In Pietermaritzburg today, 23 June 2022, the High Court of South Africa KwaZulu-Natal Division handed down a final court order in favour of iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority had requested the court to interdict the community of Dukuduku and the surrounding communities from illegally invading the land in the area known as Futululu near Dukuduku in St Lucia.
Issuing the interdict, the Honourable Judge Mossop ordered that the respondents cited in the order, and anyone acting through or with them are interdicted from entering or invading, occupying and / or removing any vegetation and / or erecting any structures on the area known as the Futululu Forest, within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, save with the permission of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife sought urgent relief from the court following the land invasion in Futululu Forest by a group of people who were beginning to destroy vegetation and unlawfully attempting to sell land to the public. The land invasion started around 21 March 2022. iSimangaliso in partnership with Ezemvelo authorities tried to engage with the land invaders in an attempt to resolve the matter and find an amicable solution. When these engagements did not yield positive results, iSimangaliso finally approached the court for urgent relief. The court initially granted an interim court order preventing the invaders from continuing with illegal activities and land invasion, pending the final hearing on the matter today and the issuing of the final order. In court, iSimangaliso and Ezemvelo were legally represented by attorneys D’Arcy Hermann Raney and counsel were Andrea Gabriel SC and Sithandiwe Mdletshe from the Durban Bar.
The final court order was issued unopposed. iSimangaliso is South Africa’s first World Heritage site to be inscribed by UNESCO in 1999. Leaders such as the late former President Nelson Mandela were very instrumental in the listing of iSimangaliso as a World Heritage site. Commenting about the beauty of iSimangaliso at that stage President Mandela said “iSimangaliso must be the only place in the globe where the oldest land mammal (the rhinocerous) and the world’s biggest terrestrial mammal (the elephant) share an equal system with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world’s biggest marine mammal (the whale)...”. The CEO of iSimangaliso Mr Sibusiso Bukhosini has welcomed today’s court decision and he made a commitment that iSimangaliso will continue engaging the local communities to address issues being raised by the communities living adjacent to the Park. (Court Order herewith attached) End.
Mr Bheki Manzini
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