Baboon rangers threatened, intimidated over 'untouchable’ Kataza - City of CT
The City says it has become extremely concerned about the personal safety of those working in the Urban Baboon Programme.
A police case was opened with the South African Police Service on Thursday after one official was apparently threatened, and had his personal property vandalised.
"The threat was sent to the official’s cellphone with the message that he has been ‘warned’ and that ‘Kataza’, the male chacma baboon from the Slangkop troop in the Kommetjie area, ‘is untouchable", the City said in a statement..
The City claims that officials are being harassed and threatened amid ongoing debate about the municipality's baboon management programme.
The relocation of Kataza, a young baboon from Slangkop near Kommetjie, sparked a major row over baboon matters in Cape Town.
Kataza was returned to his natal Slangkop troop home on Thursday 12 November after months of controversy.
The City’s mayoral committee member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, says the intimidation has not stopped.
We have noticed a trend where officials are being targeted and vilified by some of those who disapprove of the City’s Urban Baboon Programme. It is very distressing that it has now reached a point where an official is threatened with physical harm shortly after his personal property was vandalised.Mariane Niewoudt, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment - City of Cape Town
This is over and above the hate-mails, abusive messages, and insults aimed at staff who are, as part of their duties, involved in managing this programme. These intimidation and bullying tactics are absolutely shocking and unacceptableMariane Niewoudt, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment - City of Cape Town
Niewoudt also claims that residents in the Kommetjie are interfering with the duties of baboon rangers in the area.
She asked residents to stop feeding and following Kataza as he reintegrates into the environment.
Some residents are blatantly ignoring the City’s request to not follow or feed SK11, colloquially known as Kataza. Furthermore, we have received reports that the rangers from NCC Environmental Services, the City’s service provider, are prevented from performing their duties in accordance with the guidelines.Mariane Niewoudt, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment - City of Cape Town
We kindly request the local community of Kommetjie and surrounds to please allow SK11 (Kataza) to adapt to his surroundings and to not follow or feed him. Furthermore, we implore residents not to interfere with the baboon rangers who are tasked with encouraging the troop to forage in its home range and to remain out of the urban environment.Mariane Niewoudt, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment - City of Cape Town
I’m very concerned as this interference will give way to an increase in baboon raiding in the area and damage to private property. Some residents have already contacted the City with complaints about the impact this is having on their quality of life as they have to stay indoors and lock all windows and doors while the baboon troop is moving through town. Adding to this challenge is that the residents who actually support the programme are reluctant to do so in public out of fear of being targeted and vilified by those who are opposing efforts to keep the baboons out of town. Given the abuse that our officials are being subjected to, this is quite understandable.Mariane Niewoudt, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment - City of Cape Town
Source : Lizell Persens/EWN
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