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KZN game farm being stripped of fencing by thieves

Daily News logo Daily News 2021-03-01 Zainul Dawood
a field of tall grass © Provided by Mercury

Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal game park is being stripped of its fencing, putting motorists travelling on the R34 towards Vryheid at risk of colliding with animals. Animals were also at risk of being poached.

The Balele Game Park, situated in Utrecht, stated that the theft of the game park fence and poles was occurring on the R34, mainly from the White City junction. The park covers an area of 2 500 hectares, including the surrounding mountains.

Over 15 species of game may be found roaming the park including giraffe, kudu and zebra.

EMadlangeni Local Municipality spokesperson Ayanda Mabaso said they were following up on leads and information about the culprits involved in “sabotaging” the game park. Mabaso said they would not rest until the culprits were brought to book.

Balele Game Park manager Kerotse Mosebetsi said the park had to replace about 3km of the park’s fencing and abandon what used to be the Blesbok camp due to unsustainable consistent repairs.

a close up of a dry grass field: The Balele Game Park, situated in Utrecht is having its fencing stripped by thieves leading to animals crossing on to the road and poaching.Picture: Supplied © Provided by Mercury The Balele Game Park, situated in Utrecht is having its fencing stripped by thieves leading to animals crossing on to the road and poaching.Picture: Supplied

“The eMadlangeni Local Municipality and Balele Game Park issued a very stern warning to anyone involved in the vandalism and theft of the game park fence. The current theft of our park’s fencing is eroding the limited resources the park has, as we must ensure that we continue to fence the total parameter of the park. Continued theft of the fencing will deplete all fencing currently available and the park will become unviable,” Mosebetsi said.

There were numerous hazards that could and would result from this continued fence theft. Mosebetsi said there were may be animals that might go onto the road and cause accidents.

“The park also requests help from the community of eMadlangeni Local Municipality to stop the destruction of our game park facility. We urge anyone with information to anonymously tip us off to any plans to steal the fencing, current activity of theft and possible sales from those who have stolen the fencing,” Mosebetsi said.

Emadlangeni ward 6 councillor Freidrich Smook said the theft of fencing was continuing unabated.

“Apparentl,y the criminals act with passive support – allegedly from a municipal official. Another major problem is the poaching of game that has reached alarming proportions. I have a meeting scheduled with a community member, who purports to have more hard evidence,” Smook said.

Any leads and information can be relayed to Kerotse Mosebetsi on 072 428 6010. All information will be treated as confidential.

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