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LATEST NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 • ANIMAL INTEREST ALLINANCE TRUST UPDATE 7th July 2008

 • Agenda for EKZNW Public Meeting Sat 13th October 2007

 • AIA Statement & Petition 11th October 2007


ANIMAL INTEREST ALLINANCE TRUST UPDATE 7th July 2008

As AIA members will be aware, we have made demands from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) and the MEC for Agriculture and Environmental Affairs on key areas of concern.   

These in summary relate to our actions, what we seek to achieve and the outcome we seek:
We question the legal powers of EKZNW to determine policy or even “norms and standards” in respect of permits that are governed under separate legislation.

The AIA has concerns that the processes engaged upon by EKZNW did not have proper approval of the EKZNW Board and did not have applicable financial approval for the expense incurred in what has essentially been a wasteful process.

There has been no appropriate direction of the process required for a recommendation by the EKZNW Board to the MEC on policy and this indicates an abrogation of the duties of the Board in matters that cannot be delegated to officials, who in the present case, have been masters of a process to which they are legally subservient.

AIA is particularly concerned that Dr Jean Harris and her team spearheading the process, are on a mission of their own that exceeds both the mandate and mission of EKZNW,

Many believe they are using this platform to further their own personal agendas. The financial implications of this are of concern to AIA.

This indicates a lack of corporate governance in the EKZNW Board and a lack of proper financial controls.

It is now public knowledge that the financial powers of the EKZNW Board have been suspended by the MEC for what appear in the public domain to be serious abuse of public funds by officials and possibly the Board.

The AIA made a formal demand of the MEC and EKZNW under the Promotion of Access to Information Act for all relevant details but this process was subverted, firstly by a withdrawal by EKZNW of the “policy process” and by the MEC who simply did not respond.

The AIA questioned the wisdom of expending the limited financial resources of EKZNW on illegitimate processes that seemed intended to undermine the implementation of the nationally proclaimed Threatened and Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations by which EKZNW is bound itself, and in terms of which it has the statutory mandate to implement.

In parallel, AIA complained to the national Minster of Environmental Affairs and Tourism that he had passed on an “unfunded mandate” to EKZNW who clearly have neither the desire nor the resources to discharge.  No response other than an acknowledgement of receipt of the correspondence, in one instance one year after receipt, has been received.

Recent demands of the MEC have simply been referred to the CEO of EKZNW Khulani Mkhize from whom there has been no response.  In the light of the appointment of an acting CEO following the suspension of Mkihze on unrelated matters, it is unlikely that the demands of AIA will receive the response it deserves.

Unfortunately, AIA has no choice now but to approach the Court to ask for the financial information that EKZNW refuse to give us.

It is regrettable that the actions of AIA may be perceived as capitalising on the recent disastrous events in the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs (forensic audits and the suspension of heads of department and now the CEO of EKZNW), but the record will show that all of the actions taken by AIA pre-date current events.

AIA has no axe to grind but is merely acting in the interests of its members who are directly affected by these unfortunate events.

On its formation, the AIA resolved to take up all issues related to animals on behalf of its members and in the public interest as its founding Trust Deed will evidence.

The AIA community extends beyond its members to many that are reliant on the keeping of animals, those that are employed, those that have the pleasure of pets, game farmers, animal welfare concerns, scientific researchers, animal surgery and animal husbandry generally.

AIA membership includes an eminent scientist whose passion includes the saving of (sometimes obscure) reptiles that would probably die unnoticed and be lost to biodiversity but for his specialist surgery and care beyond the call of most human medical practitioners.

AIA members care for and manage animals that provide educational services to the next generation.

Film and entertainment industries, bringing millions of dollars of foreign revenue into our country have come out in strong support of the AIA.

The AIA membership has representatives from these important economic sectors that include experienced, dedicated & passionate animal trainers and film makers, whose very occupations depend on these industries and who care for and manage the many animals that delight in film or in advertisements on television.

The AIA membership includes raptor specialists who rescue, rehabilitate and release birds of prey back into the wild and who promote educational public awareness in many of these instances.

Exotic and indigenous bird breeders are rightfully very concerned and many have joined the AIA and support our cause.

Regular updates in the Avizandum have encouraged support from aviculturists all over the country.  

The keeping and commercial sale of birds and reptiles is under direct threat from EZKNW ex situ wild animal draft policies and once again the livelihood of such people and their dependants is being threatened.

Many of these commercially traded species are threatened or endangered in their native habitats and these captive populations may be critically important genetic reservoirs in years to come if wild populations are wiped out.

EKZNW believe that “all wild animals should be in the wild and not in captivity” may be admirable in a perfect World, but is a totally unrealistic standpoint when wild habitats and entire ecosystems are being  mismanaged and destroyed at a rate faster than they can ever be preserved.

All monies derived from annual memberships and donations to the AIA cause are used to pay our legal fees. When one battle is won, there is sure to be another one around the corner and the AIA believe they have an important role to play in this country protecting and defending the inherent rights of all bona fide animal keepers.

The AIA mission statement:

 "The objective of the AIA TRUST shall be to promote the welfare of animals, to strengthen the human-animal bond, to preserve genetic diversity, to ensure that the use of renewable resources is sustainable and to safeguard the rights and interests of responsible animal owners and professionals through research, public education and the development of sound public policy”

 

            The AIA values your opinion and comments and above all, depends on your financial support.

            Please email any such to aiatrust@gmail.com or renew your membership via the website www.aiatrust.co.za

 

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Agenda for EKZNW Public Meeting Sat 13th October 2007

PUBLIC MEETING


Recommendations for management of ex situ wild animals
in the province of KwaZulu-Natal

Venue:           Auditorium, EKZNW Head Office, Queen Elizabeth Park, Pietermaritzburg
Date:   •   Saturday 13 October 2007
Time:   •  09h30-12h30
RSVP:            business-services@iafrica.com

Purpose: This meeting is convened in order to 1) discuss the draft Recommendations for ex situ wild animal management in KwaZulu-Natal, and 2) identify key areas where Norms and Standards for ex situ wild animal management are needed (e.g. for ex situ mammals, birds and reptiles)

 AGENDA

09h30 Welcome
Mr Khulani Mkhize, EKZNW CEO
09h40  Adoption of Agenda
Prof. Rob Fincham, Facilitator
09h45 Workshop approach and protocol
Prof. Rob Fincham, Facilitator
09h50 Update on process with regards recommendations for primate management in KZN
Dr Jean Harris, EKZNW General Manager Conservation Planning
10h00 Control of alien invasive species in KZN
Ms Nonhlanhla Mkhize, DAEA Alien Invasive Species Programme
10h20 Presentation of recommendations for ex situ wild animal management in KwaZulu-Natal
Dr Jean Harris, EKZNW General Manager Conservation Planning
10h50  Norms and Standards for ex situ wild animals – taxa specific
 Dr Jean Harris, EKZNW General Manager Conservation Planning
11h00 Tea
11h30 Questions and discussion about draft ex situ recommendations
Prof Rob Fincham, Facilitator
12h15 Way forward
  • Process
• Deadlines for comment
• Stakeholder Workshop dates for Norms and Standards
Prof Rob Fincham, Facilitator
12h30 Closure
   

Invitation to attend Key Stakeholder Workshops on Norms and Standards
Key stakeholders are invited to attend Stakeholder Workshops to initiate the development of Norms and Standards for specific taxonomic groups (e.g. mammals, birds, reptiles) and/or sectors (e.g. rehabilitation)

Date

Workshop Focus

Time

Venue

17 October 07

Development of Norms and Standards for ex situ mammals

09h00-16h00

Kranzkloof Nature Reserve

18 October 07

Development of Norms and Standards for reptiles and amphibians

09h00-16h00

Kranzkloof Nature Reserve

7 November 07

Development of Norms and Standards for ex situ birds

09h00-16h00

Kranzkloof Nature Reserve

22 November 07

Development of Norms and Standards for other areas identified at the October Public meeting (e.g. rehabilitation/sanctuary or other taxa)

09h00-16h00

Kranzkloof Nature Reserve

       
Enquiries: Mrs Gerda de Jager
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Tel: 033-8451470
Email: dejager@kznwildlife.com

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AIA STATEMENT OF OBJECTION

STATEMENT OF OBJECTION TO THE PROCESS AND PROPOSED OUTCOME OF THE DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS PUBLISHED BY EZEMVELO KZN WILDLIFE FOR COMMENT  

1  

This statement is made and its objective promoted by the Animal Interest Alliance (a Trust registered with the Master of the High Court under reference number IT 233/07 and referred to hereinafter as “the AIA”) in the interests of the promotion of administrative justice, the protection of the rights of all animal keepers, the promotion of sound animal keeping practices and the promotion of sound wildlife conservation policies in South Africa.

BACKGROUND

2  

When Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife published its draft “policy” for the management of ex situ wild animals in August 2006 the AIA objected there to on the basis that:

  2.1 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has no legislative or policy making powers;

  2.2 The draft document by its definition purported to be more than a “policy” and was intended by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to be applied as if it were law;

  2.3 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife was engaging in activities for which it has no constitutional mandate, which are not authorised by the statute under which it is established;

  2.4 The allocation of funds, assets and human resources by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for activities that are not authorised by its founding statute constitutes unlawful spending of public money;

  2.5 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife sought through the development of norms and standard to apply these in permit applications under the Natal Nature Conservation Ordinance 15 of 1974 in an unlawful manner;

  2.6 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife was in fact already unlawfully applying aspects of the proposed policy in its decisions whether or not to issue permits under the Ordinance and in the conditions it imposed thereunder;

  2.7 The “policy” document was fatally flawed in that it was premised on incorrect facts, invalid science, and a poor understanding of the practice of keeping and breeding animals in captivity;

  2.8 The definition of “wild animal” was so wide as create absurdities in the meaning and application of the document, be it a policy, norms or standards;

  2.9 The proposed policy, norms and standards and the way in which these were intended to be applied, infringed the constitutional rights of animal keepers, their employees and those that provide support services to animal keepers;

  2.10 The statements made by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife as to the legal effect of the proposed policy were misleading and induced the public to believe that the keeping of all wild animals except for the limited purposes stated in the document would be banned, and this caused and continues to cause financial harm to many people whose livelihood is dependent on the keeping of wild animals.

  2.11 The policy (and norms and standards) is in conflict with national legislation, national norms and standards in the process of formulation and the Threatened and Protected Species Regulations due for implementation on 1 February 2008;

  2.12 The actions of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife are in conflict with a national objective for the uniform application of legislation, policy, norms and standards in South Africa;

  2.13 The duplication of national law, policy, norms and standards is prejudicial to the rights of all people that have an interest in the keeping of wild animals.

3  
The AIA drew all of these matters to the attention of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife during lengthy correspondence and when they refused to accept the limitation on their statutory powers, court action was threatened. On the last day possible, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife conceded that they had no power to determine policy and withdrew its document and the process.



THE PRESENT SITUATION


4  
The documents now published for comment are differently described to accord with the legal powers of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife but their content is not materially changed.  The AIA views this approach by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to be no more than a disguise under which they will continue to pursue matters that are beyond their statutory powers.

5  
The new documents and new process do not address the key issues raised by AIA as to the legality of the process and therefore AIA is not prepared to participate in a process that lacks legitimacy.  It will confine its comments and actions to the procedural and legal issues and only once these are resolved will it deal with the substance of the documents.  All of the rights of AIA and its members to do so are fully reserved.

6  
AIA has drawn all of these complaints to the attention of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife directly and through its lawyers.  They have been summarily dismissed or ignored.  The AIA has no confidence that any comments made by them during the process will be taken into account and it considers participation to be a time wasting exercise in futility.  AIA believes that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has a predetermined outcome for the process and that the public process invited is a sham.

7  
The AIA has called for evidence of a proper resolution of the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Board, which is the body exercising control over the activities and funding of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife authorising the process being undertaken, but this has not been forthcoming.


8  
AIA will now launch a High Court Application to seek a determination of the legal authority under which the process is proceeding, the powers of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the meaning and effect of a “policy”, the extent to which “norms and standards” may be applied under existing law, and the allocation of public funds for a purpose outside of the statutory mandate of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.


9  
AIA supports all lawful efforts aimed at ensuring sound practices in the keeping of animals in captivity and measures adopted to protect South Africa's biodiversity.


10 
All interested and affected parties are invited to support AIA in its actions and to endorse this statement by affixing a signature hereto.


   
ISSUED BY THE ANIMAL INTEREST ALLIANCE THIS 11TH DAY OF OCTOBER 2007
WE THE UNDERSIGNED SUPPORT THE ACTIONS OF THE ANIMAL INTEREST ALLIANCE IN ITS CHALLENGE OF THE LEGITIMACY OF THE PROCESS ADOPTED BY EZEMVELO KZN WILDLIFE TO RECOMMEND POLICY TO THE MEC AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TO DEVELOP NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR THE KEEPING OF WILD ANIMALS    

 

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