Warning about an illegal invasion of land in futululu forest in isimangaliso wetland park
04 April 2022
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority would like to warn the public not to be lured by a clique of people who are behind the invasion of land in the area known as Futululu near Dukuduku which is part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Futululu is a protected area proclaimed to be used for conservation under the management of iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority. Recently, the Park Authority has been alerted to an illegal activity by a group of people destroying vegetation and selling sites to the public for about R150 to R250 depending on the size of the stand.
The illegal invasion is reported to have started on the 21 March 2022 wherein some ring leaders mobilised people to meet in the morning and move into the Futululu Forest and start dividing the land amongst themselves. Since the start of these illegal activities, the Park Authority has held several meetings with community leaders in an attempt to find an amicable solution. Meetings involved structures such as Traditional Authority leadership, Municipal ward counselors, land claimants’ leadership, Dukuduku re-settlement trust committee, farmers’ representatives, and representatives from People and Parks structure, amongst others. The iSimangaliso and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife jointly briefed the leadership about the Futululu land invasion and made it clear to the leadership that such invasion is unlawful. The leadership was requested to warn their respective communities about the implications of their actions. The leadership was further informed that iSimangaliso and Ezemvelo will seek legal opinion that may lead to the arrest of individual instigators.ISimangaliso applauds the action taken by the local traditional leader Inkosi Mkhwanazi who called a meeting of the entire Dukuduku community to address this matter, Inkosi wanted to listen to all the sides of the story from involved parties. Such interventions by the leaders are most welcomed as iSimangaliso believes that the relationship built with the community and continuous engagements through meetings that it always holds with the communities surrounding the Park should be used as platforms for engagement and raising any issues of concerns from both sides. Invasion of land by the community as means of drawing attention of iSimangaliso to any concerns of the community cannot be condoned. iSimangaliso has a dedicated stakeholder engagement unit whose primary focus is to engage with all stakeholders especially with the local communities neighbouring iSimangaliso.