ANC not serious about transformation
by Ismail Obaray – DA Spokesperson of Environment & Nature Conservation
Date: 26 October 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA is concerned that the Northern Cape Provincial Government’s continued ad hoc approach towards the transformation of the wildlife industry will result in more failed “land reform” projects. This is deeply worrying given that 23 years into democracy, the wildlife industry in the Northern Cape remains untransformed.
The provincial Environment Department’s policy on the transformation of the wildlife industry is still a “work in progress”. The department has also failed to allocate a dedicated budget towards this initiative and indicated earlier this year that this programme requires a minimum budget of R9,8 million a year. Yet, the department has embarked on the hasty and random donation of game from its reserves to Communal Property Associations (CPAs). And now it is scampering to implement training, which will take a minimum of three years, for black emerging game farmers to become registered hunting operators.
In its desperation to give the impression that the ANC government cares about land transformation, the department has put the cart before the horse. It has donated game without having proper systems and people in place to assist emerging game farmers with the management of wildlife on their property.
At the same time, political interference has been allowed to derail what appeared to be a more logical approach towards the transformation programme by the Environment Department. In this regard, pressure from the ANC has forced the department to abandon its approach of empowering individuals, who have been working in this industry, who have shown an interest in this specialized industry and who have displayed the physical ability, attitude and temperament to succeed in this industry, for empowering CPAs instead.
In the Northern Cape, CPAs have a reputation for being largely dysfunctional. This is due to a number of factors including there being too many beneficiaries on a single piece of land and community infighting. CPAs also have a poor track record when it comes to the implementation of successful projects. The majority of agricultural projects that were implemented on land belonging to CPAs failed. Attempts to transform the wildlife industry in as far back as 2002, by focusing on the empowerment of CPAs, failed too.
The DA doubts the viability and sustainability of the ANC government’s programme of wildlife transformation, especially as no business plans and individual project plans have been developed for the involved CPAs.
From the above, it is clear that the ANC has chosen not to learn from past lessons. It has also chosen not to lay the groundwork for a successful transformation programme. The question is why?
The only conclusion is that the ANC can draw more political power from a chaotic, explosive and unsuccessful transformation programme, that frustrates and plays on the emotions of Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDIs), than it can from real redress. This is cruel and manipulative and will, in effect, continue to deny rightful beneficiaries the opportunity to share in the benefits of wildlife conservation and the hunting industry.
True transformation in the wildlife industry in the Northern Cape remains long overdue. Unfortunately for those disenfranchised by apartheid, skewed patterns in the ownership of conservation estates and hunting outfits, will remain the status quo until the ANC is voted out of power.