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Department of Environmental Affairs hosts a biodiversity compliance awareness workshop with muti traders and traditional healers in KZN

08 June 2017

 

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), in collaboration with the in collaboration with the KZN Wildlife and City of eThekwini Municipality hosted a successful biodiversity compliance awareness workshop in Durban today, Thursday 08 June 2017.

The one day workshop brought together government authorities, muti-traders and traditional healers operating at the Durban Muti market, with an aim to promote compliance with the relevant environmental legislation, particularly the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act and its regulations by the “muti-traders,” “muti-collectors” and traditional healers operating at the “muti-markets” in Durban.

The DEA, together with provincial conservation departments and entities, have been receiving increased complaints from members of the public about a diverse number of threatened species listed in terms of the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations that are being illegally sold at “muti-markets” around the country. In light of the complaints, government has embarked on a compliance awareness drive to, amongst others, empower traders in the “muti-markets” industry by providing knowledge about environmental legislation and to enable them to play a meaningful role in the conservation of the country’s biodiversity.

TOPS Regulations and relevant environmental legislation are in place to ensure sustainable utilisation of indigenous genetic and biological resources, promoting the fair and equitable sharing of benefits. They are also tools that balance the rights of those that own indigenous biological resources and the associated traditional knowledge with those that access these resources for commercial or industrial use.

The biodiversity compliance workshop builds on the Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr Edna Molewa’s call for recognition and involvement of rural communities in the conservation of biodiversity during discussions on livelihoods and food security at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg.

Given South Africa’s rich biological diversity that offers huge economic potential, Government has adopted the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy, which is at the heart of promoting guardianship of wildlife within communities. The strategy seeks to increase the biodiversity contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while conserving the country’s ecosystems. It also aims to contribute to the transformation of the biodiversity economy through inclusive economic opportunities, thereby ensuring equitable benefit of natural resources.

Biological diversity provides food security, ailment treatment, the provision of clean air and water; contributes to local livelihoods and economic development, is essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, poverty reduction and contribution to the objectives of the National Development Plan.

Today’s session forms part of a series of workshops conducted across the country on promotion of biodiversity compliance. Details of similar workshops in other areas will be revealed in due course.

For media queries, contact:

Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871