Environment

SA, Mozambique ministers set to curb poaching

Sapa

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and Mozambique's tourism minister will take action to combat rhino poaching, says her department.

A total of 408 rhino have been killed in South Africa since the beginning of the year. (AFP)

"We had very frank discussions with our counterparts in Mozambique and we are glad that we are moving forward. It is an indication that we can work together to curb this problem of poaching," Molewa said in a statement on Saturday.

Talks between Molewa and Mozambique's Tourism Minister Carvalho Muaria on Friday focused on joint co-operation between South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe on the matter of cross-border conservation of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA), established in 2002.

The area links the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, the Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa, and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary, and Malipati Safari Area.

Molewa and Muaria agreed on a memorandum of understanding to be signed before January 2014.

One of the agreements was the relocation of communities who lived within the boundaries of the TFCA.

The process would see 1 200 families relocated by 2016.

Syndicates behind poaching
The relocation would need to include sustainable projects that uplifted young people and created a move away from poverty, the statement said.

Another focus would be on targeting the syndicates behind poaching.

"We are worried as South Africa that our rhinos are being poached. We need to work much harder to solve the problem of poaching and today [Friday] we have recommitted ourselves to working together, and as SADC [Southern African Development Community] as a whole," said Molewa.

A total of 408 rhino have been killed in South Africa since the beginning of the year, 265 of them from the KNP, which forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and shares an eastern border with Mozambique, since January 2013.

The number of people arrested countrywide on rhino poaching-related charges was currently at 121. Fifty-six of them were arrested in the KNP.

Of the 119 facing prosecution in South African courts, 37 were foreign and 24 of them were Mozambican, the statement said. – Sapa

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