Cape Town – In response to concerns raised over the Department of Environmental Affairs’ lack of communication in relation to rhino poaching stats, the DEA has published an official statement saying they will soon “provide progress in the fight against rhino poaching”.
In a paper published by Conservation Action Trust on Traveller24, conservation writer Adam Cruise accused DEA Minister Edna Molewa of being tight-lipped about rhino poaching stats amid claims of rhino horn trafficking within her own government.
“Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, who runs the country’s intelligence services, was implicated in trafficking rhino horn late last year,” Cruise said, highlighting that the DEA had not published rhino poaching statistics since September 2016.
By then, 702 rhino had been poached nationally.
The DEA has since published a statement saying it has noted concerns expressed by members of the public regarding the release of the latest rhino poaching statistics, and is “currently liaising with these various departments to secure a mutually satisfactory date for a next briefing – the date and venue of which will be announced in due course.”
“Rhino poaching is a designated priority crime in South Africa and the multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary Integrated Strategic Management approach involves a number of entities such as SANParks as well as various government departments including the South African Police Service (SAPS), the National Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks), the State Security Agency (SSA), the Department of Defence as well as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA),” the DEA says.
Albi Modise on behalf of the DEA, however, confirmed at the start of February that no date had been set for the release of the statistics.
In the meantime, the onslaught against rhino continues while conservationists say that the processing of continuous, accurate data remains critical to the protection of the species.
Despite a procrastination from the DEA side, the Department says they remain “committed to transparency with regards to the release of information on rhino poaching, including but not limited to the latest poaching statistics.”
The ‘progress made’, was mentioned by President Jacob Zuma in his 10th SONA speech on Thursday evening, applauding a decline in the numbers since 2015 – however no specifics were mentioned.