The South African National Parks (SANParks) is offering a cash reward of R100 000 to any person who can provide information and facts which will result in the arrest of poachers along with a further R1 million for a successful conviction of a poaching syndicate mastermind.
David Mabunda, SANParks Chief Executive Officer, also gave details about a initiative in partnership with South Africa’s Crime Line, whereby any member of the public can send anonymous SMS tip-offs on suspected crimes whenever you want , thanks to LeadSA, a Primedia and Independent Newspapers initiative.
SANParks has, furthermore, hired a retired decorated army Major General to supervise the entire anti-poaching operations in the Kruger National Park, as part of its strategies to combat rhino poaching.
The introduction of retired Major General, Johan Jooste, 60, concludes the basis of a multi-pronged strategy to fight rhino poaching. The use of an army general will assist to leverage on current capacities and strategic alliances, and at the same time give rise to all-important thinking and innovation on existing gaps and loopholes.
SANparks has commended and praised one of it’s rangers who notified officials along with the police concerning a proposal from suspected poachers to collude with them. Instead he assisted to stage a sting operation that resulted in the successful arrest of the perpetrators.
“His honesty, commitment and diligence to the cause of protecting the rhino has not gone unnoticed, the organization will reward his good deed accordingly,” Mabunda said.
South Africa has lost an unprecedented number of rhinos of which a large proportion have been killed in the Kruger National Park. The consequence of these atrocities has led to warranted and unwarranted sanctions both internally and internationally on South Africa’s strategy and approach with respect to poaching of rhinos in the country. Hopefully, with this new approach and strategy by engaging Major General Johan Jooste will with time give rise to the essential invigoration in the fight against the decimation of the country’s natural heritage.
Major General, Johan Jooste, possesses a substantial amount of experience in military intelligence, border and area protection in addition to contemporary know-how about modern technology use and integration into capability. He also has knowledge when it comes to conservation.
Following his appointment, Major General Jooste clearly stated that he is not a Messiah, rather an established leader and a team player, and that he is going to do his very best to generate acceptable results. He added the fact that the fight against poaching is simply not about an individual and good results and success is dependent upon the collective partnership and dedication of all the individuals who have been given the job and responsibility to conserve the country’s heritage.
He explained the battle lines have been drawn and it is now up to him along with his team to forcefully and vigoursly push back the frontiers of poaching.
The appointment of the Major General follows the deployment of a Seeker Seabird aircraft generously donated by the Ichikowits Family Foundation along with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Seeker 2 which was loaned to SANParks by arms manufacturer Denel. In addition, two military aircrafts will provide the required intelligence particularly overnight when the majority of incursions and poaching incidents occur.
“This will give added advantage to the ground troops and will hopefully act as a deterrent,” Mabunda said.