update (30 April 2012): Field rangers at the Kruger National Park called off their two-month strike on Monday (30 Apr 2012), South African National Parks (SANParks) said. The National Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), acting on behalf of the workers, had proposed that the rangers return to work by Tuesday (01 May 2012).
update (02 April 2012): More than 200 workers are still on strike at the Kruger National Park (KNP), South African National Parks (SANParks) said on Monday (02 April 2012). SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said 60 workers had returned to work, but more than 200 workers, who had left their unions, were still striking. [more]
update (30 March 2012): The latest developments regarding service delivery protests between Hazyview and the Paul Kruger and Phabeni gates (also see update 16 Feb 2012). The R536 between Hazyview and the Paul Kruger and Phabeni gates is clear of protests and visitors can use the road to access Kruger National Park as normal. (via SANParks)
update (19 March 2012): As the South African National Parks (SANParks) workers strike enters its 6th week, SANParks says talks with the representatives of the strikers during two meetings held, were fruitless as the representatives were intransigent, unreasonable and maintained demands that require the organisation to adjust salaries and related allowances by between 78-1200%. The strike is currently affecting the Kruger National Park and Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage site in Limpopo.
update (09 March 2012): The South African National Parks (SANParks) has agreed to the establishment of a joint bargaining forum for collective bargaining purposes with two of its recognised trade unions, Health and other Service Personell Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA) and the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU). [more]
update (28 Feb 2012): A joint meeting between South African National Parks (SANParks), one of the main unions, Health and other Service Personell Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA) and representatives of the strikers will take place on Thursday, 01 March 2012 in Skukuza in order to find a solution to the current strike. [more]
update (27 Feb 2012): A special meeting between South African National Parks (SANParks) and Health and other Service Personell Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA), one of the main unions operating within SANParks, was held on 22nd February 2012 in order to discuss and find an amicable resolution to salary disparity concerns raised by a group of non-unionised employees, currently on strike. [more]
update (16 Feb 2012): Guests to the Kruger National Park (KNP) that have planned to enter through Paul Kruger Entrance Gate tomorrow (Friday, February 17, 2012) should be aware that there could be a disruption of services at the gate due to a planned march by striking workers. The march, which is scheduled to start at 10:00, will probably cause delays at the gate and could perhaps frustrate visitors that plan to use this gate at that time. [more info]
update (15 Feb 2012): The Kruger National Park has urged 204 striking rangers to return to work. SANParks spokesperson William Mabasa said the park needed the rangers, who have been on strike for almost two weeks.
"The police, the soldiers and the (volunteering) rangers are doing a good job in the park, but they will not be there forever. We urge the rangers to come back to work. We will interact with them while they are at work," said Mabasa.
Mabasa said SANParks management was to meet with the rangers' representatives on Sunday. He said management would go through the strikers' memorandum and list of demands and decide on a way forward. [more]
update (07 Feb 2012): SANParks spokesman William Mabasa said Kruger National Park had been temporarily assisted by the South African Police Service and the South African National Defence Force. It had now started recruiting retired staff and other trained rangers to work during the strike.
update (06 Feb 2012): The workers' strike in the Kruger National Park on Friday did not affect the safety of tourists and animals, says park spokesman William Mabasa.
"Some rangers were at work while the tourism stuff did not join the strike. Initially, we were told that 248 rangers will join the protest, but only 204 protested," said Mabasa.
He said police and soldiers were in the park to protect the workers who did not join the strike.
"Soldiers and the police also assisted to make sure that all our tourists were safe. The protesters demonstrated peacefully and they did not destroy anything."
The spokesman said the protesters demonstrated at the Kruger, Phalaborwa and Punda Maria gates. [more]
update (03 Feb 2012): The strike is due to start. Kruger National Park spokesperson William Mabasa told the media that SANParks has adopted a "wait and see attitude" and that they will decide what to do depending on how the strike progresses.
update (02 Feb 2012): According to Kruger National Park spokesperson Willian Masaba, all contingency measures are in place to adequately deal with the situation. The deployment of police and soldiers will ensure that no visitors or animals, especially rhinos, are vulnerable during the protest. No strikers will be allowed to cause disruptions in the park. Strikers will also not be allowed to come near their place of employment during the strike period.
If you are planning to visit Kruger National Park, you should keep in mind that a total number of 361 Kruger National Park (KNP) staff members will embark on a strike from Friday, February 3, 2012. This is according to a notice given to management yesterday (Tuesday, January 31, 2012) by the employees concerned. Of the 361 staff members, 248 are Field Rangers whose job is mainly the protection of wildlife and maintenance of ecological integrity. These employees are sighting salary disparity as their reason for going on strike but the two labour unions that are officially recognised by SANParks as employee representatives, i.e. South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) and Health and other Service Personell Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA) are not party to the strike.
According to Kruger National Park’s HOD: Public Relations and Communication, William Mabasa, the Honorary Rangers, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be at hand to reinforce anti-poaching efforts. In the mean-time, the recruitment of the additional 150 rangers as per the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs Minister’s announcement is proceeding.
We'll keep you posted!