It is no secret that SA’s infrastructure is being stripped bare. In Gauteng railway stations in Kliptown and Jeppe have been dismantled brick by brick while kilometres of track have been plundered only to be sold off to unscrupulous scrap metal dealers.

However, another part of SA’s national patrimony is also under siege: its world-renowned fauna. In the small seaside town of Onrus, near Hermanus, on almost any evening divers can be seen at dusk signalling from the surf to hooded figures on the shoreline. Ask any local what they are up to and you will be told matter-of-factly that they are poaching perlemoen (abalone)...

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