Media Release: Four KNP employees dismissed for Impala slaying
The four Kruger National Park (KNP) employees accused of slaughtering at least six impalas have been summarily dismissed late yesterday afternoon (19 May 2005).
This follows a complete internal investigation and resulting disciplinary hearings, which were held in Skukuza over the past three weeks. The dismissals mark the completion of the internal process regarding this case, however, the justice process will continue.
The four employees, three of whom were general workers in KNP Technical Services and one a general worker at the laundry, were charged with various misconduct charges.
They deliberately lured the impalas into the laundry yard by leaving the gate open. Once the impalas had entered the laundry yard, which is surrounded by a three metre high fence, the employees then herded the animals into a corner of the fence and beat them to death with blunt instruments. After skinning the animals, the employees then smuggled the remains through a hole in the staff hostel fence for storage in their respective dwellings.
KNP law enforcement officers caught some of the men responsible red handed on Sunday February 27, 2005. Not only were they immediately suspended from their employment, but they were also handed over to the South African Police Service (SAPS) on various poaching-related charges, including illegal hunting [Art 21 (c) of National Parks Act 57 of 1976] and possession of a carcass of a wild animal [Reg. 42 (c) of National Parks Act 57 of 1976].
After appearing before the White River Magistrate in Skukuza shortly after the incident, they were released on R500 bail each and reappeared before the Court on May 4, 2005. The case was again postponed until June 15, 2005.
“The intense cruelty of the incident horrified us,” commented the KNP’s Executive Director, Dr Bandile Mkhize, “which is why we responded so harshly and brought the perpetrators to book and we now look forward to the results of the Court case.”
“The Kruger National Park vows to take swift action against anyone caught poaching, whether they are staff members or not,” he concluded.
Notes to journalists/editors:
- As the area where this crime happened is not accessible to tourists, early reports saying that tourists witnessed the event cannot be true.
- It is believed that the SPCA wishes to charge the four men on additional charges under the Animal Cruelty Act.
Media Relations Practitioner
Kruger National Park
Tel: 013 735 4116
Cell: 082 908 2677
HOD: Public Relations and Communications
Kruger National Park
Tel: 013 735 4363
Cell: 082 807 3919