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Utrecht’s Balele Game Park is dealing with a series of challenges, negatively impacting the popular game park. Emadlangeni Local Municipality claims Balele Game Park is experiencing intensified theft levels of the game park’s fencing and poles. “So far, the park has had to replace approximately 3 kilometres of game fence and abandon what used to be the blesbok camp because of unsustainable consistent repairs.”
The municipality emphasises that the theft of the game fencing erodes the limited resources the park has as they must continuously fence the park’s total parameter. “Continued theft of the fence will deplete all fencing currently available, and the park will become unviable,” claims the municipality.
According to the municipality, the issue predominantly occurs on the R34, towards Vryheid, mainly from the White City junction. Due to the fencing being stolen, animals are now making their way onto the stretch of road, which could potentially lead to roadside fatalities and accidents.
With the theft posing grave implications, both the Emadlangeni Local Municipality and Balele Game Park are issuing a stern warning to those involved in the game park fence’s vandalisation and theft.
The municipality stresses, “We are following up on leads and information about the culprits involved in sabotaging the game park. We will not rest until they are brought to book.”
Emadlangeni Municipality also encourages the community to notify the conservation officer, Kerotse Mosebetsi, if they are aware of plans to steal fencing or know of anyone involved in the crime. All information will be treated as confidential. Mosebetsi can be contacted on 072 428 6010.
The second pressing topic plaguing the park would be the general state of maintenance, ranging from the ablution facilities’ dismal state due to a lack of lighting, broken light fixtures coupled with the buildings’ overall poor condition.
Mosebetsi points out, while Balele Game Park does face its fair share of problems, the staff and the municipality are doing all they can with the resources at hand. “We are a small municipality, and we do not have big budgets, but we are doing our best.”
Furthermore, “It is an old facility, and the buildings do look their age. We acknowledge they do need refurbishments, but when it comes to maintenance, we address all issues, from leaking taps to the showers.” Additionally, he assures, while floodlighting do need to be addressed, steps are being taken to resolve the problem. Campsites are also being attended to, ensuring guests have reliable electricity access while using the premises.
To remedy the above, Emadlangeni Local Municipality and Balele Game Park are taking proactive steps in securing government funding to enhance the park. “We are engaging with different departments, such as the Department of Environmental Affairs, where we have provided a plan for the park.”
If the various departments approve the plan, Mosebetsi emphasises a budget will then possibly be allocated to the game park, ensuring positive development. Concluding, he enthuses, “We accept there are issues, but when looking at what we charge people, and what is available, we truly go out of our way for our guests, and I invite anyone to come and visit.”
As the game park contends with crime and uplifting its premises, what are your thoughts? Share your views with us in the comment section below.