SANParks ac­cused of bid to twist racism saga

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

AFRIFO­RUM yes­ter­day ac­cused SA Na­tional Parks of try­ing to wrig­gle out of al­le­ga­tions of racism by cast­ing doubt on the in­tegrity of white hik­ers who say they were turned away from a hut on Ta­ble Moun­tain.

“It is a pity that SANParks, in­stead of apol­o­gis­ing to the stu­dents and mak­ing it clear that all ac­com­mo­da­tion on Ta­ble Moun­tain is ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple of all races, now ap­pear to cast doubt on the com­plainants per­son­ally,” AfriFo­rum said in a state­ment.

The civil rights group lodged a com­plaint with the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion af­ter be­ing in­for med that two stu­dents, Eti­enne and Sti­aan Terblanche, were turned away from the Peo­ple’s Trial Hut be­cause they were white.

Ear­lier this week, SANParks spokesman Reynold Thakhuli said he was sur­prised when he learnt of the case in the me­dia as the two broth­ers had never made a for­mal com­plaint to the con­ser­va­tion body.

He said SANParks was none­the­less try­ing to probe the in­ci­dent but sug­gested the Terblanche fam­ily was not be­ing help­ful and had failed to pro­vide proof that they had called the Peo­ple’s Trial Hut.

This also drew an an­gry re­sponse from Stef Terblanche, the hik­ers’ fa­ther, who said he per­son­ally in­formed SANParks area man­ager, Gavin Bell of the in­ci­dent.

He claims Bell ac­knowl­edged that a moun­tain trial brochure mis­tak­enly presents the Peo­ple’s Trial Hut as be­ing re­served for “pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged groups” and said it would be re­placed.

“Why does Reynold Thakhuli... now try to make us out to be liars and cast doubt on us?”

AfriFo­rum has said the stu­dents’ com­plaint has led to more hik­ers com­ing for­ward with claims that they too were turned away from the hut on racial grounds. –Sapa

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