Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
PROFESSIONAL hunter Mr Theodor Albert Christian Bronkhorst has taken the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) to court seeking an order to be issued with permits to translocate 58 sables from his safari game park in Matetsi area in Matabeleland North.
Mr Bronkhorst wants to sell and translocate the sables from Msuna Ranch in Matetsi area to Masuwe Game Conservancy in Victoria Falls, Longueville Estates in Gwanda and Nottingham Estates in Beitbridge.
Mr Bronkhorst through his lawyer, Mr Kholwani Ngwenya of TJ Mabhikwa and Partners, filed a court application at the Bulawayo High Court citing ZimParks as the respondent.
He wants an order directing Zimparks to approve his application for permits to facilitate the translocation of his sables within seven days.
In his founding affidavit, Mr Bronkhorst said he has been breeding sables since 2011. The sables were imported from Zambia. He said ZimParks has since 2015 been refusing to renew his permit.
“I instructed legal practitioners who directed a letter to the ZimParks seeking reasons for not acting on my application to renew my breeder’s permit and there was no response,” he said.
Mr Bronkhorst, who made headlines in 2015 on charges of carrying out an illegal hunt which resulted in the killing of the famous Cecil the lion in Hwange National Park by an American dentist Walter Palmer, said he intended to sell the sables as he was struggling financially to buy their supplementary feeding.
“The feeding and general upkeep of the sables entailed hauling the feed and veterinary supplies from Bulawayo to Matetsi twice a week. The cost, always high at the best of financial times, became positively crippling. Further, the sables began to be affected by diseases and some were lost through poaching,” he said.
Mr Bronkhorst said due to the ZimParks’ refusal to issue him with a breeder’s permit, he is being forced to disband the breeding operations at Msuna Ranch.
He said his safari operations were crippled due to bad publicity that followed in the wake of the killing of Cecil the lion.
“I humbly aver that the respondent is acting mala fide in this matter. There are delays, silences and refusals to determine the matter one way or the other which are inexplicable. I am a person resident in Zimbabwe and entitled to administrative justice that is both fair and prompt,” said Mr Bronkhorst.
He said the refusal by ZimParks to grant him permits was a violation of his right to administrative justice.
“The requirements set by ZimParks have all been met and all documentation demanded has been forwarded. There is latent bias in this matter and in my humble belief, this bias against myself is real and palpable and stems from the Cecil matter,” said Mr Bronkhorst.
In 2015, Mr Bronkhorst was accused of conniving with three South African nationals Edwin Hewitt, Hedrick Blignaut and John Herbert Pretorius to smuggle 29 sables worth $435 000 into South Africa.
He appeared in court charged with allegedly conspiring to smuggle wildlife and unlawful movement of the animals to South Africa through an illegal exit point along the Limpopo River.
Mr Bronkhorst denied the charges, arguing that the State had no evidence that he conspired with the three foreigners. —@mashnets