Slain pregnant mom's relatives vow to take action over tourism CEO's comments
Durban - The family of Underberg teacher Karen Turner, who was murdered in a frenzied attack in the Eastern Cape on Monday, has vowed to take action against the province’s tourism chief executive for his “ludicrous” and “absolutely outrageous” comments.
On Monday, Turner and her husband Matthew arrived at Hluleka Game Reserve with friends. They were there to celebrate her birthday and would then leave for a wedding on the Wild Coast later in the week.
However, two intruders broke into their chalet while they were sleeping and allegedly stabbed her to death.
Matthew sustained serious injuries and part of his small intestine was removed during an emergency operation in Mthatha. He was later flown to a Pietermaritzburg hospital. Their son, 2, who saw the attack, was unharmed and none of their possessions was stolen.
Turner’s brother, Ian Crouch, said that soon after the assault, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency chief Vuyani Dayimani insinuated that a “domestic dispute” had led to her death.
“He did that to protect the reputation of the resort,” said Crouch.
He vowed to take further advice on the matter tomorrow and said that Dayimani should make a public apology.
“Matthew is not that kind of person at all. Imagine the damage it will do in the future? Imagine if his son grows up and finds out that there was an allegation against his dad?”
Dayimani refused to speak to the media and referred the Sunday Tribune to the agency’s spokesperson.
Crouch said the couple’s family appointed a private investigator to look into the matter. Their work revealed that the serenity of the reserve was a façade and below the surface there was a murky underworld of poaching, hijacking, dog killing and people robbed of cellphones.
In addition, there appeared to be differences between the reserve’s staff and locals and Crouch said there were several locals who were interested in talking to their private investigator and his team on the ground.
There was apparently a break-in at the reserve’s main office on the night that his sister, who was three months pregnant, was killed. The couple who were holidaying with them were in a separate chalet.
Crouch said Matthew was moved from the intensive care unit to a surgical ward on Friday.
“He has not come to terms with what happened. He is battling and very teary.”
Crouch said his sister’s body had been taken to Pietermaritzburg and her funeral service was to take place at Kenmo Lake, in Underberg, on Friday, followed by a cremation.
On Saturday, Oyanga Ngalika, the spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, said: “Vuyani Dayimani has confirmed that he did not give instructions to staff to hinder an ongoing investigation of such serious magnitude. He continues to encourage reserve staff to give support to the police during this ongoing investigation.”
Ngalika said the agency and the private sector including the Wild Coast Holiday Association were working to ensure the safety of visitors.