MPs to hold public hearings on rhino poaching

2014-08-27 14:47

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Parliament - Parliament's portfolio committee on environmental affairs will start public hearings on rhino poaching on Thursday to consult with rural communities and secure their help in fighting it.

Committee chairperson Jackson Mthembu said the meetings will be held around KwaZulu-Natal's iMfolozi area, the historical home of the white rhino from Thursday to Saturday, then around the Kruger National Park in Mpumulanga from 4 to 6 September and in North West from 11 to 13 September.

Mthembu said it was crucial to have input from local communities as many members were involved in safeguarding rhino or risked encountering poachers, but also because of suggestions that they were being co-opted by poaching syndicates.

"Communities who stay in those surroundings should be part of that solution. If they are not part of the solution we will not find a solution.

"I think we have a duty to speak to our own citizens, that are nearer to where we have this scourge. So that they can give us advice.

"The communities that live there are also in danger as well because those communities include who need to look after the upkeep of the rhino, people who have to face the poachers and their guns."

'A runaway train'

He added: "We are not making any accusations against those communities, but there are these allegations that some people who have been arrested are people who reside there."

The committee was deeply concerned by the alarming rate at which rhino poaching has escalated in the past six years, likening it to "a runaway train".

South Africa is home to more than 90% of the world's white rhino population.

"More than 600 rhinos were killed, as of 31 July 2014, threatening to overshoot last year's all-time high", Mthembu said.

"We need to develop a 'political community of interest' around the protection of our rhinos, particularly closer to where rhinos are being illicitly killed."

In 2013, 1004 rhinos were poached in South Africa, which is home to more than 80% of the world population of the ungulates.

Democratic Alliance MP Terri Stander said new research showed that unless poaching was stemmed, the death rate of rhino would exceed their birth rate within the next year or two and extinction would become a reality within 15 years.

He said the committee would then submit the facts and impressions it gathered to government to fine-tune its anti-poaching policies.

To broaden the hoped-for impact of memoranda of understanding South Africa has signed with so-called consumer countries of rhino horn, government planned to bring MPs and students from there to South Africa to show them the ravages caused by poaching.

"We are also bringing a number of students from these consumer countries because if we don't deal with this matter at an early stage, so that these students can see how our rhinos are killed, they can be part of this pain and sorrow that we all feel."

The public meetings will also focus on climate change and its impact on rural communities.

Read more on:    durban  |  mpumalanga  |  conservation  |  rhino poaching

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.