The crisis facing rhinos is potentially one of total decimation and requires immediate and concerted efforts from government, the Inkatha Freedom Party said.
IFP chief whip in parliament and environmental affairs spokesperson Narend Singh said the most stringent legislative protection and sanction should be enacted into law to protect the rhino.
“Prosecutions involving alleged rhino poaching are currently fraught with controversy and possible corruption, are usually subject to inordinate delays from both the accused and prosecution teams, and if and when justice finally does prevail, it is nothing more than a paltry slap on the wrist and fine. We are at war for our rhino, and yet government continues to act seemingly oblivious to their plight,” he said on Friday, World Rhino Day.
“We need more anti-poaching rangers, the current numbers we have being far too few. We must also ensure greater efforts in educating our communities and encouraging them to speak out against the criminal poaching syndicates that take cover within their areas.
“Demand reduction and particularly the decreasing of demand from countries like China and Vietnam is another key factor in this equation and the IFP accordingly remains totally against any form of trade in rhino horn. Stockpiling of rhino horn should not be permitted as this will inevitably find its way into the illegal markets. In respect of existing stockpiles, we call for audits of all government and privately owned horn stockpiles in South Africa.”
He said the departments of environmental affairs and justice and constitutional development should approach “this crisis with the requisite amount of political will”.
The current scourge on rhinos required a coordinated, strategic and “singular” government approach because time was running out for rhinos in South Africa, Singh said.
South Africa brought the rhino back from the brink of extinction in the 1960s and today has an estimated 20,000 black and white rhino, the national environmental affairs department said on Friday.
– African News Agency (ANA)