South Africans say “No!” to exporting meat from endangered species


More than 45 000 people reacted to Dear SA’s campaign inviting comment on draft legislation allowing meat from endangered species to be added to the list of animals allowed to be slaughtered, consumed and traded.

Click the link at the end of this article to view a report and public comments.

The overwhelming majority of those participating in the campaign objected to government’s plan to expand the list of animals for slaughter and trade to include endangered species such as rhino, elephant, hippos and more. The proposed list would also include undefined birds, reptiles and fish too.

Why did most of the public participants object to these amendments? Here is a sample of some of the comments:

“It is unconscionable to slaughter and trade wild animals, especially endangered and near-extinct species like rhino and elephant.”

“The sale of any products derived from endangered species should be strictly prohibited. The sale of products creates a market for those products and if there is a market there will be poaching and exploitation.”

“Ban the wildlife trade. Consuming wildlife increases the very real risk of zoonotic disease.”

Dear South Africa’s Enviro Expert Coalition was formed earlier this year to provide expert input and guidance on policy and legislative matters relating to the environment and wildlife. One of its first tasks was to bring public attention to the proposed amendments to the Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act No 4 of 2000) published in February 2020.

The number of comments received and the strength of views expressed far exceeded what Dear SA anticipated for an otherwise routine legislative amendment that could have passed unnoticed, says Chloe Roberts, spokesperson of Enviro Expert Coalition.

“As a non-profit, the objective of the Enviro Expert Coalition is to enable public participation on environmental matters relating to legislation on a local, municipal or regional level. The scope of this coalition will cover all matters related to environmental affairs currently managed under the Department of Environmental Affairs,” adds Roberts.

“With the successful launch of our first campaign, we opened our platform to participants and received around 45 000 submissions which was an outstanding response. Our aim was to inform the public of the changes that were being proposed while supplying a platform where they could have their say and freely express their views around the suggested changes.”

Roberts adds that many of the comments from the public were informed and passionate. Of particular concern to most, is the proposal to add species such as elephant and rhino to the list of animals suitable for human meat consumption. Not only were some of the “new species” listed already endangered, but they are already considered highly commercialised in a conservation sense.

The Enviro Expert Coalition serves in a non-partisan capacity, seeking to inform public opinion rather than mount a petition. The feedback from the campaign has been compiled into a report which has been be submitted to the relevant parliamentary committee for consideration. (available here)

Dear SA is a public participation platform enabled by Sections 59 and 72 of the Constitution, which compel the facilitation of public involvement in legislative processes.

It monitors legislative developments on a continuing basis to ensure that Parliament is held to the standards of public involvement written into the Constitution.

Unlike petitions where citizens sign on to a particular demand or pleas, Dear SA makes no attempt to influence the outcome of its campaigns. Its process of inviting and collating public comments ensures that the individuality of each submission is maintained, compiled and delivered to Parliament.

“Our group is eager to expand its network to include other organisations seeking to effect change for the better within our society by updating legislative procedures and ensuring that transparency prevails,” says Roberts. “We will be looking into new legislative amendments going forward as our focal point and will continue inviting the public and other organisations to get involved on matters close to their hearts.

“The environment should be preserved for future generations and the responsibility to preserve rests on our shoulders.”

A massive live sheep export from SA to Kuwait was just greenlit – now to see if farmers regret it

Phillip de Wet , Business Insider SA

A huge shipment of live sheep is now cleared to depart a feedlot in the Eastern Cape, be loaded onto a waiting ship in East London, and then likely to be transported to the Middle East for slaughter.


That, says exporting company Al Mawashi, will be to the considerable economic benefit of that province, and eventually more of the country as it builds a pipeline of live animals to Kuwait and beyond.

But the farmers and meat industry that are now so enthusiastic about the prospect of a new market will come to regret it, one animal-rights advocacy group warns – and will eventually feel it in their pockets.

read more here Business Insider SA

No environmental assessments needed for gas pipeline, water, electricity and solar infrastructure

Large-scale projects for the roll-out of gas, electricity, solar and other infrastructure projects will be given exemption from the need for environmental authorization in terms of notices gazette by the government on 31 July 2020.


This is certain to excite strong opposition from environmental lobby groups which have laboured for years to enforce compliance with the laws and regulations already in place.

But after nearly five months of lockdown, and an estimated 3 million jobs lost, authorities are under pressure to fast-track massive infrastructure developments to get the economy moving again. This has been suggested as one of the possible motivations for the proposed exemptions.

The National Environmental Management Act allows the minister to exclude certain activities and projects from the need to obtain environmental authorisation provided an “environmental management instrument” is developed that avoids, manages and mitigates environmental risks associated with the projects.

To all intents and purposes, this is a way of speeding up infrastructure development without having to go through the often agonising process of undertaking environmental assessments and approvals. Going through the usual environmental hoops can take several years, and that adds to the eventual cost of infrastructural development.

This does not mean, however, that environmental issues are neglected. The “environmental management instrument” is supposed to take care of that, though there is understandable suspicion that this may be a way of side-stepping environmental regulations imposed on all other projects that do not enjoy exemptions.

A series of environmental authorisation exemptions have been proposed that would cover virtually all major gas pipeline projects currently under consideration. This is achieved through the adoption of a generic environmental management programme for gas pipeline infrastructure.

Exemptions are also proposed for electricity transmission and distribution powerline infrastructure falling within certain geographical areas known as Strategic Transmission Corridors.

There are five primary corridors (and two extensions) for electricity transmission and distribution: from Limpopo to Gauteng; Gauteng to the Northern Cape; Gauteng to the Western Cape; Kwazulu-Natal to the Western Cape; and the Western Cape to the Northern Cape. Should more than 10% of the proposed electricity transmission and distribution powerline infrastructure fall outside these corridors, the entire project is subject to the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations which were published in 2014.

A new environmental standard has been developed for these geographical areas which would exclude electricity transmission and distribution powerline infrastructure from having to obtain environmental authorisation. The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has also set management and mitigation standards that would exempt landcare, ecosystems and working for water projects from the need to obtain environmental authorisation.

The public is also being asked to provide input on procedures to be followed when applying for, and deciding on Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZ).

The opportunity for the public to comment closes on 4 September 2020.