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KwaZulu-Natal - A senior Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal wildlife manager, who was allegedly linked to rhino poaching, has had his suspension lifted, has been cleared of all charges and has been reinstated in his job.

The conservation body confirmed at the weekend that Sihle Nxumalo, who has more than 20 years’ experience, had been told to come back to work.

Two weeks ago The Mercury reported that Nxumalo had been suspended by Ezemvelo after investigations into the “Black September” rhino massacre at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

On September 21, rangers carrying out a reconnaissance flight over the southern corridor of the park found seven rhino carcasses. It was the worst poaching massacre in the park’s history.

Ezemvelo’s executive director of operations, Bheki Khoza, said at the time that preliminary investigations had revealed that Nxumalo had been absent during the “terrible” weekend period when rangers had found the carcasses, adding that evidence pointed to negligence on Nxumalo’s part, in carrying out his duties. But Nxumalo had been cleared after an investigation had been completed and he had received a letter from Ezemvelo instructing him to report for work.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesman Musa Mntambo denied that Nxumalo had been suspected of rhino poaching, but said he had not followed procedure. - The Mercury