‘I’m being harassed by tourism officials'

2017-06-11 06:05

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A conservationist who exposed one of the country’s biggest land reform scams in Mpumalanga has sought a protection order to stop tourism parastatal executives from harassing him.

Fred Daniel has accused Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) officials of sabotaging his ecotourism and game reserve business – Cradle of Life – in Badplaas after they allegedly declined to renew his permit to keep wild animals.

MTPA spokesperson Kholofelo Nkambule confirmed that there had been no valid permit issued to Cradle of Life since it expired on May 31 2015.

“Since then, we have been unable to inspect the facility and perform our duties accordingly due to the resistance encountered.

"We have on numerous occasions been refused access to Cradle of Life to inspect whether the facility is well managed and the animals are well kept,” Nkambule said.

“Unsuccessful attempts had been made to secure a search warrant for MTPA to conduct its inspections owing to ongoing litigation,” she said.

Daniel disputed this, saying Cradle of Life had been forced to apply to the Pretoria High Court for urgent relief against the MTPA over incorrect procedures regarding inspections.

He alleged that the agency had also unlawfully removed and killed a number of wild animals from the facility, some of which were then sold for profit to the Problem Animal Fund.

“I have been harassed by government to be driven out of Mpumalanga since I exposed the land claims fraud in 2003,” Daniel said, referring to the scandal that saw the department of rural development and land reform buying farms for claimant communities at rates that were up to 300% higher than market value.

An investigation into the scam led to the dismissal of provincial land claims commissioner Nceba Nqana.

Daniel also claims that a R1.2bn defamation suit he launched against the MTPA a few years ago was another reason he was being harassed.

He first applied for a protection order against MTPA senior manager Jan Muller, before extending it to all the parastatal’s executives, including CEO Boy Nobunga.

Read more on:    land

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