Cape Town - SANParks says claims that it buried poachers killed in the Kruger National Park in a mass grave in Bushbuckridge is simply not true.
News24 reports the Mpumalanga department of health says the remains of a dozen people buried in a mass burial site were those of people whose families it could not trace and not those of poachers killed in the Kruger National Park, as claimed by the EFF.
The remains were discovered in the Saselani cemetery by the party. According to EFF Bushbuckridge whip Rhulani Qhibi, the bodies were found two weeks ago and were suspected to be those of rhino poachers killed in the Kruger National Park around 2013 and 2014 that were buried at the graveyard without their families' knowledge.
However the Department of Environmental Affairs is up in arms defending the work done against wildlife crimes, after being accused of the mass poacher burial.
SANParks states, "The allegations are devoid of substance."
“This reckless statement by the EFF should be rejected with the contempt that it deserves,” says Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa who alleges, “This is clearly a political ploy that seeks to score points at the expense of government as we continue to battle wildlife crime.”
According to SANParks the South African Police Service (SAPS) investigates each and every matter involving armed poachers, including having a forensic specialist attend to the crime scenes.
It says SAPS is always in full control of the crime scenes within the context of our law.
Molewa says the remarks were damaging to relations with organization and communities living in areas adjacent to the KNP, with the "unsubstantiated rumours undermining the sterling work SANParks continues to do in bringing communities into the mainstream of wildlife conservation".
Bushbuckridge has been playing a leading role in working with SANParks to stamp out rhino poaching inside the KNP, according to Molewa.
Molewa says the attempt by the EFF to create a bad reputation for SANParks was viewed in a serious light, alleging "some poaching kingpins operating outside and inside the country fund activities to disrupt the country, even using politics."
“The EFF must desist from such rumor-mongering. The only option for the EFF is to substantiate their allegation or withdraw their lies immediately,” says Molewa.
"SANParks calls on all citizens to work in unison and refrain from making divisive remarks that undermine the national effort to combat wildlife crime."
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