PRESS RELEASE: Holomisa - Parliamentary Debate - National Environmental Laws Management Bill
ADDRESS BY MR BANTU HOLOMISA, MP IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, DEBATE: NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
14 November 2012
Mister Speaker and Honourable Members,
The UDM supports the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill.
Due to time limitations, I am only going to focus on the threats that the poorly regulated South African Hunting Industry poses on biodiversity.
In 2005, Minister van Schalkwyk and his Department of Environmental Affairs mandated a Panel of Experts to consider that, and I quote: "... there is a general lack of consistent scientific information regarding the scale and nature of the industry, and poor monitoring of the practices.
The hunting industry. is regulated according to provincial ordinances which are in many cases outdated and not in line with current international best practices.
It seems as if the central overarching problem with hunting in South Africa is that there is no coherent and comprehensive oversight of the hunting industry and a lack of clear national norms and standards for sustainable hunting . Issues that need to be addressed in such a framework include a definition of sustainable hunting, regulatory measures and the delegation of permitting arrangements, joint management and scientific monitoring arrangements agreed to between government, national and provincial park authorities and private land owners, and monitoring of the allocation of any revenues generated through such hunting towards conservation." end quote.
We hope that this Amendment Bill will help close these legislative gaps as highlighted above. It should also help harmonise management and monitoring systems between National and Provincial Governments with respect to the issuing of hunting permits, among other things. Standardising the issuing of hunting permits will help stem the wanton destruction of our national heritage.
One of the contentious issues the hunting rules and regulations should address is the fact that some wealthy communities have managed to remove all the fences separating their game farms from certain National Parks to ostensibly 'expand the conservation area'. This allows them uncontrolled access to the national heritage. In addition, these communities have profited from hunting animals that strayed into their private nature reserves when the fences were removed.
The benefits of the hunting industry to the national economy are debatable, whilst eco-tourism with its known economic benefits and sustainability is under threat from unregulated hunting.
We need to increase awareness in communities about the importance of conserving our biodiversity. We need to help communities understand the meaning of biodiversity conservation for their livelihoods. In this regard, the Bioprospecting Fund should, among other things, be used for this purpose. We have over the years been quick to ratify international conventions that ended up benefiting outsiders at our expense.
In conclusion, it is pleasing to see that this Amendment Bill gives the Minister enough powers to apply a balancing act in the application of international treaties for the benefit of all South Africans.
I thank you