Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has appealed to communities to look after their reserves after a group of protesters who were demanding jobs destroyed the fences at Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park's Cibilenyathi Gate during on Tuesday.
Ezemvelo’s acting CEO, Ntsikelelo Dlulane, said the organisation is always criticised for having porous fences when, at times, it is some community members neighbouring its reserves who destroy their fences.
“The bigger risk is that one of the dangerous animals may walk out of the reserve and harm innocent human beings.” said Dlulane.
His plea follows community protest that resulted in the destruction of the fence and gates at Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park's Cibilenyathi Gate, Makhamisa Section, on Tuesday.
Dlulane said the mob became violent and uncontrollable. He said attempts by Ezemvelo officials and the police to calm them down were unsuccessful.
“They were not prepared to talk to Ezemvelo officials but demanded the organisation to employ them.
“When the protesters were told that the organisation currently does not have any employment opportunities to offer all of them, they continued with cutting down poles and burnt them and cutting the recently erected ‘smart fence’ donated by Peace Parks Foundation,” said Dlulane.
He said Ezemvelo officials were forced to retreat when they realised that their lives were in danger.
Dlulane said this was the second incident within a month. He said the organisation fears that the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park will be without a fence if such incidents are not curbed.
A case of malicious property damage was opened at Ntambanana police station.