The Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park (KNP), Mr Abe Sibiya warned the public, business community and staff members about people who falsely and publicly claim to represent the KNP on various aspects of its business.
“It has come to our attention that there are online forums operating and claiming to represent the South African National Parks (SANParks), in particular the KNP by offering customer care facilities that discuss conservation and tourism related matters for guests. We would like to put it on record that SANParks already has its own established formal procedures and channels for handling guest feedback and does not need a third party to deal with issues on its behalf,” he said.
These people offer, in their online forums, that their customer care facility will assist with reporting issues such as incidents or complaints regarding the National Parks and as such, complement the organization’s existing channels. The administrators of these forums encourage the public to post the complaints and incidents on their own forums. They then in turn approach staff members at the relevant parks/camps whom they can manage to get hold of, for follow-ups and feedback.
Of much concern is that these online operators also claim on their forums, that they raise funds for various conservation causes which they hand over to the SANParks Honorary Rangers; though not giving any legal explanation as to why they would do such.
“SANParks has a healthy relationship and a direct contact with the Honorary Rangers which again would not need any third party; and therefore would like to advise members of the public to resist any illegal fund raising approaches made in SANParks’ name as we believe this action constitutes fraud,” continued Sibiya.
Sibiya warned people to check the credentials of the person/s who claim to represent SANParks/KNP before contributing any money to them.
“Our employees are aware that only authorized and designated staff members can represent or speak on behalf of SANParks on any particular matter however we cannot prevent them or any member of the public from joining these online forums in their individual capacity;” concluded Sibiya.