CENGENI GATE TEMPORARLY CLOSED
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife wishes to advise the public that the Cengeni gate which is on the Ulundi section of the Park will remain closed due to community protests. The public is requested to use the Memorial Gate or the Nyalazi Gate.
The protest follows the recent escape of two rhinos and two lions on Tuesday, 09 August 2022, and on Friday, 12 August 2022 respectively. Ezemvelo managed to re-capture one rhino on Thursday, 11 August 2022. The second rhino that had been shot at by one community member, in its confused state, and due to its shortsightedness ran toward a nearby homestead where it stamped on a 45-year-old female. It also caused damage to the fence of some nearby homes.
The two lions exited the Park through a gully near a railway line and one lion has since been destroyed after it killed four cows.
The latest protest comes as a surprise to Ezemvelo management as one of the resolutions taken during the recent community meeting attended by the former MEC, honorable Ravi Pillay was that the Park will be given two months to repair the damaged fence. Another resolution taken was that local people should be employed to repair the fence.
There are 115 people from the local communities who have been employed to repair the fence, and be fence liners, out of which some were employed before the MEC met with the community. Others were appointed to fulfill the resolutions adopted during the meeting. Currently, only 21 people out of 115 have not started working as the entity is finalizing the vetting process as well awaiting their medical reports. An additional 136 people have been employed through the Working on Fire Project.
Some of the protesters today broke into staff accommodation and stole various items belonging to the Field Rangers like cellphones and staff food. They unfortunately also stole a Cmore device which is used in the fight against rhino poaching. They also burnt the security house next to the gate and damaged solar panels that power the fence.
Ezemvelo's Acting CEO, Mr. Ntsikelelo Dlulane has expressed his frustrations regarding the latest animal escape. He also appealed to the community members to avoid embarking on protests.
"We request people that have issues with Ezemvelo to engage us instead of protesting. I have ensured that most of the resolutions adopted during the community meeting attended by the former MEC are implemented. The areas where we have not started repairing the fence are remote areas that are not easily accessible by vehicles delivering the material. We have put a plan to attend to these areas and we appeal to the community to afford us some time. I also hope that those who took items belonging to our Field Rangers including the Cmore devise will return them to us."
Meanwhile, yesterday, Ezemvelo Acting CEO met with some community members whose fence was damaged when rhinos scattered all over after being shot at. Six families suffered damage to their fences. Ezemvelo has begun the process of repairing the damaged fence. He also met with the family of Zandile Mbhele, the lady injured when a rhino stamped on her, and facilitated that her family visits her in hospital yesterday. Ezemvelo will cover all costs related to this incident.
For enquiries, you can contact Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Communications Manager.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife: Communications Manager
Tel: +27 (0) 33 845 1743
Cell: +27 (0) 83 284 9586