MEC for the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), Mr Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane led the first multi-stakeholder march against rhino poaching in Makhanda on Monday, 26 November 2018.
The march coincided with the resumption of the Ndlovu gang trial in the Makhanda High Court. They stand accused of illegal darting and poaching a number of rhinos in the Eastern Cape and across the country.
Over 200 staff from the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, SANParks and private reserves, as well as children from local schools marched alongside Mabuyane and local and provincial political leaders, private reserves, NGOs, senior officials from government entities including DEDEAT and ECPTA.
This was the first time in South Africa that political leaders, government officials and private reserves stood together to make a united statement against rhino poaching. The message was clear - in this province the state and private sector will present a united front to combat rhino poaching. “We are saying this cannot happen in our province and surely not under our watch”, said Mabuyane.
The day ended on a high note as presiding judge, Jeremy Pickering, accepted the admissibility of evidence that was obtained without a search warrant after having considered a number of issues that include the interest of the public and the constitutional rights of the accused.