On Wednesday, the DA called on the national government to set up a task force to tackle ongoing abalone poaching in the Western Cape.
According to Andricus van der Westhuizen, the DA’s spokesperson on environmental matters in this province, this task force must be brought together with stakeholders from the local and provincial governments and members of the South African police service.
“According to a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, South Africa has become the nucleus for abalone poachers. Furthermore, there is a strong organized crime element involved in the storage, preparation and export of abalone,” Van der Westhuizen said.
“This issue needs attention from all angles, and the fastest way to do that is to make sure there is cooperation between the different levels of government and other relevant actors.”
According to Van der Westhuizen, the report also confirms what the DA has been emphasizing for years: That abalone poaching in South Africa has reached an extremely sophisticated level in which both local and international crime syndicates are involved.
“I submitted questions to the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning to ascertain what measures are being taken by his department to curb this criminal element.
“However, provincial governments cannot be expected to deal with complex crime networks without help from the national bodies that are constitutionally empowered to deal with crime. More cooperation and information sharing will help us eradicate poaching and at the same time free our communities from the constant presence of criminals.”
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