SOUTH AFRICA CLARIFIES IT HAS LEGAL PROVISIONS IN PLACE TRADE IN RHINO HORNS CAN BE STRICTLY CONTROLLED

PRETORIA, The Department of Environmental Affairs has clarified that South Africa has legislative provisions in place to ensure that domestic trade in rhino horn is strictly controlled and that the prohibition of commercial international trade by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is not violated.

Furthermore, the current regulatory regime was being further tightened with additional measures being taken to tighten legislation with regard to the domestic trade in rhino horns, the department said here Thursday.

From February 2017, three sets of regulatory measures were published for public comment — the draft regulations to regulate and control the domestic trade in rhino horn; the prohibition of the intentional powdering or shaving of rhino horn and the domestic sale and export thereof; and the listing of the Eastern Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis michaeli) as a protected species in South Africa.

The department said it was processing comments received during the public participation process, and had subjected the draft regulatory measures to the co-operative governance system, after which the Parliamentary process for approval would commence.

On a claim that Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa is “acting irresponsibly” by allowing the on-line auction, or any sale or trade domestically in rhino horn, the department said the government had a Constitutional mandate and a duty in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) to regulate the domestic trade of rhino horn.

To this effect, the department’s responsibility encompasses the evaluation of each application on its own merits, making a decisions based on information submitted by the applicant, taking into account existing legal requirements, and has the right to refuse or issue a permit with or without conditions.

The department said it placed value on the need to monitor the movement of the horns, and for this reason systems are in place to enable the department to do that, including establishing the DNA profile of each horn.

It should be emphasized that the planned sale of rhino horn by private rhino (farm) owners is for domestic trade only. Domestic trade in rhino horn is subject to the issuance of the relevant permits in terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, its regulations and applicable provincial legislation.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK