GOLDEN GATE. – The South African National Parks (SANParks) are on a mission to ensure that its rangers are environmental management inspectorate (Emi) compliant.
This was confirmed at a certificate award ceremony for more than 50 rangers that are responsible for the Northern Region Parks (Golden Gate, Marakele and Mapungubwe).
The awarding of the certificates took place on Tuesday, 24 November, at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park and were attended by SANParks’ chief operations officer, Lize McCourt, the acting managing executive: parks, Paul Daphne, as well as the acting managing executive: conservation, Dr Howard Hendricks.
The ceremony came after days of training which was offered by the South African Wildlife College situated in the Kruger National Park. This training course has equipped the field rangers with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to enforce the national Environmental Ma-nagement Act (Nema) and relevant Specific Environmental Management Acts (Sema) as part of their daily duties.
According to McCourt, the training has equipped the rangers with the knowledge of the legal procedures when arresting perpetrators of environmental crimes.
“The region’s parks, Mapungubwe National Park, a World Heritage Site, and the Marakele National Park, have the rhino as part of their wildlife species, and this puts them at a high risk for poaching activities,” she said.
McCourt said she was always inspired by the passion and dedication that the rangers showed every day.
“You have such a hard task. You sometimes go out on a hot day or in rainy weather to protect us. You’re the hands that touch the earth,” she said.
McCourt said these rangers were officially the law enforcement officers.
“I want to thank you for doing such a wonderful job even before you got the certificate. I am sure you would go out and work even harder. We will continue to equip you and give the support that you need,” McCourt concluded.
In the northern region of SANParks, 55 rangers have received their Emi-certificates, with 29 from Golden Gate, 17 from Marakele and nine from Mapungubwe. Over 360 rangers from across all the 19 national parks have completed the training.