How Did KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife Manage to Employ a Wanted Felon?

Radley Keys, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Conservation and Environmental Affairs

THE Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal will call for answers from Conservation and Environmental Affairs MEC, Meshack Radebe, following the revelation that a KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife ranger arrested on charges of rhino poaching is a wanted felon, believed to be linked to several serious crimes in the province.

The ranger, Bheki Msweli, who also uses the pseudonym Mtshali, is facing charges for hijacking, attempted robbery and an attempted cash-in-transit heist – crimes committed since 2009. This bizarre situation raises several questions around the department’s screening process. As the DA we expect the MEC to explain how a suspected criminal came to be employed by KZN Ezemvelo and will submit a written parliamentary question around this. We want to know whether the current screening process includes any criminal checks with the SAPS, courts of law or the department of justice. We also want to know what the screening process entails and who is responsible for conducting it.

It is astonishing that wildlife authorities did not know that one of their own employees was a wanted man. The fact that he used a pseudonym is no excuse. Being a wildlife ranger is a calling. It is a position of trust and there simply cannot be loopholes that allow criminals to enter KZN Ezemvelo’s ranks. The DA expects the MEC to launch a thorough investigation and to act immediately to restore the good name of those rangers who work tireless

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