MP’s to hold public hearings with rural communities on rhino poaching

BY NATALI IVERSON - AUGUST 28, 2014

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs will be holding public hearings to inform rural communities on rhino poaching, in the hopes that they can help resolve the problem.

The meetings will be held in Kwazulu-Natal’s iMfolozi area from 28th until the 30th of August. They will then go to Mpumalanga in the Kruger National Park from the 4th to the 6th of September and will then travel through to the North West for the 11th to the 13th of September.

Committee chairman Jackson Mthembu said that it is important to have input from the local communities as they could provide good suggestions to help put an end to the rhino poaching in South Africa.

“Communities who stay in those surroundings should be part of that solution. If they are not part of the solution we will not find a solution,” said Mthembu

“I think we have a duty to speak to our own citizens… that are nearer to where we have this scourge, so that they can give us advice.

“The communities that live there are also in danger as well because those communities include who need to look after the upkeep of the rhino, people who have to face the poachers and their guns,” he added.

South Africa is home to 90 percent of the white rhino and the portfolio committee are concerned at the shocking rate in which rhino poaching has escalated in the past six years.

“More than 600 rhinos were killed, as of July 31, 2014, threatening to overshoot last year’s all-time high,” Mthembu noted.

“We need to develop a ‘political community of interest’ around the protection of our rhinos, particularly closer to where rhinos are being illicitly killed.”

1004 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2013 due to poaching.

 

Photo courtesy of www.annamiticus.com