Lawyer: Ezemvelo killings illegal

2010-09-24 00:00

CONCERNED locals believe that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) is acting illegally when it euthanases indigenous or exotic wild animals been confiscated from people who don’t have permits to keep them.

The Witness has a copy of Nature Conservation Ordinance No. 15 of 1974, which states that while officers can confiscate animals being kept without permits, the person from whom they have taken the animal has 21 days to appeal to the administrator, in this case Lydia Johnson, MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development.

Local attorney Warren Smith confirmed the EKZNW must keep any seized animal alive for 21 days to give the owner chance to appeal.

He said it appears that EKZNW is using “invalid” primate norms and standards, and added that this document could not be used to subvert the law.

Andy Blackmore, head of the integrated environmental management, conservation planning division, at EKZNW expressed surprise “at these claims in the press when no formal complaint has been received from the complainant or his attorney”.

He said that when and if a formal complaint is received, Ezemvelo will consider and, where necessary, investigate the matter. “Further, Ezemvelo has stated that the organisation has acted legally in terms of its mandate and in terms of the provisions of the Nature Conservation Ordinance 15 of 1974.”

Local sanctuary owners Shes Roberts and Victor Hugo told The Witness that a local attorney is drawing up a document for EKZNW to sign when it confiscates animals, acknowledging that it is aware of the legal requirement to keep the animal alive for at least 21 days.

Meanwhile, Johan Olivier, the man who cared for vervets Doonsie and Billy before EKZNW euthanased them, said he is rallying support for a protest about the issue. Contact Olivier about joining the protest at 072 903 3692.

IN response to the euthanasia of Doonsie and Billy, a Facebook group has been set up called “Boycott KZN Wildlife”. The description reads, “They are a bunch of morons, liars & ‘murderers’.”

By yesterday the group had 26 members.

“They just sold some Rhino to the tune of R 3.5 M, so I guess my small entry fee means nothing, and after this, I would rather put my beans into Kruger and other places,” wrote one man.

“I think the officers linked to the euthanasing of the vervet monkeys taken away in Cato Ridge should give an explanation as to why they went ahead ... despite having given their assurances that they would wait for the rescuer to produce the necessary permits ...”wrote another.


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