An Open Letter to the New President Cyril
Dear Mr President
Like many South Africans, I have waited
patiently for the day when the dark cloud could be blown away
and a new dawn could rise on our beautiful country.
Congratulations on achieving a non-violent
transition to becoming our new President.
I was at Londolozi Game Reserve with Nelson
Mandela when you phoned him from the Trade Centre, the day the
AWB invaded the peace talks. I listened intently as Madiba told
FW de Klerk he was mobilizing “Umkhonto we Sizwe”. After Madiba
put the phone down he instructed me to get him a helicopter as
he wanted to fly personally into the Trade Centre.
I argued strenuously that firstly Madiba’s
life could be in danger if he flew into the Trade Centre.
Secondly, if Madiba was harmed, it could plunge South Africa
into a civil war. Thirdly, Madiba had spent 27 years in prison
and this could be wasted in a moment of madness.
After a heated discussion, Madiba agreed to
cancel the helicopter and go to his house in Lower Houghton
where he could give an interview and calm the nation. This
culminated in his famous speech “The AWB do not represent the
whites of South Africa etc etc”
Sitting around the campfire and on the game
drives with Madiba, I came to realize that his philosophy was
based on fairness. Fairness to all the people of South Africa.
I would like to suggest that as a new dawn
breaks across South Africa, you take the meaning of fairness to
another level. You seek for fairness between human beings and
the land, the rivers, the forests the oceans and the animals,
both domestic and wild.
Mr President I know you are heavily invested
in the game industry, especially buffalo.
South Africa has ninety percent of the rhino
on the African continent. During the last 6 years, we have lost
over 1,000 rhino per year. It is totally unacceptable!
While we have troops doing service in other
African countries, we have state assets, rhinos and elephants,
being stolen by Mozambican nationals. I urge you to put the full
force of our army and finish this rhino war once and for
all. Increase the jail sentences to make it simply not worth
while to poach a rhino or an elephant. Incentivise the private
sector to intensify the rhino war. Don’t let it linger, “Take
Care of Business!”
The great Indian leader Mahatma Ghandi once
wrote “A Nation will be judged on how it treats its animals”
Mr President, to allow game farmers to put an
apex predator like a male lion in a two-hundred-hectare camp and
allow an overseas hunter to shoot it when the lion has no chance
of escape, is unfair, unethical and demonstrates cruelty of the
highest order. Then to tell the world that this is wise use of a
renewable resource, is deceptive!
The big hunting organization, Safari Club
International, has sent a powerful message to its 50,000 members
that canned hunting is not ethical and will not be recognized.
Mr President the time is right to take this
cancer called “Canned Lion Hunting” out of our system, once and
With due respect Mr President, the leadership
in our Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has not
been good over the last 7 years. Indecisive, ambiguous and
misinformed have led us down some disastrous routes. I urge you
to bring strong leadership and knowledgeable people into this
Mr President, I have no doubt that we will
under your leadership regain our position as the leaders in
Africa. When we do regain our position, we must lead by example.
I urge you to take a close look at cruelty in our country. There
is immense cruelty in industrial farming which is
In the last three years, 41 countries have
banned the use of wild animals in circus acts, we should follow
suit. A long hard look at zoos should be instigated. It is no
longer acceptable to incarcerate an animal that has committed no
crime to a dingy, filthy cage so that human beings can look at
it. All our major cities have zoos and the conditions in many of
those zoos, leave much to be desired.
Finally Mr President, you will note that the
Queen of England has banned plastic from all her properties. The
Queen was inspired after watching the BBC, Blue Planet Series.
A simple law which says no more plastic
packets in Super Markets would be a huge step forward. It’s a
fact that non-degradable plastic, litters the land, chokes the
rivers and damages marine life. There is a body of plastic
floating in the ocean the size of France. It is totally
unacceptable! Some countries and cities with a total ban on
plastic bags include: Kenya, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Italy,
California, Hawaii, Chicago, Dallas, Brazil and the Philippines.
I urge you Mr President to appoint a
commission of enquiry of knowledgeable people to come up with a
“Plastic Strategy” for South Africa.
Finally, on a personal note, I would like to
wish you all success in the restoration of our beautiful
I hope we will still see you at the game
auctions bidding for big horned buffalo bulls. I hope you will
continue to relax at your fly fishing location. The only thing I
have learnt from Donald Trump, is that it's important to play
golf while running the country. The very best of luck to you Mr
Tread Lightly on South Africa its people, its
land, its rivers, its forests, its oceans and its animals wild
John Varty (JV)