The Department of Environmental Affairs has once again postponed its press conference on its management of rhinoceros, leaving conservationists and other concerned citizens in the dark.
Government has been under pressure to clarify its policy on the trade of rhino horn for a long time, pressure that has only been intensified by allegations of illegal trafficking by State Security Minister David Mahlobo.
Earlier this week, the DEA moved the press conference from the 16th to the 17th of February, and has now postponed it indefinitely.
It says that a new date will be communicated soon.
According to the invitation, Minister Edna Molewa intends to “report back on the progress of the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Management Approach of Rhinoceros”.
Earlier this month, the Conservation Action Trust noted with alarm government’s silence on the issue of rhino poaching, with no stats having been released since September of last year.
Some, including Allison Thomson of Outraged South African Citizens Against Rhino Poaching, believe that the delay is designed to allow time for the Mahlobo scandal to ‘die down’.
Adam Cruise of the CAT believes that added pressure comes from the fact that rhino poaching conviction rates are “too low”, pointing to the DEA’s inefficacy at curbing the horrifying crime.
According to The Lowvelder, court records in Nelspruit suggest that 622 rhino were poached in the Kruger National Park alone last year.
Such figures suggest that government is doing little, if anything, to save the magnificent species, and that South Africa is knee-deep in a wildlife crisis.