Media Release: SANParks enlists retired army general to command anti-poaching
The South African National Parks (SANParks) said this morning that as part of its tactics to fight the rhino poaching scourge in the Kruger National Park (KNP) it has acquired the services of a retired decorated army Major General who is highly rated to oversee the overall anti-poaching operations in the park.
The introduction of Major General (retired) Johan Jooste (60) was made in the KNP by SANParks Chief Executive Officer, Dr David Mabunda, who said this concludes the foundation phase of the multi-pronged strategy against rhino poaching. “This strategy is to leverage on existing capacities and strategic alliances, while bringing the much needed thinking and innovation on existing gaps and loopholes.”
Dr Mabunda also made three other significant announcements, which includes a cash reward to the tune of R100 000 to members of the public who give information for a successful arrest of a suspected poacher, as well as a whopping R1,000,000 for a successful conviction of a poaching syndicate mastermind. “We are also happy to announce our partnership with South Africa's Crime Line, a groundbreaking initiative that allows members of the public to make anonymous SMS tip-offs on suspected crimes at any time of the day, courtesy of LeadSA, a Primedia and Independent Newspapers initiative.”
He further commended, the KNP ranger who, three weeks ago, alerted SANParks officials and the police regarding an offer by suspected poachers to collude with them. Instead he helped to stage a set-up that led to the successful arrest of the perpetrators. “His honesty, commitment and diligence to the cause of protecting the rhino has not gone unnoticed, the organization will reward his good deed accordingly”.
According to Dr Mabunda, South Africa has lost an unprecedented number of rhinos of which in the last five years most were killed in the Kruger National Park. “This has resulted in warranted and unwarranted sanctions both internally and internationally on South Africa’s strategy of managing the poaching of rhinos. It is therefore, our hope that the approach that we are taking at this moment, by engaging Major General Johan Jooste will in time bring the much needed invigoration in the fight against the decimation of our natural heritage.” The Major General has a vast experience in military intelligence, border and area protection and also contemporary knowledge of modern technology use and integration into capability and some knowledge in conservation.
In his response Major General Jooste said “I am not a Messiah, but a proven leader and a team player, I will do my best to bring acceptable results. This fight against poaching is not about an individual and success depends on the collective collaboration and commitment from the men and women tasked with the responsibility of conserving our heritage.”
He said, the battle lines have been drawn and it is up to my team and me to forcefully push back the frontiers of poaching. “It is a fact that South Africa, a sovereign country, is under attack from armed foreign nationals. This should be seen as a declaration of war against South Africa by armed foreign criminals. We are going to take the war to these armed bandits and we aim to win it.”
In conclusion Dr Mabunda welcomed the arrival of the Major General with much emphasis that, SANParks is serious about eradicating the scourge of rhino poaching. “We know that we will not be able to put a ranger behind every rhino. Thus we need to develop innovative modern ways of protecting the rhino in the wake of this well organised onslaught.”
The appointment of the Major General comes right behind the deployment of a Seeker Seabird aircraft donated by the Ichikowits Family Foundation as well as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Seeker 2, loaned to SANParks by arms manufacturer Denel. The two military aircrafts will provide the much needed intelligence especially at night when most incursions and poaching incidents are taking place. “This will give added advantage to the ground troops and will hopefully act as a deterrent.”
Released by SANParks Corporate Communications, Telephone: 012 426 5170
For Media Enquiries:
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Reynold Thakhuli, SANParks GM: Media Liaison
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Ike Phaahla, Media Specialist
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Maj Gen (ret) Johan Jooste (59) retired from the South African Army in 2006 after 35 years of active service. He is a war veteran and the last part of his military career he served in the Army General Staff in various capacities, but always involved with strategy, leadership development and knowledge management. Apart from his experience his learning path through four universities (including an MBA) served him well in this period. He joined a small company in the military vehicle business in 2006 and two years later took up a position with BAE Systems Land Systems, where he is now the Director Business Development. He is married to Arina (EO at an NPO) and has two daughters. He spends his free time on a fitness program, outdoor activities (nature) and reading.
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