Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Conservancy slams ‘criminal’ handover of hunting permits to ZPF

Conservancy slams ‘criminal’ handover of hunting permits to ZPF

By Alex Bell
13 August 2012

The Save Valley Conservancy has called the decision to hand over hunting 
permits to ZANU PF cronies, under the guise of indigenisation, a purely 
‘criminal act’ that threatens the future of tourism in Zimbabwe.

The government last week issued hunting permits to 25 so-called indigenous 
‘farmers’ who were given land in the wildlife-rich Save Valley Conservancy 
in the Lowveld. National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, director 
general Vitalis Chadenga, said this was part of the government’s ‘wildlife 
based land reform’ exercise, saying beneficiaries have been allocated 
25-year land leases in conservancies throughout Masvingo province.

Included in the list of beneficiaries are top ZANU PF officials and 
loyalists, such as Masvingo Governor Titus Maluleke, former Gutu South 
legislator Shuvai Mahofa and Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan 

The state media reported last week that the exercise was a result of a 
refusal by white safari operators in the areas to ‘coexist’ with the new 
farmers, who reportedly were given the leases in 2004.

But Wilfried Pabst, the Vice Chairman of the Save Valley Conservancy, said 
the permits are ‘illegal’ and granting them is a “criminal act” that will 
ultimately destroy the hunting industry and, in the long run, have a major 
impact on tourism.

He dismissed the allegations that there had been a ‘refusal’ by 
conservancies to engage, saying a number of proposals on the reform of the 
wildlife industry had been made. He said these proposals were never 
discussed, and added that ‘wild life land reform’ has not been ratified or 
approved by Parliament.

“The people now involved have specifically stated that they don’t care about 
wildlife in meetings I have been in. They only care about the cash to be 
made,” Pabst said.

He added that this in itself shows the ignorance about the very complex 
hunting industry, because of the assumption that easy money can be made.

“This is a slow and low return business and not something that makes you 
rich overnight. We have said that need a passion for wildlife and 
conservation and an understanding of how it all works and if you don’t, you 
shouldn’t get involved,” Pabst said.

He warned that this is “another sector in Zimbabwe that will be destroyed,” 
while insisting the plans have nothing to do with indigenisation. He said 
this will put current safari operations out of business, meaning more people 
will be unemployed.

“The motivation here is purely personal enrichment and has nothing to do 
with indigenisation,” Pabst said. 


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