Should licences be issued to poachers so that they can poach legally?

Rugby enthusiasts may remember that giant All Black lock forward, Sir Colin “Pinetree” Meads who was a colossus in world rugby in the 60’s. He died this weekend after losing a hard-fought battle with cancer.

He and South Africa’s own legendary Frik du Preez, were fierce antagonists on the field, but never off it. I was privileged to witness the sportsmanship displayed by these two greats on 27 August 1960, after the test match played at the Boet Erasmus Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

I had played in a curtain raiser to the test match and we were able to attend the after-match party in the bowels of the stadium after the main game had ended.

The All Blacks and the Springboks’ arrived after they had showered and changed. Frik du Preez had just come into the room when Colin Meads walked across to the bar, and took two beers in each hand, walked across to his opponent and offered du Preez two beers.

Both men then sat down and they enjoyed a quiet conversation, smiling and obviously enjoying each other’s company.

What struck me, as a young man, was the fact that less than an hour before, they were going hammer and tongs at one another, with no holds barred in front of a passionate crowd, and there in the room, they seemed like two good friends enjoying a quiet drink together.

When our team departed an hour or so later, the two men were still sitting alone and chatting away.

The vote of no confidence is history of course, but reports in the news of a statement made by one of the senior ministers, makes one wonder to what extent we are being duped by the so-called leaders of the country.

Most South Africans can recall the outrageous statements made in 2004 by the then Minister of Health.

She promoted the use of beetroot, garlic, virgin olive oil, onions and herbal cures in the treatment of HIV/Aids. She was supported in this spurious statement by none other than President Mbeki.

Another howler came from a member of parliament who believed that there was something sinister about the number of black people who were killed by lightning in Zululand.

She had proposed that a full-scale investigation be implemented to find out why certain races seemed to be targeted by lightning.

Now this weekend, another Minister (I regret I do not know which portfolio she holds) expressed her opinion that she felt sorry for poachers as they were feeling the pinch in these harsh economic times. She believed that licences be issued to poachers so that they can poach legally! And what about the minister who recently stated publicly that statistics show that girls have a far higher risk of falling pregnant than boys!

And these people represent us in parliament!

Oh, woe is me! The Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race held last week resulted in a double H victory – Andrew Hill won the men’s race for the second consecutive year, and Bianca Haw put in a storming finish to win the women’s race. In doing so, she finished  9th overall, a mere 9 minutes after Andrew had crossed the finish line! What a fine achievement.

We wish her well as she heads to Cairns in Australia for the UCI MTB World Cup that runs from 5 to 10 September.

Henry Parsons

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