Kruger National Park (KNP) law enforcement officials had a busy time over the festive season, issuing 600 fines in just 32 days over the December/January holiday period. Fines were issued to both visitors to the park and park staff.
Although the vast majority of fines went to visitors to the park, communications head for Kruger, William Mabasa, has said, "We are disgraced by the actions of certain staff members who break the rules of the park and have initiated a number of measures to curb this behaviour.
We take this opportunity to publicly state that any staff member caught breaking the applicable rules will not only receive fines, but should also face internal disciplinary action." Almost 500 speeding fines were issued over the holidays, only two of which were issued to park staff. Both the Gauteng registered speeder who was clocked at 124km/hr and the park staff member who was caught doing 112km/hr will be making court appearances.
The majority of the staff traffic-related fines were driving without a licence or having an expired licence disc. Four fines were issued to guides and bus drivers who were taking tourists into the park for commercial purposes, without having the necessary professional driving permit.
Of concern to park management is the apparent trend of more and more visitors getting out of or protruding from their vehicles, and this has been harshly criticised by Mabasa.
He also condemns the practise of letting unlicensed drivers get behind the wheel, especially in cases where people put children on their lap to drive the car. KNP executive director Dr Bandile Mkhiza commented, "We warned people before the start of the festive season that they would be fined if they break any of the regulations in the park, and this was indeed the case, but we still believe that most of our visitors do obey the rules."