Media Release: Green Scorpions Herald New Era for Environmental Protection
Cape Town, Thursday, 16 August 2007 – Table Mountain National Park today held a graduation ceremony for 20 newly-qualified Environmental Marine Inspectors (EMIs). The main function of the EMIs, also known as the Green Scorpions, is monitoring compliance with and enforcing the national environmental legislation.
The group is the first Grade 5 EMIs in SANParks to attend the Marine and Protected Areas Training for Field Ranger EMIs.
Keynote speaker, Minister of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, said to date there are 858 EMIs across all nine provinces.
“The Inspectorate is now an established unit with Inspectors in SANParks, the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), all nine provincial environment departments, and all provincial park authorities,” he added.
Minister Van Schalkwyk said that one of these key stakeholders is the National Prosecuting Authority, for whom DEAT has compiled a “Guide to Environmental Prosecutors” to ensure effective prosecution of offenders.
He said the Guide is a result of experience gained in environmental prosecutions across the country, particularly from our experience in the Environmental Court in Hermanus.
Last year, the EMIs reported nearly 900 arrests and 134 convictions for environmental crimes across the country. A total of 235 directives were issued during the same period.
SANParks employs 630 EMIs throughout its nationwide network of 23 national parks and they form a core group of the Environmental Management Inspectorate.
TMNP EMIs enforce both the Protected Areas Management Act and the Marine Living Resources Act. To date, the unit has arrested 291 transgressors, since its inception in 2004.
The EMIs were issued the following:
• Your EMI Letter of Designation
• Your EMI badge, to be worn with your SANParks uniform
• Your EMI Pocket Book, to keep notes of your investigations against environmental offenders
• An Easy Reference Guide to EMI Mandates, Functions and Powers, to assist our in your work
• Two EMI Training DVDs
• A Green Scorpion keyring, manufactured by the Cape Town based organisation Streetwires. (Streetwires, which focuses on the unique and dynamic genre of wire art, is a Proudly South African project that provides the skills training, support and raw materials necessary to enable over 100 formerly unemployed men and women to channel their natural creative energies into this vibrant art form.)
For more information, please contact:
Cell: 083 589 8588
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