Chris Moerdyk

Let's export rhino horn, dagga and tik

2013-07-08 07:30

Chris Moerdyk 

I think it is diabolically clever of government to approve the sale of its stockpile of rhino horn because let's face it, we need the money. At the current going rate of R600 000 a kilogram our horny little nest egg would bring in R11bn.

Which is not to be sneezed at.

In fact, this presents South Africa with an entire new raft of export products that could earn us much needed foreign exchange and improve the value of the rand to the extent that every citizen would benefit.

It is pretty much common knowledge that in spite of the best efforts of the SAPS, South Africa probably has the world's largest crop of dagga which must also be worth billions in foreign markets.

The Cape Flats alone has enough tik to keep the entire state of California high for at least a year or two and if you happen to venture into the poorer parts of the country's residential areas you will find a massive home-brew liquor industry that, were it to be brought together and floated on the New York stock exchange, would make SAB-Miller look like a struggling start-up.

I reckon that all of this put together would amount to about $100bn in foreign earnings for South Africa every year. That's more than one trillion rand, which would mean that no South African would ever have to pay tax again. Unless government decided to spend all this lovely lolly on something silly like building lavatories or buying fleets of BMWs.

Of course this is nonsense - intentionally so. Just to demonstrate how insane is the whole idea of selling our rhino horn.

What happens when stock is used up?

Of course government argues that it will flood the market, thereby reducing the value and by consequence making it less profitable for poachers to risk their lives.

Which is nonsense because, first of all what will happen when that stock is used up? The price of rhino horn will increase again.

Apart from which if rhino horn does become cheaper it will undoubtedly entice those who could not afford it before, to give it a try and by consequence, create millions more addicts.

Sure, there is a lot of money to be made flogging our rhino horn. But then why stop there? Why not flog our dagga and home-brews? There are many countries in which both these are legal and I daresay we could find a few countries happy to import our tik as well.

Only a few weeks ago government set fire to millions of Rands worth of illegally imported cigarettes. Why didn't they just sell them cheaply, thereby making it unprofitable for anyone to keep sneaking containers of contraband cigarettes across our borders?

The Endangered Wildlife Trust has already said that there are "far too many uncertainties to be cleared before deciding on legalised (rhino horn) trade".
I agree with them.

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Read more on:    endangered wildlife trust  |  conservation  |  rhino poaching  |  narcotics

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