Power struggle in rhino poaching fight

2012-01-26 19:15

Cape Town - There is a power struggle between national government, provincial departments and some private rhino owners in the fight against poaching, Parliament's environmental affairs committee heard on Thursday.

"We'll propose things but somehow they are not getting through because of this domain issue between national and provinces," the environmental affairs department's deputy director-general Fundisile Mketeni said in a submission to public hearings by the committee.

"In our view... you want a central command. You want to be able to talk to a provincial official at a national level; you tell him what to do."

Committee chairperson Johnny de Lange said it was unacceptable to say certain rhino strategies were being blocked by individuals, departments, laws and regulations.

"If the provinces are not doing it properly and if it's a question of a species dying then there may be some instances where the power will be better served at a central level; and the Constitution allows for that," he said.

"I never want to hear the department telling me this again, that you can't do this and you can't do that. We cannot hide behind the technicalities of it.

"You are busy seeing a species die. It's not going to happen under our watch. Simple. It's not going to happen. Government has to man up to this."

De Lange took issue with the fact that the department did not know the number of rhino horns in private stockpiles. He said if the law did not allow for officials to find out these numbers, it was the department's fault for not approaching Parliament to suggest a new law.

A total of 448 rhinos were poached in 2011. In January this year, 28 rhinos had been poached so far.
The department estimated that 398 rhinos would be killed by the end of the year.

Mketeni said the illegal trade of rhino horns was worth an estimated $20bn annually, and was ranked the third most lucrative criminal trade in the world, behind drugs and human trafficking.

  • braamc - 2012-01-26 19:58

    Mketeni said the illegal trade of rhino horns was worth an estimated $20bn annually, and was ranked the third most lucrative criminal trade in the world, behind drugs and human trafficking. - never knew this, explains why SA gets targeted and our government is dragging its feet. Sad

  • Sean - 2012-01-26 20:11

    I don't want to even comment on this subject anymore because I feel that the wool is being drawn over the public's eyes. There is constant attention given to all the rhinos being poached, yet little did most of us know till recently that there is a "legal" trade in rhino horn to the highest bidder (R1M) to an unknown bidder from KZN. How long has this been going on for without the public's knowledge? As far as I am concerned poaching is poaching, whether the horns are being sold or poached! And for the "culling" of rhinos while there is a very serious declining of one of our majestic animals is illegal in itself. No one even eats the flesh!!!

      Alva - 2012-01-26 22:29

      Could not have said it better myself. I find it very difficult to support safari/hunters/conservationists when the impression is being created that rhino bulls as regarded as surplus. We are loosing more than 1x rhino every day to poaching. Encouraging that Johnny de Lange feels the same way.

  • Roberta - 2012-01-26 20:23

    Typical again! Can't organise an orgy in a brothel! And the poor Rhinos suffer.

  • Michael Woody Wood - 2012-01-26 21:25

    Meanwhile in the boardroom...

  • simon.bloch - 2012-01-26 22:39

    Africa has become a killing field for a ruthless and gutless breed of gangsters and a living nightmare for our wildlife. I am glad the issue has finally reached this collective level of our national psyche. Kom nou Bokke. Save the Beasts and Stop the Slaughter.

  • Hotkop - 2012-01-26 23:02

    I don't get it! They struggle for power to fail? So the guy who ends on top is the biggest failure??? GO! BATTLE IT OUT! Lets see wo's the BIGGEST LOSER!(unfortunately, the rhinos)

  • Craig - 2012-01-27 01:11

    The politicians should step aside, along with the bunny huggers and follow the advice of the educated conservationists... Listen to those who know and do what they say - NOT those who think they know!

      simon.bloch - 2012-01-27 02:45

      the game is over and the truth will soon be revealed. ‘Trophy rhino hunters’ flock to SA - The Mercury |

  • faannagel - 2012-01-27 07:54

    Stop the nonsense and lets get on with the task at hand.

  • Grant - 2012-01-27 08:57

    how can it be worth $20bn dollars it means each rhino poached is worth $44.6 million dollars get your facts straight.

  • Ivan - 2012-01-27 09:43

    Deploy the military to the parks with shoot to kill order for poachers. Mandatory life sentences without parole and with hard labour for traffickers and all horns to be injected with lethal toxin that is unable to be neutrlised. Other African countries dont have this poaching prblem because the poachers know they will get shot no questions asked.

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