The Everest Heights residents in Verulam have threatened to kill the notorious monkeys invading their homes and destroying their crops.

Residents said that it was hard leaving a vehicle outside the garage as monkeys were scratching the windows. Dozens of monkeys had not merely invaded homes and gardens, but have also taken children’s toys from the yards.

The monkeys from the local forests are targeting fruits and vegetables in the area and have also invaded homes to steal food. Residents explained that the issue of monkeys started many years ago and they had reported the matter to the eThekwini Municipality with the hope of cutting the forests, but their complaints had fallen onto deaf ears. Behaving like human beings, the monkeys sneak into the homes in the area, terrorising the residents of Everest Heights while desperately looking for food. Several households have been affected by the menacing monkeys. With some being forced to go to the extreme of hiring watchmen to guard their gardens during the day. The residents have vowed to kill the animals unless the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife intervened. Aggrieved resident, Vasu Applesamy, said she arrived from visiting a relative to find that the animals had sneaked into her house and consumed maize, flour and vegetables in her garden. Applesamy said the children had left the house unlocked as they played in the nearby field.

“My family had to eat with bread because the maize, flour and vegetables had been consumed by the monkeys,” he lamented. While V Pillay said, “I had spent a lot of money on the crops including chemicals but there is no harvest. My investment has been ruined and it is a big loss. I have never experienced such massive destruction by the monkeys.
I have even spent some money to hire a watchman to protect my crops but this has not worked.”

Another resident, Trisha Sukhu said: “My vegetables were ready for harvest. I expected to sell them and get money to buy a microwave but my sweat has gone to a waste. These monkeys have become a menace to us. We will kill them unless they are stopped from invading our gardens and homes.”
 
Musa Mntambo, spokesperson of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said: “The monkeys are seen as problematic by a number of different communities within the province. The monkeys do not fall under protected or threatened species and their management thus becomes a municipality responsibility. We do issue permit to the local municipality to capture and relocate them.”

Msawakhe Mayisela, spokesperson of eThekwini Municipality, said the city was not responsible for removing nor capturing of the monkeys. He advised the residents to approach the relevant monkeys’ organisations. Steve Smit, founder of Monkey Helpline, said that vervet monkeys are amongst the most misunderstood and persecuted of animals in South Africa, and certainly in KwaZulu-Natal.

Smit said: “We have vervet monkeys living around our homes, schools, parks and even our factories. And with the presence of monkeys, we also have mixed emotions about them. But love them or hate them, even be indifferent to them, they are here to stay.”
He advised the residents to call him for the monkeys.

“We devote our time to educating people about the reasons why the monkeys are here, why monkeys behave the way they do, the things people should do or not do when monkeys are around, and how to humanely keep monkeys away from those places where they are not welcome,” Smit said.