Government to Appeal Judgment on Rhino Horn Trade

4 Dec, 2015

Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, intends to appeal the judgment handed down in the Pretoria High Court, setting aside the moratorium on the domestic trade of rhino horn, and accordingly the Department’s application for leave to appeal will suspend the operation and execution of the judgment in terms of section 18 of the Superior Courts Act, 2013 (Act No. 10 of 2013).

The Department explained that the decision of the court should not be construed to mean that the domestic trade in rhino horn may take place in an “unregulated fashion”.

In the absence of the moratorium, it must be emphasised that all trade in rhino horn will be subjected to the issuing of the relevant permits in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act No.10 of 2004 (NEM:BA).

In terms of NEM:BA a permit is required to trade in rhino horns and any derivatives or products of horn and the judgment does not mean that persons are allowed to trade – including selling, donating, or in any way acquiring or disposing of rhino horn – without a permit issued by the relevant provincial conservation department.

The judgment also does not relate to the international trade in rhino horn for commercial purposes.

Once the department has filed its application for leave to appeal, the order of the court will be suspended pending the finalisation of the application and the appeal should the application for leave to appeal be successful.