Attacked on holiday at heritage site

Date: 12 Dec 2006
Attacked on holiday at heritage site A brutal and vicious attack on an Mpumalanga couple holidaying at one of South Africa’s World Heritage sites has again raised the question of visitor safety. Witrivier resident Renier Groenewald is in a Richards Bay hospital after being stabbed and shot in the neck while driving to Mission Rocks from the Sugarloaf Caravan Park last Saturday. He and his wife were attacked by four men who stole their 4x4. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesman Jeff Gaisford said the provincial nature conservation authority was “extremely concerned” about the incident. “This is the first time anything of this nature has happened at Mission Rocks. “So far, it appears those responsible for the shooting and hijacking apparently walked 15km to Mission Rocks along the beach from St Lucia.” The area is part of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, where a number of attacks on anglers and visitors have taken place over the past four years, according to Centurion Angling Club president Herman Bester. “There was an incident in 2002 when one of our club members was shot and had his 4x4 and trailer stolen while driving to Mapelane.” He feels that the loss of a vehicle, at least, should have been picked up by the security guards at the Cape Vidal gate. He asked: “Surely it is part of their responsibility to check permits and see that the people in a vehicle are indeed those whose names appear on the permit?” Gaisford said his organisation would immediately institute a higher awareness of suspicious people in the areas of the park under their responsibility. “While the rangers’ primary work is to prevent poaching and any destruction f fauna and flora, they have been instructed to look out for people acting suspiciously.” He said security was the responsibility of the St Lucia Wetland authority, and steps to improve it were under way. By Kim Helfrich The Citizen 12/12/06