PROA media statement Concourt Judgement 05 04 2017
5 APRIL 2017
RHINO HORN MORATORIUM – CONSTITUTIONAL COURT JUDGEMENT
The Private Rhino Owners Association is proud to congratulate one of its members, Mr John Hume, on achieving success in the Constitutional Court of South Africa in the matter involving the Moratorium on the trade in rhinoceros horn within the boundaries of South Africa. The Constitutional Court has dismissed the Application for Leave to Appeal previously filed by the Minister of Environmental Affairs against the Judgment of the High Court of South Africa, declaring the said Moratorium invalid, on the grounds of a failure to comply properly with the public participation process prescribed by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 10 of 2004 (NEMBA). The effect of this Judgment by the Constitutional Court is that no further possibility of Application for Leave to Appeal exists.
PROA welcomes this Judgment and at the same time, PROA expresses its sincere regret that it has taken a protracted defended Court process between the world’s largest private breeder and protector of rhino and the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs to come to this conclusion, but we take confidence in the legal system of South Africa, for coming to the correct conclusion.
PROA wishes to emphasize the fact that this Constitutional Court Judgment does not mean that rhino horn may be traded unrestricted. We wish to clearly state that rhino horn and the sale or purchase thereof, remains a restricted activity as described in NEMBA, read with the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations (TOPS), as well as the norms and standards promulgated under NEMBA, applicable to rhinoceros horn. We urge all game farmers and specifically all owners of legally acquired rhino horn, to adhere to all permit conditions and other statutory conditions as contained in the aforementioned pieces of legislation.
In order to assist all PROA members and all other persons who may be interested in trading rhino horn legally and within the boundaries of the permitting system provided by the above mentioned legislation, PROA is establishing a trading desk to facilitate the trade in a regulated and controlled fashion. We are consulting economists and other experts to assist with this process. We state emphatically that no illegal horn will be allowed to participate in this trade. PROA is also establishing a transparent and secure central depository to assist government with verification of legal stockpiles.
In conclusion, PROA states that this Judgment is a victory for the concept of sustainable use of natural resources to the benefit of the conservation of rhino as a species, as well as to the benefit of the people protecting such species.