+27 36 468 1063 info@champagnecastle.co.za


Dear Champagne Castle Team Member


You would have heard by now that effective from 18 August 2020 Alert Level 2 has come into effect. This is positive for the leisure tourism industry in that travel between the provinces is allowed again, as is the sale of alcohol. However, there are still many restrictions which
impact on how we can operate. These include the following:

  • Wearing masks, social distancing and sanitising hands are still compulsory behaviours required of the public, which includes our guests, and you, our employees.
  • We may only accommodate guests up to a 50% occupancy level and 50% floor space in our public areas, such as our restaurant, bar, lounge and patio.
  • We must comply with all health & safety directives issued by the Department of Employment and Labour and other ministers as such as the Minister of Tourism and Minister of Health.
  • The directives include that we can bring back employees only gradually and aligned to occupancy levels. This means we cannot bring all of you back at the same time as yet.
  • In terms of the directives we also need to take special caution as regards employees who are over the age of 60 and those who have underlying illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma.
  • The directives also requires us to provide extensive training as regards to health & safety measures particularly related to Covid19.
  • Further, we need to provide training in respect of all operational changes that have to be implemented under Covid19. This includes new methods on how work must be performed in the individual departments so as to prevent the spread of Covid19 and keeping our guests and colleagues safe.

What does this mean for you, our valuable team members?

  • Before we can open the hotel, we need to take all of you through the required training.
  • The training will take place from Friday, 28th August 2020 until 3 September 2020 according to the time table set out below. Please check on which dates and at which times you are required to report to the hotel for training.
  • For the days you receive training you will be paid.
  • The hotel will open again for guests on the 4th of September 2020
  • PLEASE NOTE: Having completed the training does NOT mean you can return to work on 4 September.
  • We will attempt to rotate you in accordance with the demands of business and the limitation of guests we may accommodate.
  • This means that you may only be called to work for 1 or 2 weeks in a month. For the balance of the time we will provide you with the forms to claim payment from the UIF.
  • All of this will be explained to you in more detail on the days you are required to attend training.



SHE Representative Training
Friday, 28 August : 08h00 – 16h00

  • Skiet Radebe,
  • Brighton Shabalala,
  • Robert Khoza,
  • Vincent Nkozi,
  • Zama Khubheka,
  • Lerato Ngqulunga

Emergency Controller Training
Saturday, 29 August : 08h00 – 16h00

  • Teddie Blose,
  • Lihle Zuma,
  • Mthobisi Nhlegethwa,
  • Wiseman Sikhosana,
  • Sibonelo Khumalo,
  • Nkonzo Shabalala

First Aid Training
Monday & Tuesday, 31 August and 1 September : 08h00 – 16h00

  • Nokuthula Mabaso,
  • Monica Kumalo,
  • Rowen Zitha,
  • Khaya Ngwenya,
  • Robert Khoza,
  • Sipho Mlambo,
  • Yvonne Wild,
  • Siphamandla Mbhele

Basic Fire Fighting Training
Wednesday, 2 September : 08h00 – 16h00

  • Skiet Radebe,
  • Brighton Shabalala,
  • Maxwell Mabaso,
  • Sizwe Dlamini,
  • Simpiwe Sithole,
  • Eric Hadebe


Health/Safety, Covid and Code of Conduct related training
Monday, 31 August : 08h30 – 11h30

  • All Maintenance and
  • Estate Staff

Health/Safety, Covid and Code of Conduct related training
Monday, 31 August : 12h30 – 15h30

  • All Food & Beverage Staff (Bartender, Bar Cleaners, Waiters)

Health/Safety, Covid and Code of Conduct related training
Tuesday, 1 September
: 08h30 – 11h30

  • All Kitchen Staff

Health/Safety, Covid and Code of Conduct related training 
Tuesday, 1 September : 12h30 – 15h30

  • All Housekeeping Staff

Health/Safety, Covid and Code of Conduct related training 
Wednesday, 2 September : 08h30 – 11h30

  • Front Office,
  • Shop,
  • Wellness Centre Staff


Geochem Training and Practical Cleaning Training
Wednesday, 2 September : 10h00 – 11h00 / 11h30 – 16h00

  • All Housekeeping Staff

Geochem Training and Practical Cleaning Training
Wednesday, 2 September : 11h30 – 12h30 / 13h00 – 16h00

  • All Kitchen Staff

Please make your own transport arrangements and ensure that you arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled training time at the main entrance.

It is a legal requirement to undergo a screening process to ensure it is safe for you to enter the property. Whilst waiting at the entrance gate, you must wear your mask and stay 1.5 meters away from any of your colleagues. Should you be found not complying with this you may be prevented from entering the workplace and be subjected to disciplinary action. Once the entrance procedures are complete, please proceed directly to the Conference Centre (not to the hotel) and keep your voices down as our chalets are occupied. Once training is finished, you may not linger on the property. Proceed directly to the gate to wait for your taxi and practice social distancing.

Please note that if you have Covid-19, have been in contact with any one recently with Covid-19 or if you are not feeling well, please contact your manager urgently to discuss your situation as you will be denied access to the property.

We look forward to seeing you again later this week or early next week. In the meantime, wear your mask when going out, practice social distancing, sanitise your hands and stay healthy.

Regards and stay safe

Georges Romarin
General Manager


Dear Champagne Castle Team Member


The Minister of Tourism recently announced that leisure tourism is allowed to operate again, however, only intra provincial, which means that we may only accommodate guests who live in KZN. Unfortunately the alcohol ban is still in place, which means that we are not permitted to sell and serve alcohol to any guests. In light of these news we wish to advise and remind you of the following:

  • It appears that there is not much interest so far in normal hotel accommodation on the basis that we are not allowed to provide all of our usual services.
  • We will therefore start with opening up the self-catering chalets and keep our food and beverage services, such as the bar, restaurant and patio service closed until such time that we receive sufficient hotel accommodation bookings to warrant us opening up the kitchen and restaurant.
  • We will also not provide any hikes or horse riding as keeping social distancing, particularly with horse riding (such as assisting guests on or off a horse) would not be possible.
  • Once we receive bookings for the self-catering chalets we will make contact with some of our cleaning staff and request them to return to work on days we do have bookings.
  • All other employees will remain on the extended lay-off as advised in our last communication. Should you have any queries or issues regarding this, you may contact us.
  • PLEASE NOTE: As we have previously advised you, the staff quarters for junior employees is closed. Any employee who is called back and who was living in the staff quarters, is now deemed a live-out employee. The hotel will contribute towards travel costs as has been the practice with other live-out employees.
  • We have advised you that the UIF TERS payments have been extended until the middle of August. We have therefore again made application on your behalf and will remit any payments received from UIF directly into your bank account. Therefore do not make application as yet for the UIF temporary lay-off claim as we have advised you in our previous communication brief.
  • NOTE TO UNION MEMBERS: As we have previously mentioned to you, we are not permitted to deduct Union fees from the TERS payments. Whilst we have communicated this to the Union, we have not received any response.
  • NOTE TO MEMBERS OF THE PROVIDENT FUND WHO ARE BETWEEN 55 AND 65 YEARS OLD: We do not believe that we will be able to operate at the same occupancy levels than prior to the Covid-19 pandemic until next year. We also may have some staff members who are more vulnerable to complications due to Covid-19. We have established from the Provident Fund that members may apply for early retirement if they are 55 years or older. Should you wish to consider going on early retirement, please make
    contact with Haseena / Rowan who will assist you in making application with the fund.

Finally, we will keep you updated of any new developments. Please look after yourself, wear your mask when going out, practice social distancing, wash your hands with soap and water, and stay healthy.

Regards and stay safe

Georges Romarin
General Manager

LETTER – 14 JULY 2020

Dear Champagne Castle Team Member


It is with regret that we have to advise you that tourism hotels such as the Champagne Castle Hotel are still not allowed to open, possibly not until September / October 2020.

There are a number of matters we would like to inform you of:

  • Even when the lock down will eventually be lifted, it will take a long time, possibly until next year before we have the same amount of guests than we did before COVID 19.
  • Remember, a large portion of our guests come from overseas. Many overseas countries have seen COVID 19 coming back and international travel will not be allowed until such time that COVID 19 has largely disappeared or a vaccine has been found which might take 18 months to 2 years.
  • International guests will therefore be lost to us well into next year or longer.
  • The lockdown restrictions have also impacted on the economy worldwide and affected people’s savings. We therefore do not believe that as many guests from within South Africa than what we are used to will take holidays.
  • Therefore, once we are allowed to open again, we can only bring staff back for work gradually as and when we receive enough bookings from guests.
  • Even a very limited return to work process will involve getting the hotel ready in terms of very strict and new health and safety regulations, changing methods of performing work, and then training staff on the new work methods.
  • As you know the UIF TERS payment will not continue from July 2020 but to ensure that you continue to receive further payments from the UIF the current layoff process will continue.
  • To help speed up the UIF claims process we have prepared the forms which we, as the employer, need to give you, and have put these in an envelope for you to collect from the following persons:


Emoyeni – Collect envelope from Siphiwe Sithole (083 541 6261)

Golton – Collect envelope from Ester Khumalo  (072 857 0684)

Tatane – Collect envelope from Njabulo Dlamini (073 076 6728)

Draycot – Collect envelope from Mariske Mazibulo (072 891 2369)

Bergville Shell Garage – Collect envelope from Nellie Mazibuko (072 589 7140)

  • We also put a note into the envelope to explain what you still need to do before going to your nearest UIF Office.
  • You can collect your envelope from the person shown in the table above from Wednesday afternoon or Thursday. Please wear your mask, wait at the gate and keep a social distance of 2m away from each other. We suggest you give the person a call to see if they have your envelope.
  • If anyone of you do not live near the area as set out above, please make urgent contact with us, so we know how to get the forms to you.
  • Those of you who do have an email address, please let us know as soon as you get this communication brief by sending an email to: accounts@champagnecastlehotel.co.za
  • We will then forward the documents to you via email. If you have access to the web, you can also try to apply electronically at: www.labour.gov.za. Look for UIF and then the easy guide for electronic claims. There is a section B with a subsection B again where individuals can apply for UIF benefits for reduced work benefits.
  • Those of you who are a member of the Provident Fund please be advised that the fund has granted a contribution holiday. The hotel will, however, be paying the risk portion and administrative fees, which we are advised by the fund, will ensure that the policies are held in place not including the extended portions.
  • Those of you who are members of the Union please note that as we were not allowed to deduct any monies from the TERS payments, we have not paid your Union subscriptions to the Union. You would need to pay your subscriptions directly to the Union.

Finally, we will keep you updated of any new developments. Please look after yourself, wear your mask when going out, practice social distancing, wash your hands with soap and water, and stay healthy.

Regards and stay safe

Georges Romarin
General Manager

LETTER – 26 JUNE 2020

Dear Champagne Castle Team


We trust that you have been staying safe and healthy during these rather difficult times.

You would have heard President Ramaphosa’s announcement on Wednesday evening regarding a further opening up of our economy, which includes the Hospitality Industry. As you will know, no date has been set as yet for this Covid Level 3 adjustment, nor have any regulations been promulgated.

Notwithstanding these current uncertainties as regards particular regulations still to be promulgated, we are in the process of considering the implications on our business and most importantly on the health and safety of employees who may be able to return to work, business levels depending.

We therefore wish to alert you to one important aspect dealing with the health and safety of employees who may be able to return to work in the coming weeks or months. As you will be aware, a significant number of our junior employees, are accommodated in staff quarters on a room sharing basis.

Having up to 4 persons sharing a room does not permit for the legally required social distancing and poses a risk not only to our employees sharing accommodation but also to our other employees and to our guests. Consequently we will advise our employees that as and when they may return to work it will be on a live-out basis. The hotel will contribute towards travel costs to and from the hotel, aligned to the practice with all our live out employees.

Further, we are sure you will understand that at this moment in time, we cannot even guarantee whether and when we will be able to open our hotel again, notwithstanding our President’s announcement of the Covid Level 3 adjustments to the Accommodation Sector. Obviously all accommodation bookings were cancelled at the beginning of the lock down at the end of March 2020. You may be aware that a significant percentage of our business is from overseas and as our national borders are still closed, this part of our normal market will be lost to us for at least this year if not longer.

We are currently evaluating what local business we may be able to attract for the weeks and months to come, but are not hopeful that there will be sufficient business for us to warrant bringing back all of our employees for work. In due course we will need to consider what options are available to us to safe guard the continuation of our hotel business and prevent a possible permanent closure. In this process we will also be considering the impact this may have on our employees. Whilst our aim will be to minimise hardship, this may only be possible with the full cooperation of our employees and in respect of your members with the Union’s cooperation.

That we have had the wellbeing of our employees foremost in mind must be evident to you, considering that we have done our utmost best to ensure the TERS payment, made payment of additional monies from the hotel and that we have continued to pay over the employee and employer contribution to the Hospitality & General Provident Fund.

We appreciate your understanding and will advise you further once the regulations impacting our industry have been promulgated and we have a clearer idea on the way forward.

Regards and stay safe

Georges Romarin
General Manager
26 June 2020

LETTER – 7 MAY 2020

Dear Champagne Castle Team.

We trust that that you are all keeping safe at home and looking after your loved ones. The hotel would like to give you an update regarding the lockdown and its effect on the hotel going forward. These uncertain times are making it very difficult to plan for both the future of the hotel and the future of all our employment. Please be assured that management are doing everything possible to keep the property “guest ready” so when the hotel can reopen, we will be in a position to do so as quickly as possible. A big thank you to all of those who are actively participating in this process.

Hotel Re-Opening

I’m sure you will all have seen or heard of the Risk-Adjusted Strategy being applied by Government to slowly restart the economy and how the country will move up or down the levels, based on the infection rate. You will all understand that they cannot put a date as to when the hotel will reopen, as firstly as a country we will need to get to Level 1 and secondly there is no way of giving any sort of time frame as to when Level 1 will be achieved. Therefore, the hotel will remain closed indefinitely. We simply do not know what the future of the hotel or the hospitality industry will be; but we hope that we can return to operations in the future and welcome our staff back to work.

Payments to Personnel:

April 2020
The hotel applied for the TERS (Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme) on behalf of the employees, which was paid over to you. To assist you financially, the company topped this up.

May/June 2020

The company will once again apply for TERS on behalf of the employees and once paid to Champagne Castle Hotel, this will be paid into employees accounts. However, the company will not be in a position to top up; employees will only receive the TERS payment. How much actual money this will be, we cannot tell you. The Act states “UIF will calculate the benefits as per the directive, namely 38% to 60% in terms of income replacement sliding scale contained in the UIF Act”.

July 2020

Should the hotel still not be able to open, we will have to apply once more through the Government for whatever directive we receive from them. We will keep you updated. Please note that during this time the company will endeavour to keep your Provident Fund up to date.

We ask our Champagne Castle Team to please stand in support of what we have to do in order to survive beyond this very difficult time. Remember to stay safe, keep strong and look after one another at home.

Kind regards
Champagne Castle Hotel Management