By Peter Ramothwala
The South African government has pledged R24.9m to Mozambique for anti-poaching efforts.
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and Mozambican Tourism Minister Carvalho Muária recently signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of biodiversity conservation and management.
This after the growing number of rhino poaching incidents within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park which have become a major challenge for the authorities in both countries. South Africa’s R24.9m comes from the R252m Swedish and Dutch Postcode Lottery donation secured by the Peace Parks Foundation to Mozambique to fight rhino poaching.
A bilateral meeting took place last year in Maputo between Molewa and Muária in a government-to-government MOU in biodiversity,conservation and management.
Department spokesperson Albi Modise said the signing of the treaty on the establishment, development and management of the Great Lake Transfrontier Park by the heads of state of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe in 2002, signified the maturity of the relationship between the three countries.
“It culminated in a number of successes that included the creation of Giriyondo tourist access facility, the translocation of more than 5000 animals to the Limpopo National Park and facilitating the natural migration of numerous species, as well as an overall enhancement of the relationship between the three countries,” he said.
Molewa said that there were many factors that contributed to the escalating cases of rhino poaching including trade and market dynamics, legislative and administrative gaps as well as organised crime and investigation challenges.
“It has also been recognised that to address the escalating trend in poaching, there are other socio-economic issues that require attention,” she said.
The Department of Environmental Affairs was authorised by the Cabinet to explore a model for trade in rhino horn.
Meanwhile, the panel of experts which is assisting the Inter-Ministerial Committee appointed by the Cabinet to deliberate on the matters relating to a possible legalisation of trading in rhino horn, commenced its work this month. The first meeting took place early this month.
The 10-member panel is chaired by Fundisile Mketeni.