The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) was paid to protest against hunting in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve (TPNR) in May this year. This is declared by Johannes Chomse in a sworn affidavit, dated July 27, 2005.
At the time of the protest in early May, Chomse was employed as manager of Hennie de Beer's lodge in the Timbavati, Zuma-Zuma. Chomse states that Thulani Moripe, local youth league spokesperson based at Casteel near Acornhoek, met de Beer at Zuma Zuma.
Chomse was asked to leave his office when the meeting took place. De Beer told him after the meeting that "he was going to get the ANCYL to 'toi-toi' in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve" and that "the "fee" for doing so would be an amount of R28 000."
According to the affidavit de Beer and Moripe met at Zuma-Zuma several times. Chomse declared that de Beer instructed him to meet Moripe at Pep Stores in Acornhoek.
There Chomse handed Moripe a cheque for R28 000, drawn on the company Danresa Boerdery Edms Bpk, of which de Beer is a director. He said de Beer told him to "give the cheque to Moripe in such a way that nobody would know that I had handed the cheque to Mr Moripe." On Chomse's insistence, Moripe handed him a hand-written VAT invoice for the amount.
Moripe told Chomse he had arranged for five Iveco buses to bring ANCYL members to the Timbavati to 'toi-toi', and "that he was going to have to pay R5000 to each of the bus drivers." On the day of the protest, four Iveco buses, containing less than 80 people, arrived at the TPNR's main entrance gate, being two hours late because they got lost, initially arriving at the Timbavati Safari Lodge on the Orpen road.
The Kruger Park Times met the ANCYL members at the TPNR entrance on the day of the march. Several members, when asked about the purpose of the march, seemed unsure of the purpose. Mischak Malatje said it was "about someone who was killed here", while Dikelele Mashego said "I passed matric and I want a job."
Reports in other media during the following two days quoted Moripe as saying "thousands" attended the march. In another development Moripe allegedly accused Tom Hancock, chairman of the TPNR, of offering the ANCYL a bribe of R100 000 not to invade the TPNR.
"This is ridiculous," says Hancock, "why would I pay someone not to perform an illegal action?" "For the record, I categorically deny that I or the Timbavati have ever offered Mr Thulani Moripe and/or the ANCYL any sort of monetary compensation or any other sort of compensation whatsoever, to perform or not to perform, as the case may be, any acts."
When contacted for comment, Moripe was evasive and refused to comment on whether or not he had been offered bribes by Hancock. He repeated on three separate occassions "I'll get back to you," but failed to do so. De Beer could not be contacted for comment. Liz de Beer, Maruleng municipal manager, indicated the notice of the intention of the ANCYL to march on the TPNR was handed to the municipality by a Zuma-Zuma employee.
By Lynette Strauss
In Greater Kruger National Park