2000

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE


SALE OR EXTERMINATION OF KRUGER LIONS

MEDIA STATEMENT ISSUED BY MTUTUZELI MBADI, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM

The proposed sale of 14 (fourteen) tuberculosis-free lions illustrates the disastrous consequences when a serious environmental issue is not addressed swiftly.

The issue that should have been addressed was, and still is, the flood damaged fence of the Kruger National Park (KNP). The KNP had already in past weeks, indicated that it is a priority that the damaged fences be repaired, and if not, wild animals may wander out of the Park and not only cause damage to the neighbouring villages and farms, but that there is a health risk (tuberculosis), should animals like lion, buffalo and kudu escape. In fact they (KNP) pleaded for financial assistance.

The obvious thing happened; the lions thought the neighbouring communities' cattle easy prey and now they must be sold off or shot! The UDM sympathises with the neighbouring Malumulele community, close to the Punda Maria gate (Northern Province), whose cattle were eaten by the lions and their need to be compensated from funds generated from the sale of the lions.  What is unfortunate, however, is that a pride of tuberculosis-free lions will be lost. Had the correct thing been done, to fix the fence, this disaster for the community and the lions could have been avoided.

It is very difficult to discern who is responsible for what in this whole scenario; the neighbouring provincial governments (Mpumalanga and Northern Province), the KNP and concerned environmental groups all have a different view of the issue.

The UDM would urge Government to gather all role players to discuss and immediately try and solve the issue of the broken fence. The same could happen again, and lives are at risk.

The South African National Parks' announcement of concession opportunities under its commercialisation programme is welcomed by the UDM. The UDM believes that involving the private sector will generate crucial funding and will allow our parks to concentrate on conservation.

Enquiries:
Prof M Mbadi, MP
Spokesperson for Environmental Affairs and Tourism

Cape Town
12 June 2000