Rhino poachers are targeting the Pilanesberg game reserve in North West after the special task force’s successes in fighting poaching in the Kruger National Park, Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa has said.
“I believe we’re beginning to make a breakthrough.”
Poachers that have been caught since the deployment of security forces had been convicted, Molewa said.
“We are beginning to … deal with the real kingpins. Until now we’ve been catching the messengers … the entire security cluster is on board (the anti-poaching initiative).”
Molewa said former SA National Parks chief executive Mavuso Msimang had been appointed as the department’s rhino conservation issue manager.
Msimang has been tasked with convening meetings with organisations, experts and individuals with a vested interest in conserving South Africa’s rhino populations.
He would consult experts with the goal of devising measures to curb poaching.
Molewa said a memorandum of understanding was to be signed with Vietnam and she was waiting for a date to sign a similar agreement with China.
This would allow the joint regulation of the movement of rhino products, help dispel myths about the medicinal power of rhino horn, and involve technology to stop poaching.
The two countries are the major importers of rhino horn. “These are the (anti-poaching) measures we’re taking and I believe South Africans have come on board,” Molewa said.