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CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

We have in our constitution a groundbreaking law making it illegal to do anything which is harmful to the environment.

Unfortunately, it is meaningless, as no one has been appointed to enforce it, and despite the fact that we have one of the most harmful to the environment economies in the world, not one person has ever been prosecuted under this law

In fact, every bill in any way intended to protect the environment is always rejected by the ANC.

South Africa is home to some of the last wild animals left anywhere in the world.

Although many individuals within the environmental bodies care about wild animals, the institutions are a mess with corruption, ignorance, at the top and fear to buck the system from those knowledgeable conservationists lower down

Conservation in this country is therefore to a large extent a horror story

Nothing has been done about removing those cruelest of all animal traps. Even now, when at last they turn their attention to them, you can get them if you get a permit!! And it’s the same with permits to shoot leopards. No one can pretend that they know how many of these reclusive cats there are in the country, yet permits to kill many each year they are handed out blind

We have 198 000 hectares of offshore islands. Ousted by Parks Board from their traditional large islands like Robben Island and Dyer main Island, only 10 hectares of island space are allocated to seals, with the result that there is not space to breed and babies are born onto even unsuitable ledges from which they can often be washed. More and more seals are having to settle for the mainland because there is no room in the inn. At least 30 000 cute seal pups every year die because they have nowhere to be nurtured through the months before they are able to swim. In this way, conservation is pandering to big money in the fishing business. Not only is nothing done to allow the seals back to their traditional breeding islands, but babies who are born inland are put down.

Our official stance on protection of wildlife is kill them allegedly to stop them suffering – no attention to systems that are hurting their chances of a future. To make it worse, private people and groups who try to save animals, encounter nothing but officiousness and obstruction.

Wildlife in this country has more to fear from the official conservation heads than from whatever it was that originally threatened it.

They cull them, load the odds for moneyed people against them, give permits to kill them, prefer them to be put down than helped, “manage their habitats” by clear-cutting and “controlled” burning of them and do nothing to prevent them being hunted, poisoned, ousted from their breeding sites, hunted. They have talked themselves into a rationale that says this is conserving them, but it is really conserving the interests of the rich.

If we want to save South Africa as this last stronghold of wild animals, we need most of the top conservation baddies to go.