APPENDIX 3. Further respondents’ comments regarding the implementation and enforcement of TOPS regulations



Resistance from game ranchers. The reason is that many of them are still uninformed, or misinformed. In many cases the use of TOPS permits will make it easier, but that is not understood by game ranchers. The misperception by farmers is that they will not be able to do anything with their TOPS species, which is not true. However, now they need a permit for any activity, where previously it was not always necessary in terms of provincial legislation. A reality is that they will have to pay for all the permits and the registration, which will increase the costs of the total amount of permits they will need and they will need to pay for more of them. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)

Game-farm owners with TOPS species may register their game farms. Only once registered, they may apply for a standing permit. This permit is valid for 3 yrs, and may list all the activities that may be undertaken for the general management of the farm (includes activities such as hunting, selling, buying, transporting, darting for treatment, importing, exporting, capturing, etc.). The standing permit may also list the TOPS species on the game farm. In terms of provincial legislation, the same type of permit is issued (called an exemption permit) but only for hunting, capturing, and selling. Therefore, the standing permit will include more activities. Also, if they apply correctly, they only need to apply for a permit once in 3 yrs, where previously they had to apply in many cases, for permits on an individual basis. In addition, only when registered, the game-farm owner may purchase a book with “game-farm hunting permits” that he may issue to each hunter that will hunt a TOPS species on the farm, rather than the hunter applying to nature conservation and having to wait 3 weeks plus. So it is easier. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)

Our national department arranged an information session in all the provinces last year. We informed the provincial offices about the session, and they had to inform the stakeholders, as up to now we have not dealt with the industries directly. Unfortunately, the attendance in many provinces was poor to extremely poor. We also compiled a guidelines document for distribution on how to interpret the legislation, how to issue permits, and what the permits could be used for. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)

I am confident that in time we will be able to effectively enforce the TOPS regulations. But it will largely depend on the willingness and capability of provinces to do their share. From the national department side we will sort out the impractical provisions which unfortunately will take time, as we have to amend the Biodiversity Act. Conservation authorities should make an effort to appoint adequate numbers of properly trained law enforcement officials that will do proactive, rather than reactive, law enforcement, i.e., patrolling problem areas on a regular basis. The other problem with successfully charging people operating illegally is the lack of support from the judicial system. Hopefully in terms of national legislation, with proper fines, this problem should be sorted out. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)

We provided an implementation guideline document, to explain how the permits work, what they can be used for, how to interpret the regulations, etc. Unfortunately, officials do not read this document and still provide wrong information to the public, or prefer to direct their questions to us before looking at what the guidelines say. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)

(Regarding implementation) Lack of finances and personnel will definitely play a role, but provincial departments have had a period of about 2 yrs to prepare for the implementation, to plan their personnel structure, and to budget for that. It did not happen. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)

Major concerns regarding implementation and enforcement are willingness and readiness of the provinces to implement in terms of human resources, finances, expertise because of continuity of personnel/high turnover, knowledge and understanding of the regulations, lack of managerial/technical/scientific support in decision making, poor planning, tensions, and lack of communication between provincial offices and wildlife ranchers, lack of resources for properly trained enforcement officials, and lack of support from the judicial system. (Senior employee, national government/regulation and monitoring services, 2008, personal communication)

We (provincial authorities) sometimes differ from some individuals at national because of our many yrs hands-on experience in the provinces, and their lack thereof. Many ideas might have originated from persons not familiar with the bigger picture or possibly with hidden agendas or even negative attitudes such as the so-called “greenies.” Not all decisions taken were done on scientific proof, and some were just humanly impossible to implement. Unfortunately, the provinces have to implement. We were sufficiently consulted in the forming of the regulations, but sometimes we were overridden by who knows who. (Provincial government representative, 2008, personal communication)

In short, we will have to handle many more applications, do inspections for each application, process and issue the permits, and follow up with law enforcement. No additional funding has been provided. (Provincial government representative, 2008, personal communication)

There is a dispute between the official nature conservation agencies and the private game farmers because the former is the regulator and the latter does not want to be regulated. This is the crux of the debate. (Provincial government representative, 2007, personal communication)

Provincial authorities differ in opinion from national and there are prescripts that we will have to implement, although we do not agree with national. Provincial authorities were not capacitated to implement and lack either funding, personal skills, or equipment. (Provincial government, 2008, personal communication)

(Are you confident that the new TOPS legislation can be implemented and enforced effectively?) No. National does not have the capacity or skills. Provincial neither. (Provincial government represenative, 2008, personal communication

The TOPS regulations will go a long way in protecting the listed species, but it is to some extent restrictive to landowners and will be costly and difficult to implement. Legislation and regulations should facilitate conservation on private land and not be too restrictive or difficult to implement. That is where we must still find the balance. (Provincial government representative, 2007, personal communication)

Budget and staff constraints are the major stumbling blocks. (Provincial government representative, 2007, personal communication)

Conservation on private land could be improved by conservation initiatives, increased government extension services, and the streamlining of legislation and permitting procedures. Incentives from government, for example, tax rebates for conservation efforts, would assist in private conservation initiatives. (Provincial government representative, Northern Cape, 2007, personal communication)

New, good and, I suspect, impossible to implement in Africa at the present time. (Conservation NGO representative, 2007, personal communication)

As with all legislation, its implementation is crucial and this is grossly inadequate. (Conservation NGO representative, 2007, personal communication)

Ranches need support in the form of financial incentives, for example, tax rebates, management assistance, help with clearing alien and invasive plants, particularly in the case if habitats and species that are not money spinners. Building positive relationships with landowners. (Conservation NGO/conservation coordinator, 2007, personal communication)

Lions caused the whole big upset and it is the hunting of lions that is the problem, not the other species that is now affected. The two species that really required protection (lions and cycads) have now been excluded. I’m not against TOPS and fully support the original purpose. (Senior representative, wildlife ranching industry, 2008, personal communication)

There is a lack of government officials who can adequately implement these regulations. At the moment, our national department is very positive while almost all nine provinces are not equipped, trained, or motivated to implement the regulations. (Wildlife ranching representative, 2008, personal communication)

It is very obvious that the provinces don’t know what is going on 2 weeks before implementation. To add to that, the second set of application forms have now also been withdrawn, we are again waiting for the final application forms. Unbelievable! (Wildlife ranching representative, 2008, personal communication)

Looking at it from a conservationist point of view, the regulations are a good thing. The only problem I foresee is the policing of this in the beginning. A problem in South Africa regarding not just these new regulations is manpower and, also very importantly, expertise. (Wildlife manager/conservationist on private reserve, 2008, personal communication)

(Speaking about a stewardship scheme.) In Sanbona’s case, we can have giraffe and white rhino for x amount of years to improve tourism. After this time, or for example, if we get any black rhino (Diceros bicornis), we have to take them off and then follow the new regulations in the future. It is important to note that although these new regulations seem strict, the governing bodies will still work closely with the people involved. (Wildlife manager/conservationist, 2008, personal communication

Looking at alien species already occurring in certain areas, this is going to be very difficult and going to take a long time to take off. (Wildlife manager/conservationist on private reserve, 2008, personal communication)