State must ur­gently step in to stop rhino cri­sis – IFP

The Sunday Independent - - NEWS -

THE cri­sis fac­ing rhi­nos is po­ten­tially one of to­tal de­struc­tion and re­quires im­me­di­ate and con­certed ef­forts from gov­ern­ment, the IFP said.

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 them.

“Pros­e­cu­tions in­volv­ing al­leged rhino poach­ing are fraught with con­tro­versy and pos­si­ble cor­rup­tion, are sub­ject to in­or­di­nate de­lays from the ac­cused and pros­e­cu­tion teams, and if and when jus­tice 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 obliv­i­ous to their plight,” he said on Fri­day, World Rhino Day.

“We need more anti-poach­ing rangers, we have 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 f rom coun­tries like China and Viet­nam is an­other key fac­tor in this equa­tion and the IFP re­mains against any form of trade in rhino horn.

“Stock­pil­ing should not be per­mit­ted as this will in­evitably find its way into il­le­gal mar­kets.

“We call for au­dits of all gov­ern­ment and pri­vately-owned horn stock­piles in South Africa.”

He said de­part­ments of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs and jus­tice and con­sti­tu­tional devel­op­ment should ap­proach “cri­sis with req­ui­site amount of po­lit­i­cal will”. The scourge re­quires a co-or­di­nated, strate­gic and “sin­gu­lar” gov­ern­ment ap­proach be­cause time was run­ning out for them in South Africa, which had an es­ti­mated 20 000 black and white rhino.

IT IS NOTH­ING MORE THAN A PAL­TRY SLAP ON THE WRIST AND FINE

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