For immediate release

2 December 2016


At the 39th Convention and Annual General Meeting of the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA), key role players from across the World gathered to discuss issues that impacted on the professional hunting sector of Southern Africa.

The event, a highlight on PHASA’s annual calendar, was held at the beautiful Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg from 21 to 23 November.

“It provides delegates with a suitable platform to meet and share their views on vital sector-specific matters. The research and findings, knowledge and experiences delegates share during this time, gives direction to professional hunters throughout Southern Africa,” says Tharia Unwin, chief executive officer of PHASA.

Positive attributors for 2016

There are many positive factors PHASA has chosen to embrace. The increase in tourist numbers during 2015 is one of them.

“Global partnerships and good relations are pivotal to the hunting sector’s future success. We are blessed to enjoy a cordial working relationship with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and most of its provincial counter-parts. Minister Edna Molewa leads the wildlife sector from the front and speaks in favour of legal and sustainable hunting on every possible platform. We applaud the manner in which the Minister and her team hosted the very successful Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)’ 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) earlier this year. International and local role players united and made their voices heard: Leave the management of Africa’s wildlife to Africa. We need to find African solutions for Africa’s wildlife challenges,” elaborates Unwin.

Key discussions

Factors non-conducive to economic growth

“The devastating drought, political and global economic uncertainties, crime, and the instability in the academic sector deeply concerns us. Restrictive and fragmented legislation further discourages growth in the wildlife and hunting tourism sector.  PHASA, on various platforms, is working towards streamlining these processes,” says Unwin.

Misconceptions about legal hunting vs Illegal shooting

The general public often confuses the illegal and unethical shooting of wildlife with legal, ethical and responsible hunting. Research and statistics from well-respected institutions and sources continuously show that legal and responsible hunting contributes to the improvement of biospheres and enhancement of species in the wild.

Legal hunting provides job security and sustains livelihoods. It cannot and should never be confused with illegal practices like canned lion hunting or poaching. This negative perception must be addressed and PHASA is committed to educating and inform the public throughout 2017 and beyond.

Captive-bred lion hunting and breeding

PHASA’s resolution to distance itself from captive-bred lion hunting as taken during the 2015 AGM, still stands.

a resolution was however taken at the AGM to engage in discussions with key role players, such as the South African Predators Association (SAPA), to address the challenges this apex predator faces on the African Continent.

PHASA membership

PHASA’s foreign members now qualify for life membership.

The North Gauteng High Court ordered PHASA on 22 November 2016 to reinstate suspended members, subject to internal disciplinary procedures as PHASA may deem necessary.


One of the highlights of the AGM was the election of PHASA’s executive committee, fund directors and provincial representatives for 2017.

PHASA members were also recognised for their achievements and commitment to the hunting sector during the award ceremony held at the glitzy gala dinner, followed by a fundraising auction.

“PHASA congratulates each office bearer and award winner. We value your commitment and loyalty,” says Unwin.

The PHASA Executive Committee members are:

Stan Burger – President; Dries van Coller – President-Elect; Craig Maartens – Vice-President
Barry York – Vice President; Johann Combrink; Dave Davenport; Strauss Jordaan; Richard Lemmer; Johan van den Berg; and Randy Westraadt.

The Conservation and Empowerment Fund Directors are:

Johann Combrink; Dries van Coller; Stan Burger; Ben Heystek; Strauss Jordaan; Sandy McDonald; Fritz Rabe; and Peter Ruddle.

The 2017 Provincial representatives are:

Mpumalanga – William Jardine, Roche Du Preez;  Gauteng – Johan Seyffert;  Western Cape – Matt van Zyl;  KwaZulu Natal – Henning Klipp, Johan vd Berg;  Northern Cape – Strauss Jordaan;  Limpopo – Phillip Bronkhorst;  North West – Shaun Keeny;  Free State – Henno Cronje; Eastern Cape – Dave Davenport;


  • Erik Visser (Quagga Safaris) – Uncle Stevie Trophy of the Year Award
  • Marcel van Heerden (Marvel Africa Safaris) – The Paul Ferreira Bow Hunting Trophy of the Year Award
  • Karel Landman Trust – The Wildlife Utilisation Award
  • Mr Mpho Tjiane (Deputy Director: CITES Policy Development and Implementation:
    Biodiversity and Conservation) – The Nature Conservation Officer/Department of the Year Award
  • John J. Jackson, III (Conservation Force) – The Coenraad Vermaak Distinguished Service Award
  • Matthew Greeff (Matthew Greeff Safaris) – The Basie Maartens PH of the Year Award

“There is always something to be thankful for. What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our successes despite the challenges South Africa and indeed the sector we respect and love, had to overcome this year. South Africa’s diverse wildlife and hunting as a responsible management tool, is a legacy we must protect and pass on to future generations and differences in opinions should not be allowed to jeopardize that.” concludes Unwin.

ENDS                                                                                                                                     843 WORDS