The High Court in Pretoria set aside the SA Government’s 2009 ban on domestic trade in rhino horn in November. Judge Francis Legodi handed down his 37-page judgment in the application by game farmers John Hume and Johan Kruger. Hume maintained the moratorium was directly to blame for a sharp spike in rhino poaching since 2008. Kruger’s advocate argued that the moratorium should be set aside as the Minister failed to comply with her obligation to properly notify the public about the proposed ban or to give members of the public a chance to make meaningful submissions. Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa conceded that a notice of the proposed ban was never published in a national newspaper, but maintained there was “substantial compliance”. The Judge did not disagree with the Minister’s reasons for imposing the moratorium. Legodi maintained that the moratorium is rational, reasonable, lawful and constitutional. Had it not been for the finding with regard to non-compliance with consultative process, he would have found no unlawfulness in the moratorium. Minister Molewa indicated she will appeal. An appeal by the minister will effectively suspend the execution of the judgement.
Author: Gerhard R Damm