Cruising for a bruising
The Pretoria travel agency that originally handled bookings for next month’s five-star Kaya FM Soul & Jazz Cruise is threatening to sue the radio station and its MD Greg Maloka.
Two weeks ago, City Press reported Maloka cut ties with the company and cruise owners MSC had taken over the bookings – offering tickets at almost half the price of the original rates.
Maloka also took Gats Leisure to court to force them to provide details of listeners who booked through them, accusing them of “failing to meet obligations”.
This week Gats owner Tania Lhotsky and her adviser Chris Marais told City Press they were “flabbergasted” when Kaya FM took them to court, insisting they were wrongly accused of incompetence.
Maloka, though, stuck to his story during an interview this week with him and his public relations consultant.
He insisted the cruise – now 80% full – is going ahead.
He says prices were only lowered so they can fill the ship.
Gats deny inflating the prices, saying they could only add a standard 10% commission to set rates. But that’s about all the two parties agree on.
Maloka says the cruise is “the property of Kaya”. Gats say they brought the concept to Kaya, which chose not to own part of it, but to generate publicity and sponsorship instead.
“It was very explicit from day one that the clients are ours,” says Marais.
The cruise was not attracting enough bookings to satisfy MSC, who downgraded it from a charter to a group booking.
Maloka blames Gats for that, calling it “a fundamental breach of contract. The other thing is they were not transparent in our dealings with our audience.”
But Gats say it was Kaya who were slow off the mark and did not understand the urgency of promoting a cruise.
They also say Kaya suddenly demanded “telephone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, ID numbers and credit card details” of the 800-odd people who had booked. And they refused because “we are prohibited by law from giving confidential client information to third parties”.
Maloka, however, denies Kaya sought anything more than “basic information”.
But Lhotsky hit back: “We strongly deny that. They had that information – who booked what – all along and we have proof that we sent it.”
It remains a mystery why the relationship between the two sides deteriorated to the extent that the case landed in court – which has yet to rule on the matter.
Marais has threatened to sue for damages to the Gats company name.