Hon House Chairperson, the question is from Mr Worth regarding the implementation of response measures to the "escalating rhino poaching problem".
First of all, I would like to say that it is very sad indeed that we are all made to focus only on curbing rhino poaching, when the reality is that there are so many species among our plants and animals and so on that are being poached. I guess it actually relates to the very cruel manner in which the poaching happens. We have seen the way rhinos are butchered, with blood all over - that way of doing it is very depressing.
We have several measures that have been introduced. Apart from collaboration with other government institutions, our department has implemented various steps to address the escalating rhino poaching problem. They include the following, but are not limited to them.
The first is the publication of a national moratorium on the sale of individual rhino horns and any derivatives or products within South Africa to prevent the legally obtained horns from ending up in the illegal trade. That was done a few years ago - two or three years ago.
Secondly, there is the publication of the national norms and standards for the marking of rhino horns and the hunting of rhinos for trophy hunting purposes, in order to further regulate the marking of horns and the hunting of rhinos. In other words, we are trying to regulate this hunting because we have seen some of the loopholes in how hunting happens, even though it is legal hunting. This relates to all provinces. We have had discussions at Minmec level and have agreed that there is a need to have these norms and standards, which we have recently promulgated.
Thirdly, the establishment of the multidepartmental National Biodiversity Investigators Forum, which we have set up, is another measure. This is a team of South Africans, constituted of specialists who work in all provinces in order to deal with this problem and share experiences. They are also working around the clock, looking for other measures that we may implement. This forum co-ordinates and acts as a contact point, where all biodiversity-related law enforcement information can be collected, assessed, distributed and made part of tasks for specific subgroups of the forum.
Fourthly, there is the establishment of a Directorate: Biodiversity Enforcement and Compliance, to co-ordinate the investigation of biodiversity-related crimes on a national basis.
Then, the national regulations in regard to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Cites, were published for the control of international trade in Cites-listed species, in which both black and white rhinos are listed. In other words, we have amended the Cites regulations and the listing as well.
A rhino summit was held to discuss the upsurge in the illegal killing of rhinos in South Africa, to augment and endorse the initiatives against rhino poaching, and to afford stakeholders an opportunity to reflect on the current interventions and harness further political and broader stakeholders' commitment.
This has given birth to the team, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, Natjoints. It is a national security team, and this matter serves as a permanent item on the agenda of Natjoints and in our Security cluster at Cabinet and other levels, for them to help us look at various other measures.
The National Strategy for the Safety and Security of Rhinoceros Populations and Horn Stocks in South Africa was also drafted and approved and it's being implemented.
There has been the establishment of the interim National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit I have spoken about, the unit that has been established with the primary aim of ensuring that all conservation agencies in South Africa respond to the current state of rhino poaching. An official South African delegation also visited Vietnam in this regard. Let me just recap by saying that all these measures that I have spoken about - and there is no exhaustive list - deal, amongst others, with conservation and are biodiversity-related.
We have found it necessary to look at security and the international engagements of some of our people. Vietnam is one such country that has been identified in this respect. Officials visited that country regarding the challenges that we face with the involvement of Vietnamese nationals in illegal rhino hunting. We found them and actually have a number of them already in jail. One of the cases was supposed to come to court yesterday. The Deputy Presidents of these two countries - ours and theirs - agreed on the development of a memorandum of understanding, MoU, which has been drafted and is being completed.
The SA National Defence Force has deployed troops along the eastern boundary of the Kruger National Park to help us and to do service there. I am sure you have heard about their activities. Amongst many other issues, our department has also received R20 million from the National Treasury to fight the scourge of rhino poaching. We also have a memorandum of understanding, MoU, on the same matter ready to be signed with China. Thank you.