The announcement of the Covid-19 virus pandemic and subsequent lock-down based on Levels 5 to 1 as announced by government has been noted and considered both by the College and by the Protected Area Integrity Unit as regards its operations and field ranger training. The original Declaration of the pandemic as a National Disaster in terms of the Constitutional powers vested in the presidency and the cabinet, is limited in its life-span and needs to be extended or possibly modified to a State of Emergency within a contextual framework stipulated in the constitution if it is to continue.
At this point though, it is difficult to plan around a time-frame for the resumption of activities in the context envisaged in the 2020 Business Plan and the relevance of any historical and market research income predictions made in the heady days of January and February 2020. This is now basically history with little or no relevance to a way forward in terms of the situation and duration of the situation we are now forced to confront.
The following regulations have a direct implication on our ability to fulfil the pre Covid-19 targets set by management for the Protected Area Integrity Unit and Field Ranger training department.
- Limited numbers of individuals per gathering (class);
- No inter-provincial movement within the boundaries of South Africa;
- No regional or international movement;
- Provincial movement within the province regulated in respect of procurement of emergency resources, basically food for own consumption and medical requirements with some additional concessions for a business that has been gazetted.
(Please note that the regulations noted here are simplified for this submission, within the context of the many regulations drafted to back up the intent of the Disaster Management scope.)
To summarise however, this means that we cannot train at the College and we cannot train offsite as the same regulations pertain throughout the Republic of South Africa. We are also restricted in training outside of the country due to the restrictions on foreign travel.
We continue to look at potential opportunities to raise income to help at least cover the salaries of the people within our unit, whilst also ensuring that any work that can be done beyond these parameters is investigated and is done. To those donors that have supported us and continue to support the departments and learners, thank you we salute you! These include Tusk Trust, the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance, Fondation Segré, Friends of African Wildlife, the GRAA, the Ball Family Foundation and Our Horn is Not Medicine’s Jeff and Cherry Jackson.