In 2005 the Minister and Department of Environment established a ‘wildlife forum’ to meet exclusively with pro-hunting and pro-trade organisations and deliberately excluded labour, welfare and civil society, stakeholders. NGOs and conservation groups were denied membership. The ‘wildlife forum’ provided a platform for hunters and those with vested wildlife consumptive interests to shape government wildlife policy.
No such forum existed for other key interested and affected stakeholders in the wildlife conservation and protection sector despite requests from the wildlife protection sector to be included in such a forum. By refusing to allow access to parties who do not reap a direct benefit from the exploitative industry itself, meant that the forum, by definition was discriminatory.
Given the unwillingness of the Department of Environment to change the Terms of Reference of the existing exclusionary ‘wildlife forum’ to include membership of South African wildlife animal protection and welfare organisations, in February 2018 twenty-three wildlife protection organisations officially requested the Minister for the Environment, Edna Molewa, to establish a wildlife forum with representatives of South African animal protection organisations. The representatives of these organisations organised themselves as the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA).
The purpose of the establishment of WAPFSA was to create a platform for dialogue and to provide the South African government with access to alternative viewpoints and additional information in order to provide the necessary tools to resolve issues of concern and to develop and strengthen policy for the advancement of the protection of wildlife, indigenous minorities and the environment.
Please find a copy of the letter:
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