Parliamentary Question: DWA: Rhino horn

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Dr G W Koornhof (ANC) to ask the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs:
(1) Whether she has been informed of an inventory of rhino horn that is held by conservation agencies in South Africa; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, how many tons of rhino horn have been stockpiled (a) in total and (b) by each conservation agency;

(2) whether she has found that legalising the trade in rhino horn will be an effective means of controlling the market and preventing the illegal killing of rhino; if not, what are the relevant details; if so,
(3) whether she intends to legalise the trade in rhino horn; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(4) whether she intends to establish a national coordinator to whom national and provincial conservation agencies can submit information on rhino poaching; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(5) whether the functions of the national coordinator will include working in conjunction with the SA Police Service and the courts; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Dr G W Koornhof (ANC)

SECRETARY TO PARLIAMENT

HANSARD

PAPERS OFFICE

PRESS
1365. THE MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS ANSWERS:
(1) An inventory of rhino horn that is held by conservation agencies in South Africa has been completed but due to security risks the Department of Environmental Affairs cannot publicly announce the amount of stocks being held by these agencies.
(2) No. The feasibility assessment to investigate the viability of legalising the trade in rhino horn in South Africa as well as the global competitive market research project on market intelligence regarding rhino horn trade, as agreed to at the Minister’s summit in October 2010 must still be conducted. The information gathered by these two studies should enable the DEA to determine whether legalizing the trade in rhino horn will be an effective means of controlling the market and preventing the illegal killing of rhino.
(3) We do not have the legalisation of rhino horn on the cards. As indicated in (2) above, we are conducting a study which must be scientific and indicate the measures to be taken in protecting our rhino from being poached because of the rhino horn.
(4) The department established the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit (NWCRU) that include all provincial conservation authorities, coordinated through the South African National Parks (SANParks), and working in cooperation with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other security agencies, including NPA, Justice and Defence. Information on rhino poaching is being coordinated jointly by the NWCRU and the South African Police Service (SAPS), who has declared rhino poaching as a priority crime. Anybody, including provincial conservation agencies can thus provide information on rhino poaching to either the DEA or SAPS.
(5) Yes, as reflected above, the NWCRU works in close cooperation with the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority in all investigations and prosecution cases related to the illegal killing of rhino’s and illegal trade in rhino horn.