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Media Release: KNP Issues 600 Fines During Festive Season

Date: 24th January 2006

Kruger National Park (KNP) traffic officials issued 600 fines for various offences between December 15, 2005 and January 16, 2006.

“We warned people before the start of the festive season that they would indeed be fined if they break any of the regulations in the park, and this was indeed the case,” said KNP Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize, “but we still believe that most of our visitors do obey the rules.”

Kruger National Park (KNP) traffic officials issued 600 fines for various offences between December 15, 2005 and January 16, 2006.

“We warned people before the start of the festive season that they would indeed be fined if they break any of the regulations in the park, and this was indeed the case,” said KNP Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize, “but we still believe that most of our visitors do obey the rules.”

By far the largest number of fines issued in the KNP during the period was for speeding with a total of 496. The recorded highest speed during the period was 124 km/h and the perpetrator of this offence faces a Court appearance.

Other offences and their corresponding fines were the following:
• Driving without a driver’s licence – 37 fines issued;
• Guides and bus drivers driving without the necessary PDP – four fines issued;
• Expired licence discs – 33 fines issued;
• Trespassing (driving in KNP without permit) – six fines issued;
• Failure to declare weapon at entrance gate – one fine issued;
• Alighting or protruding from vehicle – 10 fines issued;
• Playing loud music – one fine issued;
• Late travelling or arriving late at entrance/camp gates – 10 fines issued;
• Travelling with vehicle doors open – one fine issued.

Of these offences, KNP management has picked up an alarming trend that more and more offenders are caught protruding or alighting from their vehicles and has harshly criticised this action.

“Even although the act of protruding from your vehicle might not sound too serious to the first-time visitor, it is not only dangerous but can negatively affect the experience of visiting the KNP for others,” said the KNP’s HOD for Public Relations and Communication, Mr William Mabasa.

Firstly, explained Mr Mabasa, if the animal being viewed should charge the vehicle it is doubtful whether the person could get back in to safety before the animal reached the vehicle, which could lead to injury or even the death of that person. Secondly, if there are people outside their vehicle, these could scare away the animals – which are used to the shape of vehicles but not the shape of people – and thus spoil the experience for other people.

Another alarming trend is that of driving without a licence or driving without valid vehicle licence discs.

“Visitors must remember that, even although it might seem that the park has safe roads, it is an offence to drive a vehicle without a drivers’ licence. We often find parents with their children sitting on their laps in front of the wheel and would like to point out that this is not only dangerous but it is against the law,” commented Mr Mabasa.

KNP staff members and concessionaires are also liable for fines if they disobey the rules and regulations and 11 staff members were issued with fines for various offences.

“We are disgraced by the actions of certain staff members who break the rules of the park and have initiated a number of measures to curb this behaviour. We take this opportunity to publicly state that any staff member caught breaking the applicable rules will not only receive fines, but should also face internal disciplinary action,” said Mr Mabasa.

One staff member was caught driving at 112 km/h and will appear in Court. This staff member was one of two caught for speeding during this period.

Other offences committed by staff members include:
• Driving without a driver’s licence – five fines issued;
• Driving with an expired licence disc – three fines issued;
• Playing loud music – one fine issued.

The rules and regulations of the KNP are printed on the entrance document (permit), repeated on Visitor’s Guide pamphlets and are displayed on large brown signboards at entrance gate and camp gates.


… Ends


Issued by:
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677 or email: raymondt@sanparks.org

Enquiries:
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communications, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email: williamm@sanparks.org

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