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Socio-cultural aspects to blame for slow rate of transformation in South Africa’s hunting industry

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy. Picture: Supplied

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy. Picture: Supplied

Published May 24, 2022

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Cape Town- Along with a lack of opportunities, economic, political and socio-cultural aspects are all to blame for the slow rate of transformation in the professional hunting industry.

This was according to industry experts after the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment confirmed their records showed only 101 registered professional hunters had been categorised as previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs) out of 2786.

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Answering a parliamentary question, DFFE Minister Barbara Creecy said: “From the unaudited information gathered to date, there are approximately 101 registered professional hunters categorised as previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs). The 101 PDls registered constitute approximately 4% of the total figure of 2786 registered professional hunters in South Africa.”

South African Black Hunters & Sport Shooting Association (SABHSSA) deputy chairperson, Frans Malebane said: “There is no enough work available in the industry for PDIs. Though this affects every racial group but far worse for PDIs. It should also be remembered that most of the hunting safari businesses are family run and most of the PDIs if not all of them, do not come from such background.”

Malebane also said some of the reasons why the figures are low was due to red tape in the sector.

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“Lack of meaningful opportunities for PDIs within the industry is also the main driver for this.”

The manner in which the issue of transformation is addressed within this sector has to be reviewed, he added.

“An all out strategy with specific actions for actors to act on in terms of the development of PDIs is a necessity. It should encompass clearly defined action plans that have the interests of new entrants. PDIs need to take centre stage in planning and taking decisions for their own transformation. Government need to accelerate the speed with which transformation is delivered within the sector with all the available resources.

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“The challenges are very broad and they emanate from the economic aspects, political and socio-cultural. There is no funding or grant schemes available for PDIs in the sector. The political challenges refer to the structures where decisions are taken. The industry itself is un-transformed particularly in the private sector.”

“There are prevailing perceptions which are unfreezed and this is brought by the existing racial differences present in the society. This makes it hard for new entrants to form sustainable working relationships with the existing operators in the mainstream economy.”

Professional Hunters' Association of South Africa president, Pieter Potgieter added that there were not enough opportunities to absorb PDI’s.

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“We have mentioned this to government several times. There is PDI training, they get trained but there is no opportunities for them because there is no enabling legislation for that PDI to get absorbed into the industry.”

“PDI’s also do not have the resources or tools like the vehicle, the gear etc to start.”

He said government should use national parks to give PDIs entry into they market.

Cape Times

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