In South Africa, antelopes end up in the plate, due to lack of tourists

En Afrique du Sud, des antilopes finissent dans l'assiette, faute de touristes

A pick-up truck white made the tour of a township in the north of South Africa to distribute free of charge loaves of bread, vegetables and… fifty kilos of meat of antelope freshly slaughtered.

Before the food needs of growing population without the penny because of the containment of anti-coronavirus, owners of lodges, deserted by the tourists have decided to hunt wild game to feed their neighbors.

“I don’t remember the last time I ate meat,” says a resident of the township, Tebogo Mabunda, receiving the meat of a gazelle and a bag of potatoes.

With the pandemic of COVID-19, the tourism industry is at a complete stop in South Africa, the countries of the continent the most affected with almost 26 000 cases of infection and 550 deaths.

Tebogo Mabunda, who usually lives of small jobs in hotels and supermarkets nearby, has no income since the beginning of the containment at the end of march. Like many other South Africans.

With four mouths to feed, this mother of a family of 40-year entrust struggle to buy the necessary corn flour, and soap, just as vital in the midst of a crisis health.

To the dismay of a large part of its population, the south african government has put in place a system of distribution of food parcels, but not enough to meet all needs.

Owner of a small supermarket in the north of the country, Piet, who prefers to conceal his name by discretion, so he decided to make his contribution.

“One day, I went to hunt animals with a few farmers and I said to myself: what am I going to do?”, he explains by asking the journalist not to locate precisely the township.

 

“At the edge of the precipice”

The idea is then born to ask the lodges of the region offer some of the wild animals to be slaughtered in order to regulate the populations of the reserves.

“During a period like this, getting quality protein is very important,” explains Piet.

With all reservations cancelled up until August, Coenrad, at the head of a reserve of 200 hectares, is involved in this small humanitarian program. It has decided to cut down a hundred antelopes in order to feed the township nearby.

At sunrise, his son Pat — his first name has been changed for the sake of discretion — has shot down an impala solitaire with a shot between the eyes. “Beautiful shot,” said his father, approaching the beast to the ground.

“The problems appeared just after the start of the containment”, is he recalls. Animals of the nearby farm have been poached for the meat.

“The people are hungry,” says Coenrad. “The township was already at the edge of the abyss, the coronavirus is a” precipitate.

“Normally”, it kills the animals “soft”, because “the guests do not like to shoot,” says his son, “we can do it more openly now.”

The containment of the South Africa coincided with the beginning of the hunting season, causing a collapse in the prices of animals. The price of the impala has dropped by half to 1,500 rands (78 euros) on the head.

Piet was hoped that the low value of the meat would encourage the reserves to give their surplus rather than to sell. But the response has been mixed.

The animals “are a source of income,” he noted, “they need to remain economically viable”.

 

Corruption

In the space of two months, Piet and his associates have, however, managed to distribute more than a ton and a half of meat of gazelle to the poor.

They are, however, discrete.

Since the beginning of the containment, several corruption cases erupted, with politicians suspected of having diverted food packages to satisfy their personal needs or their customers ‘ policies.

“The corruption in the government is so easy,” says Majozy, whose name has been changed.

“They save the people and say that they will receive food, but at the time of the distribution we do not see large-thing,” says the young man who delivers the food aid collected by the supermarket to the Piet.

Several inhabitants of the township supplied by the merchant, confirmed to the AFP still have not received the food parcels promised by the authorities.

Without the distributions organized by Piet, “we would be dead of hunger”, writes Eva Ngobeni, a resident.

The spokesman of the provincial government, Witness Tiva, ensures that sanctions have been taken against the officials suspected of embezzlement.

Piet said he had been approached by political representatives who wished to join its small humanitarian enterprise. He curtly refused. “The more people there are involved, the more there will be of pilfering,” sighed he.

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