The City of Cape Town is extremely concerned about the personal safety of officials involved in its Urban Baboon Programme. One official has been threatened, and had his personal property vandalised.

The threat and damage to private property were reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) for investigation on Thursday, November 19.

The threat was sent to the official’s cellphone with the message that he has been “warned” and that Kataza, the male chacma baboon from the Slangkop troop in the Kommetjie area, “is untouchable”.

In the interest of the safety of the official and his family, the City has said it will not divulge more details about this matter.

“We have noticed a trend where officials are being targeted and vilified by some of those who disapprove of the City’s Urban Baboon Programme. It is very distressing that it has now reached a point where an official is threatened with physical harm shortly after his personal property was vandalised.

“This is over and above the hate-mails, abusive messages, and insults aimed at staff who are, as part of their duties, involved in managing this programme. These intimidation and bullying tactics are absolutely shocking and unacceptable,” said the City’s Mayco Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.

The City is also concerned about the “ongoing interference” with baboon rangers who are tasked with keeping the baboon troops out of the urban environment in the Kommetjie area.

“Some residents are blatantly ignoring the City’s request to not follow or feed SK11, colloquially known as Kataza. Furthermore, we have received reports that the rangers from NCC Environmental Services, the City’s service provider, are prevented from performing their duties in accordance with the guidelines,” Nieuwoudt said. “I’m very concerned as this interference will give way to an increase in baboon raiding in the area and damage to private property.

“Some residents have already contacted the City with complaints about the impact this is having on their quality of life as they have to stay indoors and lock all windows and doors while the baboon troop is moving through town. Adding to this challenge is that the residents who actually support the programme are reluctant to do so in public out of fear of being targeted and vilified by those who are opposing efforts to keep the baboons out of town. Given the abuse that our officials are being subjected to, this is quite understandable.”

“We kindly request the local community of Kommetjie and surrounds to please allow SK11 (Kataza) to adapt to his surroundings and to not follow or feed him. Furthermore, we implore residents not to interfere with the baboon rangers who are tasked with encouraging the troop to forage in its home range and to remain out of the urban environment.”

The community is requested to please assist by baboon proofing their properties as far as possible, and to reduce food attractants as this will discourage raiding.

Picture: Bring Back Kataza/Facebook

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.