I have today written to Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, to seek clarity on whether the government continues to maintain a neutral stance on rhino horn trade pending the outcome of its feasibility investigation into the matter.
My parliamentary questions in this regard have gone unanswered in the face of mounting evidence that the government supports the trade of rhino horn.
The idea of regulating the trade in rhino horn is contrary to the aims of protecting the species and should not be entertained. Government though has been mobilizing support for trade in the absence of empirical evidence substantiating that it can manage supply and demand without sacrificing the entire species.
Reports this week have indicated that the rate of rhino poaching has increased 9 300 percent in the last seven years. There is still very scant evidence that legalising the trade will lead to a drop in poaching numbers.
If the department is at all serious about counter-acting the heinous crime that is rhino poaching then the Minister must focus on the following:
Consolidate the various legislation and regulations to close loopholes and provide consistency.
– Place more emphasis on securing South Africa’s borders by deploying at least 2 law enforcement personnel every 10km along the 356km border with Mozambique.
– Develop a single, coordinated intelligence strategy with the input of properly vetted stakeholders armed with a dedicated intelligence desk that develops strategies to disrupt organised crime.
– Minister Molewa must stop the talk-shops and political double speak and act with conviction to end the complete massacre of our nation’s rhino population.
The South African public deserve to know what the true stance of government on this contentious issue is. Too many people have invested time, energy and money on combating this scourge facing the country for the government to subversively cut them at the feet.
The entire process that will lead South Africa to be for or against rhino horn trade should be open and transparent as the consequences thereof will affect our nation’s natural heritage for years if not decades to come
Shadow Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs
Source : Democratic Alliance