|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation examines the laws relating to poaching in South Africa - where these laws
originated, how they were influenced by the long history of laws against poaching in England,
and how they were shaped by factors unique to South Africa.
In particular, what is examined is the extent to which laws against poaching were designed and
employed historically as a deliberate foam of social control,. and to enable control of property
and access to natural resources, in both England and South Africa.
The dissertation is divided into two sections. The first section is an examination of English laws
and mores against poaching from the date of the Norman Conquest, I066, until near the end of
the Victorian era in the late nineteenth century, The second section is an examination of South
African laws against poaching, from the early years of the Cape Colony until the early part of
the twentieth century. Where appropriate,comparisons are drawn and distinctions made between
the English and the South African experiences. Direct and indirect influences which the English
poaching and game laws had on South African laws are considered
Aspects of English and South African history which are considered include game legislation,
preservationist policies, colonial expansion, class consciousness~indigenous hunting systems,
and resistance to and enforcement of laws against poaching.
The overriding impression gained from a historical study o/poaching laws and other game
legislation is that these laws were never concerned solely with preservation of wild animal
species for any intrinsic worth these species might have, or even for conservation purposes.
Rather, such laws have been driven by the narrow economic and social interests of the upper
classes and the lawmakers. The experience of both England and South Africa has been that (he
more scarce natural resources become, the more strictly these are reserved to the dominant
It is not always easy to distinguish between influence on and parallel evolution of legal
experiences, but numerous features of English laws can be found within South African history.
Some are clearly deliberate impositions,. but there are also important invasions by elitist
consciousness. However, there are also important differences. In particular, the Roman-Dutch
common law in South Africa had a Significant influence on poaching laws. And to an extent
South African history was shaped by a reaction to the restrictions ofEnglish poaching laws.
The objection might be made that this dissertation deals as much with general game control
laws, as with laws enacted strictly to deal with poaching. The word 'poaching' is itself not
encountered in South African legislation in the period under discussion. However, the conclusion
reached is that the aim and the effect of the game laws in South Africa and England has
historically been the transformation of the lower class hunter, the subsistence hunter, into an
illegal hunter or 'poacher '.||en