On the 28th July 2021 members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum of South Africa submitted their comments on the Draft Policy Position (published in Government Gazette no. 44776 of 28th June 2021) on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.
“WAPFSA members support a Draft Policy Position with a broad vision of “secured, restored and re-wilded natural landscapes with thriving populations of elephant, lion, rhino and leopard as indicators for a vibrant, responsible, inclusive, transformed and sustainable wildlife sectors and an equitable society living in harmony with natural resources” which we intend as Nature.”
WAPFSA members are also in support of and endorse the individual in-depth submissions made by:
On the 2nd of May 2021 Minister Creecy released and published the High-Level Panel report which reviewed the policies and regulations on hunting, trade, captive management and handling of elephant, lion, leopard, and rhinos.
The appointment of this panel was a direct result of the Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding which was held in August 2018. A number of organisations gave evidence to the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs who requested that the Department of Environmental Affairs initiate a policy and legislative review. The DEA decided to include a number of other burning issues related to other iconic species. Minister Creecy established the High-Level Panel on the 10th of October 2019.
Minister Creecy stated: There are key recommendations to reposition and organise protected areas, simplify and make more effective legislative and administrative processes as well as to improve cooperative governance. The Department will initiate processes to resolve these.
Transformation of the sector will be prioritised, in terms of improved inclusion of marginalised groups, especially communities living with or adjacent to these species, and the in the role and influence of traditional leaders and healers in the wildlife sector.
As indicated in the report, there have been a range of processes over the years that have not been properly implemented, and have resulted in the compromised position that the sector is in. This time I intend that we will act differently. I have instructed the Department to develop an implementation plan for the recommendations.
Work has already begun on a draft Policy Position that covers key policy implications of the recommendations, which will shortly be published for public participation. The Department is also initiating a process to develop a draft White Paper on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable use for consultation. The more administrative process required by the recommendations are all being taken up the Department, and I have emphasised to all the Department that the need for full consultation with both the public and as well as with colleagues in government.
Apart from releasing the report of the Panel today, we are also putting in place a programme of stakeholder feedback session to give feedback on the findings and recommendations to those stakeholders who made submissions and also those with an interest in the Panel’s work.
A number of Members of WAPFSA played an important role and gave evidence in Parliament at the aforementioned Colloquium held in 2018. A number of Members of WAPFSA made written submissions to the High-Level Panel, a number of Members of WAPFSA made oral submissions to the High-Level Panel and some Members were quoted in the Report.
Despite the Minister’s assurances for a transparent and inclusive participation process for the development of such policies, the Department has included only two members from WAPFSA who have been invited to attend a called: Workshop on Reimagining Protected Areas and Transformation on the Biodiversity Sector.
Not a single Member of WAPFSA was asked to make a presentation at this workshop, even though some were identified by the Department as being critical stakeholders in this important area of work.
Members of WAPFSA have written to the office of the Director General of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to ask for clarity on this subject matter but have to date have received no response.
As a result Members of WAPFSA have written to Minister Creecy today asking for an urgent explanation.
His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Honourable Minister Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environmet, Honourable Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize, Minister of Health, Honourable Minster Minister of Employment and Labour, Honourable Minister Thokozile Didiza, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Developement (DALRRD), Honourable Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi- NgubaneMinister of Tourism, CEO, South African Human Rights Commission, Adv. Tseliso Thipanyane, Secretary General, Congress of South African Trade Unions, Bheki Ntshalintshali, Director, Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga, CITES Secretariat
21ST APRIL 2021
HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS IN THE CAPTIVE BIG CAT INDUSTRY IN SOUTH AFRICA
The Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) is an alliance of diverse South African based organisations that share certain values, knowledge and objectives and that collectively comprise a body of expertise from scientific, conservation, legal, welfare, rights, social and climate justice, indigenous paradigm and public advocacy sectors.
WAPFSA would like to bring to your attention a Report entitled The Vicious Cycle and published by one of our members, Four Paws.
The Vicious Cycle reveals human rights concerns within South Africa’s captive big cat sector. This industry utilises captive big cats for interactions with humans, trophy hunting and the export lion bone trade to Asia.
The Four Paws report highlights the immense suffering of these big cats, showcasing the poor hygiene protocols that are in place at these breeding facilities. Whilst there have been other reports published about this controversial and exploitative industry, Four Paws has specifically highlighted the conditions that the workers in this largely unregulated industry are subjected too.
In light of this report, the undersigned members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum are calling for a Presidential investigation into all aspects of South Africa’s captive big cat industry.
THE DIRECTOR GENERAL MS NOSIPHO NGCABA AND MINISTER BARBARA CREECY
FROM: THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA
THE LETTER IS TITLED: ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO REVIEW POLICIES, LEGISLATION AND PRACTICES ON MATTERS RELATED TO THE MANAGEMENT, BREEDING, HUNTING, TRADE AND HANDLING OF ELEPHANT, LION, LEOPARD AND RHINOCEROS AND RELATED MATTERS
“We are disappointed and deeply concerned with the selection of the Committee as well as the Department’s lack of transparency and clarity in respect of the selection thereof.
The Committee is predominantly composed of persons directly involved in the use and exploitation of wildlife including hunting, breeding, testing, killing and otherwise. Such persons have deeply vested commercial/financial and other interests in the outcome of the Committee’s deliberations. We are of the view that such persons cannot be considered to be independent of these interests and will thus attempt to influence the outcome in accordance with such.”
Minister Barbara Creecy Appoints an Advisory Committee to Review Policies, Legislation and Practices Related to the Management of Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhinoceros.
22nd October 2019
The names of the committee members were published in the Government Gazette Number 42761 (Notice Number 1317) on the 10th October 2019. The Committee was also known as the High Level Panel, has been appointed in terms of the National Environmental Management Act of 1998.
The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy has announced the appointment of Mr Mavuso Msimang as the Chair of a 25-member advisory committee to review policies, legislation and practices related to the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.
It must be noted that the findings of the above mentioned assessment were issued by the Scientific Authority of South Africa on the 12th July 2018. A year later on the 22nd August 2019, your office offered members of the public a thirty-day period in which to respond to these proposed assessments.
Attention: The Minister of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
“Their Future is Dark” THE RHINO HORN TRADE 2019
The history surrounding the demand for African rhino horn is complex. During the European colonial era trophy hunting was largely responsible for the decimation of the rhino populations, for decades thereafter the uncontrollable illegal rhino horn trade between Africa and Vietnam and China is to blame.
Traditionally, once removed the horn was polished to a beautiful translucent hue and carved to make magnificent ornaments, or the horn was ground down into a fine powder and used in traditional Asian medicine, but increasingly rhino horn is now being used as a status symbol to display success and wealth.
RE: #TipsForBarbara, Your Budget Policy Speech – 11th July 2019
The undersigned organisations are part of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum, an alliance of diverse South African NGO’s that share certain values, knowledge and objectives and that collectively comprise a body of expertise from scientific, conservation, legal, welfare, rights, social justice, faith and public advocacy sectors.
We appreciate your #TipsForBarbara initiative and your efforts to engage with the public and NGO’s.
We see the challenges the environment is facing on a global scale and the opportunity that governments have of achieving the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets, your mandate is of incommensurable importance. It also come with tremendous responsibilities, and we congratulate you for accepting this position.
Please find a copy the document that was prepared at the request of Minister Barbara Creecy.
The newly appointed Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Ms Barbara Creecy delivered the Department’s budget policy statement in the South African Parliament on the 11th July 2019.
Prior to her speech Minister Creecy asked South Africans for their input. Aptly named #TipsForBarbara South Africans were asked to send emails to DEAMedia@environment.gov.za
“The doors of the Department are open for all South Africans to get involved and share ideas in designing and implementing environmental policies that will shape the future of our country. Your inputs will help us attain the aspirations of the NDP for a climate resilient and lower carbon economy and society. “