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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Jozini Dam: ANC, DA condemn gunfire attack as poaching conflict rises

Sisulu said the incident is an attack on the country’s economy as tourism plays a major role in the country’s GDP.


Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has condemned a shootout at tourists involving an incident of elephant poaching that took place Jozini Dam, KwaZulu-Natal.

Tourists

According to media reports, five Germans, two Americans, one Australian and four South Africans came under gunfire attack on a double-decker tour boat on Wednesday, in a broader drama involving the recent slaughter of about 25 elephants from a wandering herd.

The tourists were attacked shortly after 10.30am on the eastern shores of the Jozini/Pongolapoort Dam on the southern border between SA and eSwatini.

NOW READ: Jozini Dam: Tourists caught in gunfire attack as poaching war increases

Tourism plays major role in SA

Sisulu said the incident is an attack on the country’s economy as tourism plays a major role in the country’s GDP.

“Tourism creates thousands of jobs in the country and these attacks are a direct attack on our economy,” she said.

The tourists have since shifted location and owner of the lodge said although they were traumatised by the incident, no injuries occurred.

Sisulu also stated that tourism and wildlife authorities are working together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to crack down on elephant poaching on the shores of Lake Jozini in northern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

“South Africa, including KZN, is a safe destination for tourists and incidents like these impact negatively on the reputation of our valuable tourism industry. We are working with law enforcement and other agencies to ensure the safety of tourists in the country,” Sisulu said.

Elephant poaching stems from anger

KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife spokesperson, Musa Mntambo, said the rise in elephant poaching stemmed from community members’ anger over escalating incidents of human-wildlife conflict that led to the trampling of a resident in September 2022.

Land around the dam comprises a combination of provincial reserve areas managed by Ezemvelo Wildlife (including Pongola Nature Reserve) and private game reserves. 

Matter to be escalated to highest government

Speaking to the Daily Maverick, Heinz de Boer, a Democratic Alliance (DA) MPL and provincial party spokesman on environmental affairs, also condemned the attack on the tourists and elephants and appealed for national intervention.

“The DA has now also received video and photographic evidence of a tour boat coming under fire by armed gangs who continue to lay illegal gill nets in the lake.

“The rampant lawlessness and decimation of flora and fauna within this community has long been highlighted, with the conflict brewing for years. Yet, to date, government has failed to secure this tourist and wildlife haven.”

“The DA will escalate the war against poaching to the highest levels of government and demands the swift arrests of those who believe they can destroy our natural heritage and tourism sector. The situation can no longer continue.”

Compiled by: Siphumelele Khumalo

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