Cape Town – In the battle between baboon and the City, Kataza the baboon won after his supporters put up a fierce fight to return him to his troop.
Weeks of silent protests, petitions, continuous social media posts and threats of court action in support of Kataza being returned to his original troop, from which he was forcefully removed, finally saw the City relenting.
It said: “Kataza’s return will be done in accordance with the approved guidelines for baboon management and will take place as soon as practically possible. In the interest of the baboon troop and public safety, no members of the public will be allowed in the vicinity of the area when the capturing is taking place.”
Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute director Francesca de Gasparis said: “We were thrilled to hear that the City has finally decided to return Kataza back to his original troop. It is long overdue. However, it also seems as if this decision was directly linked to the court case that was taken out against the City.”
Lawyer Ryno Engelbrecht, who took the City to court, agreed to withdraw an application to the Western Cape High Court. “We are not sure if this is just a response to litigation or if it is being done from a true change of heart on baboon management. The City’s statement did not address the much wider issue that Kataza has been symbolic of, including our concerns.”
Gasparis said it was still not clear whether the City has fully taken on board the citizens’ concerns on how baboons were being managed around the peninsula and whether they were committed to being more transparent.
Environmentalist and concerned citizen Chantal Carstens-Luyt said: “It is wonderful that the City finally made this decision and it is hopefully not too late for Kataza. I hope the City will afford him the same amount of time to settle with his original troop before building up a ‘rap sheet against him again’.”
Take Kataza Back Home petition creator, with more than 30 000 supporters, Daina De Agrela said: “This is a vital next step to ensure that what has been done to Kataza is never allowed to be perpetrated… again.”