Kruger National Park & private reserves benefit sharing agreement: inquiry day 1

Environmental Affairs

05 February 2019
Chairperson: Mr P Mapulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Hunting in Greater Kruger National Park: SANParks & Mpumalanga Parks Board

The Committee met with SA National Parks (SANParks) and the Department of Environment Affairs (DEA) to initiate the Committee’s enquiry into signing of a benefit sharing agreement between SANParks and communities in the western boundary of the Kruger National Park (KNP). The signing agreement took place in December 2018 despite the Committee’s directive and resolution that SANParks first present a draft agreement and concept document to the Committee so Members had a clearer understanding of the agreement it endorsed the signing ceremony – the concept paper was to cover the sharing of benefits arising from the collapse of the fence in the western boundary of the Kruger National Park in the interest of broader society and was to be presented to the Committee in October/November 2018. SANParks had not presented a concept paper but it was agreed that since SANParks prepared a draft agreement the Committee could engage SANParks on it. The Committee wanted to engage with SANParks and subsequently hold public hearings to determine the best way forward. Despite this clear Committee resolution, which was subsequently publicly communicated through a media statement, SANParks defied Parliament and went ahead with the signing of the cooperative agreement. Discussions on the concept document would have directed the Committee on whether to follow the route of a hearing or the route of allowing SANParks to negotiate with the owners of the land before going to the stage of the final agreement.

The directive and resolution of the Committee was made clear in its meeting on captive lion canning colloquium and in the recommendations of the Committee’s Budgetary Review and recommendations Report (BRRR). These directives were made clear to SANParks in written and verbal communication. To date, SANParks has not briefed or given feedback to the Committee on the draft agreement – the Committee was of the opinion that the signing would not take place since SANParks had not briefed or given feedback to the Committee but SANParks effectively undermined and definitely disregarded the directives of the Committee, and by extension Parliament. The Committee was disappointed in the manner in which it was treated by SANParks. Hence the Committee called for an enquiry to confirm what happened, confirm if the agreement benefitted communities around the western boundary of the KNP and to check if SANParks followed the directives of the Committee. In carrying out this task, the Committee invited various community leaders around the western boundary of the KNP. The question is why SANParks rushed off to sign the agreement knowing that the Committee did not approve.

The Department explained SANParks misunderstood the recommendations of the Committee and said SANParks did not intend to defy the Committee – this was also confirmed by the chairperson of the SANParks chairperson.

SANParks then briefed the Committee on the cooperative conservative agreement in the Greater Kruger. The presentation addressed the purpose of the broader agreement, entities included in the cooperation agreement, public consultation process, signatories to the agreement and economic impacts and visitor spending in the Greater KNP. The signing of the agreement took place on 5 December 2018 – it was said the ceremony went ahead as stakeholders were already on site and SANParks wanted to avoid the risk of embarrassment. It could also be a challenge to get all stakeholders together again. There was also the risk was that SANParks would have needed to justify the fruitless expenditure because communities were transported as claimed by SANParks.

The Board of SANParks agreed the signing ceremony was a matter for management to deal with. The Board said it was SANParks’ understanding was that the concept paper was submitted to Parliament and SANParks had to only wait for a meeting to be scheduled by the Committee to discuss it. It was said the matter was unfortunate because a genuine miscommunication and misunderstanding on the part of SANParks occurred. It was not a deliberate intention to mislead Parliament or flout the wishes of the Committee. The way the sequence of events happened was unfortunate but it was not meant to disregard the Committee.

The Committee went through the series of events using its BRRR, minutes of various Committee meetings and the Committee’s media statement.

The Committee was briefed by Africa’s Finest on empirical data on benefits and revenues accruing from hunting and photo-tourism to substantiate the claim that revenue from photo-tourism exceeded that of hunting to make a plea to Parliament to stop hunting. It was said failures occurred in wildlife conservation sites when the community was not involved in tourism efforts. Participation of communities, especially in photo-tourism, helps to drive employment opportunities. There were many other opportunities which communities could benefit from apart from hunting. Data was presented which showed photo-tourism provided jobs and increased income at wildlife conservation sites in Marakapula and Botswana when compared with hunting. it was time to be bold and argued that although the Constitution allowed hunting, the use of photography sustains ecological development and allows for judicious use of natural reserves in a way that promoted justifiable socio-economic development. He called on the Committee to ensure that hunting in APNR areas be a last resort as more jobs were created through photography

A presentation by the EMS Foundation supported the plea made above by pointing to the history of non-compliance to hunting protocols in the Greater KNP especially shooting of the white male lion in 7 June 2018. The proposition that trophy hunting was imperative to the future of conservation and could generate local community benefits had been generally developed and accepted without compelling empirical support. There was also a lack of reliable information on the economic significance of trophy hunting – this is apparent within the industry in South Africa. There was questioning of the accuracy of data provided in literature on jobs provided by trophy hunting because this data was generated by trophy hunting associations, who have a vested interest in the industry. The justification that trophy hunting is a means of generating revenue for the reserves’ operating budget was said not to be true. The economic insignificance of trophy hunting as opposed to photo-tourism was highlighted and gains of photo-tourism would yield more jobs and income generation – it is therefore imperative to stop hunting. There is little empirical data for South Africa to quantify that communities’ benefit from trophy hunting. Although a percentage of revenue from hunting is thought to be used for community projects, there is no transparency in terms of how much money eventually reaches down to community level. The KNP has also not been able to account for how income generated as off-takes from trophy hunting has been used. Realistically a marginal industry like trophy hunting can never make a meaningful contribution to a 2.3 million large local population which continues to grow. The economic value of iconic species for the photographic safari industry should not be underestimated. The question is why the country would risk its well-established, successful, growing and highly valuable eco-tourism sector on the western boundary of the Kruger for trophy hunting, which is worth a fraction of the overall tourism sector.

The Global White Lion Foundation spoke on the benefit sharing engagements in the western boundary of the KNP. It was said SANParks consulted many scientific and conservation bodies as advocates for the trophy hunting model however, the Global White Lion Foundation understands these scientific and conservation bodies get funding from trophy hunters. The unique animal at the epicentre of the ecosystem under enquiry, the white lion, deserves central focus according to indigenous knowledge. Concern was expressed that although the Global White Lion Foundation was the authority on the white lion it was not invited to discussions for the new agreement. Parliament was called on to ensure the country supported the white lion ecosystem in the spirit of beneficiation. Parliament was urged to place a moratorium on the legal abomination of canned hunting and lion bone trade to protect the unique white lion of the Greater KNP region.

The Committee then heard from a number of communities indigenous to the KNP to ensure the killing of the white lion was stopped so that children from the community would have a legacy. The cultural and spiritual significance of the white lion to these communities was emphasised. Parliament was appealed to make the matter a priority was the white lion is a sacred symbol of unity.

Committee Members questioned if the agreement signed on 5 December 2018 was a corporative agreement or a beneficiation agreement, how many of the 15 claimant communities signed the agreement, benefits given, who would enforce the agreement, the key elements of the agreement and legal or cost implications.

The Committee still need to decide how it would deal with clear defiance of its recommendations. SANParks should engage with DEA to fashion out a way forward. SANParks should not claim it was not aware because ignorance is no excuse in law. The Committee has also requested SANParks to once more prepare a comprehensive presentation on the benefit sharing to the communities, arising from the collapse of the fence in the western boundary of the Kruger National Park. The presentation must also include current hunting protocols that allow hunting of animals in the Greater Kruger National Park as a result of an open system. The point of the Traditional Authorities on Community regarding the perception of benefit sharing in the Western boundary of the KNP is clear. The Committee needs to strike a balance between the plea of the Traditional Authorities and what the Constitution says about hunting.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed all Members and the team from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), SANParks, Africa Finest, EMS Foundation, White Lion Protection Trust and Communities around the Western Boundary of the Kruger National Park (KNP). He said the main purpose of the meeting was to have a two-day enquiry on the benefit sharing at the KNP which arose as a result of the deliberate disregard of SANParks on the directives issued to it at the captive lion breeding colloquium and the recommendations reached in the BRRR. He recalled the Committee instructed SANParks to prepare a concept document on the KNP but SANParks had instead presented a draft agreement on the KNP and communities around the Western Boundary of the KNP in October 2018. The Committee then directed SANParks and its Board not to sign any agreement until it had presented the draft agreement to the Committee for discussion. In December 2018, the Committee heard reports that SANParks was about to sign an agreement with communities around the western boundary of the KNP despite verbal and written directions communicated to the Chairperson and the CEO of SANParks as a last minute intervention. He noted that SANParks never presented feedback nor discussed the draft agreement with the Committee.  SANParks also did not give feedback on whether the signing event took place or not. The Committee was of the opinion that the signing would not take place since SANParks had not briefed or given feedback to the Committee but SANParks undermined the Committee by going ahead and defiantly disregarding the Committee and Parliament’s directives. He expressed disappoint with the manner in which SANParks treated the Committee. Hence the Committee called for an enquiry to confirm what happened, confirm if the agreement benefitted communities around the western boundary of the KNP and to check if SANParks followed the directives of the Committee. In carrying out this task, the Committee invited various community leaders around the western boundary of the KNP.

Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, Director-General of the DEA, conveyed apologies for the absence of the Minister who was attending a Cabinet meeting. She said SANParks might have misunderstood the recommendations of the Committee and said SANParks did not intend to defy the Committee. She said the explanation during the presentation of SANParks would show this and DEA was willing to get guidance on the matter by the end of the enquiry.

Ms Joanne Yawitch, SANParks Board Chairperson, appreciated the Committee for giving SANParks another opportunity because the meeting to engage on the draft agreement was supposed to have happened in 2018. She apologised on behalf of SANParks on the miscommunication around matters that took place towards the end of 2018. She acknowledged the Chairperson spoke to her when the signing event was scheduled but she was on the way to Poland for a conference and all efforts to get in touch with management was not possible. The CEO would deal with this in detail. SANParks always had a good relationship with the Committee and always received excellent guidance from the Committee. She appreciated the Committee for giving SANParks the opportunity.

Mr Fundisile Mketeni, SANParks CEO, apologised for all areas that SANParks had not understood the communication of the Committee. He acknowledged he received a call from the Chairperson on the day of the signing event but he did not understand the feedback needed from SANParks. SANParks did not set out to disregard the Committee or Parliament’s directives – the presentation would explain why the signing event continued.

Briefing by SANParks on Greater Kruger Co-operative Conservation Agreement

Mr Mketeni again apologised for the miscommunication that happened - SANParks always wanted to be guided by Parliament and would not in any way undermine Parliament. The broader agreement was to ensure that every community that was part of the western boundary of the KNP and areas affecting the KNP be involved. Each conservation work was determined by local, regional and global considerations. South Africa has been affected by global considerations since 1994 and this includes commitments to protect 17% of terrestrial areas and inland waters and 10% coastal areas and marine areas. The country committed itself to the AICHI biodiversity targets until 2020 which led to a new national protected areas expansion calls for setting targets based on ecosystem types and prioritising vulnerable ecosystem types. He gave an outline of the progress reported in the Global Biodiversity outlook of 2014. This involves conservation of biological biodiversity, sustainable use of components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits. He said he had a conversation with the DG on the beneficiation scheme in the KNP and SANParks would brief the Committee of its plan at a later date. SANParks had to review the beneficiation scheme which involves 15 claimant communities. There have been challenges around eviction so SANParks had to review the framework on the benefit sharing on areas of relationship, compliance and benefit sharing.

Dr Luthando Dziba, Head: Conservation, SANParks, said the KNP was a long strip of land from the south to the north with different vegetation types. Geological landscapes that underpin the vegetation types of the KNP, coupled with climate, influences the ecosystem types found within the KNP and surrounding areas. The South African National Expansion Strategy for protected areas calls for a number of key considerations to explore options for conservation in order to ensure that SANParks protects as many plant and ecosystem types as possible. The KNP has limited options but the area within the west of KNP, owned by provincial, private and community nature reserves, is being targeted for compatible uses. SANParks is emphasising exploring options for compatible uses in working with landowners within the community. Expansion of the KNP is important because there are certain areas of plant and ecosystem that occur only in these areas in the country - this area has value for supporting resilience from climate change and is prioritised for conservation of plants. Areas prioritised for conservation plants are key biodiversity areas which offer opportunity with the private sector and communities in order to expand conservation footprints in and around KNP. These areas being considered for conservation contains land which SANParks does not have the funds to acquire based on its land acquisitions budget - because it has partners in the provincial, private and community sector, SANParks would be able to achieve its target for conservation of the greater KNP. Expansion and collaborations would occur through a phased approach in three phases namely regularising open conservation areas, wildlife economy expansion and integrated land use and sector approach strategy.  Regularisation of open conservation areas includes management of the impact of use of fertilisers and pesticides for agricultural purposes to ensure freshwater that flows into the KNP would sustain plant and ecosystem biodiversity needed for conservation. The project to expand the wildlife economy is targeted at including communities that were previously excluded into the beneficiation scheme through the greater KNP that is happening within the trans-frontier park arrangement.

Mr Mketeni said that although fences were dropped to support improved ecological services as illustrated by Dr Dziba, there was a need to promote land use compatibility and to advance expansion of the conservation estate. This is to ensure associated socio-economic outcomes and avoid conflicting land use so it was vital to draw out a greater Kruger Strategic Management Framework and consistent best practice guidelines at the greater KNP. The old agreement was silent on the entrance of new communities in benefit sharing, inclusion of traditional lands managed by royal households and compliance issues which affected biodiversity plans. It was also silent on a framework for dealing with procurement of goods and services as it favoured only the minority. The purpose of the new cooperative agreement is to address participation of local communities and tribal authorities and risks associated with different entities. The new cooperative agreement would facilitate collaboration in areas of common interest and capitalise on collective opportunities.

Dr Marisa Coetzee, Senior Manager: Park Planning and Conservation Management, SANParks, said an agreement was signed with 15 entities for the consistent management of the greater KNP area based on the overarching principles with this being the first phase of the expansion strategy.

The Chairperson asked if the agreement has been signed.

Dr Coetzee said the agreement had been signed on 5 December 2018.

The Chairperson asked SANParks to confirm if the signing ceremony proceeded despite the reservation of the Committee and the recommendation not to proceed.

Mr Mketeni said the signing ceremony had to proceed because stakeholders were already on site and SANParks wanted to avoid the risk of embarrassment. He said he had discussions with Ms Ngcaba to access the risks being faced because all stakeholders were on-board to sign and SANParks wanted to avoid the challenge of trying to get all stakeholders together again.

Discussion

The Chairperson said this was in line with his earlier remarks that SANParks was undermining the Committee and Parliament but he was not sure if DEA was involved. He recalled the series of events that occurred concerning the matter. In September last year, the Committee requested SANParks compile a concept paper on sharing of benefits arising from the collapse of the fence in the western boundary of the Kruger National Park in the interest of broader society – this was to be presented to the Committee in October/November 2018. In November 2018, SANParks came-up with a draft agreement. During the meeting the Committee reminded SANParks it had not presented a concept paper but it was agreed that since SANParks prepared a draft agreement the Committee could engage SANParks on it. The Committee wanted to engage with SANParks and subsequently hold public hearings to determine the best way forward. Despite this clear Committee resolution, which was subsequently publicly communicated through a media statement, SANParks defied Parliament and went ahead with the signing of the cooperative agreement even after it was brought to its attention by the Chairperson that by proceeding with that action, SANParks will be in breach of both the Committee and the National Assembly resolutions on this matter. To date SANParks has not given the Committee any feedback - instead SANParks went ahead and signed the agreement with stakeholders. He condemned the actions of SANParks in proceeding to sign the cooperative agreement between the Kruger National Park and the Association of Private Nature Reserves (APNR) despite the directives of Parliament. He noted that although the Board chairperson made a commitment not to sign, SANParks still went ahead because the media was present.  He was not sure why SANParks decided to disregard the Committee’s directive and asked if SANParks had a vested interest in signing the agreement. He asked Ms Ngcaba to confirm to the Committee if DEA gave SANParks the authority to go ahead and sign the agreement because the CEO claimed there was consultation with DEA.

Ms Ngcaba confirmed that SANParks had made a call to the Minister and she was present at the cluster meeting where the signing was discussed although the event had already started. The cluster meeting discussions were around the implications. She did not have at hand the decision of the Committee. What transpired was that SANParks said it submitted the document required to the Committee but DEA had to confirm if the documents submitted were the ones requested by the Committee in the meeting of August/September 2018. The risk was that SANParks would have needed to justify the fruitless expenditure because communities were transported as claimed by SANParks - this was the discussion between the Board and DEA. The Board is still the accounting authority as DEA would not be held responsible for accounting for fruitless expenditure.

The Chairperson noted that, based on what was said earlier, the Board chairperson, Ms Yawitch, was not aware of the signing ceremony.

Ms Yawitch said in December 2018 she was on her way to Poland for the Katowice Climate Change Conference – therefore the signing ceremony was not on her agenda in December 2018. Although she knew there were plans for the event, she was not meant to be in attendance. She said she called the CEO after she had spoken with the Committee Chairperson but the CEO was not available probably because he was on site at the event. As earlier discussed, it was difficult to contact any of the management of SANParks because they were on site at the signing off ceremony. The Board agreed it was a task that would be dealt with by SANParks management given the circumstance that was outlined by the CEO and DEA DG. SANParks’ understanding was that the concept paper was submitted to Parliament and SANParks had to only wait for a meeting to be scheduled by the Committee to discuss it. She said the matter was unfortunate because a genuine miscommunication and misunderstanding on the part of SANParks occurred. It was not a deliberate intention to mislead Parliament or flout the wishes of the Committee. The way the sequence of events happened was unfortunate but it was not meant to disregard the Committee.

Mr Mketeni also gave some context from August 2018 to the date of signing in December 2018. He said SANParks was invited by the Committee for the colloquium where hunting of the white lion had been discussed. During the colloquium, SANParks informed the Committee of the agreement/concept paper. In October 2018, SANParks presented the draft agreement to the Committee and he went on to point out the lines of consultation SANParks followed in 2018. The Annual Performance Plan (APP) was presented in October 2018 and the plan had been approved in November 2018. Hence SANParks did not know that it still needed to present the plan to the Committee before signing the agreement. SANParks would have appreciated if the Committee had issued it an invitation between October and December 2018 before the signing commenced. He apologised for what happened.

The Chairperson said the chronology of the events Mr Mketeni described was not correct as SANParks proceeded to sign the agreement despite the directive of the Committee. He requested the minutes captured during the colloquium (21 and 22 August 2018), minutes of hunting in the greater KNP (12 September 2018) and the annual performance reports (10 October 2018). The media statement of the Committee addressed the matter of using baiting as a form of hunting and recommended that DEA must proceed with regularising the process of legislation. The statement also said no other province must use baiting as a form of hunting because it was prohibited in the list of threatened or protected species except Mpumalanga because the NCOP process was not finalised. The second matter addressed in the media statement was the matter of benefit sharing in the western boundary of the KNP raised by the Committee. The Committee said there must be a concept document which must be presented by SANParks to the Committee before October 2018. Discussions on the concept document would have directed the Committee on whether to follow the route of a hearing or the route of allowing SANParks to negotiate with the owners of the land before going to the stage of the final agreement. The second follow-up the Committee had with SANParks was when it presented its quarterly report where the Committee was told that it already had a draft agreement. The Chairperson remembered saying SANParks was not meant to present a draft agreement but nevertheless the Committee directed SANParks not to proceed with the signing event on 5 December 2018 because the Committee did not know anything about it. The Committee directed SANParks to come and present so that it could better understand the draft agreement. The manager of KNP approached the office of the Chairperson to submit the draft agreement but the Chairperson refused this. The Committee was of the opinion that it would schedule a date to engage SANParks on the draft agreement before setting the date of signing, based on whether it chose to do a hearing or allow SANParks to negotiate with the owners of the land. The Committee then received information that the signing was about to commence. There was then communication with the CEO who agreed not to continue with the event. The Board chairperson she was on-route to Poland and a written communication was sent.  Despite this, the Committee discovered the signing event occurred. The question is why SANParks rushed off to sign the agreement knowing that the Committee did not approve. SANParks now wants to apologise after-the-fact. He expressed concerns on why SANParks had not briefed the Committee before signing and, to date, has still not briefed the Committee.

Mr T Hadebe (DA) asked SANParks to clarify if the agreement signed on 5 December 2018 was on the cooperative arrangement or the benefit sharing agreement in the Greater KNP area. If the signing event was on the cooperative arrangement the key components are governance, environmental management, socioeconomic benefits which would lead to benefit sharing, safety and security and land inclusion. If the clarification was made the situation would be better understood as the Chairperson was concerned with the benefit sharing and the Committee would need to know what agreement was signed on 5 December 2018.

Mr R Purdon (DA) asked SANParks to remind the Committee of the targets in the annual performance report.

Mr S Makhubele (ANC) said the recommendations of the Committee were clear but SANParks decided to take a decision to go ahead despite the Committees directives. Hence the matter of disregard has been established but the Committee needed to decide what it would do about it. He pleaded with the Chairperson to allow SANParks complete its presentation before addressing the matter of deliberate defiance. He recalled SANParks said that claimant communities were not quick to sign hence it was a risk if it did not to allow the signing event to continue when these communities were available. Nevertheless the Committee directed that SANParks should not allow claimant communities to sign until it had engaged with the Committee on the draft agreement.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Makhubele’s suggestion that SANParks complete its presentation but said the question Members had to answer was what the Committee would do when it was being defied because in this instance SANParks deliberately defied directives of the Committee. SANParks is also misleading the Committee even though it was aware of the Committee’s decision of not allowing claimant communities to sign the draft agreement. He invited SANParks to continue with its presentation.

Briefing by SANParks on Greater Kruger Co-operative Conservation Agreement

Dr Coetzee highlighted the line of consultation on the Greater KNP since 2015 to 2019. This included regularisation of the Western Boundary that was initiated in February 2015, the desired state meetings on the KNP management plans that occurred in 2017, KNP management plan meetings and signing of the Greater KNP cooperative agreement in December 2018.The Greater KNP management consultations involved stakeholder workshops with 5 752 participants and generated 483 written comments. She outlined the 15 signatories to the agreement but said the Greater KNP strategic framework is being developed in 2019.

Mr Mketeni said the new cooperative agreement would ensure consistency in ecological management with a focus mainly on community participation and beneficiation. It would put appropriate governance and institutional arrangements in place and make compliance monitoring possible and result in sanctions on bad conduct from partners. The new agreement would also address socio-economic considerations.

Dr Dziba outlined the total economic impact of GKNP as a catalyst for economic development in 2016/17 and its multiplier effect for job opportunities.

Mr Mketeni highlighted the value of the new cooperative agreement and outlined the way forward on the new Greater KNP cooperative agreement.

Mr Hadebe noted that a new slide was presented during the briefing that depicted the beneficiation scheme and asked SANParks to forward it to the Committee since it was not part of the presentation originally submitted to Members.

Briefing by Mr Colin Bell, Africa’s Finest

Mr Colin Bell, Africa’s Finest, briefed the Committee on empirical data on benefits and revenues accruing from hunting and photo-tourism to substantiate the claim that revenue from photo-tourism exceeded that of hunting to make a plea to Parliament to stop hunting. Mr Bell said he had been involved with tourism for more than two decades and learnt some lessons on why communities’ wildlife conservation failed or succeeded.  He noted that failures occurred in wildlife conservation sites when the community was not involved in tourism efforts. Participation of communities, especially in photo-tourism, helps to drive employment opportunities.

The Chairperson noted the Committee did not have a presentation document from Mr Bell so he must ensure Members were following what he was saying.

Mr Bell continued by noting the country had two tourism sites, namely, Cape Town and KNP. The Marakapula reserve around the KNP is a community that could benefit from other activities apart from hunting. He said photography had been used to generate income. He presented data to show that photo-tourism provided jobs and increased income at wildlife conservation sites in Marakapula and Botswana when compared with hunting. He highlighted the need for photography which creates more jobs when compared with hunting. He recalled the shooting of the white lion in 7 June 2018 and said the country was lucky because it did not enjoy much media coverage as such actions led to a decrease in eco-tourism in countries like Zimbabwe. In recent times, shots were fired at elephants in prime ecological areas in the presence of tourists. The question is if South Africa is being bold enough with tourism policies in its prime ecological areas as this affects job creation and income of local communities. The costs of maintenance of Timbavati Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR) is shared between photographic safari tourists, hunters and landowner levies whereas in Kenya it is born by fees charged per person to vest the reserve. If wildlife conservation sites are zoned and converted to photo-tourism many jobs would be created and income would be generated in the community. He said it was time to be bold and argued that although the Constitution allowed hunting, the use of photography sustains ecological development and allows for judicious use of natural reserves in a way that promoted justifiable socio-economic development. He called on the Committee to ensure that hunting in APNR areas be a last resort as more jobs were created through photography. Data on revenue from eco-tourism showed the revenue from photography was enough to sustain the area while revenue from areas where hunting was prevalent had to be supported by other sources of revenue. The revenue was not enough to sustain eco-tourism in areas where hunting was mixed with photography hence zoning of wildlife conservation sites should be encouraged as more jobs were created through photography when compared with hunting. He urged Parliament to stop hunting in the Greater KNP to ensure the APNRs could be sustained through photo-tourism.

EMS Foundation: Community Benefits from Trophy Hunting – Realities vs. Pretence

Dr Louise De Waal spoke on trophy hunting and community benefits realities vs. pretence noting it is generally accepted the greatest threats to wildlife and nature conservation is the ever-increasing footprint of the human population that is set to double by 2050. She highlighted examples of APNRs history of non-compliance to hunting protocols in the Greater KNP especially shooting of the white male lion in 7 June 2018. She said this had a negative impact on hunting fraternity, photographic safari, eco-tourism sector in the Greater KNP and South Africa as a whole. The proposition that trophy hunting was imperative to the future of conservation and could generate local community benefits had been generally developed and accepted without compelling empirical support. There was also a lack of reliable information on the economic significance of trophy hunting – this is apparent within the industry in South Africa. She questioned the accuracy of data provided in literature on jobs provided by trophy hunting because this data was generated by trophy hunting associations, who have a vested interest in the industry. She highlighted the economic insignificance of trophy hunting as opposed to photo-tourism and supported the notion of Mr Bell that the gains of photo-tourism would yield more jobs and income generation – it is therefore imperative to stop hunting. The justification that trophy hunting is a means of generating revenue for the reserves’ operating budget is not true as APNRs have three funding streams, namely, photographic safari tourists, hunters and landowner levies.

Data on tourism from 2016 to 2018 shows that trophy hunters have reduced - in 2018 photographic safari tourists outnumbered hunters by 1000:1. Hence by changing its conservation levy model from a “per stay” to a “per day” model and by increasing the fee from R160 to R328 per person, the Timbavati  APNR now creates more than half of its operating budget from eco-tourism while keeping its environmental footprint at the same level. There is little empirical data for South Africa to quantify that communities’ benefit from trophy hunting. Although a percentage of revenue from hunting is thought to be used for community projects, there is no transparency in terms of how much money eventually reaches down to community level. The EMS Foundation knows that requests from SANParks on non-compliance at the KNP on trophy hunting have not received answers. The KNP has also not been able to account for how income generated as off-takes from trophy hunting has been used. Realistically a marginal industry like trophy hunting can never make a meaningful contribution to a 2.3 million large local population which continues to grow. Data has shown the success of the eco-tourism sector in the APNR areas, mentioned earlier bordering the KNP, also offer photographic safari opportunities to tourists in many upmarket lodges. The Timbavati, for example, received 21 000 photographic tourists against 21 trophy hunters. Although unemployment in the Greater KNP is high, eco-tourism through photography offers job opportunities and income generation. As alluded to earlier by Mr Bell, the negative publicity around trophy hunting and on-going irregularities in the APNR, such as the recent Skye lion hunt in Umbabat and the Balule elephant hunt, can cause serious reputational damage in exactly the same way as the captive predator breeding industry. It can also bring the profitable and successful photographic safari tourism sector in the APNRs and Kruger itself into disrepute. The economic value of iconic species for the photographic safari industry should not be underestimated. The question is why the country would risk its well-established, successful, growing and highly valuable eco-tourism sector on the western boundary of the Kruger for trophy hunting, which is worth a fraction of the overall tourism sector. She joined Mr Bell to call on Parliament to use its office to stop trophy hunting in the Greater KNP to ensure the APNRs could be sustained through photo-tourism because photo-tourism could actually open up much needed space for innovation and creativity, lead to job creation and generate income. In addition the small income generated from trophy hunting is not enough to sustain the eco-tourism sector and could lead to loss of conservation benefits especially considering its governance challenges.

Global White Lion Foundation

Ms Linda Tucker, CEO, Global White Lion Foundation, spoke on the benefit sharing engagements in the western boundary of the KNP. She presented a solutions-based approach to the SANParks-KNP-APNR agreements. She gave a definition of beneficiation and indigenous sharing. She appreciated SANParks for the new agreement it had provided but noted that in addressing benefit sharing SANParks must take into account those who benefited and those who carry the costs. In drafting the new agreement, Global White Lion Foundation knows SANParks consulted many scientific and conservation bodies as advocates for the trophy hunting model and were motivated by the term “sustainable uses”. However, the Global White Lion Foundation understands these scientific and conservation bodies get funding from trophy hunters. She asked if the best the country could offer local communities was to continue with the brutal post-colonial legacy of sharing hunting spoils when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had given the guidelines for benefit sharing. The unique animal at the epicentre of the ecosystem under enquiry, the white lion, deserves central focus according to indigenous knowledge.

She expressed concerns that although the Global White Lion Foundation was the authority on the white lion it was not invited to discussions for the new agreement. She gave a background on the white lions and benefit sharing in the KNP, a background on the Global White Lion protection trust as an inspired model of benefit sharing in the KNP region and historic parliamentary efforts to protect the white lion as a National Heritage. Despite historic parliamentary efforts, the country’s unique white lion heritage has been systematically killed. She said it was unacceptable for regional land owners to destroy the global heritage site of white lions. She called on Parliament to ensure the country supported the white lion ecosystem in the spirit of beneficiation. She noted that as the old pre-colonial agreement between SANParks and APNR affected indigenous communities and interests by alienating people from wildlife and making its living heritage a commodity, the same thing was being repeated in the new agreement. Although the Global White Lion Foundation recognises the vital contribution of APNRs in the Greater KNP, the terms “sustainable use” and “benefit sharing” hide further exploitation. She noted that hunting national game for private gain was unjust and not justified hence she urged Parliament to take the critical step to stop the trend. She urged Parliament to place a moratorium on the legal abomination of canned hunting and lion bone trade which measured Mother Nature’s value in monetary terms only.

Dr Jason Turner, Director: Ecology and Conservation, Global White Lion Foundation, said white lions are culturally significant to the Tsonga, Sepedi and Khoisan people. The white lion is a fundamental part of cultural heritage hence its beneficiation should be redefined to acknowledge indigenous knowledge and cultural beliefs that places a sustainable use, cultural and intrinsic value on lions and other wildlife. Trophy hunting by APNR of lions that carry the white lion gene and forced removals of the white lions from ancestral land that it naturally belongs in, puts its cultural and global heritage at risk. He said that during his tenure at APNR, pride male lions were trophy hunted in breach of APNR’s hunting protocol and in contravention of globally recognised ethical and responsible ecological principles. To achieve success in ecosystems planning the APNR and SANParks agreement needs to respect indigenous knowledge systems and incorporate vital knowledge systems into local policies and national legislation. In Canada the spirit bear, a white colour variant of the black bear, which is culturally significant to the First Nations Kitasoo people, is a flagship animal for protecting biodiversity of the entire ecosystem and is therefore protected by law from hunting. Consequently, it is recognised the beneficiation of these indigenous communities is not through trophy hunting but by being true stakeholders in the benefits of land custodianship, access to renewable resources and eco-tourism within the Greater KNP region. The Global White Lion Foundation calls for a moratorium on lion trophy hunting in the APNR to protect the unique white lion of the Greater KNP region. The moratorium would need to be in effect for a minimum of three years to allow the hunting protocol to be adequately reviewed and a frequency of occurrence study to be conducted.

Community perception of benefit sharing in the Western boundary of the KNP

Moletele Traditional Authority

Princess Kabelo Chiloani requested that a video showcasing the importance of the white lion to the Moletele community in Mpumalanga be presented to the Committee. She said the video depicted how the white lion visited royalty and the role of children during the white lion festival. She said if a white lion was killed the spirit of an ancestor was killed and it disturbed the ecosystem. The presence of the white lion opens up employment opportunities in the community. Proceeds from eco-tourism are also used to feed destitute children and make a difference in Moletele, Mpumalanga. The clan of Moletele, Mpumalanga says no to the killing of animals and appealed to Parliament to stop the killing of white lions in the Moletele community in Mpumalanga.

Acornhoek Traditional Healers Association

Mma Listbeth Selowe appealed to Parliament to ensure killing of the white lion was stopped so that children from the community would have a legacy.

Bakontya Jane Mgopane said the killing of the white lion leads to bad luck because the white lion carried the spirit of the ancestor. She appealed to Parliament to make it a priority to stop the killing of white lions because it is a sacred symbol of unity.

Lowveld and National Khoisan Councils:

Ms Turner relayed a message on behalf of Dr Wilem Langeveldt, who was unavailable on account of ill-health. She read a plea of Credo Mutwa delivered in the 90s entitled “what is the benefit of beneficiation if knowledge of benefit is lost”. Dr Langeveldt appealed to Parliament to stop the activities of trophy hunters who killed white lions.

Mr David Paterson, Lowveld and National Khoisan Councils, said the white lion is a sacred symbol of the Khoisan community but brutal colonialism had sought to wipe out Khoisan communities. He supported the notion that land should not be taken away by killing white lions but to ensure that it is preserved for future generations. The beneficiation agreement of the KNP deal does not favour the ecosystem hence the Khoisan community appeals to Parliament to stop the killing of the white lion.

Discussion

The Chairperson said he had discussed with the Committee’s Content Adviser and discovered the Committee omitted to invite some communities affected by the KNP agreement but the omission was due to Parliament’s break. The Committee would take steps to remedy the situation. He asked if everyone received the Committee minutes dated 12 September 2018 on the colloquium and the recommendations of the BRRR. The Committee’s media statement should also have been received. The Chairperson proceeded to read from the documents to substantiate the claim that SANParks disregarded directives of the Committee and Parliament. The resolution of the Committee, from the minutes of 12 September 2018, was on the killing of the white lion on 7 June 2018, threatened or protected species regulation and matters concerning review of hunting protocols for APNR in the Greater KNP. The resolution on review of hunting protocols was that the Committee directed SANParks to develop a concept note by October 2018. The opinion of the Committee was that it would hold public hearings on the concept notes. On 6 November 2018, concerns involved industrial wastelands, the basis of the agreement with the private game park on the western boundary of the KNP after the hearing, how to resolve the Auditor General’s approach to the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) reporting and monitoring of black visitor numbers to the parks. The Committee could not address concerns on industrial wastelands but addressed the APNRs on the western boundary of the KNP. The Chairperson told SANParks the Committee resolved that hunting along the western boundary of the KNP, by the private reserve, had to be regulated and that a new agreement had to be negotiated before signing would occur. The Committee was told the agreement was nearing completion and asked for it to be sent to Members but it had not been sent and SANParks had not given any feedback to the Committee yet. The Chairperson said did not understand which part of the minutes was confusing. In the BRR Reports generated by the Committee, the recommendations were that SANParks should submit the beneficiation report of black communities on the western boundary of the KNP to the Committee. The BRRR was approved by Parliament. Despite engagements between the Committee and SANParks, and recommendations made by the Committee, which were approved by Parliament, SANParks decided to deliberately defy the Committee and Parliament’s directives. He said SANParks had to answer on why it disregarded the Committee and Parliament’s directives and present a way forward because it had undermined the Committee and Parliament. The Committee agreed with the expansion of the Greater KNP but was of the opinion that the draft agreement on the benefits to SANParks, APNR and claimant communities around the Greater KNP be presented and discussed. He expressed concerns of the conduct of SANParks.

Mr Purdon asked SANParks to clarify if the agreement signed on 5 December 2018 was a corporative agreement or a beneficiation agreement.  He asked SANParks to state how many of the 15 claimant communities signed the agreement and clarify if any benefits had been given. He also asked SANParks to confirm if the agreement signed had any legal implications or costs attached. He asked which party would enforce the agreement, the relationship between the Department of Public Works and SANParks on infrastructure development and if there were any development and support programs in the agreement.

Mr Makhubele asked SANParks to state the nature of the agreement.

The Chairperson said the colloquium report was adopted by all political parties on 12 December 2018. The colloquium called for the development of a concept note but SANParks ignored this directive and the directive of stopping all signing processes. He was not sure if the benefits addressed could be listed during the meeting because it would form part of SANParks report.

Mr Makhubele said he just wanted SANParks to state the elements of the agreement.

Mr Mketeni responded that he did not receive the resolutions of the Committee captured in the minutes of the Committee meeting. He also said he got a different version of the minutes of the proceeding of the colloquium.

The Chairperson asked Mr Mketeni to confirm if he did not remember the proceedings of the meeting as stated in the minutes of 6 November 2018.

Mr Mketeni said he was present at the meeting but was not aware of the resolutions.

The Chairperson accepted that Mr Mketeni did not remember, if this was his statement, but asked which party was responsible for presenting the resolutions of the Committee to SANParks. The Chairperson recalled called Mr Mketeni and sent him a SMS on the directive of the Committee hence him asking Mr Mketeni again if he remembered the resolutions of the Committee.

Mr Mketeni agreed he remembered the resolutions of the Committee but stated he would get back to the Committee on whether SANParks defied the Committee and Parliament. The agreement signed is on how stakeholders would work together and avoid confusions of the past. SANParks presents a way forward in the report presented to the Committee in today’s’ meeting. Committees have been initiated to agree on packaging of different types of beneficiation. The beneficiation for land claimants has been negotiated and would be presented to the Committee. Key departments would facilitate development of business in the Greater KNP. The land owners would pay legal costs that accrue to them.

Mr Glenn Phillips, SANParks Managing Executive, said no beneficiation agreement had been signed yet. SANParks was way over budget on negotiations because some parties were delaying signing.

The Chairperson noted that there was no agreement in 1996 but presently there is a new agreement that did not have a status.

Mr Phillips said the agreement of 1996 did not give SANParks the power to address non-compliance. SANParks is not issuing any licence to parties that want to hunt but would not follow conservation principles.

Mr Ngcali Nomtshongwana, Programme Manager: KNP Beneficiation Scheme, SANParks, said SANParks initiated community empowerment and incubation programmes for Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). SANParks had also started training programmes to address governance matters.

Dr Coetzee said 13 out of the 15 claimant communities signed the agreement of 5 December 2018. Elements addressed in the agreement included safety, security and conservation. In the future, beneficiation processes would be developed but implications on safety, security and land use would be considered. In addition to what Mr Nomtshongwana mentioned, there would be opportunities for expanded public works projects through biodiversity programmes to empower the community.

The Chairperson said the Committee still need to decide how it would deal with clear defiance of its recommendations. SANParks should engage with DEA to fashion out a way forward. SANParks should not claim it was not aware because ignorance is no excuse in law. The Committee has also requested SANParks to once more prepare a comprehensive presentation on the benefit sharing to the communities, arising from the collapse of the fence in the western boundary of the Kruger National Park. The presentation must also include current hunting protocols that allow hunting of animals in the Greater Kruger National Park as a result of an open system. The point of the Traditional Authorities on Community regarding the perception of benefit sharing in the Western boundary of the KNP is clear. The Committee needs to strike a balance between the plea of the Traditional Authorities and what the Constitution says about hunting.

The meeting was adjourned.

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