Community voices anger over shooting

Photo for illustration purposes only.

A 27-year-old man from Cork had to be rushed to hospital after he was caught fishing illegally and was shot by a ranger in the Kruger National Park (KNP) last Sunday.

Capt Phillip Fakude from Calcutta SAPS confirmed that the shooting occurred when Mr Lucky Mboweni trespassed in the Kruger and fished from the banks of the Sabie River. He was taken to Matikwana Hospital.

The shooting caused one of the main roads to the KNP, the R536 that leads to the Phabeni and Kruger gates, to be sent into disarray; residents of Cork voiced their anger by blocking the road and setting a school bus alight.

“The bus was that of a disabled school, carrying children from Lilydale,” Fakude said. The police are now investigating a case of arson against some 500 protesters who took to the streets. “No arrests have been made yet,” he added.

The protesters are demanding the removal of the boundary fence at the Sabie River.

“We are aware of the shooting,” said KNP spokesman, Mr William Mabasa.

“The duty of the rangers is to arrest anybody they find inside the park, who would not have come through the official gates because that person is viewed as a suspected poacher. We will sit down with the community to look at a lasting solution,”

Fakude confirmed that no case was opened against the ranger who allegedly shot Mboweni, as it was part of his duty.

The residents are furious since Lucky is not the first to be shot by a ranger. In 2016 Perry Dlamini was fatally shot while fishing in the river which the park shares with the villagers. By the time of going to press, Hazyview Herald was informed that calm was restored and that the road was open.

Stefan de Villiers

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