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Lawyers have tried to reach a settlement in a court case questioning the validity of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife board, but found they could not agree and the matter was adjourned by the Pietermaritzburg High Court until today.
The application was brought by the Animal Interest Alliance and a Greytown company, Shemungwe Game Capture – which offers services involving the sale and purchase of game countrywide – against the then-MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs, Lydia Johnson, Ezemvelo and others.
The applicants wanted the appointment of the board and all subsequent actions and decisions taken by it since 2006 to be declared invalid.
The board had not been properly appointed, they said.
The new wildlife permit systems that were being implemented by Ezemvelo were also challenged. Plant and animal species that were protected by law could not be obtained, kept or used without a permit.
The owner of Shemungwe, Helmut Bruss, said in court papers the make-up of the present board did not comply with legislation.
He said the new permit system proposed by Ezemvelo was damaging his business and |included requirements that could have no purpose other than to make it more difficult to secure permits.
Bruss said that until 2008 the permit system had been simple and uncomplicated, but recently it had involved long delays and red tape. This had prompted him to complain to the public protector.
Ezemvelo CEO Bandile Mkhize denied the board was illegally constituted.
He said it was wrong to say there were long delays in processing permits, and that Bruss’s statement that he waited on average 42 days for a permit was misleading.