Press Release: Security reinforced at Mthethomusha nature reserve following the burning of Bongani Mountain Lodge

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SECURITY REINFORCED AT MTHETHOMUSHA NATURE RESERVE FOLLOWING THE BURNING OF BONGANI MOUNTAIN LODGE
 

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) is deeply saddened by the suspected act of arson that took place at the Bongani Mountain Lodge situated at the Mthethomusha Nature Reserve on Sunday, 31 January 2021. This resulted in the lodge, several field ranger’s pickets and the reserve offices being burnt down to ashes. The various sites within the nature reserve have also been badly vandalized.

“This incident happened as a result of an alleged shooting that happened outside the nature reserve which resulted in rumours of an alleged poacher being shot dead. We would like to indicate that under no circumstances was any of our field rangers involved in this shooting incident,” said Mr. Johannes Nobunga, CEO of MTPA.

“We are distraught with this criminal activity that has left many of the employees of the lodge without a job and tremendous damages to the nature reserve as a whole. Our team has been working tirelessly together with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book”, added Nobunga.

This incident is receiving the utmost urgent attention by the MTPA. Security will be reinforced at the nature reserve with the support of our stakeholders so that law and order can be restored. It remains our commitment to ensure that we work towards repairing the damaged infrastructure and provide the necessary support where required.

An assessment is currently underway to determine the extent of damages encountered. Our team is attending to the rescue of the animals on the reserve to avoid any possible poaching as well as replacing the damaged fence.

“We would like to appeal to the members of the community to work with us as we work towards restoring operations and providing a safe working environment for our staff. We would further like to appeal to community members to come forward if they have any leads on the perpetrators.

For the safety of our guests and staff, operations at the nature reserve will be temporarily closed until further notice.

ENDS

Issued by Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency
For enquiries contact:

Kholofelo Nkambule
Senior Manager Communications
Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency
+27 82 451 2548 | kholofelo.nkambule@mtpa.co.za



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