DA calls for additional funding ahead of rhino relocation to Northern Cape

Ismail Obaray, MPL

DA Provincial Chairperson

The DA is calling on provincial government to do a serious review of its funding allocation to the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation before the adjustment appropriation bill is tabled later this year.  This request is specifically in response to the upcoming mass relocation of rhinos to the province.

During the department’s quarterly report presentation at the legislature today, the HOD, Mr Denver Van Heerden, indicated that the transfer of 260 rhinos to private game farms in the province was going to have a significant impact on the department’s Compliance and Enforcement Programme. This is because the increased rhino population will demand escalated policing by compliance and enforcement officers to ensure the protection of this endangered species.

Currently, however, the department has a dire shortage of compliance and enforcement officers. This is largely due to budgetary constraints. The current number of compliance and enforcement officers is therefore not nearly adequate to deal with regular environmental policing. In fact, the department doesn’t even have enough compliance and enforcement officers to take up permanent posts at our borders. How then will they manage policing of an additional 260 rhinos?

Year on year, this department, tasked with the critical mandate of protecting and conserving our environment, is handed the crumbs of the budget. The DA is tired of the disregard shown by provincial government towards our environment by way of them constantly sidelining this department when it comes to funding.

There is no denying that this department urgently requires additional money. If provincial government is really serious about saving the rhino from extinction, then they will make additional funds available to the Department of Environment and Conservation to protect these majestic creatures