Parties 'put tourists off Kosi'

2008-12-07 00:00

Gunshots, loud music and broken bottles were the order of the day at yet another out of control party at the Kosi Bay day visitors’ camp over the last weekend of November, despite attempts by local tour operators to get the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) to police the area.

Len Caalse, spokesman for the private lodges that border the conservation area, said last week that letters to various authorities and appeals for help via the press have so far been ignored.

Tour operators have warned that tourists are checking out early because of locals’ late night parties.

When questioned about drunken parties previously, the joint answer from EZKNW and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority was that enforcement is the police’s responsibility.

However, Captain Jabulani Mdletshe, SAPS spokesman for Zululand, said he knew nothing of unruly behaviour in the area.

Caalse said that by Thursday last week, the day visitors’ camp was still strewn with litter, condoms and hundreds of bottles.

Caalse and fellow tour operators have also complained that locals are stripping rocks of mussels and crustaceans at Black Rock and alleged that protected species of fish are being sold in local towns and in Durban. Authorities countered that use of marine resources by poor and unemployed community members is allowed as a historical right and a necessity to provide basic food security.

However, business owners in the area said locals are not consuming their catches, but selling them to tourists who are then prosecuted.

Caalse said that recently mussels harvested by locals at Black Rock were sold to tourists, who were then fined for possession and transportation without a permit.

Recently, two men from Klerksdorp were arrested for fishing without permits and sat in jail the whole day before being released with a R300 fine.

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