03 Aug 2017 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 03 AUG (NAMPA) The Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Amendment Bill places more value on wildlife than human life through the increase of fines, said majority of the National Council (NC) on Thursday.
The main intention of the Bill is to adjust the control of wildlife products and their trade by increasing fines and the prison term for the possession and trade of controlled wildlife.
Member of Parliament and Otjozondjupa Regional Councillor, Steve Biko Boois told the NC that the new fines for poaching of wildlife would send people into a life of poverty.
Boois said the Bill creates the impression that it values wildlife or animal life more than human life, which is protected under the Constitution.
He said it also creates the idea that Namibia is moving towards a material-based society where more value is placed on material things than life.
We are not elected by kudus or oryx. We do need to protect them but not at the expense of our people, Boois said adding although there is a need for legislation that protects wildlife, importance should be placed on human life.
Kavango West Regional Councillor, Nakambare Haikera noted that fines are not likely to stop poaching; educating people would be more effective to stop pouching in Namibia.
He said there is also a need to increase the compensation for humans killed by wildlife to cover the expenses that follow as a result of the loss.
Currently, a person who kills protected wildlife is fined N.dollars 100 000, whilst the Government compensates the next of kin of a person killed by wildlife with N.dollars 5 000.
Just recently at a public consultation on racial and general discrimination in Namibia, the San community in Tsumkwe told Ombudsman Advocate John Walters they feel their lives are regarded as less important than the life of a wild animal.
Walters said the community there expressed unhappiness with the reparation they receive from Government, which is much less than the fine for killing protected wildlife.
Human-wildlife conflict is an issue and that does not make sense for them. So they regard this as a form of discrimination, he stated.