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Rhino horn sale ban overturned in SA high court

November 26, 2015

Rhino horn sales could become legal in South Africa after three South African judges lifted a domestic ban.

“The moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horns is hereby reviewed and set aside,” said the ruling from Judge Francis Legodi.

Judges Francis Legodi, Vivian Tlhapi and Myron Dewrance set aside the moratorium, which came into effect early in 2009, because of “substantial non-compliance” with the consultative and participatory process.

Two private rhino owners John Hume, who is the world’s biggest private owner of rhino, and Johan Kruger, had launched the legal action that was decided in the Pretoria High Court.

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa intends to appeal the judgment, in which case the Department’s application for leave to appeal will suspend the operation and execution of the judgment, according to a statement on the department’s website.

“The Department furthermore clarified that this judgment also does not relate to the international trade in rhino horn for commercial purposes. Commercial international trade in rhino horn is still prohibited in terms of the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),” the statement said.

Lifting the ban wouldn’t mean a complete relaxation on rhino horn trading. Anyone wishing to trade rhino horn would need permits under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004, the department said.

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