Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr Edna Molewa has noted the North Gauteng High Court ruling relating to the issuance of a permit for the selling of rhino horn to breeder John Hume.
The application regarding Hume's unauthorised permit was heard in court on Sunday. The Minister opposed the application and at the same time, applied to have the unauthorised permit set aside. The urgent application was brought with less than 48 hours’ notice.
Hume applied for a permit for the sale of 264 rhino horn for what has been described in the media as ‘the world’s first online rhino horn auction’.
On 10 August 2017 the selling permit was issued by an official in the department, in the belief that she had the delegated authority to issue a selling permit. However, the permit was not handed to Hume.
On 16 August 2017, Hume brought an urgent application for a permit to be issued.
The Department of Environmental Affairs said the domestic sale of rhino horn is legal following a Constitutional Court order in April 2017 upholding a 2015 High Court decision uplifting the 2009 moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn retrospectively.
“Domestic trade in rhino horn is subject to the issuance of the relevant permits in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No 10 of 2004) (NEMBA), its regulations and applicable provincial legislation.
“However, only the Minister has the authority to grant permits for the sale of rhino horn in the seven provinces where the Members of the Executive Council (MEC’s) responsible for Environmental Affairs have agreed that the Minister should be the issuing authority for permits relating to trade in rhino horn,” the department said.