Ex-SANParks ranger: I was sacked for exposing Rhodes dam drownings and muggings
Former SANParks ranger Alfrido Dixon claims he was improperly fired from his job in November 2017 after speaking out about the alleged incompetence of park management.
Dixon worked on Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and claims that certain areas were opened to the public without proper safety precautions.
In particular, he alleges that poor security measures at the Rhodes Memorial Dam, a secluded reservoir on along the northern slope of the mountain, led to several drownings and muggings.
Dixon claims a man died at the dam in 2016. He says it was "covered up". He also says there were two fatal drownings in 2018.
The former employee says he was axed for bringing SANParks into disrepute after posting about his concerns on Facebook.
The guy drowned in 2016. It was covered up. They wanted to put turnstiles there so the people could have access into the park.Alfrido Dixon, former SANParks ranger
They opened that dam without seeing that it's safe for the public.Alfrido Dixon, former SANParks ranger
There was a rape case there, drug-dealing and other things going on at that dam because there were no proper security measures in place.Alfrido Dixon, former SANParks ranger
Dixon claims he was not contacted by investigators during the disciplinary probe to justify his complaints against his area manager at the time.
He says he's decided to speak out after observing several incidents on Table Mountain as a result of ongoing mismanagement.
According to Dixon, the matter is currently before the Office of the Public Protector. Ultimately, he wants his job back.
I lost my job because I cried out for help.Alfrido Dixon, former SANParks ranger
I've got a passion for what I do. It would be a blessing for me to get my job back.Alfrido Dixon, former SANParks ranger
Meanwhile, TMNP area north manager Wana Bacela insists that Dixon's claims are unfounded.
Bacela says the Rhodes Memorial Dam has been illegally used by students at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
According to him, park management had simply appealed to the students to use the proper entrances to the area.
Bacela has confirmed that there have been at least three drownings at the dam in the last four years, the most recent of which took place a few weeks ago.
The students at UCT always swim in the dam. We wanted to formalise the swimming and for them not to trespass, but rather use the entry.Wana Bacela, Area manager: North - Table Mountain National Park
He went onto Facebook and made malicious allegations against me. He was charged. A disciplinary hearing was held and he was fired.Wana Bacela, Area manager: North - Table Mountain National Park
What he is saying is totally hogwash.Wana Bacela, Area manager: North - Table Mountain National Park
Listen to the two-part interview on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:
Thumbnail image: Alfrido Dixon on Facebook.