Court sets aside hunting permits issued by Ezemvelo

2015-06-10 11:31
Ezemvelo KZN wildlife

Ezemvelo KZN wildlife

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THE Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday set aside hunting permits issued by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to a man who allegedly falsely signed as “the landowner” of the game reserve where the hunting was to take place.
The court order was obtained by Makhasa Reserve CC, which operates the Makhasa Game Lodge on state-owned land near Hluhluwe which it leases in terms of an agreement with the KZN Nature Conservation Board/Service.
Businessman Robin Barnes, who is a trustee of the company that runs Makhasa (Acorn Trust), said the man who applied for the permits, Zwelinzima Gumede, lives outside the reserve and is not connected in any way to the game reserve.
He submitted “ulterior motives” had been behind the granting of the permits.
Barnes said the Trust had entered into a lease agreement with the KZN Conservation Board/Service in 2001 in terms of which they developed the property as a game reserve, constructed a 16-bed rest camp for paying guests and two bush camps to accommodate walking parties.
It was stipulated that no more than four hunts (each lasting no more than five days) would take place on the property each year. In addition, they (the tenants) had first refusal in respect of any hunt offered by the KZN Nature Conservation authority.
The reserve had to be given at least 10 months’ notice before a hunt.
On February 24, manager Hanroe Taljaard reported that Gumede (and three men he introduced as hunters and “honoured guests”) arrived at the gate and asked to be “shown around”.
Barnes said one of the men, Rassie Erasmus (of Rasland African Ventures) told Taljaard he was looking for potential places to hunt in the area.
Barnes said on April 15, Erasmus called Taljaard, asking about the availability of accommodation at Makhasa.
He had said he wanted to bring a group of hunters to the property the following week, and that he had “already been issued permits by KZN Wildlife” allowing him to hunt on the property.
During the same period another man, William Barnes, also contacted Taljaard claiming to have a permit from EKZNW to capture 200 nyala on the property.
Robin Barnes said he was “shocked”.
Initially he couldn’t confirm if permits were indeed issued, but after his attorney wrote a letter, Noelene Marshall of EKZNW’s Professional Hunting and Permits Regulatory Service Department replied. She attached copies of three permits that had been issued in respect of applications signed for by Gumede “as landowner”.
Barnes said the permits allowed hunting of game in the game reserve between March 3 and December 31, 2015.
As the open season for hunting is from May 1 to August 31, the permits therefore even allowed hunting in the closed season. They also included permission to hunt, not just ordinary game, but protected game (buffalo, nyala, red duiker, blue wildebeest, zebra, and warthog), and specially protected game (giraffe and suni antelope).
A separate permit gave permission for the capture and removal of 200 nyala, which Barnes said would destroy the reserve’s breeding stock.
He said Makhasa caters for eco-tourists and if the public found out hunting was taking place it would destroy the business.
He also said buffalo are “notoriously dangerous” to hunt and such a hunt could place patrons at risk of harm or even death.
Judge Sharmaine Balton granted an order setting aside the permits.
Read more on:    ezemvelo kzn wildlife  |  court

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