26 April 2012


After consultation with the family of an employee who died following an attack by lioness Nyanga, the City of Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor and his Mayoral Committee have decided to release her to an animal sanctuary. This was confirmed at the Council Meeting today (Thurs April 26).

Mr Joe Ramonetha who had dedicated over 40 years of his work life to the Zoo, died at the Johannesburg Zoo Conservation Farm in Parys following an attack by the lioness on February 6, 2012.

“Given the sensitivity of this matter and the City’s commitment to the preservation of life and the impact of this incident on peoples’ culture, the City had to put an exhaustive process to assist in reaching a decision which will embrace all factors and interests of the community at large,” explained City Manager Trevor Fowler.

The process largely involved consolidating input and recommendations of various expert groups and stakeholders as well as the family of the deceased employee. A Mayoral Committee meeting then further debated different recommendations two weeks ago (April 12).

Mr Ramonetha’s Limpopo-based family was consulted and the Johannesburg Zoo management and the staff consulted to pave the way for the decision to release the lioness to an animal sanctuary. This facility is still to be identified.

Guidelines for this decision included the following criteria:
• that the lioness should receive veterinary expertise offered at the facility
• complying with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (NSPACA) principles of excellent animal welfare sanctuary
• recognise the zoo’s intimate knowledge of what would be the best home

Executive Mayor Clr Tau and the Zoo management thanked to all the stakeholders who participated and assisted with information that guided the city’s decision. Once more, condolences to the Ramonetha’s family and Zoo staff have been expressed.

The Zoo management has further assured employees and visitors that it has taken all possible steps to minimise risks to all lives at the zoo premises.

Released on behalf of:

The City Manager’s Office

Mr Trevor Fowler

For further information please contact:

Gabu Tugwana
Group Communications Director
Phone: 011 407 7162
Cellular: 082 49 55673

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