My position on the legalisation of the rhino horn and tusk trade is well known, but not one of us on this side of the fence is naive enough to believe that it is the only answer to this serious problem.

There are many facets to the problem and just as many counter-measures. However, the most important, probably, is for the authorities to fully appreciate the fact that horns and tusks are worth nothing in southern Africa. Until they leave the continent, they have neither value nor a market.

They are not internationally traded commodities with a worldwide established value, like gold, diamonds and other natural resources.

Agreed, it is never easy to curb smugglers, but we are not talking about plastic packets filled with drugs destined for any one of thousands of ports.

Horns and tusks are a lot more difficult to move, and are destined for a definable, relatively limited area.

What authorities need to do is step up the controls at all continental borders – especially ours – and we will strangle the trade. If this were hundreds of millions of rand’s worth of gold or diamonds exiting the country, the outcry from industry would be massive, and I venture that the government would be far more proactive.

Terence Murphy

Fourways, Joburg