Minister Creecy must provide clarity on the Draft White Paper on conservation and sustainable use

Issued by Dave Bryant MP – DA Shadow Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
08 Sep 2022 in News

The Draft White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity is currently out for public comment.

A central focus of the white paper is on the wellbeing of animals and on ensuring that our biodiversity is not unfairly exploited.

The destruction of South Africa’s natural habitat leads to a loss of biodiversity and puts indigenous species at risk. This is being seen in many areas across our country and it is essential that we ensure that our indigenous species, in particular those that are endangered, are properly protected.

The DA therefore believes that the effective management of protected areas and the creation of new protected areas must remain a priority.

Sadly, we have found that many of our nationally and provincially managed parks are increasingly struggling to protect our endangered species and this is most evident in the Kruger National Park where the rhino population continues to drop due to ongoing poaching incursions.

Brave Sanparks rangers are putting their lives at risk on a daily basis but not enough budget is being allocated by government to the park to adequately address the ongoing poaching risks.

As rhino populations in Kruger and elsewhere continue to be targeted, private conservancies are playing an increasingly important role in the future protection of South Africa’s rhinos.

Representatives of the sector have voiced concerns that government has not made enough of an effort to reach out to them to develop effective partnerships to protect our critically endangered animals.

In light of this, it is particularly concerning to read the vague section of the White Paper which refers to property rights and expropriation in section and states that:

“The State, through legislation, is, therefore, empowered to introduce regulations on property to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.”

The Minister needs to urgently clarify whether this section alludes to an intention to unilaterally expropriate property belonging to private game farmers and private conservancies in the purported interest of conservation and biodiversity.

The DA does not support the unfair deprivation of our private game farmers and conservancies, many of whom are playing an integral role in the protection of our endangered species.

The DA will be writing to the Minister to provide clarity as to the intention behind this section of the white paper and will raise our concerns in this regard.