Verification of privately owned rhino horn welcomed

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cabinet says the verification and audits of all the existing privately owned rhino horn stockpiles will help to prevent the potential smuggling of illegally obtained rhino horns.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has recently announced that South Africa is finalising verification and audits of all the existing privately owned rhino horn stockpiles to prevent the smuggling of illegally-obtained horn out of the country.

The initial audit, which was conducted by the provinces, is being checked and verified by the national Department of Environmental Affairs.

“This will assist in preventing the potential smuggling of illegally obtained rhino horns and will ensure that the country has full and accurate information on the number of horns in South Africa at any given time, as well as the registered owner of each one of such horns,” Cabinet said in a statement on Friday.

On the North Gauteng High Court ruling relating to the issuance of a permit for the selling of rhino horn to breeder John Hume, Cabinet reiterated that among several other operational conditions, the permit holder, who must have acquired a seller’s permit, can only sell rhino horn to a person who has a buyer’s permit. This must be issued in terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act 10 of 2004), authorising the person to buy rhino horn from a seller’s permit holder.

Cabinet emphasised that the permit does not authorise international trade in rhino horn.

“International trade in horn remains banned, in terms of the provisions on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). During the entire auction, the Department of Environmental Affairs must be granted access to the online auction to do the necessary compliance monitoring.

“South Africa remains committed to a regulated process that manages the trade in threatened or protected species, in line with the domestic legislation, as well as the legally binding provisions of the CITES,” Cabinet said.

Acts of hate will not be tolerated

Meanwhile, Cabinet has welcomed the High Court’s verdict against the perpetrators involved in a racially motivated violation of an African man by being put in a coffin.

Cabinet said the guilty verdict will serve as a warning to those who still continue to harbour racial prejudices in the country.

“Cabinet reassures South Africans that any form of racism or act of hate will not be tolerated. Social cohesion remains an imperative that all of us as a society needs to build and strengthen.”

New property owners

Cabinet also welcomed the Constitutional Court judgment that municipalities can no longer hold new property owners liable for previous owners’ historical municipal debt. 

The ruling is a relief to property owners, some of whom have been burdened with debt dating back 20 years.

“Such a ruling paves way for future property owners. Cabinet calls on municipalities to align their debt collections system to the ruling.” – SAnews.gov.za

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