Wildlife in Trade Programme

Knowledge bases

Knowledge Base - Permit applications

The knowledge base was developed as a tool to assist any stakeholder who may need to apply for a permit. The knowledge base contains all the necessary information in order to assist an individual in obtaining a permit required in terms of our biodiversity/conservation legislation.

Telephonic and email enquiries regarding whether permits are required to possess live wild animals are received on a regular basis. Copies of the relevant legislation as well as the permit office’s contact details are supplied.

Knowledge Base - Reporting alleged non compliance

In many cases people are unaware of how and where to report suspected non-compliance with conservation/biodiversity legislation. The EWT therefore developed a knowledge database containing information on the contact names and details of officials to whom to report suspected non-compliance activities related to conservation and biodiversity issues. This database allows people to make the decision whether they want to report the alleged crime directly (anonymously or with full contact details). Information on the route a complaint follows once it has been registered is currently being added to the database.

Knowledge Base - Case law

One of the project’s objectives is to research and analyse current trends in the manner in which cases are presented in court to determine how the EWT can play a role in:

  1. increasing the number of cases that reach court level;
  2. increasing the conviction rate and
  3. increasing the penalties for successful convictions.

In order to analyse the cases they are being captured in a Microsoft Excel database that contains a number of data fields. There are currently 66 completed cases recorded and information on the CAS nr, the accused, the various charges, the State Prosecutor, Investigating Officer and Magistrate involved in the case, the specific charges in terms of the relevant legislation as well as the outcomes and penalties are recorded. Case information is supplied by South African Police Services (SAPS) investigators, Environmental Management Inspectors (EMIs) and State Prosecutors.

The Excel spreadsheet database has already been made available to State Prosecutors, EMIs and other stakeholders as a source of information on, for example, the legislation used for the various charges, the penalties awarded for successful convictions, the names of experienced State Prosecutors and Magistrates, identifying trends in specific court districts or sentences involving specific State Prosecutors or Magistrates, the various charges under specific laws etc.

Information is continuously collected to add to the knowledge base. The more case information contained in this knowledge base the more benefit the users will gain from it. However, information on cases is often difficult to obtain. Personal meetings with prosecutors have proven to be the most successful method of obtaining information.