The scourge of rhino poaching in the Eastern Cape is getting worse, with an estimated 100 rhinos poached in the province over the last eight years.
The recent senseless slaughter of two critically endangered black rhinoceros at the Great Fish River Nature Reserve has brought the number of rhinos poached in the Eastern Cape to 15 this year, up from 12 killed by poachers last year.
These poachers are not only decimating our natural heritage, they are destroying the very livelihoods of the people of our province.
The Eastern Cape is globally recognized as being one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, but also has the highest unemployment rate in the country.
Tourism is one of the key sectors of job creation in the province.
The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that one in five of all jobs created across the world has been in the tourism sector.
We cannot sit idly by as one of our primary tourist attractions, and the corresponding job opportunities, are stolen from us.
While the police must be commended for their efforts in tracking down and arresting poachers, they are under-resourced, ill-equipped and lack the necessary support from other departments.
More needs to be done!
For this reason, I have tabled a motion in the Eastern Cape Legislature today
- That the provincial government must intensify its efforts to dismantle the criminal syndicates responsible for the decimation of the rhinoceros and ensure that the relevant conservation authorities are appropriately resourced to do so;
- That the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism lead from the front in ensuring all relevant government departments and entities collaboratively implement the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros Approach adopted by cabinet in 2014.
The Democratic Alliance is committed to growing the economy and enabling more South Africans to have fair access to work opportunities.
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