“The protection of our wildlife must essentially involve crime prevention. The focus should be on preventing animals from being killed illegally and not just on reacting once they have been killed. Although there have been a number of recent breakthroughs, there is still dire need for us to increase the number of arrests and prosecutions. Harsher jail sentences, preferably mandatory imprisonment for rhino crimes should be seriously looked at by government,” said IFP Leader in the KZN Legislature, Mr Blessed Gwala, MPL.
“We remain extremely concerned as there is no indication that the rhino poaching crisis is being curbed and rhino deaths continue apace despite government responses to combat poaching. We are of the view that such developments are as a result of the international web of criminal activity surrounding poaching, and are primarily being perpetrated by corrupt game industry insiders, professional hunters, game capture operators, pilots and wildlife veterinarians, who have all entered the rhino poaching crisis for profit and become active players,” continued Mr Gwala.
“Life sentences for those found guilty of participating in any form of rhino poaching would be an effective deterrent to other would-be poachers,” concluded Mr Gwala.
The IFP believes that rhino poaching should be declared a national disaster. This would allow South Africa to allocate disaster management funds to fight poaching.
Issued by IFP