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Official responses from SANParks

Discuss current issues and events happening in the parks.

Official responses from SANParks

Unread post by reynold » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:02 am

Dear Forumites

First and foremost let me thank you for your interest and passion in SANParks, we value your contribution.

We are especially thrilled that a nature lover like MGoddard has chosen to spend time in the iconic Kruger National Park for a period of a year very few are that fortunate to experience life in the bush on that level. As SANPark we are committed to support this kind of initiatives, however it must noted that it is not always possible to financial resource in this kinds of initiatives. We will continue to provide support on the ground for Martie and strive to publicise her experience in KNP.

I trust this communique will reach in good order and we hope for more interaction with you.

Thank you once again.

Best SANParks regards,

Reynold "Rey" Thakhuli
General Manager: Media, Events & Stakeholder Relations
South African National Parks (SANParks)
Tel: 012 426 5203 / 083 552 2020


Re: Mapungupwe NP - September 2009

Unread post by reynold » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:12 pm

Hi Frans,

As Park Manager, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your constructive criticism you have put forward. I do not see this as a negative feedback. It is really going to help us grow from strength to strength. With regards to all the issues you have raised, they are all genuine and we are working on them without prejudice.

Cultural Tour Booking: After hearing what happenned last week (27th September) I did my own ivestigations and found that our staff members, in control of the booking system at the Mapungubwe reception, booked people from Mopani (18 people) and they did not write it anywhere. When you came with 14 people, they mistakenly booked you for the tour which brought the total number to 32 people on the hill. Worse still, the number exceeded the required one to the hill. Unfortunately they also allowed you to use your vehicles to the site. As you have mentioned, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape is both a National Park and World Heritage Site. This means that it should be treated with care at all times. What happenned is not a reflection of who we are in terms of administration. We following it up through internal processes to resolve the matter. In future, this won't happen again. We will ensure that the booking system is followed strictly and adhered to.

No staff members at the camping site: With regards to staff mebers who were not availabvle at the camping site (when you needed them). I am following it up and necessary steps will be taken. As Sanparks we strive for service excellence in all respect. Behaviours like these are strictly discouraged.

Elephant Management: With regards to elephant exclusion fence that you have seen, we started by experiencing problems in the beginning from our neighbours in Zimbabwe. They were stealing the wires - specifically in the eastern section. With our daily patrols and ambushes, these has stopped completely. We did not experience the same problems in the Western Section (where you were). In terms of the elephants they were also pushing the fence down in order to get into the areas excluded. What we have done now is to put one big long pole (with its electric wire) and the shorted normal one with its electric wire. When the elephants bush the shorter poles in, they are shocked by the wire from the bigger poles. Since we have done that, elephants are no longer playing in the exclusion zone. I just hope, like yo do, that this will help us in preserving the ladst patches of our forests.

Bird Hide and ablutions dirty and no signage: The 2009 Heritage Day Day celebrations was launched in Mapungubwe National Park by the Minister of Arts and culture. This media briefing in the park created a lot of expectations in the province and the local communitied. from the 23rd of September, we have been receiving large niumbers of our tourists. The 24th of September was worse in the sense that most people thought the Heritage Day Celebrations will be held in Mapungubwe. We attracted many people compared to the last two years (who converged in Mapungubwe in one day). I personally visited the bird hide for three days after the Heritage Day celebrations doing clean-ups in all the sites.I rembember when I visited Moloutswa, there were no toilet papers. This has been corrected and everything is in good order.

With respects to the signage, we are busy working at it and we are at an advanced stage of putting them up.

As I said before, I appreciate your efforts to assist with ideas on how can we all manage Mapungubwe in a better way. I am looking forward to seeing you and your team in Mapungubwe. Most importantly, on behalf of my staff members, would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused during your stay in our park.


Tshimangadzo Nemaheni
Park Manager
Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site


Re: day Visitor check-in procedure and Shingwedzi Shop

Unread post by reynold » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:07 pm

Dear Mgulube,

Thank your post and enquiry. We are in actually fact pretty appreciative for bringing the matter to SANParks attention. SANParks has rules and regulations that stipulates that Security officials request guests to indicate whether they are in possesion of fire arms, for which are put on the storage for safe keeping.

We view this as negligence from the part of security personnel or staff member who was on duty on the day and we are as a matter of urgency addressing the matter on all our entry gates.

Thank you once again for being on a look-out for these discrepiancies and please accept our sincere gratitude for bringing the matter to our attention.

Best regards

Reynold "Rey" Thakhuli
General Manager: Media, Events & Stakeholder Relations
Tel: +27 (0) 12 426 5203 / +27 (0) 83 552 2020 e-mail:

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Open Letter to OSCAP from the SANParks Head of Communication

Unread post by DinkyBird » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:11 pm

See here - Poaching topic on the forums

Lesego wrote:
gmlsmit wrote:Is this the truth:

Update #29 Ask CITES to bring a SUSPENSION OF TRADE against South Africa and Swaziland for the White Rhinoceros.
Posted by Margot Stewart (action creator)

Get others involved

Invite Friends

Once again the Kruger National Park in South Africa has experienced extreme rainfall and flooding. You can read about it here:

However, it has come to my attention through a Forum discussion on recent staff rescues that the following has come to light:

"During the excellent work done by various agencies in evacuating both tourists and staff from various camps or compounds during the recent floods in Kruger National Park, some shocking discoveries were made.

Illegal tenants inhabiting certain staff accommodations, including Mozambiquan nationals.

Rhino horn and related poaching equipment.

Other forms of contraband.

Kruger has refused to comment on the matter, stating that as rhino poaching is involved, all queries will be handled by the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Police queried gave the same answer.

My question is this: Why should the presence of illegal aliens in a Parastatal housing complex have to be addressed by the DEA?"


Open Letter to OSCAP from the SANParks Head of Communications

SANParks have noted with concern the recent irresponsible pronouncements made in the social media platforms by Allison Thompson of Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching (OSCAP), an anti-poaching lobby group, concerning allegations of poaching equipment having been found in staff quarters during the recent flood evacuations. Thompson alleges that some “sources” further alleged that there were shocking discoveries of illegal tenants in the park which included some Mozambicans being housed in the staff accommodation in the Kruger National Park.

First of all it is important to unmask these supposed “sources”, which from the information we have, seem to be some uninformed mischievous individuals whom a person of Thompson’s responsibility should be discerning enough not to rely on. There are official and informed sources that she could have used to verify this information. Also to claim that anyone was contacted at SANParks and refused to comment is an out and out blue lie. We invite Thompson to publicly produce tangible evidence to support this claim by no later than end of business today.

For one thing, no illegal tenants were found in Shingwedzi during the evacuations and SANParks has a list of all people that were rescued. Further, it would be of benefit to Thompson to acquaint herself with operations in the park before making scurrilous statements, because families that live in the park cannot be labeled as illegal tenants, or even their relatives who reside with them. We would like to invite Thompson to produce a list of these so called illegal tenants or inform the law enforcement agencies before making a song and dance in social media.

Further we would like to refute the dangerous and irresponsible lie made by Thompson in the same announcement which alleges that poaching equipment was found in staff quarters. Once again we invite Thompson to produce evidence to this effect to the police.

We know that many people have jumped on the rhino bandwagon for various reasons but we hope that they have at least done so for a genuine desire to find a solution to save our rhinos and not for petty political agendas or scandalous intentions. However, it has come to our attention that the intentions of Thompson or OSCAP are anything but pure and are just nothing more than posturing ahead of the CITES COP 16, and that these views are sponsored by certain NGOs, known to SANParks, with an agenda towards COP16.

It should also be noted that this tendency to use the name of Major General Johan Jooste (retired) in a smear campaign against SANParks is seriously uninformed and in poor taste. SANParks has brought in Maj. Gen. Jooste (ret) to be the Commanding Officer for the ranger corpse in our fight against poaching, not as a mascot for irresponsible and uninformed anti-government activists. Further it should be noted that the responsibility of evacuating people during this difficult time was not and has never been the responsibility of Maj. Gen. Jooste or the rangers.

The last thing we need is OSCAP starting ill-informed campaigns that will distract SANParks from attending to the multiple and complex tasks at hand. If Thompson wants to genuinely contribute to the fight against rhino poaching she should take up real and true campaigns against rhino poaching.

Our employees are traumatized enough at the moment, having lost all their possessions in the floods and possibly lost their lives, without having to deal with such disgusting lies from people in an organization that masquerades as an organization which is concerned about our parks.

We are truly disappointed in OSCAP.

Issued by:
wanda mkutshulwa,
Head of Communications
South African National Parks (SANParks)
- Dalene

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Re: Open Letter to OSCAP from the SANParks Head of Communica

Unread post by Lesego » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:54 pm

Lesego wrote:Allison Thomson's letter:

The Board of Directors 28 January 2013
Sanparks SA


Re: Social Media commentary on alleged findings in SANParks staff quarters.

I was made aware of certain allegations concerning the above that had been posted on a public website called AFRICA WILD a copy of the screen dump is attached herewith for ease of reference.

I re-posted the information that was given to me onto my social media page known as OSCAP some 12 hours after it was already in the public domain.

Upon careful reflection and in the light of the understandably deep concerns that the above has caused, I am of the considered opinion that I should not have simply accepted the assurances I was given about the validity of the source and its contents.

I am not in a position to personally confirm any of the allegations as they appear and as such I hereby tender my apology both personally and on behalf of OSCAP, to the Board of SANParks and its employees and hereby retract the post from the group.

I regret the consternation and anguish so caused and wish to reassure the Board of SANParks as to OSCAP’s support for all your efforts to protect our rhino and wildlife heritage.

Kind regards

Allison Thomson

REF: GKL/HOC/29/01/13
Date: Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Media Release
For immediate Release


South African National Parks (SANParks) has received and welcomed a letter of apology from Allison Thompson of Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching (OSCAP) regarding unproven allegations levelled against SANParks and its employees in the OSCAP Facebook Page on the 26 January 2013.
In accepting the apology from OSCAP the SANParks Head of Communications, wanda mkutshulwa, said “We unreservedly accept and welcome the apology by Ms Thompson and OSCAP. We also appreciate the positive gesture this letter of apology contains as this will go a long way in encouraging South Africans to work towards jointly coming up with solutions to protect our rhinos”.

Ms mkutshulwa further said that it is important that the public understands that SANParks would not like to stifle debate on difficult issues facing the organisation, however, a little moderation and checking of facts is required at all times before public statements are made.
SANParks further requests members of the public to please report all information of wrong doing to the correct authorities so that appropriate action can be taken to stop these criminals from further exploiting our national heritage.

SANParks is also announcing a new page that will be created in its website by the 30 January 2013 which will be called „Scam Watch‟. “The purpose of this website page is to alert the public on possible scams, related to rhinos and other areas, that are doing the rounds in a bid to extort money from members of the public and to possibly harm them. This will not be an interactive page like our website forum but will be a place where people can read on the latest scams as well as send information to SANParks on any other new scams that might have been created by these criminals”, said mkutshulwa.

“We urge everyone to use the Crimestop, Crimeline and our investigator‟s numbers posted on this website page to report wrong doing and to help us apprehend criminals before they do damage to our parks and our heritage”.

Issued by: SANParks Corporate Communications
For media enquiries:
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli – SANParks, General Manager: Media, PR & Stakeholder Relations; Tel: (012)4265203, Mobile: (073)3734999 / (072)39051564 or e-mail:
wanda mkutshulwa – SANParks, Head of Communications ; Tel: (012)4265170, Mobile (082)9082692 or e-mail:
Lesego Nko
Web forum and Online Stakeholder Relations
Tel: (012) 426 5202

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Re: Open Letter to OSCAP from the SANParks Head of Communica

Unread post by DinkyBird » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:57 pm

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