CAPE TOWN: South African Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has sent a stern warning to ruthless game hunters, saying they will not escape the paws of justice in South Africa.
She said this during a joint sitting of Parliament here Thursday when responding to a statement by Inkatha Freedom party legislator Narend Singh, who expressed his disgust at the ruthless hunting and slaughtering of a lion, known as Cecil, in Zimbabwe, by a dentist from the United States.
“Let me start by indicating that Section 24 of our Constitution … refers to the need for South Africa to secure ecological sustainable development and use of our natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development,” said Molewa.
“There is a policy in South Africa, there is a law, the National Environment Management Biodiversity Act, that is followed by the TOPS (Threatened and Protected Species) Regulation number 26 … that actually prohibits any form of hunting that is cruel and we are on record saying no tranquilisation and a list of those things that are not to be done are listed in there. And nobody has to practise hunting in that manner.
“I have been on record as I am today that anybody in South Africa who is aware of anybody who is hunting under these conditions must actually refer that person to us. We will be on that person.”
The Minister’s response comes after an outcry following media reports that the dentist, who is now reported to be facing poaching charges, shot the lion with a bow and arrow before posing with the dead beast while on a safari holiday.
Singh described the manner in which the lion was hunted down and killed as “barbaric” and a “disgrace”, saying “we must protect and conserve our wildlife”.
He said lions are “epic predators” that should be protected, and that the country’s wildlife should not be sold to the highest bidder, before adding that the US dentist had allegedly paid 35,000 US dollars to be given the privilege of hunting Cecil the lion.
The Minister said South Africa had a track record of conserving its wildlife.
“Having said that I also want to indicate that South Africa has for a long time over many years developed a very good track record on conservation.
“We are among the best in the world. It is for that reason that today, we have around 3,000 lions in the wild and that those that are bred in captivity number around 6,000.”
— BERNAMA-NNN-SA NEWS