Time for a wildly new approach
EDNA Molewa earned President Cyril Ramaphosa’s praise as a woman of courage and principle, recognised for her support of efforts to combat climate change. Her untimely death offers the president an opportunity to appoint a Minister of Environmental Affairs who, while supporting global causes, is first and foremost a guardian of conservation at home.
Molewa faced criticism from conservationists for protecting vested interests. This was articulated by Chris Mercer in a recently published piece, which highlighted the breeding of lions in captivity for the canned lion industry.
He argued that under Molewa’s watch “the wild was being taken out of wildlife” and the time was ripe for a new approach to the conservation of biological diversity.
In particular, how do we achieve sustainable use and shared benefits of our wonderful biodiversity without sacrificing the protection of this very biodiversity?
Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom is serving Environmental Affairs in an acting capacity.
Among the issues to be reviewed should be how, as a signatory to the Biodiversity Convention, we promote policies that are centred on the protection and preservation of our wildlife.
We must extend marine conservation areas and protect our oceans from further degradation, protect our wetlands from mining, our mountains from development, and our wildlife from poaching and extinction, always putting the benefits of the environment above commercial ones and using our environment in a sustainable way to promote tourism and leave a legacy for future generations.