TSHOLOTSHO South MP Zenzo Sibanda (Zanu PF) yesterday called for stiffer penalties on elephant poachers saying their sentences should not be lighter than those of cattle rustlers.
Sibanda said this in the House of Assembly while contributing to debate on the Presidential Speech.
He said people were forced to engage in elephant poaching in areas such as Tsholotsho because of hunger and poverty.
“The people of Tsholotsho survive on non-governmental organisation food handouts and they are extremely vulnerable to the extent that poachers are using them (villagers) to kill elephants resulting in the country losing more than 100 elephants per year,” Sibanda said.
“Sentences for elephant poachers and killers are lighter than those for stocktheft as they are sentenced for only two years yet people who steal cattle are sentenced for nine years and this needs to be reviewed.”
The call comes in the wake of cyanide poisoning of elephants by poachers.
“It is not easy for the San community to pay school fees and I urge government to introduce free education for these people,” Sibanda said.
Meanwhile, another Zanu PF legislator (proportional representation) Sabina Zvenhando Thembani called for stiffer penalties for reckless driving.
“There are many traffic accidents taking place every day and people want to blame them on poor road infrastructure and police roadblocks, but reckless drivers are to blame for accidents. They must get stiffer penalties than what is currently obtaining to stop these fatal accidents,” she said.
Thembani also said it was imperative to amend laws dealing with the health sector to ensure that remuneration for health workers was improved.