National rhino fundraising database aims to eliminate corruption

Submitted by: Tholakele Nene, Monday, November 4, 2013

<p>A total of 810 rhinos have been poached in South Africa since January 2013 an increase from the 668 rhinos poached in the year 2012 (Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_12890923_cute-baby-white-rhino-standing-next-to-it.html'>fouroaks / 123RF Stock Photo</a>).</p>

A total of 810 rhinos have been poached in South Africa since January 2013 an increase from the 668 rhinos poached in the year 2012 (Image credit: fouroaks / 123RF Stock Photo).

The Department of Environmental Affairs in partnership with sector stakeholders recently made a call to all rhino related funders to register their awareness raising projects and fundraising initiatives on a national database in the fight against rhino poaching. The aim of the database is to monitor fundraising operations, activities and the use of funds raised for rhino poaching.

According to Albi Modise, Chief Director of Communications in the DEA “There has been a realisation that there are many individuals and companies that would like to donate funds to anti-poaching initiatives, but are unclear as to whether the organisations they are donating time and money to are legitimate or not.”

“Concern has been raised by legitimate NGOs, NPOs, businesses and individuals that not all these organisations are legitimate or registered with the Department of Social Development,” he adds.

To date there have been over 100 applications received from Non-governmental organisations, Non-profit organisations and individuals. The establishment of a national database follows an agreement between government and stakeholders during a public engagement in July, 2013.

National Rhino Fund to support rhino poaching interventions

In addition to the establishment of a national database, the DEA in partnership with the National Treasury is planning to establish a National Rhino Fund aimed at providing greater legitimacy to the funding of rhino related projects. The Fund will ensure that projects of national importance are identified in terms of the national strategy for the Safety and Security of Rhinoceros Populations in South Africa (NSSSRPSA), and properly financed, says Modise.

According to Modise, “The autonomous nature of the National Rhino Fund, as would be facilitated by the Department of Environmental Affairs, will ensure that identified legitimate funding requirements will be immediately met, and not be caught up in red tape.”

The DEA and National Treasury are also working towards finalising the framework within which the National Rhino Fund will operate. The operationalisation of the Fund will be communicated to the wider public once it has been established. 

The national database as well as the National Rhino Fund were among the recommendations implemented following the adoption of a Rhino Issue Management (RIM) report by cabinet in early 2013.

Rhino poaching statistics

According to statistics from the DEA a total of 810 rhinos have been poached in South Africa since January 2013, in contrast only 272 people have been arrested. The 2013 statistics signify an increase from the 668 rhinos poached in the year 2012.

Talking about this dire state of rhino poaching Albi Modise, Chief Director of Communications at the DEA says, “The government declared the illegal killing and trade of rhino and rhino horn a national threat in 2011.  Rhino poaching was elevated to the National Joints Security Committee (NATJOINTS) the same year and this has assisted in advancing the implementation of the Cabinet-approved National Strategy on the Safety and Security of Rhino in South Africa, adopted in 2010, which calls for an integrated effort to put into action interventions to combat rhino poaching.”

Other interventions that the DEA  is currently engaged with to combat rhino poaching in the country include:

  • An amount of 75 million Rands has been allocated by the DEA to SANParks to combat rhino poaching for the 2013/14 to 2015/16 financial years for the hiring and training of additional rangers. 
  • In 2012 the DEA published and implemented revised norms and standards for the marking of rhino horn and for the hunting of rhinoceros for trophies. These norms and standards have put in place stricter controls for the issuing of rhino hunting permits, hunting of rhino and the transportation of the horn, which has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of hunting applications received.

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Tholakele Nene