Call for northern KZN residents to prevent poachers from wrecking ‘fragile’
Thobeka Ngema, IOL
January 22, 2023
DA KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and
Environmental Affairs spokesperson Heinz de Boer has said that poachers
must not be allowed to cripple KZN’s rural economy.
De Boer said that the DA urges residents to support the northern KZN
region’s tourism businesses and prevent poachers from wrecking the region’s
already fragile economy.
“Following the attack on a tourist boat on the Jozini Dam last week, the DA
has enlisted the help of many high-ranking provincial and national
conservation and policing officials. It is believed a heavily armed group
of men fired shots at the boat before opening fire on an already decimated
herd of elephants,” De Boer said.
“Poachers cannot be allowed to stifle and cripple an already hard-hit
tourism economy. Visitors to the Jozini region are encouraged to support
the ecotourism sector surrounding the area.”
In a video of the shooting, which the Daily News has seen, people on a tour
boat were repeatedly told to lie flat down and to stay down. When it seemed
that the crisis had been averted, the people were asked if they were okay.
However, they remained down.
One person could be heard saying that the gunmen were shooting the
De Boer added that a recent oversight of the various tourism facilities on
the western shores of the dam indicates that an intricate security network
is in place.
These security and anti-poaching measures have been in place for years.
They are an indication of the commitment private landowners have made to
ensure visitors’ safety on a large tract of the dam’s western shores.
“While the recent shooting has highlighted the long-standing battle for
wildlife conservation, the public has the power to strengthen anti-poaching
efforts by supporting local ecotourism businesses,” De Boer said.
He said the DA would continue the fight against poaching and ensure that
this issue is prioritised at the highest levels.
“Our natural heritage must be protected.”
Meanwhile, recently, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said it had intervened in the
long-standing human-wildlife conflict caused by the elephants that came
from the private Pongola Game Reserve East.
At least 69 elephants roam Ezemvelo’s Pongola Nature Reserve.
“The ongoing human-wildlife conflict in that area has contributed to the
rise of elephant poaching incidents,” said Ezemvelo spokesperson Musa