Labor problems at MalaMala

Jan 20th, 2009, 12:42 AM
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Labor problems at MalaMala

Copying in following posting by Krugerlover in another forum thread. I see nothing about this on MM website. All news to me, did I miss another posting somewhere?

Mr. Michael Rattray negotiated with the staff's labour-union about better payment, work hours etc etc and they came to an agreement. Staff and union was happy with this and everything was fine.

The next day the staff contacted and new union and this labour union said that they could get the staff even better payment etc.

Mr. Rattray rightly refused to negociate with this new union. Staff started striking, dancing infront of Main Camp etc. Mr.Rattray hired a few busses to come to Mala Mala and escourted approxx. 90% of Kitchen, trackers and housekeeping staff out of Sabi Sands. Court date is on teh 26th of February.

That means that there are no trackers on any game drive vehicles until the 26th of Feb. Rangers have to work in gardens, wash game drive vehicles and shine the spotlight at night while driving! Shame!

Conclusion: Mr.Rattray was 100% correct in what he did. The staff was just greedy and naive.

Regards, KL

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 01:48 AM
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Despite these "problems", it has to be said that Mala Mala's remaining staff have really done a superb job keeping up with the high standard that this magnificent lodge has set. Compliments to David Evans, Tom Bloy and Nils Kure.

Link to a statement issued by David Evans:


Krugerlover is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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I guess I'll find out on Sunday.

Is Kaye back, this must have been happening when she was there.
napamatt_2 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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If you have problem with above link try it this way-

regards - tom
ps - wish I were going with you Matt, have great time!!!!!
cary999 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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Matt - you're going to Pafuri Camp, right? It's "officially" within Kruger and operated by Wilderness? I'm very interested in how you like it, please report.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 03:14 PM
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Yes I am, I'll be there Friday. I will post a thorough report on Pafuri when I get back, I also promise a detailed run down on the state of labor relations in Mpumalanga province.

napamatt_2 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:22 PM
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Enjoy!!! Say hello to Gordon if you bump into him.

Hopefully you have a spotter in the vehicle with you - hopefully a few of them are not on strike!

With luck those 6 male Lions Ex-Eyrefield.

HariS is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 06:21 PM
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Say hi to the 7 Mapujo Boys (those 6 male Lions Ex-Eyrefield) plus one older brother. Mapujo literally means to take the law into one owns hands - ie - vigilante.
And say hi to Graham also, if he's there with Carole. I envy you right now.
safarimama is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 06:57 PM
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Have another great time Matt! Wish I was going. Kaye leaves MM tomorrow. She got to hold the spotlight on occasion and had terrific sightings even with the rain. Can't wait to see her photos.
CarlaM is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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Have a wonderful trip, Matt. If 90% of the staff is not working the rangers are probably having to pick up the slack. Your ranger will probably have to do his wake up calls in person so he can deliver your coffee and make your bed each morning.
sundowner is online now  
Jan 20th, 2009, 08:17 PM
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Thanks guys.

Hari - Gordon is our ranger these days, hopefully Philemon is working.
We are lucky that we are being joined by Leon and his wife Jenny who worked at MM for thirteen years to celebrate a major birthday, so I think we'll be well set.

Mama - the boys seem to have been five for some time, and as coalitions of 5 go, they seem to be breaking up, at least as far as their forays into MM. I will be happy not to see them, if it means more security for the Eyrefield Cubs, who I've seen from 3 months and the Styx cubs who I'm hoping to see.

Carla - then I'll miss Kaye by just a few days, I'm sure we'll meet maybe next year.

Sundowner - no coffe in bad at MM, just the wake up by phone which the ranger does. If the Rattrays comp my bar bill, I'll happily have DW make the bed Not sure they could afford that though...hic!

napamatt_2 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 09:02 PM
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I have heard so many great things about Leon. My good friends were there in '97 with him. They asked me if he was still there when I visited last summer to see if he remember their "Flying Kudu" incident. They had a private vehicle. Here is the short version:

"We were on a night drive, following the Styx pride as they hunted. 5 or so mature lionesses, and some juveniles. We spotted an enormous male Kudu and so did they. The lioness on our right took off after the kudu, and he ran to the left.
I should mention that in the vehicle, Leigh was up front with Leon, Stan and I were in the middle seat, and Ben was alone in the last seat , with the tracker behind him on his perch.

Next thing as we look left to see what we could, the kudu sailed OVER the jeep. The last thing we heard from Ben was "holy shit" (he was filming all of this and saw the poor beast coming right for him.) We turned around immediately and NO BEN. I screamed, Leigh screamed, then Ben said, very quietly, I'm down here. He had ducked, in time, but had two enormous hoof prints on his back. The kudu went right over him. It knocked our Nikon right off of the seat. Luckily the lions remained on the ground.

Determining everyone was ok, we went to see what happened to the kudu. It may well have broken a leg on the jeep. It left a big dent. But it was history and the lions ate well that night. The next morning we went back to the area, and found the camera. There was nothing left of the kudu except for the grassy remains of his stomach.

All the guides bought us drinks that night. Needless to say, we had a couple each!"


So Mala Mala and Parfuri this time? Any place else? Do you drive to Parfuri or fly?
CarlaM is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 04:11 AM
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Hi All,

New to this whole thing!!!

Sundowner: I don't believe much of anything has changed. My aunt was there recently and she said she didn't even know they were having problems. The rangers stuck to their usual routines and they had extra staff on hand to assist with all the back of house departments. So I don't think you would need to worry about the rangers making your bed. It is not only the rangers taking slack. My Aunt says that all of top management is pulling their weight! They even have one of their Directors helping at the camp.

ShanMck25 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 07:07 AM
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Hi everyone I'm back

I'll write a full trip report, but I'llk also rspond on a few threads in the meantime.

Staffing issues would not be noticeable to most guests, as frequent visitors we noticed little things, but mainly the absence of old friends - many of whom did not want to be on strike, there has as usual in union issues been a lot of coercion.

David Evans was heavily involved and sepent a lot of time with us asking us for feedback.

They have hired a new chef, which is likely to be the first part of an upgrade in the quality of food, particularly at Rattrays.

As Mkhonzo says you dont need a tracker at MM, we had such amazing viewing with grass at waist height that a tracker couldn't have added much. In fact our game drives went on much longer than in the past. Apparently the trackers used to like to end their day by around 7:30pm and put a lot of pressure on the ranger to get home.

napamatt_2 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Do i understand you correctly: Trackers are not needed at MM?

First i think it's not nice to call the trackers "dispensable" and secondly

What is your estimation why MM employed trackers in the first place?

Okay - as they sit in the back - that might support your first statement regarding "dispensabiliy".

But the question 2 still remains pending to me.

spassvogel is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 02:09 PM
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"...trackers used to like to end their day by around 7:30pm and put a lot of pressure on the ranger to get home."

Interesting, do trackers typically stay at MM overnight or go home to nearby village every night?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Having been around this forum a long time, I forget that sometimes references to historical posts are not very clear to newer members.

There have been a number of posts in the past that asserted that the trackers at MM were pretty much worthless as anything other than spotters. In addition Mkhonzo made the point that trackers are not that necessary in SSGR due to the high (some would say unsuitably high) density of predators.

My experience has been mostly positive with trackers at MM, I have seen them leave the vehicle for large periods of time and usually deliver the goods. In addition I have seen them make some great spots, and also find some great birds in the case of Philemon.

I can't find the word dispensable in my post - but many other companies seem to manage just fine without a tracker (writer ducks to avoid objects being hurled in his direction).

From my experience of MM, the land blocks are very small, so if the ranger sees tracks on the road that disappear into the block, he can drive the roads bordering the block to determine if the tracks reappear. If they don't then you can off road through the block and see if you can pick up the animal in question. This would not be the case in all safari areas.

I think MM employed trackers because it made great sense to do so. I still think it does, as long as the tracker adds value. My preferred tracker adds a lot of my value to my trip ( I really like him), but many of the others I have experienced did not. I have no idea whether the trackers will be back at MM, one would expect so after the strike is over, but who knows. One thing I can say is that our game drives did not suffer this time, notwithstanding waist high grass.


They stay in the staff village at MM. I did hear some pretty funny stories related about some tracker incidents that had us all in stitches.

napamatt_2 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Thank you Napamatt for your clarification!

I myself appreciate the tracker/ranger team system..
First the trackers are mostly Shangan people who are the most wonderful spotters and "readers" of terrain I have experienced.
Second it's employment.
Finally the rangers/guides learn a lot from the trackers.

I feel always SAFE when a "native" African, who grew up in the bush having sharpened all senses, with us.

spassvogel is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 07:51 PM
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Londolozi Rocks! they also have ethics and treat staff like family.
sunny_california is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 07:58 PM
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There are a number of lodges, especially family owned ones that have good relationships with their staff. When I hear rangers that have stayed for years, like Lion Sands, Djuma and I am sure many others, you know there is a reason they stay there. I am sure people can name many more.

mytmoss is offline  
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