Mpumalanga must take the lead in war against rhino poachers

Anthony Benadie MPL

DA Leader in Mpumalanga

The following is a member’s statement as delivered to the Mpumalanga Provincial legislature today.

The DA wishes to congratulate members of the SAPS for the arrest of one of their former colleagues, and suspected rhino poaching kingpin, along with six others in Hazyview this past weekend.

Mr Joe Nyalunga’s three houses contained four rhino horns, 60 hunting knives, night sight equipment, silencers for hunting rifles and around R4 million in cash. He, along with his accomplices remain in custody until their bail hearing next week.

While the arrest has dealt a telling blow against rhino poaching, we must ensure that one arrested poacher is not merely being replaced by another.

Too little cooperation exists between the police, the MTPA, SANParks, the SANDF, their counterparts in neighbouring countries, as well as the private sector – with little or no coordination amongst them.

Mpumalanga’s geographical location and abundance in wildlife reserves, automatically makes it a target for poachers, and for as long as anti-poaching efforts remain uncoordinated (if at all, in certain provincial reserves) it will continue to be regarded as a soft target.

We need to send a strong message that poachers have no place in Mpumalanga, and our actions will send that message. The Mpumalanga government needs to take that initiative, band together all the expertise in public, private and conservation sectors to coordinate and develop a single ongoing provincial anti-poaching operation.

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