This is an excerpt from an Open Letter written by Jay Naidoo and published online by Daily Maverick on 14 October, 2021

A response to a call by Environment Minister Barbara Creecy for public comment on her draft policy for the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephants, lions, leopards and rhinos.

‘Dear Minister Creecy,

Something very important is happening in our country. And it relates to our Constitution, which guarantees all South Africans a constitutional right to “ecologically sustainable development”. 

That word “ecological” is everything.

Having had the responsibility for South Africa’s Reconstruction and Development Programme as a minister in Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet, I speak from experience in appreciating that all development is ultimately unsustainable if it is not ecologically sustainable.

The new environmental position presented by you, Minister Creecy, is a lynchpin in turning around how we should look at economic development going into the future. I applaud the policy position that: “Communities living with wildlife are placed at the centre of our thinking, with a focus on enhancing human-wildlife coexistence.” 

That is where your policy holds the key, Honourable Minister.