Regaining our Perspective: Raising Awareness of our Precious Animal & Plant Heritage

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Shame the Premier!

Shame on Helen Zille - Premier of the Western Cape for withdrawing the invitation to the Landmark foundation to attend the Animal Welfare Summit. The reasons will be noted in the Ozinsky letter at the bottom of this posting.

Bowing to pressure from the farmer lobby, the Western Cape "Environment" Minister Anton Bredell saw fit to pressure Cape Nature to issue 480 permits for farmers to kill black backed jackals and caracals at a rate of 5 each per day per permit, for 6 months - a possible total of nearly 900 000 predators.

The background to the "Bredell Cull" can be read on this link :

I'm not sure that Mr Bredell is even qualified for his post. An "environment minister" who says the following :

"Bredell said that Smuts “is trying to make out I’m a mass murderer. He always brings up the poor jackal and the cruelty of the farmers, but I have never shown him the cruelty meted out to sheep. Cruelty has two sides,” he added."

Tsk, Mr Bredell. Do you not understand anything about the ecosystem and natural predation? Jackals don't "mete out cruelty" to sheep or any other animal. To mete out cruelty, you need to have an established moral code and to act in a manner which contravenes this code. Jackals and other natural predators are just that - natural predators preying on the weak and the defenceless as nature has intended. They no more set out to be "cruel" than any other predator when hunting their prey. If you learn nothing else about your job, please learn that. The only predator who is capable of "meting out cruelty" is man - and we do it far too often with too little conscience.

That these animals are predating on sheep is not their "fault". To the contrary, far too much expansion of intensified stock farming has been permitted, encroaching on natural habitats. It is logical that there are going to be some losses, if these farms are inadequately fenced. I'm sure adequate fencing is going to cost an arm and a leg - mainly because these farms are now so huge, it's going to be prohibitively expensive. But there's a message in that, isn't there? Why so big? Because....(and the answer includes currency symbols - and lots (and lots) of zeroes).

So - it's much easier to just kill the predators isn't it? Another demonstration of blinkered bureaucratic philistine pig-ignorance in action. Have any of these people asked themselves what the elimination of natural species in their habitats is going to do to the balance of nature in the local ecosystem? Everything in nature exists in harmonic balance - and it's self-regulating. To really screw things up, we introduce humans into the dynamic, with their ill-conceived predefined views on what can and can't be permitted - and the reasons for the decisions are always based on money, aren't they? How long do we consider it might be for the species that the jackals and caracals naturally predate on, to explode in numbers? Hares and small rodents etc. Do we really want an unchecked increase in these animals?

I can assure Mr Bredell that the jackals and caracals did not suddenly "explode" into huge populations because they perceived some freebie- lamb on the horizon. The population grew naturally and is sustained by keeping other species (that we often view as a nuisance) in check. But now eliminate the predator, and what will be the result? Clever Mr Bredell. If you were in my government, you'd pick up your severance cheque at the door and be gone in an instant.  Unqualified for the job. And that's another bone I'd want to pick with Helen Zille - ill-conceived job selection.

"People are going to die if they can't eat lamb or mutton - the poor will starve". Really? Can the poor afford to buy this meat at between R50 and R70 a kilogram? I don't think so. But the power of the poor farmer's vote must not be underestimated - especially as the permits were issued shortly before a by-election in this region.

It's a real lesson in craven yellow-bellied arse-licking to see how low the politicians will go to ensure they get their next pay cheque. I was a DA supporter in the last election. This will no longer be the case in the future, and I will make everyone I can, and who has an environmental conscience, aware of this issue to get them to change their vote as well.

It's a pity that politicians have no integrity and that they'll say anything to get your vote. They then revert to type after the election and the voter can go and suck eggs. So I'm not convinced the ANC is a better option. But maybe my vote will be used as a strategic vote "against" rather than a vote "for".

Below is the text of a public statement by Max Ozinsky, MPL o.b.o ANC Western Cape

Zille withdraws Landmark Foundation invitation - Max Ozinsky
Max Ozinsky
30 March 2012

Premier acted after organisation initiated legal action against WCapegovt over hunting licenses

ANC Statement on Premier's withdrawal of invitation to Landmark Foundation to attend Animal Welfare Summit

29 March 2012

DA Premier Zille claims to believe in our constitution and an open society. Yet day by day her actions contradict her words.

In her latest attack on the constitutional rights of citizens of the Western Cape and open government, Premier Zille has withdrawn an invitation she had personally made to the Landmark Foundation to attend an Animal Welfare Summit being organised by her office for next week.

The reason given for the withdrawal of the invitation is that the Landmark Foundation has initiated legal action against the Western Cape provincial government and CapeNature to ensure that they apply the Threatened and Protected Species (TAPS) regulations under the Biodiversity Act and stop the Bredell cull which is resulting in the deaths of thousands of protected animals, such as leopards. The withdrawal of the invitation follows the unilateral cancellation of a signed agreement between CapeNature and the Landmark Foundation, merely because they disagreed with the issuing of hundreds of hunting permits on instruction of MEC Bredell.

The Landmark Foundation is a world leading NGO in sustainable conservation methods. In the Western Cape it has pioneered projects to study and protect endangered predators such as leopards. It has led the campaign against the Bredell cull and recently began legal action against Zille's government for its refusal to implement legislation protecting threatened and protected species.

In an open society, the fact that an individual or organisation disagrees with government, or even takes government to court, does not remove their rights to participate in policy formulation, or to engage with government.

However Premier Zille does not like to hear from those who disagree with her views. Zille has long ago made her mind up that the votes of farmers are more important than the conservation of protected species like leopards. That is why after meeting only farmers in 2010, she instructed MEC Bredell to ensure that hundreds of hunting licences were issued to farmers, without following any due process, and in contravention of the Taps regulations and the laws governing CapeNature.

It is clear that Premier Zille is scared that if the Landmark Foundation attends the summit, her policies, which threaten the survival of leopards, one of the big five, in the Western Cape, will not be supported.

Unfortunately for Premier Zille in a democratic society there are many view points. All citizens, whatever their opinion, have the right to engage with government. By refusing to allow a key and world leading NGO to participate in the summit, Zille shows that her commitment to an open democracy and our constitution is merely lip service. Her actions speak much louder than her words.

Statement issued by Max Ozinsky, MPL, on behalf of the ANC Western Cape, March 30 2012 - with Bool Smuts.


  1. Clearly humans are actually the problem here...

    1. I sometimes wonder at the mentality of the people who are put in positions of power - and why they are considered to be suitable candidates. I might have thought it more useful (and better for ecology) to engage with the farmers and discuss the above types of consideration, noting the deleterous effect of pursuing a course of wanton destruction of the wild fauna.

      But clearly it's officialdom in action = or should I say official "dim" ?