In South Africa, the winds of change are really beginning to buffet the hunting industry. The latest evidence is a report that leopard permits are being issued only to companies that have taken on a black partner. You won't find this new black-economic-empowerment (BEE) requirement written anywhere, but it is clearly becoming a sort of unofficial law. Here is how one South African hunting professional put it in a note sent to us with an understanding that we would not use his name: "Any PH who wants to hunt a leopard with a foreign client in South Africa has to obtain permit application documents from the Nature Conservation Office closest to the place of the intended hunt. The officer in charge of that area has a reasonably good knowledge of leopard activity, and he will either endorse a hunt or decline it. In Limpopo Province, however, even if the knowledgeable officer in that area endorses the hunt of a leopard, the application must still go through the hands of Mr. Charles Maluleke, Senior General Manager, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Limpopo Province. And this is the stage where the wheels have come off and politics are taking over.
"Unless the permit applicant is seen as complying with BEE, Mr. Maluleke does not issue the permit. He simply says there is no indication of population and turns the application down. I am hearing that other provinces are having the same problem...."
Here at The Hunting Report, we do not pretend to have a near-term solution to this problem. But we do know what the client who wants to hunt a leopard in South Africa should do. He should make doubly sure his PH has a leopard permit in hand before he goes afield. Moreover, we think the PH should be able to explain to you, before you leave home, how he has run the BEE gauntlet........(continued)