Kruger National Park Private Game Lodge, Shishangeni Private Lodge is the centre of an acrimonious dispute between Signature Life Hospitality and Three Cities with both claiming the management, marketing and sales rights for the property.

The lodge is owned by POPCRU Group of Companies (PGC) and believing they had an agreement with the owners, Signature Life last week issued a media statement stating it had taken over the management, sales and marketing contract for Shishangeni Private Lodge, which comprises three camps: Shishangeni Private Lodge; Camp Shonga; and Camp Shawu.

CEO of Three Cities, Mike Lambert, was shocked at the news and claims to have no prior knowledge of the claim by Signature Life. “This contract is valid until June 2012 and until then it is business as usual as far as we are concerned. The lodges are still represented on the Three Cities website, reservations are still being made via Three Cities’ central reservations and the sales network is still representing the product.”

He added, “The terms of the contract are clear and should there be any contractual concerns there is a prescribed resolution process that is in place to deal with this eventuality. I could only attribute the devious nature of this announcement to possible financial challenges that are facing the lodges at present.”

Signature Life quickly replied stating: “The relationship between the two parties (PGC and Three Cities) had become so toxic that Shishangeni Lodge was left with no option but to call off the partnership and to appoint a new management company.” In a media statement, PGC accuses Three Cities of numerous contractual breaches leaving them with no other option but to appoint a new management company. These include allegations of failing to appoint a general manager for the past year as well as neglecting to send a senior executive to the Kruger National Park Private Game Lodge since March this year.