Minister meets with rhino farmers on eve of deadline
Private rhino owners yesterday met with the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa.The Minister filed an application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court to reinstate the moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn on 6 June.The respondents have 10 days within which to respond.
June 15, 2016
PRETORIA-The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa met yesterday with representatives from private rhino owners, represented by the Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA) and Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) to discuss issues of mutual concern around rhino conservation in South Africa.
Both parties agreed on the need for greater cooperation in battling the challenge faced by rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn.
Private rhino owners laid bare the detrimental effect poaching has had on private reserves.
Currently approximately 33% of all rhino in South Africa are found in the private sector, with some 6 200 rhino on 330 reserves.
One of the areas explored in the meeting was the need to explore incentives for private rhino owners to keep rhino to halt further disinvestment. Private rhino owners indicated that the rise in rhino poaching has led to disinvestment from rhino conservation, owing mainly to the escalating security costs being incurred.
Minister Molewa provided an overview of the current legislative, enforcement and compliance regime and provided progress towards the implementation of the integrated permitting system among other things. This does not include permits for legal trade in rhino horn.
* The Minister filed an application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court to reinstate the moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn on 6 June.
No permits will be authorized to trade in rhino horn and any derivatives or products of horn until the matter is finalised by the Constitutional Court.
The application suspends the operation and execution of the High Court’s 2015 invalidation of the moratorium, and means that the moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn, or products or derivatives thereof, is once again in place.
The moratorium took effect on 13 February 2009 but was challenged in court by farmers Johan Kruger in 2012, and John Hume in 2015. Wildlife Ranching South Africa and the Private Rhino Owners Association of South Africa supported the application.
On 26 November 2015 the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria (High Court) set aside the moratorium with immediate and retrospective effect.
The Minister filed an application for leave to appeal to the High Court, which was dismissed. She then petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) for leave to appeal. The SCA in May 2016 dismissed the Minister’s application for leave to appeal with costs. No reasons were given for the order but the original court finding was that the process of arriving at that moratorium was lacking in public participation, as opposed to making judgement on the specific merits of the case. This finding was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The respondents in this matter are Johan Kruger (First Respondent), John Hume (Second Respondent), Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) (Third Respondent) and The Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA) (Fourth Respondent).
The respondents have had 10 days to respond in writing to the Minister’s application and to indicate whether or not the application for leave to appeal will be opposed and on what grounds. Ms. Eleanor Momberg from the Minister’s office confirmed that the deadline for the rhino farmers responding is tomorrow.
The respondents may also wish to lodge a cross appeal.
The Constitutional Court in February had harsh words for Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa‚ for delaying to publish regulations for a law that was signed by President Jacob Zuma in 2014.The hold-up of the regulations that were supposed to accompany the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Act created uncertainty in the mining and prospecting sectors.The matter raised a serious dereliction of duty on her part‚ said Justice Chris Jafta.http://lowvelder.co.za/339758/minister- ... -deadline/