By South Coast Herald
An extension of two weeks has been granted to the public to make submissions on the work of the high-level panel established to review policies, legislation and related practices on the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.
The panel was appointed by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy in October 2019 to investigate a number of these complex conservation and sustainable use issues. The terms of reference of the panel include issues of captive breeding and the emerging issue of lion bone trade, elephant management and culling debate, the management of the stockpiles including ivory, as well as trade in rhinoceros horn.
In applying their minds to the challenging and contentious issues that are highlighted in the terms of reference for the panel, an important component of the work is to solicit and receive submissions from interested and affected parties. As such, the panel advertised a two month window of opportunity for such submissions.
Given the current circumstances and challenges facing the country, the panel is extending the period for submissions for an additional two weeks to provide as much opportunity for inputs, comments, and suggestions from the community at large.
The panel is guided primarily by the Constitutional Mandate in the Bill of Rights, especially in terms of Section 24 which provides for environmental rights, but also considering all elements of the Bill of Rights, including the foundational values of dignity, achieving equality and advancement of human rights and freedoms, the necessity for transformation and restitution.
The panel recognises, and is conscious that much attention has already been paid to aspects of the terms of reference, to different degrees and with different outcomes, and that there exists an evidence base in both science and practice in many of the areas of concern. The panel will draw on these resources, other relevant reports and this will inform the engagement with the public.
In addition, the panel’s approach is to facilitate an engagement that is premised on the terms of reference but, within reason, allow for innovative and informed recommendations that will lead to balanced, inclusive report to the minister.
To this end the panel is aware that there may be imperatives such as transformation, restoration, and rewilding as processes for our rural landscapes, but also a need to ensure a vibrant and inclusive wildlife economy. Thriving populations of elephant, lion, rhino, and leopard may serve as symbols and flagships for this.
Given this context, the panel would appreciate both specific and broad submissions, which will enable diverse voices to be heard and internalized by the panel during the process. Furthermore, the panel encourages submissions for all interested and affected parties, in order to enrich the deliberations in such a manner as to allow consideration from multiple perspectives, such that we ensure broad relevance and applicability of the recommendations of the panel, and that they are informed by the rights, values, aspirations, and ambitions of the people.
The notice calling for submissions was published on March 27 2020 by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, in Government Gazette 47173 (Notice No. 221) in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998.
All submissions must be made by June 15 2020 to:
Chairperson: Advisory Committee (High-Level Panel)
C/O Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
Attention: Pamela Singh/Ms Ofentse Mashiyane
Private Bag X447
473 Steve Biko Road
By email: submission2HLP@environment.gov.za
Any enquiries in connection with the notice can be directed to:
Tel: 012 399 8769
Input received after the closing date may be disregarded.