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Media Release: SANParks Board dismisses allegations against safari hotel developments in KNP

Date: 2011-03-31

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The Board of South African National Parks (SANParks) confirmed yesterday, at its quarterly meeting held at Groenkloof, that it still stands by the decision to develop two safari hotel type tourism facilities in the Kruger National Park (KNP).

It said that commercialisation continues to be a policy of the Board that is based on sound decision-making.

The Board re-affirmed its commitment to the building of two (2) new safari lodges in the Kruger National Park saying that this is a necessary innovation to diversify the market of the park, general enjoyment and access to the parks for all sectors of our society.

In its deliberations, the Board agreed that this decision is within its mandate, pointing out that it is one of the key responsibilities of the Board to ensure continued sustainability and financial viability of the organisation.

The Board reassures the people of South Africa that it understands its legal mandate and as such would not preside over a decision which may lead to the destruction of the natural heritage of the people of South Africa. Nowhere in the world has an accommodation facility destroyed the ecology of a park. It invited anyone to bring such scientific evidence to the table.

The Board said it is less concerned about labels attached to structures rather than the key and vital issue of managing impacts against the sensitive ecology of the parks.

The Board also dismissed the false and slanderous allegations perpetuated by one Dr Salomon Joubert, a former employee of SANParks. It invited Dr Joubert to take the time to test his allegations and accusations in a properly constituted Court of Law rather than the Trial by Media he is currently conducting.

The Board would like to also announce the confirmation of the appointment of Professor Willem van Riet as the Project Coordinator for both the Malelane Lodge and Skukuza Conference Lodge. Professor van Riet is a former Board member of SANParks with extensive experience in conservation, landscaping and development of tourism facilities in ecologically sensitive areas. Amongst his achievements he has also been responsible for the development of the Berg-En-Dal Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park. Professor van Riet will be responsible for all aspects related to this project and will be reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, Dr David Mabunda.

Issued by:
SANParks Corporate Communications

Media enquiries:
wanda mkutshulwa, Head of Communications, SANParks, tel: (012) 426 5170, mobile: 082 908 2692 or e-mail: wandam@sanparks.org†††††

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