“What has Government done to curb the poaching of our field rangers?” asks Solly Malema, national organiser of the trade union NUPSAW.
This statement follows on the recent killing of the 34-year old field ranger Respect Mathlaba, during a shoot-out between rangers and suspected rhino poachers at the Crocodile Bridge Ranger Section, Kruger National Park on 19 July 2018.
NUPSAW slams the Department of Environmental Affairs Minister, Dr Edna Molewa for her arrogant tribute “to our departed ranger for dedicating his life to the protection of the rhino and all other species in the Kruger National Park. It is only through the efforts of our brave men and women on the frontline that our many species such as the elephant, rhino and lion are conserved in the wild,” she said.
“One cannot help to get the idea of “one rhino, one ranger,” says Solly Maleama.
‘Who are the rangers supposed to turn to when all that is done by Government is hollow talk and sending condolences in the face of the ongoing killings of our rangers, without providing strategies or military enforcement,” he continues.
NUPSAW, as a trade union, wants to reiterate that it is our duty to ensure that all workers are properly protected by their employers against any fatal hazardous incidents that could occur. Not only is a family grieving their personal loss of a loved one, but also the loss of a breadwinner which is one of the issues Government shies away from.
Recognition for the crucial role that these heroes were playing start with monetary compensation for damages to the families or next of kin for economic losses such as earnings, medical expenses and general non-economic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress, beginning with Field Ranger Respect Mathebula who died last week in the line of duty “
Rising incidents of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder and burnout are just some of the effects rangers must endure as a result of this ongoing assault.
“While Government is dragging their feet, rhino-fatigue is settling in and the war against poaching will sadly become a lost battle with Rangers still walking into the unknown every night”, concludes Malema.
For an Interview / For more information:
National Organiser, NUPSAW
Cell 082 323 2958 / 0790751968
Thariza Steyn, Cell 082 455 2215,