Johannesburg - The hunting industry has contributed millions to the country's economy in past years, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said on Monday.
In the 2010, hunting season, for which comprehensive information was available, total revenue of approximately R1.1bn was generated by the local and trophy hunting industries collectively.
"This amount only reflects the revenue generated through accommodation and species fees. The true revenue is therefore substantially higher, as this amount does not even include revenue generated through the associated industries as a result of the multiplier effect," she said.
Molewa was speaking at the launch of the first Hunting Indaba in Sun City.
The event, which would run until Tuesday, was aimed at bettering communication between government and hunters.
"Although government and industry will sometimes not agree on other matters, I am of the firm belief that the hunting industry and the game farming industry are important partners, who play a key role in terms of conservation, tourism, and economic development," said Molewa.
She said statistics had shown that controlled hunting had helped to conserve endangered species such as the white rhino.
"Statistics compiled in 2010 indicate that there are approximately 18 800 white rhino in South Africa and the number of white rhino has increased over tenfold since hunting and live-sales started," she reported.
She stressed that poaching still hampered efforts to protect the rhino. Over 280 rhino had been poached this year alone.
Molewa pledged that her department would have a good working relationship and would co-operate with the hunting sector.
"I am committed to strengthening and improving the relationship between my department and this sector," she said.