Durban -The country is under siege by crime and Burman Bush is just one of the places targetted by criminals, Thembinkosi Ngcobo, head of eThekwini Parks and Recreation said on Thursday.
Ngcobo was addressing the media and various stakeholders on how the city intended to tackle the crime wave at the nature reserve which has seen a spate of muggings and murder in recent weeks.
On Saturday, 60-year-old Simon Milliken, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal double bassist, was killed there during a robbery. It followed several muggings in the area and Wikipedia entry warning people not to visit the park.
Ngcobo said he hoped to increase the field rangers from two to seven.
He said they would need four to five million rands to replace the fencing around the reserve.
"Our fence is not worthy to be called a fence. I have asked to restructure the budget in the department and replace the fence as soon as possible," Ngcobo said.
In addition, the reserve needed more security measures and at least 30 guards and failing to sort out the extra security would defeat the purpose of the meeting, he said
Ngcobo said the department was also dealing with land invasion at nature reserves. He said a special meeting would be called to discuss all 75000 hectares of reserves that fall under the city.
Burman Bush which is 55 hectares, he said would be a catalyst for eco-tourism.
Last month the Daily News reported on several muggings at the popular nature reserve. One of the people interviewed described the reserve as a hunting ground for criminals who preyed on nature lovers.
Local ward councillor, Martin Meyer said he and city officials had visited the reserve last month and discovered that there was only one security guard stationed at the entrance gate. He said they also discovered that there were large holes in the fence. There were missing sections of fence up to 20m wide. Poles that propped up the fence were missing. They also found vagrants living in the reserve.