I've been reading this discussion and have a question: is the primary purpose of reduced rates for locals to provide education or is it to keep the camps reasonably full during low periods? Dependent upon which, the answer to the question regarding reduced rates for locals would be different (although the same "at the end of the day").
To play the Devil's Advocate, what has been untouched (so far) in this discussion is that the foreign (read "off-shore") tourist must pay much more just to get to Africa in the first place. While I admit that I am traveling in "our" high season for air travel (summer holidays), it's costing me $2,800 pp round-trip economy from Calgary to Johannesburg, JNB to Cape Town and then return (plus another bit for overnight in New York...mandated by flight schedules). A fair chunk of change on top of the "camp fee" for 2 persons! If I don't take that trip then how will Southern Africa benefit? No camp payments, no tips for staff and guides, no side-trips, no souvenir purchases, no hotel accommodations, no referrals to other potential "customers" no inflow of currency (read "balance of trade").
I would imagine that the local need only hop a 1 to 2-hour flight to be able to access most camps or, if they are very lucky, a few hours driving. Here at home, as a "local" I pay the same rate at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel or to take the Columbia Ice-fields tour or go skiing at Lake Louise as someone from Japan or Scotland would pay....it just costs me a whole lot less to get there (about 3 hours driving and 1/3 tank of gas each way)!
If a camp operator is having difficulty keeping the beds full then maybe there needs to be a method of applying a "last-minute" or seasonal rate that is universal...that would accomplish the same thing without appearing discriminatory or "unfair".
However, if the issue is the education of the African as regards their region's ecology then, although the answer to the original question remains essentially the same (that cut pricing is unfair), the rationale is different. While it is good stewardship (even "critical"), to encourage the education of the Southern African (youth, adult, brown, black, white, rural, urban) as to what natural resources they have and how important it is to conserve and protect those resources, maybe it should be done as a component of the education system (during, say, "low season"...strictly for cost control and/or via mobile, tented tours) rather than in more costly, high-end camps that are bringing vital employment opportunities and an influx of currency to the countries affected OR, perhaps the camp operators should set aside certain periods when they book (and perhaps even subsidize), education groups. This would help foster a sense of ownership and protection for the wild ecology that is so vital to those camp operators.
Just some thoughts...as a mechanical design engineer in training I was taught to always seek the answer to one question before all others... "What is the REAL problem that needs solving?"