Speed up conservation

SA National Parks (SANParks), which is responsible for managing SA’s conservation treasures, came under criticism from organised agriculture recently.

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Johan van Rensburg, CEO of Agri Northern Cape, said farmers are already dealing with land redistribution and now SANParks is also encroaching on commercial farmland. I don’t agree with Van Rensburg. South Africa has a rich history in land conservation dating back to the late 1800s when Paul Kruger ‘opened’ what became the Kruger National Park, a huge tract of land that could otherwise have been used for farming.

South Africa has set itself a rather ambitious target when it comes to conservation. By 2015, the government wants to have 9% of SA under conservation. This is in line with its Millennium Development Goals. Currently around 6,2% of the land area is under conservation.

Government should speed up its conservation efforts and start to look at biologically sensitive areas, like the Marico catchment area, to broaden its scope of conservation. The big positive of conserving tracts of land is that mines aren’t allowed in.

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