2nd February 2015
The Honourable Ministers of Police, Defence and Veterans and Justice and Correctional services,
RE: Changing the Rules of Engagement with regard to countering the poaching of rhino in SA
We write to you at the request of the Minister of Environmental Affairs, the Honourable Edna Molewa, who concurs in our suggestion that there be a change in the rules of engagement with rhino poachers and poaching syndicates with a view to better preserving the rhino as a species and thereby achieving better compliance with the obligations of the State under section 24 of the Bill of Rights read with section 7(2).
Last year we wrote to Minister Molewa in the terms set out in the letter attached marked “A” from which you can see that we have motivated for a change in the current rules of engagement which ineffectively and inefficiently, in breach of section 195(1)(b) of the Constitution, contemplate the use of “minimum force” in apprehending poachers and bringing them to justice.
Minister Molewa has accepted that there is a need for change as the rate at which rhino are being poached puts their survival as a species at risk thereby compromising biodiversity and the livelihoods of those legitimately engaged in the tourism industry, which is in part based upon the attractiveness of the “Big Five” to eco-tourists.
Minister Molewa has correctly pointed out that for the changes we contemplate to be effected an adjustment in policy is required. Her department is in possession of a wealth of information supporting much needed change in policy, including a learned legal opinion by Professor Mia Swart of the University of Johannesburg.
As the required policy adjustment involves the Justice and Security cluster in cabinet we write, at the request of Minister Molewa, to ask you to place the matter on the agenda of the cluster as an urgent one requiring the collective and individual attention of cabinet as contemplated in section 92 of the Constitution.
Kindly acknowledge receipt and let us know if we can be of further assistance to you in changing the rules of engagement with poaching for the better.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Operations Officer, Accountability Now