Themba and his team focus on bringing fun to Kimberley during pandemic

Flamingo Casino and Entertainment World celebrated its 19th birthday last month.

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Themba Marasha
Themba Marasha, General Manager, Flamingo Casino

Maintaining Flamingo Casino in Kimberley as a safe destination that is synonymous with fun has been keeping General Manager Themba Marasha and his team busy during the past year.

“Working through the Covid-19 pandemic has seen us executing operations with more efficiency, and a focus to ensure that we don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, which is to keep our guests entertained, while undergoing these changes and keeping them as safe as possible.”

Marasha said it was imperative that management led by example, monitoring compliance and ensuring that all measures were in place to ensure continued compliance. “All of Sun International’s world-class health and safety protocols are in place, and our assurance is that these are meaningful and not just a tick-box exercise.”

The Institute of Risk Management South Africa acknowledged the calibre of the Sun International’s Covid-19 risk management strategy at their recent awards, in the category of Tourism, Hospitality & Gaming industry.

Protocols include screening guests on arrival, screens between players at the tables and machines, with every second slot machine shut down. Sanitiser is also on hand should guests wish to sanitise their gaming equipment themselves, although staff are on a rigorous cleaning timetable.

“Last month saw Flamingo celebrate our 19th birthday, and we planned many thrilling celebrations including individually packed, Covid-19-safe birthday packs for MVG card holders, with treats and a drink. We did this in order to celebrate safely, so that our MVGs could come at their leisure and not attend a big gathering.”

Marasha has been with Sun International since 2014, when a desire to have a taste of the private sector saw him becoming General Manager of Meropa Casino and Entertainment World in Polokwane.

Prior to that he worked in banking, for the Mpumalanga Development Corporation as well as the Mpumalanga Gaming Board. “This is where my love for the gaming sector started, when I became a corporate investigator,” Marasha said. He then moved to National Gambling Board as a Chief Inspector and progressed to position of Chief Operations Officer and Chief Compliance officer.

He considers his transition from public to private sector – when he took on the role of GM at Meropa – as one of his proudest moments, and says the change of cultures came easily.

The Mbombela-born father of three holds a BCom honours degree from the University of Zululand, and a post graduate diploma in management. He also attended two executive development programmes at the University of Nevada and the University of Pretoria.

Marasha is keen for people to see Kimberley as more than just a destination which is rich in history. “Besides being a prospecting city famous for its diamonds and the Big Hole, you can take a ride on the vintage tram, stop for a drink at the country’s second oldest pub and learn about the history of the !Xun and Khwe San people at the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre.”