Moratorium on local sale of rhino horn lifted, Molewa to appeal

JANUARY 21, 2016

The moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horn has been lifted after the Environmental Affairs Department lost an appeal application in the High Court in Pretoria this week.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa vowed to have it suspended again by quickly lodging an appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

"Our application for leave to appeal was dismissed with costs," she said on Thursday at a briefing to announce that 1 175 rhino where poached in South Africa in 2015.

This was a slight drop from the 1 215 poached in 2014.

"The moratorium is no longer in place," she said, after the court found against her on Wednesday.

"I have decided already to apply for leave to appeal to the SCA. Once launched, the decision to review and set aside the moratorium will be on hold."

The court had originally found that not all consultation processes were followed when introducing the moratorium - a finding Molewa believed was incorrect.

Johan Kruger, John Hume, Wildlife Ranching of South Africa, and the Private Rhino Owners Association of South Africa had challenged the moratorium of February 2009 on the grounds that public consultation processes were not followed and traders not consulted.

Molewa stressed that the ban on the international trade in rhino horn was still in place and the moratorium only applied to domestic trade.

She said trade could not be considered until the completion of an audit of all rhino horn stocks in South Africa. This was still underway, along with DNA sample analysis of the stocks.