Front: Margaretha Smit, secretary: WRSA-EC ExCo; Adrian Trollip, chair: WRSA-EC ExCo; Gerhard Heyneke, director: WRSA and John Hurter, vice-chair: WRSA-EC ExCo. Back: Graham Murray, chair: border chamber; Eardley Rudman; Katjana Ott, chair: Graaff-Reinet chamber; Neil Dodds; Leigh-Ann Kant; Philip Theunissen; Thinus Jurgens, chair: Grahamstown chamber and John O’Brien. Absent: Loodt Büchner, chair: Zuurberg chamber. Photo: Prinsloo Photography, Graaff-Reinet.

On Saturday, 20 October, delegates and various stakeholders in wildlife ranching in the Eastern Cape gathered in Graaff-Reinet to attend the third annual Wildlife Ranching South Africa Eastern Cape (WRSA-EC) conference, as well as the gala dinner and awards ceremony. Click here to read about the awards ceremony.

The conference centred around the fact that the Eastern Cape branch has made great strides in the province over the last three years in the development of wildlife ranching, the hosting of premium quality auctions, as well as the founding of four chambers. It also revolved around the current focal points in the wildlife industry and opened vital conversations on wildlife ranching in the Eastern Cape, as well as the rest of South Africa.

During the course of the conference, WRSA-EC also thanked the sponsors for their participation and support in creating the third annual conference and gala dinner and awards ceremony.

One of the guest speakers was Stephen Palos, chief executive officer of the Confederation of Hunters Associations of South Africa (CHASA), who honed in on the aim of hunting in the country.

Another guest speaker, Thinus Jurgens, chairman at the Grahamstown chamber, targeted game prices and how to meet market requirements. He shared interesting facts about game meat, such as the fact that the fat content in game measures only 4,3% compared to 39% in domestic stock.

An informed keynote address was delivered by Dr. Roelof Botha. He addressed the “Ramaphosa effect and radical land reform – a paradox?”, adding that the events since the December elective conference was like watching a fairy tale and a horror movie simultaneously.

A vision for wildlife ranching

The president of Wildlife Ranching South Africa, Tebogo Mogashoa said that South Africa must be positioned as a leading destination for wildlife, while creating a sustainable eco-industry and legalising rhino horn trade.

He made use of the opportunity both at the conference and at the awards gala dinner to acknowledge the Eastern Cape wildlife ranchers. He said, “These ranchers account for an important part of the wildlife industry in the country. They also account for the sustainable use of some 957 000ha of farmland of about 43 different types of game species which includes the rare black rhino.”

Tebogo applauded the Eastern Cape province for the 50 200 sustainable livelihoods that are safeguarded through its ranchers. “One cannot overemphasize the importance of this subject, particularly at this juncture where we are called upon to make decisions about matters of great importance.”

He further shared his understanding of Wildlife Ranching’s vision by using Martin Luther King as an example of someone who gave his people hope and confidence in a better future as reflected in a speech that he made in 1968. He quoted King’s words as follows: “I have been at the top of the mountain, and I have seen the promised land.” Tebogo then added: “I personally believe that is what vision is all about – visualising a better future than today. The vision of WRSA is about contributing towards building a better future and creating a legacy of which future generations will be proud.”

He also expressed his sincere gratitude to the outgoing WRSA-EC chairman, Gerhard Heyneke, by saying that he had attended all three Eastern Cape WRSA conferences and that he is proud to be associated with Gerhard’s leadership, witnessing the progress which has been made in the wildlife industry in South Africa. Tebogo then welcomed Adrian Trollip as the new WRSA-EC chairman, wishing him a very successful term of office. – Carin Venter, Stockfarm.

For any enquiries, please contact Margaretha Smit, WRSA-EC executive committee: secretary, on 043 726 1695 or send an email to info@wrsa-ec.co.za.