By Bongani Hlatshwayo
As part of wider security strategies being implemented in the fight against rhino poaching, Kruger National Park (KNP) Management inaugurated 128 new security guards at the passing-out parade on October 24, 2013 at Skukuza.
“The new recruits are meant to mainly manage access control at the entrance gates, provide asset security, monitor and control movement control throughout the Park as well as to conduct other policing duties that are safety and security related. As custodians of wildlife and its conservation, we warmly welcome this step as it will provide the much needed boost to the current team of ranger corps and should be seen as a necessary measure to top-up on our anti-poaching efforts”, said the KNP Managing Executive, Abe Sibiya.
The pre-selection process which took place in August 2013 required hopeful guard trainees to go through the vetting process such as language proficiency tests, criminal record checks; medical and physical fitness screening and they had to portray dedication and the right attitude; as well as team work spirit to qualify for the job.
Those who succeeded went on holistic, rigorous and intense month-long security training, followed by the passing out parade today. The deployment to the various strategic areas throughout the Park is with immediate effect, starting on Thursday.
For the past ten years, the Park outsourced its security service at the entry/exit points to private companies, as such was not totally involved in the guards’ selection and training process. “It is an absolute must that we prioritize the protection of this heritage and use every tactic which can assist in ensuring that the total control of all entry and exit points are managed by those tasked with the upkeep of the area integrity, concluded Sibiya.