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Driven hunting in minister’s sights

ENVIRONMENTAL Affairs Minister Edna Molewa is considering laws to address the practice of “driven hunting” which drew outrage from South Africans earlier this year, but she was unable to say whether she planned to regulate or ban it.

Investigative journalism programme Carte Blanche ran a feature last month on the blood sport, which was filmed at a Limpopo farm. Participants perch on raised scaffolding and shoot at game that is herded towards them by staff.

SA’s hunting industry earned R6.6bn in 2013.

Reports of a driven hunt near Alldays in Limpopo last month drew ire from nongovernmental organisations and South Africans who considered the hunting method cruel, as it rarely leads to a quick kill and often causes valuable game serious pre-death injuries.

In a noncommittal response to questions from Democratic Alliance MP Jòhni Edwards, Ms Molewa said the department did not condone driven hunts that are not conducted in a responsible manner, within the limits of legislation.

But she said the department found that a driven hunt which took place in Limpopo was sufficiently monitored.

“The Department of Environmental Affairs is in a process of initiating an assessment of the scope of this method of hunting in SA in order to obtain a proper understanding of its impact on biodiversity.

“The need for legislative review to ban, or regulate this method of hunting, either through regulations, norms and standards or any other mechanism will require thorough consideration arising from an assessment of the scope on this method as alluded to above,” Ms Molewa said.

She said the department received numerous complaints about the practice but that no complaints were received subsequent to the hunt when the department’s inspector was present.

Department spokesman Albie Modise said the minister would have a clearer mandate on whether driven hunts should be regulated or banned following meetings with Limpopo’s provincial government.

However, Environmental Affairs portfolio committee chairman Jackson Mthembu told Business Day that the department would sit before the committee on Friday to explain its stance on the controversial practice. He said the maligned hunting method was an “area of concern”.

“We have asked for information on this matter and what has been reported about the Blood Lions. We want information on record so as to put efforts in place to fight this. If it is about a gap in the law we need to know how to monitor hunting licenses,” Mr Mthembu said.

Professional Hunters Association of SA (Phasa) CEO Adri Kisthoff said the association would gladly assist with formulating legislation around the practice of driven hunting.

“Phasa is not there to regulate morals and ethics. We are there to ensure that whatever hunting takes place happens within the guidelines of legislation. If the minister is considering legislation, we will gladly work with her.”