by Ismail Obaray MPL – DA Spokesperson of Environment and Nature Conservation
Date: 03 July 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA is both devastated and angered by the discovery of eight slaughtered rhino on a farm outside of Kimberley last week and calls on the MEC of Environment and Nature Conservation as well as the Premier to ensure the safety of rhinos in the NC is prioritised by the provincial government.
At each and every portfolio committee meeting with the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation, the DA questions the safety of the rhino in the province, as well as the department’s plans to protect these rhino.
Time and time again, the issue is brushed over by the department, who attempts to absolve itself from any responsibility for protecting the rhinos by reminding the committee that it is underfunded.
We understand that this department receives the smallest cut of the budget but this cannot be at the expense of saving the rhino population from extinction.
The farm’s level of compliance with safety standards must be questioned, as must the department’s management of the translocation of rhinos to the Northern Cape and its subsequent monitoring of provincially placed rhino.
We also question the functionality of the de-horning programme, as announced by this department, that was meant to have been implemented in a bid to further protect the rhinos.
Given the increased rhino population in the Northern Cape, it has become critical that an anti-rhino poaching unit is urgently established in the province and that the monitoring and enforcement unit of the department steps up its game. Otherwise, the relocation of the Kruger National Park rhinos will become a futile exercise.
The DA will write to both the MEC of Environment and Nature Conservation, Tiny Chotello, as well as Premier Sylvia Lucas, who is also the former MEC of Environment, and ask provincial government to prioritise rhino safety in the province.
The DA further calls on the police to leave no stone unturned in pursuing the rhino poachers. The perpetrators must be brought to book and be given the maximum sentence that will serve as a deterrent to other poachers.
It simply cannot be that the last living rhinos, which have been sent to the Northern Cape to find refuge, become open targets for poachers.
Ismail Obaray MPL
DA Spokesperson of Environment and Nature Conservation
082 380 2128
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387