It says NCC accusations that the scheme “from inception to execution” is aimed at enriching two men and their family trusts, are “abuse and an unjustifiable exercise of power”.
In a 258-page affidavit, the NCC accuses Club Leisure Group of swindling money out of uneducated consumers by persuading them to sign contracts to join holiday clubs set up solely for the benefit of Anthony Ridl and Stuart Lamont, whose respective family trusts, Eagle Trust and Hibiscus Trust, each own 50% of Club Leisure Holdings.
Club Leisure Holdings owns Club Leisure Group, which in turn owns Club Leisure Development, Club Leisure Management and Club Leisure Sales, all of which provide various timeshare-related services to said holiday clubs.
The NCC accuses the group of marketing points as timeshare, when they are nothing of the sort. “This is clear from the fact that none of these properties are transferred into a consumer’s name, as per the Property Time-Sharing Control Act (PTSC),” it says.
The NCC has received in excess of 500 complaints from members of these holiday clubs, many claiming they can never find available accommodation and are prevented from cancelling their membership when they try.
The NCC alleges member contributions are paid directly to the management companies to amass property for the ultimate enrichment of Ridl and Lamont’s trusts. Club Leisure Group strongly denies this: “The clubs are non-profit organisations, which are constituted in terms of their individual constitution and club rules, and are directly owned by the members (consumers).”
Trustees of the largest holiday club, Flexi Holiday Club, include Lamont, Ridl and Morgan Chetty, former deputy national police commissioner.
The Flexi Holiday Club constitution gives trustees powers to invest club money “in a way they consider to be in the best interest of the Club” and decide how much the managing agent will be paid each year. It further indemnifies trustees against any claims.
Lamont, Ridl, Lamont’s son Shaun, and Chetty are also directors of Club Leisure Group, which manages Flexi Holiday Club.
Club Leisure Group’s subsidiaries appear to earn handsome profits. For the 2007-2008 financial year, the group earned on consolidation about R60 million in profit, court papers show. According to Club Leisure Group’s website, its property portfolio is valued at more than R5.5 billion.