Rhino poaching worries Zuma


President Jacob Zuma has expressed concern about rhino poaching in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, saying the matter would be discussed by the Southern African Development

“At a bilateral level, we’ve decided to take certain measures including the training of rangers and involvement of Interpol and regional security clusters,” Zuma told journalists in Pretoria, after economic bilateral discussions with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and his ministers, the Independent Newspapers report.

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is a joint initiative between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Once it opened, tourists would be able to drive across the international borders of the three countries within the boundaries of the park, according to its website. It would link the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, Kruger National Park in South Africa and the Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe.

The total area would be around 35 000 square kilometres – the first phase in a transfrontier conservation area expected to measure 100 000 square kilometres. More than 200 rhinos had been slaughtered countrywide since the start of the year. Their horns are sold for traditional medicine purposes, mostly to China and Vietnam.

Zuma noted progress made in the construction of the one-stop Lebombo border post, which was intended to make the movement of goods and services between Mozambique and South Africa easier. Zuma said due to financial constraints they had no choice but to continue constructing the border on an incremental basis. “We also need to jointly mobilise financial resources with the view to finalise this important project,” he said. The presidents had also decided to pay particular attention to food security.

They had directed their ministers of agriculture to ensure full implementation of identified projects derived from bilateral agreements on agriculture. An agreement was also made for the heads of state economic bilateral forum to be a fully fledged binational commission which would not only focus on economic issues, but also social and security issues.

South Africa and Mozambique were building a monument with an “interpretative centre” in memory of the Matola raid in that country. Zuma said the monument would not only be a reminder of those who died during the raid, but would also act as a testimony to the supreme price the people of Mozambique paid to help liberate South Africa. The SA Defence Force carried out a raid on ANC houses in Matola, Mozambique in January 1981. Sixteen South Africans and one Portuguese national were killed.

South Africa is Mozambique’s largest trading partner on the continent, Total exports by South Africa to Mozambique in 2009 were valued at over R13 billion. In the same year, South Africa imported goods from Mozambique worth over R3 billion. South Africa was the largest investor in Mozambique.