Organised criminals are looting Earth’s resources, says Greenpeace Africa

Date: 16 Oct 2014
THE THIRD and final day of the 35th Annual Crime Stoppers International Conference has heard about an emerging trend – the prevalence of organised criminals. Crimes, including those committed against the environment, gangsterism and fraud, were discussed at the event held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Michael O Brien-Onyeka, executive director of Greenpeace Africa, spoke about the organisation’s fight against organised criminals. He said 90 percent of the planet’s biodiversity had been lost as the depletion of resources resulted in forests the size of a rugby field disappearing every single minute. “In two decades, the water left in our oceans will be algae and jellyfish,” he also said. This was due to illegal trawlers depleting ocean resources. He said one in four fish caught in Africa was taken illegally – this amounted to 30 billion fish lost annually from illegal fishing. “Everyone needs to pull together to find viable solutions to tackle this. People should stand together and say ‘I don’t want to be a part of this’.” Tom Moyane, the national commissioner of the SA Revenue Service), spoke about syndicates that stopped at nothing to smuggle illegal items and drugs into the country. Earlier this week, 200kg of crystal meth worth R59 million was seized by a Sars customs team at OR Tambo International Airport . He said the most difficult industry to regulate was the tobacco industry. Moyane said 50 million cigarettes are sold illegally every day, resulting in an annual revenue loss of R2 billion. “It is only vigilance, integrity and commitment of all people that make a difference,” he said. The next Crime Stoppers conference will be held in Toronto, Canada, next year. By Lisa Isaacs The Star16/10/14 Early Edition