Northwest Report on Wildlife game to private individuals

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

26 October 2017
Chairperson: Mr P Mapulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee met to consider and adopt the Northwest Report on the donations of high-value Wildlife species to private individuals by the North West provincial government Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development. The Report was compiled as a result of public concerns regarding allegations that the donations of the species, worth over R100 million, made to the South African Rare Game Breeders Holdings (SARGBH). The Committee met with the North West provincial government Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development (READ), the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as it had become necessary for them to come on board in order to holistically address the issues.

The Committee resolved that the Department of Environmental Affairs should finalise its Game Donation Policy that is currently underway in the next three months in order to enable orderly transfer and/or donation of public wildlife species from statutorily (National and Provincial) protected areas to communities and private persons/entities throughout the Republic. It further recommended that the Legal Services of Parliament should present a legal opinion to the Committee within 30 days of the adoption of this report on the steps that can be taken against any persons who, in accounting to the Committee, appeared to have misled the Committee with regards to claims that the South African Rare Game Breeders Holdings donations were executed using a valid Game Donation Policy well knowing that the Department had not formally adopted a policy.

The Committee made a few grammatical corrections to the report and adopted it.

Meeting report

Northwest Report on Wildlife game to private individuals

The Chairperson took the meeting through the Report.

The Report concerned the donations of high-value Wildlife species to private individuals by the North West provincial government Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development. The Report was compiled as a result of public concerns regarding allegations that the donations of the species, worth over R100 million, made to the South African Rare Game Breeders Holdings (SARGBH). The Committee met with the North West provincial government Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development (READ), the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as it had become necessary for them to come on board in order to holistically address the issues.

The Committee observed that it was irrational that the Department recommended emptying some of its parks/reserves of certain species due to poaching threats when they could not ensure the security of those same species in SARGBH facilities. It did not make sense for the Department to argue that the SARGBH donation was done to facilitate transformation when the donation actually benefited the previously advantaged white game farmers. The Department had also not complied with the prescripts of PFMA, particularly the Expression of Interest, as stated in the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Management Act.

The Committee resolved that the national Department of Environmental Affairs should finalise its Game Donation Policy that is currently underway in the next three months in order to enable orderly transfer and/or donation of public wildlife species from statutorily (National and Provincial) protected areas to communities and private persons/entities throughout the Republic. It recommended that the Legal Services of Parliament should present a legal opinion to the Committee within 30 days of the adoption of this report on the steps that can be taken against any persons who, in accounting to the Committee, appeared to have misled the Committee with regard to claims that the SARGBH donations were executed using a valid Game Donation Policy well knowing that the Department had not formally adopted a policy, in this regard; and finally, the Committee should seek further guidance on the referral of the wildlife donations in question to the relevant law enforcement agency for further investigation, considering the amount of public funds involved.

The Committee had received a legal opinion which had proposed amendments to Clause 2, which had been changed among other minor items on the Report. The opinion had also proposed a reformulation of a few points to include the have the National Treasury to Report back to the Committee.

Mr S Makhubele (ANC) said that the reformulation expresses the Committee’s ultimate objective and those implicated would be given due process. He suggested a grammatical correction on page 17 so as to make the paragraph clearer.

Mr R Purdon (DA) proposed a few grammatical corrections to give the Report a better reading.

Ms H Nyambi (ANC) seconded the adoption of the report with the amendments

The report was thereby adopted with amendments.

There being no other items on the agenda, the meeting was adjourned.

 

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