Legislative and Policy Matters
SA Hunters continue to represent members and our wildlife heritage in discussions with government on legislative and policy matters. The following feedback can be reported following this months’ Wildlife Forum”:
- NEMBA (National Environmental Management – Biodiversity Act): DFFE agreed that the current approach in NEMBA should be addressed so as to not overregulate. Since 2015, there was an attempt to address revision of the bill, but the High Level Panel process and the development of the Biodiversity White-Paper LAB have put the process in abeyance. The process to review NEMBA will however start receiving attention now and hopefully we can contribute to a rationalised Act that better represent the interests of members.
- NEMLA (National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill): SA Hunters commented on the bill that DFFE has published for implementation. It is available here (Marette to load on the Web).
- TOPS (Threatened or Protected Species Regulation): It was published for implementation, but repealed after WRSA challenged the minister Creecy on the public participation process. Another round of public consultation will be held in due course. The 2007 TOPS is now used. SA Hunters believed that the newly published TOPS was a much improved document, despite some areas of concern, as it would have addressed many of the challenges identified in the previous version. The implications for implementation has previously been circulated to members. We will participate in the next round of consultation.
- Elephant Norms and Standards: It was repealed with TOPS and the existing Elephant Norms and Standards is used.
- Leopard Norms and Standards: It was repealed with TOPS and as such, there is currently no norms and standards for leopards. DFFE implemented a process of leopard monitoring and quota setting that will continue to guide the process of allocation of quota’s. (It can happen in the absence of norms and standards). After the court case that was won by the Humane Society to set aside the previous leopard quota, DFFE now has to incorporate aspects addressed in the legal process, when determining quotas. There are however risks and shortcomings with this process as permit condition are now being used to implement requirements similar to the norms and standards when implementing the quotas. Quotas for this year has been determined and it is awaiting approval for it to be published. Members will be kept informed.
- Cycad prohibition notice: A meeting is planned with the sector and members will be informed when a date is set.
- The Biodiversity White-Paper: It has been published for implementation. The Comments and Response Report was circulated and several of the comments of SA Hunters were favourably considered. Several other comments were apparently considered and rejected – this include the very strong objection on the definition of “animal wellbeing”. The definition adopted, was a the same definition adopted in the NEMLA process, that the public has not been consulted on. The Comments and Response Report highlight that various other stakeholders also raised concerns on the challenges with the implementation of the current adopted definition of wellbeing, that reads as follows: The holistic circumstances and conditions of an animal or population of animals which are conducive to their physical, physiological and mental health and quality of life , including their ability to cope with their environment. Within the broader legal framework, this would require the consideration of an animals well-being in all human induced actions affecting wildlife – including hunting. SA Hunters in giving this challenge our full attention.
- The Animal Improvement Act – Listing of indigenous game species for animal improvement: It was announced that SA Hunters one the court case and that the court order indicated that the listing must be repealed. There has however not been any announcement from DALRRD on the matter and it was requested that the matter be given attention by DALRRD.
- Draft Game Meat Strategy and Game Meat Regulations: DFFE is awaiting cabinet approval for the strategy. SA Hunters cautioned that without the Game Meat Regulations being changed by DALRRD, the strategy could not be implemented. DALRRD has been sitting on the review for more than five years despite numerous enquiries from the Game Meat Forum, which is chaired by SA Hunters. We will continue to engage in these processes.
- Voluntary Wildlife Certification Scheme: The certification scheme was developed with various role players in the sector, including SA Hunters. The report is in the process for approval, after which the first phase of testing for implementation will be launched. Various game ranchers will participate in the process. Members that are interested to participate in the testing phase can contact Lizanne at, Lizanne@sahunt.co.za.