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Inadequate checks allow rhino horn shipments, MPs told

Publish date: 31 January 2012
Issue Number: 464
Diary: Legalbrief Africa Old
Category: South Africa

Port officials are not adequately checking wildlife shipments for illegal rhino horns, Parliament's Environmental Affairs Committee heard last week, according to a report on the News24 site.

Environmental Affairs deputy Director-General Fundisile Mketeni notes his department's 'own facility' - ports of entry are currently the domain of Home Affairs - is planned for OR Tambo International Airport and at a yet-to-be-identified seaport. Mketeni said some officials wrongly accepted excuses or threats, meaning a consignment had left the country without proper inspection. Travellers often threatened to sue officials if they opened their boxes, he said. Committee chair Johnny de Lange said it was shocking that people were getting away with such acts. 'If that is true, I shudder to think what kind of port officials we have. If someone says, I'll sue you if you open this box, and you're the customs official who is supposed to check it and you don't do it... No wonder it's so easy to have so many rhino being killed because it's just going out of the country; there is no system in place.' De Lange said the system had flaws and should urgently be tightened. Full report on the News24 site