Ramaphosa denies trophy hunting claims
‘Patently false and denied in full’
PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has dismissed US media reports that he is involved in the trophy-hunting industry or in Tsala Hunting Safaris.
“Phala Phala Wildlife has noted a statement carried on the US website of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) that makes a number of unfounded allegations against Phala Phala and its owner, President Cyril Ramaphosa. The allegations are patently false and are denied in full,” the Presidency said in a statement.
It added that neither the president nor Phala Phala had a stake in the trophy-hunting industry or in Tsala Hunting Safaris.
It said that Phala Phala was a privately owned wildlife farm whose business was breeding game.
“Phala Phala has been in operation since 2010 and is run in accordance with the strictest conservation and wildlife management principles. Phala Phala’s wildlife breeding and management activities comply with best ethical and lawful practice in the sector,” the statement said.
It added that neither Phala Phala nor Ramaphosa were engaged in illegal or unethical activities in any form.
“The following serves to clarify the nature of the relationship between Phala Phala and Tsala Hunting Safaris,” the Presidency said.
Phala Phala undertook annual culls of game such as impala, buffalo, kudu and wildebeest to avoid carrying excess numbers; culling was an established wildlife management tool practised around the globe, including in staterun conservation reserves; and Phala Phala entered into an agreement with Tsala Hunting Safaris to hunt the aforementioned game that would in any event have been culled.
“In the light of allegations that Tsala engages in the hunting of threatened or protected species on other properties, Phala Phala has given notice to Tsala Safaris to terminate the hunting arrangement with them,” the Presidency said.
This decision was in line with Phala Phala’s commitment to sound conservation principles and its demonstrable compliance with ethical and lawful wildlife management standards.
“Phala Phala Wildlife notes that Peta US has previously made false allegations regarding the president’s interest in racing pigeon breeding. President Ramaphosa has been a pigeon breeder since the age of 16 and owned a flock of pigeons as a young man living in Soweto in the 1960s and 70s.
“The president has been engaging with breeders in Soweto and the Western Cape about the development of the industry, as well as on the increased participation of young black entrants in pigeon racing. Pigeon racing has been practised since the 1800s and is a sport with a substantial global following.
“That Peta US continues to use its platforms to disseminate false information regarding Phala Phala Wildlife and President Ramaphosa is wholly regrettable,” the Presidency said.