Hunter, 81, disappears without trace in reserve

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Mpumalanga police have asked the community to help them find an 81-year-old man who disappeared in December while allegedly hunting illegally in a private game reserve.

Thiyase Willies Makhubele, also known as Mthayise Mavilan, of Brenda section, Timbavati, near Acornhoek, and his friend Eckson Shubane went hunting at the Balule game reserve, near Hoedspruit.

Shubane told the police that while they were looking for wild animals to kill at the game reserve they spotted a white man and became scared.

An Acornhoek police spokesman, Constable Zanele Sibuyi, said yesterday: "He told us that as soon as they saw the man they ran in different directions. Shubane managed to get home safely, but his friend did not."

Sibuyi said it was not clear if the white man was a game ranger, but police have established that Makhubele was not detained at the reserve.

"The family fears that the old man might have been killed by wild animals," said Sibuyi.

Balule is next to the Kruger National Park.

Sibuyi has warned the community to refrain from illegal hunting because they were endangering their lives as well as risking arrest.

"We do not know what happened to the man, but we have established that he is not in the park. We need the community to help us find him," said Sibuyi.

Anyone with any information should phone the Acornhoek police on 013-795-8013/4.