Government Praise Professional Hunters

Water and environmental affairs deputy minister, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, reiterated her commitment to the professional hunting industry of South Africa during the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa's (Phasa) 33rd annual convention held at the Zulu Nyala Country Manor, Fourways, Johannesburg. The convention took place from 15 - 17 November 2010.

"The hunting industry makes a valuable contribution to the economy of our country and according to a report compiled by the department, based on information provided by the provincial conservation authorities, the revenue generated directly through hunting, during 2009, amounts to R650 million.

Your contribution to skills development and job creation within the environmental sector deserves to be mentioned. I urge you to continue with these initiatives, but to also focus on other initiatives to transform not only the hunting industry, but also the broader wildlife industry," said Mabudafhasi.Mabudafhasi said that "It is reassuring to know that Phasa does not condone unethical hunting, and that your organisation has a code of conduct through which you discipline members who participate in unacceptable hunting practices."

Phasa, founded in 1978, is a voluntary, non-profit and non racial association with more than 1100 members who are bound by its constitution and code of conduct. Phasa members pledged their full support to the organisation's aim to self administer, improve and expand its impact on conservation, social upliftment, empowerment and economic development.

Phasa's annual three-day convention and annual general meeting was attended by 160 delegates. It is acknowledged as the national body in South Africa for the professional hunting industry and is currently the largest organisation of its kind world-wide.

Dr David Mabunda, CEO of SANParks, stressed that in the mid 1900's, wildlife was under extreme threat. Statistics indicate that South Africa has 60 percent more wildlife biomass now than at the turn of the century. Privately owned land devoted to wildlife is roughly three times more than national and provincial parks and the number of animals on privately owned game farms is approximately twice of that present in the country's parks. This is a direct impact of responsible, ethical hunting practices and the demand it has created over the past few decades.

By Lynette Strauss

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