Kruger Park petition to ban taxis sparks debate

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 25 November 2019

Earlier this month a combi carrying 13 people and heading towards Letaba in the Kruger National Park hit and killed a giraffe. The giraffe then fell onto an oncoming vehicle carrying two international tourists. The Swiss driver of the vehicle, who was driving in the opposite direction, was critically injured and subsequently died in hospital.

The incident sparked an outcry against speeding within the park borders and specifically against taxis driving in the park. This led to a petition to ban taxis from the park. The petition has already garnered over 36,000 signatures.

Kruger National Park spokesperson Isaac Phaahla was interviewed on e-News, and said it would be unfair to describe the vehicle that hit the giraffe as a mini-bus taxi, as it was filled with community members on an outing within the park. He also said that although he was unable to speculate whether the combi was speeding as a police investigation into the matter is underway, the Park has a zero-tolerance approach to speeding within its borders – whether it be a mini-bus taxi or private vehicle.

When asked what the Park’s stance is on the petition, he said that its opportunistic of the 30,000 odd people that took advantage of the latest tragedy. ‘We still have a section of our population that is poor, we’re living in a very unequal society [with] people that have their own cars and with poor people that have to pool their resources to be able to access the park. We can’t ban people and make it exclusive to those who are much more privileged.’

He also said that there are no mini-bus taxis that travel within the park except for those travelling from Phalaborwa to Mozambique on a ‘highly regulated route’ in which the taxis’ roadworthiness is inspected and they have to apply for permits.

Ndoweni Malala commented on the private Kruger National Park, ‘I am disturbed by the petition to ban taxis in Kruger National Park. How do we expect people who don’t have cars to visit Kruger…?’


Image: Unsplash

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