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‘SA taking steps to fight poaching’

Minister Edna Molewa is now planning to sign a rhino poaching deal with Mozambique.

Water & Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa. Picture: ANC

CAPE TOWN - Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Tuesday said her department has done research, taken steps to close legislative loopholes and signed two international agreements in a bid to stop rhino poaching.

She said despite their efforts, poaching remains a serious problem in South Africa.

The number of rhino killed since the beginning of 2013 has now reached 350 and the number could more than double over the next seven months.

Molewa said South Africa signed documents with both China and Vietnam.

"The Vietnamese government is beginning to work with us to address these issues."

Officials are also planning to sign a deal with neighbouring Mozambique.

The minister said plans to erect a fence in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park along the Mozambican border will help to stabilise poaching.

Molewa said she has raised the issue with her counterpart in Maputo.

Speaking during the department's budget speech vote debate in Parliament on Tuesday, MP Johnny de Lange said legalising the international trade in rhino horn will stem the slaughter.