Farmers’ Weekly (SA)
Rhino horn auction may be delayed
By Gerhard Uys
August 18, 2017 1:58 pm
Farmer’s Weekly previously reported that an online sale of 500kg of rhino horn was being hosted by John Hume and Van’s Auctioneers.
This came after the Constitutional Court approved the domestic trade of rhino horn earlier this year. The online auction was due to be held on 21 August.
Speaking to Farmer’s Weekly, Izak du Toit, Associate at SeymoreDuToit and Basson, a Nelspruit-based law firm that was assisting John Hume with the auction, said he had received an email on 12 August from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), which stated the department had issued the required permit for the auction to go ahead.
According to legislation and the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, as well as the Threatened or Protected Species regulations, a permit was needed to sell animals, or the parts of animals, that were threatened.
However, by 18 August, Du Toit was in the Pretoria High Court to contest the decision by the Minister of the DEA, Edna Molewa, to delay the auction in order to first conduct a rhino horn stock pile audit before issuing the permit.
Pelham Jones, chairperson of the Private Rhino Owners’ Association (PROA), said this was despite Du Toit receiving three verbal confirmations from the DEA, as well as two email confirmations, that the permit for the auction was ready for collection.
The case was to be heard again on 20 August.
Meanwhile, a petition has been launched by the Rhinos in Africa Foundation and the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos Organisation to stop the rhino horn auction.
Speaking to Farmer’s Weekly, Megan Carr, founder of the Rhinos in Africa Foundation, said: “Our question remains: why did John Hume grow his herd of rhino to the extent he did during the times poaching was/is most prolific? He is therefore entirely responsible for the safety of the rhinos that he has bred like cattle. The rhino he has bred live a totally abnormal life compared to those in the wild. This is a money making scheme; it is not conservation.”
Rhino horn auction saga to play out in court on Sunday
18 AUGUST 2017 – 16:49 GRAEME HOSKEN
The court case about the controversial auction of 500kg of rhino horn will be heard on Sunday in Pretoria.
The Department of Environmental Affairs announced on Friday that the case had been postponed. Department spokesperson Eleanor Momberg said the matter had been postponed to give the department an opportunity to file its response to rhino breeder John Hume.
Hume has taken the department to court to force it to release a permit he was granted for the auction‚ which is to start on Monday. He wants to sell more than 250 horns in the first legal horn auction in decades.
Hume‚ a wildlife rancher and breeder who has more than 1‚500 rhinos on his ranch in the North West‚ won a series of court cases earlier this year to overturn an eight-year-long moratorium on rhino horns being sold inside South African borders.
Though the commercial sale of horns to international buyers has been banned for four decades under a global conservation treaty‚ Hume won the legal right to sell them domestically in April.
Now he claims that Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa is preventing him from selling them by refusing to issue a permit that he alleges has already been issued by officials in her department.
Additional reporting by Tony Carnie