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Media Release: Kruger reaches agreement with local taxi association

Date: 26th September 2008

The Kruger National Park (KNP) reached an agreement with the Mkhuhlu Taxi Association (MTA) on Thursday, 25 September which could see local community members gaining easier access into the park.

The Kruger National Park (KNP) reached an agreement with the Mkhuhlu Taxi Association (MTA) on Thursday, 25 September which could see local community members gaining easier access into the park.

“We have often found that members of the previously disadvantaged communities who literally live a stone’s-throw away from the park have never been into the park, simply because they don’t have transport,” said the KNP’s head of public relations, Mr William Mabasa.

Taxis from the MTA could be used to bring people from the communities in the Hazyview/Mkhuhlu area into the park on game drives when they are not busy taking people to and from work. “We have agreed to form a liaison committee with the MTA which will look closer at this issue, ironing out the potential problems and preparing a proposal for further consideration by KNP management,” said Mr Mabasa. The liaison committee will consist of equal representation from both the KNP and the MTA.

In response, the chairperson of the MTA, Mr Peer Mkhonto, said: “We are there in the villages and are ready to take people into the park.” This agreement was reached after a three-hour meeting which was held as part of this year’s SANParks Week outreach programme. “It will also further cement the relationship which started when we and the MTA agreed that the MTA would be granted a business permit in order to transport KNP staff members who live in the neighbouring villages to and from work,” Mr Mabasa explained.

KNP delegates at the meeting also raised other concerns, including the non-availability of taxis on certain routes and the fact that taxi drivers often break the rules and regulations of the park, and it was agreed to create mechanisms where these concerns could be addressed. “We often get complaints from members of the public that accuse taxi drivers of littering, playing loud music and speeding and we obviously don’t condone such action so we need a mechanism where this can be addressed, in addition to the fine that the driver of that vehicle might get,” explained Mr Mabasa.

It was decided that a monthly list of taxi driver offenders would be given to the MTA management committee and those drivers would be disciplined via the MTA’s own disciplinary procedures. The MTA also opened the door for further discussions with KNP management for the sponsorship of transport as and when this was needed.

Issued by:
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677 or email: raymondt@sanparks.org

Enquiries:
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communication, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email: williamm@sanparks.org

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