The Department of Environmental Affairs has deployed Environmental Management Inspectors, commonly known as the Green Scorpions, at OR Tambo International Airport to combat wildlife crime.
“The Green Scorpions will work closely with other law enforcement agencies and departments at the airport, including the SA Police Service (SAPS), Customs, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Department of Health and Department of Home Affairs,” said department spokesperson Albi Modise.
He said through joint enforcement operations, the Green Scorpions and the police have already detected non-compliance with the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations related to reptiles and notices will be issued in response thereto.
The Green Scorpions were deployed at the airport on 1 April to ensure compliance and to undertake enforcement action related to the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) and its Regulations.
“The regulations also relate to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations and regulations related to the import of Alien and Invasive Species,” Modise said.
He said a team of 10 compliance officials will ensure that CITES export and re-export permits are endorsed after physical inspection of consignments and that CITES import permits are cancelled after use.
“They will also ensure that TOPS and Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit Sharing permit conditions are complied with.
“Trade bans for commercial purposes relating to CITES listed species have been put in place since 19 March 2015 for Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria due to non-compliance with CITES plans and the Green Scorpions need to ensure that these bans are enforced,” Modise said.
A team of nine Enforcement officials will make sure that non-compliances with NEMBA Regulations are met with enforcement action, through criminal investigations followed by prosecution and or the issuing of enforcement notices and fines.
A team of officials will also ensure that the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations are being complied with.
“Officials will ensure that prohibited invasive species do not find their way into the country without being detected and are destroyed, where necessary.
“People who do not comply with the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations will either be prosecuted or issued with Compliance Notices and Directives,” he said.
The Green Scorpions will also be deployed at some of the other designated Ports of Entry and Exit over a period of time, depending on resources available. – SAnews.gov.za