Media Release: Major Concern About KNP Staff After Robbery
Kruger National Park (KNP) staff members who were the victims of Tuesday morning’s robbery at Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp will receive preliminary counselling by the South African National Parks (SANParks) psychologist today (Wednesday July 12, 2006), to determine their state of shock after being brutally beaten and terrorised by the robbers.
“Our major concern at this stage is the health and safety of the staff members concerned and we are ensuring that they receive all the necessary care in order to be able to resettle them back into their positions,” said the KNP Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize.
SANParks Criminal Investigation Services (CIS) and various units of the SAPS spent the whole day yesterday studying the scene of the crime in order to continue the necessary investigation.
The five robbers jumped over the camp’s fence shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning (Jully 11, 2006) and tied up the guards who were on duty at the time. They then used picks and other utensils to break a large hole in a wall of the Camp’s Reception Building. They then found that they could not break open the safe and forced one of the guards to tell them where the manager was.
They then broke into the house shared by the camp’s Duty Manager Wesley Mabasa and Day Walk Guide Billy Sibuyi, who shares his accommodation with his 12 year old son and severely assaulted Sibuyi. They also discovered a small firearm safe in this house and, after demanding the key; they opened this and took Sibuyi’s personal firearm, a 9mm pistol.
They then forced Mabasa at gunpoint to surrender the safe key and were able to open both the money safe and a firearm safe. A large amount of cash was then removed from the main safe and three firearms – two .458 rifles and a 12-guage shotgun – and ammunition were removed from the firearm safe.
The robbers also broke into the shop and stole cash and looted the shop.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wesley, Billy and his son and the two security guards from our contracted security company Renaissance Security who were the victims of this heinous crime and we call on the South African Police Service to bring the perpetrators to book as speedily as possible,” Dr Mkhize added.
Fortunately, in spite of the fact that there were many tourists in the camp at the time of the robbery, no tourists were injured or affected in any way.
“We would like to thank our visitors for their patience when they were forced to wait that morning while the police were busy with their crime scene investigation. It is the requirement of the Criminal Procedures Act that the scene must not be compromised until all the evidence is gathered,” concluded Dr Mkhize.
The robbers then escaped in Mabasa’s white Volkswagen CitiGolf, which was later found abandoned on the road between Komatipoort and the Mananga Border Post with Swaziland, outside the KNP boundary.
The SAPS’s Serious and Violent Crimes Unit in Nelspruit is currently handling the investigation.
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communications, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, email: email@example.com