18 March 2016

South Africa: Legalising Trade in Rhino Horn Not Finalised

Pretoria — Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says she has noted claims that government has decided to submit a proposal to 17th Conference of Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP17) to trade in rhino horn.

"The South African government promotes and endorses the principle of participatory democracy. This demands that whenever government makes a decision of this nature, we will always, as we have done, consult with the citizens of this country and ensure we make informed decisions.

"In this regard, a Committee of Enquiry was appointed in 2015 to investigate, among other matters, the feasibility or [unfeasibility] of a legal rhino horn trade. The committee conducted public hearings and listened to the views expressed by those who needed to be heard and contribute to the processes towards decision making.

"I informed the South African public during a media briefing that took place on 20 January 2016, that the Committee of Inquiry has concluded its work. The committee's report and recommendations were considered by the inter-governmental Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), who made further recommendations to the Inter-Ministerial Committee established by Cabinet to provide guidance on this matter," said Minister Molewa.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee met on 8 March 2016 and recommendations for consideration by Cabinet have been formulated and will be considered by Cabinet in due course.

"As is clear from the above, the process has not been concluded. The South African government will, however, as part of the fortnightly post Cabinet briefings provide a report on the final Cabinet decision, once this process has been concluded.

"The outcome will be reported publicly, as part of the fortnightly post Cabinet briefings," said Minister Molewa.

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