Hluhluwe gets better fences

2014-09-30 21:38
Ezemvelo KZN wildlife

Ezemvelo KZN wildlife

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Pretoria - The KwaZulu-Natal government has agreed to urgently secure a game reserve after predators killed and mauled several people, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Tuesday.

She released a report titled "Ubuntu" which deals with an investigation concerning residents of the village of Okhukho, who were being attacked by leopards, lions and hyenas that escaped from the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve.

Okhukho is on the reserve's western boundary.

"Virtually none of them [the residents] can say 'I've never lost anything'," Madonsela told reporters in Pretoria.

"A few have died and some have been mauled. Over 100 people have lost livestock, but people who lost their lives would be less than five. Some of them have lost their limbs."

She said the villagers were exposed to the animals due to poor fencing on the reserve.

"The game reserve has fencing... that was build around the 1950s," Madonsela said.

She said one of the people mentioned in the report, a "Mr K", lost his hands after being mauled by a leopard, which affected his ability to earn a living.

Madonsela found in her report that the residents were prejudiced by the provincial environmental affairs department and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, which controls the reserve. She found both failed to compensate them for lost lives, livestock, and other harm.

KwaZulu-Natal environmental affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said he would make sure the Ezemvelo board reviewed its compensation claim policy. He said Ezemvelo had started upgrading the fence, and a service provider had been appointed to supply and deliver the material.

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