SA National Parks (SANParks) said it would lodge criminal and civil complaints against two women who allegedly wrote on Facebook that accommodation in Skukuza, Mpumalanga, has been turned into a “squatter camp” by employees.
Kruger National Park (KNP) spokesperson Ike Phaahla said the two women, Erika Leslie and Pippa Truter’s comments were factually incorrect, racist and misleading.
“They were posting on Facebook alleging that employees had turned rest camps into squatter camps, and that bookings are not being honoured, which is not true. We condemn this, you can drive your point by being civil and respectful,” Phaahla said.
The post by Leslie, which appeared to be reposted by Truter on the SANParks Kruger National Park’s Facebook group, read: “Don’t waste your time trying to book a chalet or rondavel anywhere in KNP. They are all occupied by the workers of SANParks, they took occupancy and refused to move. Now paying clients can’t book because it’s full they don’t want the tents, no they demanded their families stay with them during lockdown in chalets Looks like we live in a squatter camp! Washing lines from one chalet to the other, braais, noise and undisciplined children screaming all the time, booze running freely and no social distance, first hand experience – it’s a sh**hole!.”
SANParks said they have consulted their legal advisors to lodge both criminal and civil complaints against the identified individuals and those who reposted it.
“This is done to maintain the integrity of the organisation and to teach those who distribute false news a lesson,” they said.
The Cape Times on Tuesday reached out to Leslie and Truter on Facebook, but they did not respond to requests for comment.
SANParks chief executive, Fundisile Mketeni, said in line with the government’s regulations, and in the interests of the health and safety of visitors and staff, SANParks will introduce new visitor management procedures to manage visitor volumes in its parks.