South Africa: lie detector to fight poaching

Lie detector tests will be made compulsory for some employees working in South Africa’s national parks to combat rampant wildlife poaching, the state-run organization that manages the parks announced Thursday.
Poachers, sometimes operating with the complicity of park employees, have decimated the country’s endangered rhino population in recent years. In response, the South African national parks organization, SANParks, has adopted a new policy of polygraph testing for its employees.
The tests will initially be voluntary, but “the intention is to eventually make polygraph testing mandatory for certain job categories,” SANParks said in a statement.
The policy approved in November is expected to go into effect early next year, Environment Minister Barbara Creecy said in a written response to the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, which released the response Wednesday.
Polygraphs are “not the answer to preventing or managing staff involvement in crime, but it is a tool that should be used as part of a toolbox and with a full understanding of its benefits, but also its limitations,” said SANParks communications manager Rey Thakhuli.
Polygraph testing for SANParks staff was first introduced in 2016 as a pilot project. Last year, the DOE said 71 park officials passed the test. SANParks employs about 4,000 people, according to official figures.
South Africa is home to nearly 80% of the world’s rhinos. But it is also a hotbed of rhino poaching, driven by Asian demand, where horns are used in traditional medicine for their supposed therapeutic effect.
Nearly 470 rhinos were poached across the country between April 2021 and March 2022, according to government figures, a 16% increase over the previous 12 months.

About Geraldine Boechat 2183 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia