. “This hurts,” said Maipelo Sechogela.