27 Jan 2014 15:30pm

SANPARKS EMPLOYEE ARRESTED A South African National Parks employee was arrested on Monday morning in connection with illegal hunting, a SANParks spokesman said. "He has been implicated in a number of illegal commercial hunting activities on state land involving a number of hunting professionals and game meat operators," SANParks spokesman Reynold Thakhuli said in a statement. The employee was based in one of the national parks under SANParks' management. Thakhuli said the man apparently used the organisation's stationery to make the "illegal transactions appear to be an activity sanctioned by SANParks". The illegal hunts happened on Den Staat farm in Limpopo, he said. The farm is a state-owned property. It has an open system with the Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site, so no fence exists between the two properties. Thakhuli said as many as 16 hunting groups would visit the area on certain days even beyond the official hunting season. Ten illegal hunters have also been identified across the country and would be appearing in various courts next month, he said. The SANParks employee faced charges of: -- Bringing SANParks' name into disrepute by advertising illegal hunts with price lists using the organisation's official stationery and electronic communications; -- Involvement in illegal commercial hunting business for personal gain in a conservation area; -- Falsifying documentation including hunting permits and transportation of game carcasses; -- Contravening of veterinary regulations (health risk as the activities occurred in the controlled foot and mouth veterinary area); and -- Non-declaration of interest in a hunting business. Sapa /mr/hdw/ar/jje