Environmental Affairs Minister, Dr Edna Molewa, says South Africa’s approach to wildlife management will always be aimed at benefiting both wildlife and the people.
South Africa, the Minister said, remains committed to continued cooperation with other countries for the sustainable use of environmental resources.
The Minister on Wednesday addressed the ‘Keep calm and let Africa take the lead’ conference through a recorded video message. The conference is currently taking place in Brussels, Belgium, under the theme ‘Supporting communities in wildlife conservation through African-EU dialogue’.
The goal of the meeting is to bring together European and African decision-makers, together with stakeholders from across the spectrum, to understand the leadership of African range countries in the management and conservation of their wildlife and the role that local communities play in these management and conservation activities.
“This helps to secure areas where rural communities are still very dependent on the natural resource base for survival,” Minister Molewa said.
She cautioned that illegal wildlife trade, illegal hunting or poaching and any form of animal cruelty is strictly prohibited by law in South Africa.
“We therefore reject the notion that equates legally and regulated hunting with poaching or other forms of illegal wildlife activities. South Africa is committed to promoting responsible hunting, which is conducted in line with the applicable legislation,” she said.
Minister Molewa said trophy and meat hunters respectively contributed R1.9 billion and R8.6 billion to the economy in the 2015-2016 hunting season.
Hunting further contributes to food security in the form of healthy free-range lean protein of between 31 000 and 87 000 tonnes per annum.
The conference is hosted by, among others, member of the European Parliament, Karl-Heinz Florenz. It is organised in coordination with the Federation of Association for Hunting and Conservation of the EU (FACE), the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO) and Safari Club International (SCI).