Croc alert for Dusi river race
Bound, rotting body retrieved
THE BODY of a man has been wrenched from the jaws of a crocodile in KwaZulu-Natal’s Enseleni River, although police do not know whether he was killed before or after he was bitten.
And the organisers of the Dusi Canoe Marathon have confirmed that a crocodile is lurking along the Umgeni River route of next year’s marathon.
Ray de Vries, spokesman for Hansa Powerade Dusi, said a two-metre long crocodile had been spotted several times recently by residents of Reservoir Hills in Durban.
At the Enseleni Nature Reserve last week visitors spotted the body of security guard Michael Xaba, 28, in the crocodile’s jaws. His feet and hands were bound.
“If he was dead before, he would have been smelled a mile away by the crocodile,” Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesman Jeff Gaisford said.
But Xaba’s employer, Pierre Conradie, head of Alpha Security, said Xaba might have been thrown to the crocodile.
“He was killed. I think it had to do with a personal issue,” said Conradie.
The Empangeni Fire and Rescue Department and the Empangeni Dog Unit went out on a boat to retrieve the decomposing body, said Dave Savides, chairman of the Richards Bay Community Policing Forum.
“The police are investigating the possibility of personal motivations. We are looking at all angles,” Savides said.
Xaba’s skull was flattened and his jaw was broken.
District Surgeon Dr Frank van Niekerk said that the cause of death had not been determined. However, “he could not have survived those injuries”.
Meanwhile De Vries of the Dusi Canoe Marathon said residents who lived near the Umgeni River would not allow their children to fish along the river because of fears they would be eaten.
Residents said the reptile made random appearances soon after they noticed a number of Egyptian geese had disappeared from the river, and “the carp were going crazy in the water”.
De Vries, who visited the area and spoke to residents, said the geese which lived on that part of the river had also almost completely disappeared.
Last week, resident Nivash Dhookran, 37, who farms on the riverbank was nearly taken by a crocodile.
“I got the fright of my life. I was picking herbs and the next thing I saw this thing open its mouth to bite me on my arm or shoulder. I ran like hell and called people who confirmed that it was a crocodile and we managed to take a picture with a cellphone,” Dhookran said.
He said his labourers also spotted it on the river bank.
Dhookran has lived in the area for 30 years. He has farmed the land for 10 years and said he had never seen a crocodile there before.
De Vries said it could very well be the same crocodile that was spotted by a number of Dusi paddlers two years ago, below the N2 national road.
“It is quite disturbing to now think that there are crocs right here in the city. It is also alarming concerning the race.”
Gaisford said investigations would be conducted.
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