News24

Permit rage - tourist in court

2011-12-20 22:25

Johannesburg - A tourist was arrested on Tuesday morning amid holidaymakers' protests against a new permit system regulating vehicle access onto northern KwaZulu-Natal's popular beach, Sodwana Bay.

He appeared in the Ubombo Magistrate's Court later on Tuesday charged with the theft of a permit book at an isiMangaliso Wetland National Park office, said Terri Catsis, commercial director of the park, which is a Unesco Heritage Site.

Further charges were being processed against other holidaymakers following the assault of park staff on Monday, she said.

Tempers flared a number of times over the weekend and early in the week over the issuing of permits to allow vehicles on to the beach.

The introduction of a permit system, allowing access to 200 vehicles a day in line with the law, saw holidaymakers blockade the beach entrance in protest on Sunday and harass park staff early this week.

"On Monday, some people who had been involved in blockading the access to the beach on Sunday became unruly and started inciting people to rock vehicles. Staff were also assaulted," she said.

Catsis said the permits had to be implemented when the current one-in, one-out system led to huge congestion at the beach entrance.

This annoyed holidaymakers confused by the inconsistency of the times and places where they could collect their permits, one resort owner from outside the park said.

Catsis said when people first applied for permits, there was once again huge congestion.

"We received feedback from people that it needed to be made easier, so we changed the system. Unfortunately the communication that went out did not get around the following morning and people went to the wrong places."

By Tuesday afternoon things were back to normal and people were receiving permits according to plan, with 100 reserved for tourists accommodated within the park, and 100 for day visitors, many of whom stayed at resorts outside the park.

"There has been a huge increase in development of accommodation outside the park, which has brought about added pressure [to the beaches]," she said.

Facilities in the park were fully booked through to January.

Commenting on the unruliness, Catsis said: "I understand people's frustrations, but nothing can warrant such lawless behaviour."

Comments
  • John - 2011-12-21 00:18

    Blue Light Brigade Strikes Again! Friday, 09 of December, cars on the highway from Durban gave way to a political convoy with blue lights. Remembering 1 man killed by the Blue Light Brigade in Durban, and another in Jo'burg, I protested those murders and raised my finger as they drove past. They proceeded to block me and lunge their cars at me, as I swerved, slowed and pulled away. I held strong and steadfast in my protest! My family, however, were badly shaken. It is time that the ANC realizes that they are not above criticism and rejection, and also NOT ABOVE THE LAW! I expected them to zap me back, or even lay misdemeanor charges against me. But the public harassment and bullying shows that these mentals are in a mindset of their own. They need to be transferred to Antarctica!

      michel.pieterse - 2011-12-21 04:36

      LoL John, you went and posted this on almost every single article on this site, Noddy badge comes to mind... All I have to say is by you raising your finger endangered your family! You also can’t go around “zapping” people either, it will lead to aggravation and could get you in serious trouble man, I know I would not take being “zapped” lightly when I pass you on a motorway, people has been hurt badly and worse in this country for much less than that, so be careful and don’t do stupid things especially whilst your family is in the car!!? Not condoning Blue light convoys at all but I believe that if you stick you head in a beehive you shouldn’t cry when you get stung.

      William - 2011-12-21 07:45

      Hey John... And my advice, as hard as it is, is let it go. I ride a bike and on one occasion was shoved off the road into some road side construction due to inconsiderate blue-light manoeuvres. No harm but shaken. Next time it happens, pull over, let it go and continue along your journey. Keep you and your family well away from the danger of your internal rage... don’t get me wrong, I don’t deny is not unfounded, but it brings you and all you love too close to an arrogant and potentially lethal group of bandits. It’s not nice... but it’s there. You can make a difference at the next elections, so hang in there.

      Kevin - 2011-12-21 07:53

      Drive carefully unless you have a frontend loader or bulldozer. You and the passengers in your car will become a set of statitics. You are quite right members of the Provincial Governments, National Government and employees of those provincial and national administrations believe they are above the law. However breaking the law yourself does not solve the problem. The "crime" you committed is "crimen injuria", obviously it would be difficult to explain to the under educated Police so you have a very small chance of being fined for it.

  • Van - 2011-12-21 02:17

    Funny how quickly whites are arrested.

      Ray - 2011-12-21 09:11

      Inciting people to rock vehicles? There have been many other protests by other groups who have trashed the streets,robbed vendors and damaged vehicles.Shame on you guys,you could have done a bit better!!

  • Americo - 2011-12-21 08:01

    You only need the vehicle on the beach to launch or retrieve a boat - then you pull back and park away from beach - now 200 boats in water at one time is a logistical problem if you only have one launch point and not enough parking space - come on guys put on your thinking caps its not as if we are asking you to go to the moon.

  • ludlowdj - 2011-12-21 09:55

    Catsis said: "I understand people's frustrations, but nothing can warrant such lawless behaviour." Until the shoe's on the other foot, then's its a different story hey?

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