Members of the Bushveld region Honorary Rangers (HR) handed over equipment to the value of R15,500 to the Kruger National Park's (KNP) Andrew Desmet, manager, activities, and Donovan Terblanche, head guide, Phalaborwa. Also present were the regional manager of the Nxanatseni region, Ben van Eeden, regional ranger for Nxanatseni region (south), Louis Olivier - better known as Oom Louis, and Kirsty Redman, interpretive officer, Letaba.
The equipment comprises blankets, gas cookers, sleeping bags, tents, torches, spot-lights, first aid kits, water bottles and the two Cyber Trackers. Accepting the equipment, Andrew Desmet said that the Cyber Trackers will be put to good use, especially on the Olifants backpack trail. Willem Niewoudt, owner of Wilfred Projects, donated a substantial amount towards the purchase of the equipment.
His company and staff have been staunch supporters of the Bushveld region HRs for many years. The chairperson of Bushveld Region HR, Piet Andjelkovic, thanked Willem and members of the region for helping to raise funds to make donations like these possible. In his talk, Andrew Lumbe from SANParks corporate investigation services shared interesting sketches about the way they work, their frustrations and successes.
He highlighted how they, together with the field rangers, are amongst the few barriers between the environment and unscrupulous raiders of the country's heritage. He asked the HRs to bring to light any intended acts of poaching and criminal behaviour. The formal activities concluded with the Bushveld region celebrating their recent achievements when they won a coveted SANParks Kudu Award for the HR region of the year. Johan Smit was recognised for 15 years uninterrupted service to the HR.