Please find attached a soundbite by Dave Bryant MP.
Today is World Rhino Day where the international community takes pause to consider the plight of these majestic, ancient animals. The remainder of the world’s rhinos are located in South Africa, where they continue to be poached at a pace faster than their growth rate. In simple terms, this means that if poaching is not drastically and urgently addressed rhino will go extinct in the wild within the next fifty years at least.
The vast majority of poaching is taking place in the Kruger National Park which is managed by SAN Parks, an entity of the ANC government. In Kruger Park the white rhino population has dropped by 67% over the past ten years from around 10,600 in 2011 to just 3,549 individuals in 2019. While the ANC government is keen to point to a recent drop in poaching numbers at Kruger National Park, the reality is that this is simply because there are far fewer rhino left to poach. 241 rhinos have already been poached in Kruger Park this year alone. This is bizarrely deemed to be acceptable as the government’s “poaching target” is 250 rhinos a year.
The travesty of rhino poaching at Kruger National Park is symptomatic of all entities that have been under the control of the ANC government. Not only has this government been unable to prevent incursions into the park, they have repeatedly failed to take those responsible to task and to break the international poaching syndicates. Many of those involved in local poaching syndicates continue to get away with slaps in the wrist. Some cases have been ongoing for between 7 and 10 years and there is a lack of urgency to deal with those involved. There continues to be an aversion from the ANC government to properly address corruption and collusion within Kruger Park. The DA continues to call for the proper use of polygraph testing for all Kruger Park staff, including those in executive positions.
The ANC government also appears to be hesitant to take action against foreign governments whose citizens are involved in the illegal trade in rhino horn. Why are the relevant ministers not giving ultimatums to these foreign governments to force them to help curb the illegal trade? The ANC government has proven that they lack the sufficient backbone to take these governments to task for other international criminal syndicates so perhaps we should assume that the illegal trade in rhino horn would be no different.
It should be a very telling sign that the ANC government saw it fit to cut the budget for SAN Parks for the coming year instead of giving more towards anti-poaching efforts. Government should be putting its money where its mouth is and ensuring that SAN Parks is properly equipped and empowered to address the poaching crisis at Kruger Park.
This ANC government has had its opportunity to address the plight of rhinos over many years and has shown that it is completely incapable of having any serious impact on preventing the ongoing poaching and the international illegal trade in horn. Today is a day that the ANC government should be hanging their heads in shame.