AVAAZ online petition to “save South Africa’s (SA) rhino” misrepresents SA position on rhino horn trade


31 March 2016

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa has once again clarified that the South African government has not taken a decision to legalise the trade in rhino horn.

This comes as an online petition is being circulated through the organisation Avaaz calling on the Minister of Environmental Affairs to ‘reject calls to legalise trade in rhino horn products.’

The annex to the petition does not clarify the South African government’s current position, namely that the report of a Committee of Inquiry established in 2015 to look into, among other things the feasibility, nor not, of a legal trade in rhino horn has not yet been considered by the South African Cabinet.

At a media briefing on 20 January 2016 Minister Molewa indicated that the Committee of Inquiry had concluded its work.

The Committee’s recommendations were considered by the inter-governmental Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that made further recommendations to the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) established by Cabinet to provide guidance on the matter.

The IMC met earlier this month and its recommendations have been formulated and will be considered by Cabinet in due course.

Earlier this month media reports incorrectly claimed that South Africa had decided to submit a proposal to trade in rhino horn to the upcoming 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES COP17). The Department once again reiterates that this is inaccurate.

The Department notes that according to statistics published online by Avaaz.com, 44, 919 people have signed the petition, and thanks all South Africans as well as supporters in the international community for their support in joining the fight to save South Africa’s rhino.

The Department once again reiterates that in line with the principle of participatory democracy, the Committee of Inquiry consulted extensively with all affected stakeholders, as well as members of the public prior to the formulation of its final report to be considered by Cabinet.

As home to the majority of the world’s rhino, South Africa remains committed to the conservation of this iconic species.

For media inquiries contact:
Roopa Singh
Cell: 082 225 3076