TOPS permit and registration application process for the carrying out of restricted activities in terms of the NEMBA 10 of 2004
Threatened Or Protected Species (TOPS) permit and registration application process for the carrying out of restricted activities in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 2004 (No. 10 of 2004)
Who may apply for permit?
- Any person may in terms of section 88(1) of the Biodiversity Act apply for a permit.
Types of permit required:
- For once off of carrying out of a restricted activity and
- May be valid for a period of up to 12 months.
- For Continuous carrying out of restricted activity for the period of validity for a permit and
- May be valid for a period of up to 36 months.
- To permanently possess specimens of TOPS listed species for personal use without carrying out any other restricted activity and
- May be valid for a period of up to 50 years.
- Permit issued in terms of two or more legislations (If requirements for all the relevant legislation are met).
No person may operate a captive breeding operation, commercial exhibition facility, nursery, scientific institution, sanctuary, rehabilitation facility or act as a wildlife trader involving specimens of any listed threatened or protected species, unless that breeding operation, commercial exhibition facility, nursery, scientific institution, sanctuary, rehabilitation facility or wildlife trader is registered in terms of TOPS regulations with the issuing authority.
Where to submit applications
A person may apply by submitting an application form to the relevant issuing authority.
Minister (DEA) is the issuing authority for a permit and registration relating to the carrying out of restricted activities involving any TOPS listed species:
- In a national protected area;
- That is marine species (for marine species contact: OCPermits@environment.gov.za) (Ocean and Coasts webpage).
- Applied by an official on behalf of, a provincial department or provincial organs of state, SANBI, an organ of state in the national sphere of government;
- MEC (provinces) issues permits for the activities not mentioned above.
Contact details for permits:
Physical and postal address:
National Department of Environmental Affairs
Cnr. Steve Biko (previously Beatrix Street) and Soutpansberg Road,
473 Steve Biko,
Private Bag X447
- Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 16:30
- Weekends and public holidays: closed!
- 25 December – 1 January: Departmental downtime (Christmas Holiday Season)
1.5 Timeframe for the application process
On receipt of the application the issuing authority must consider and decide on the application within 20 working days
1.6 Application processing fees
All restricted activities
|International import/export/re-export permit application – R50.00
Hunting/catching/killing – R100.00
Gathering/plucking/collecting – R50.00
Conveying/moving/translocation – R50.00
Growing/breeding/propagating – R50.00
Selling/buying/receiving/giving/donating – R50.00
Standing permit – R1 000.00
Game farm hunting permit – R500.00 (per registered game farm)
Nursery possession permit – R500.00 (per registered nursery)
Personal effects permit – R500.00 (per registered wildlife trader)
Possession permit – R50.00
|Registrations/Standing permit||R1 000.00|
|Amendment of registration||R200.00|
|Lodging an appeal||R50.00|
1.7 Banking details
Account name: Department of Environmental Affairs
Account number: 1044240072
Branch code: 632005
Reference for animals: Game Licence-00948420
Reference for plants Flora Licence: 00946420
- Carry out restricted activity without a permit;
- Contravening a notice published as a moratorium (prohibition);
- Non-compliance with permit conditions;
- Permits another person to commit an offense;
- Fraudulent use of permits;
- Making a false statement to obtain a permit
- Conducting a facility without registration for which registration is compulsory;
- Failure to comply with conditions of registration and
- Failure to comply with the Elephant and Rhino Norms and Standards.
- Fine not exceeding R5 million; or
- Imprisonment not exceeding 5 years; or
- Both such fine and imprisonment.
- For second or subsequent conviction, a fine not exceeding R10 million or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The holder of a permit or registration certificate may, before the expiry of the period for which a permit or registration was issued, apply in writing to the issuing authority that issued the permit or registration certificate for renewal.
The issuing authority may on own initiative amend a permit or registration certificate if it is necessary –
- for the more effective protection of the listed threatened or protected species to which the permit or registration relates;
- for the more effective enforcement of the Biodiversity Act or these regulations;
- to give effect to any norms and standards that apply to the relevant captive breeding operation, commercial exhibition facility, game farms nursery, scientific institution, sanctuary, rehabilitation facility or wildlife traders; or
- to correct technical or editorial errors on the permit or registration certificate.
- National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act 10 of 2004): Threatened OR Protected Species Regulations
- TOPS and species list (14 December 2007 as amended)
- TOPS Marine and species list (31 May 2017)
- National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (10/2004): Lists of marine species that are threatened or protected, restricted activities that are prohibited and exemption from restriction
- NEMBA (7 June 2004 as amended)
- Norms and standards for marking of rhinoceros and rhinoceros horns (12 April 2012)
- Prohibition notice on trade in wild cycads (14 May 2012)
- Norms and standards for the management of elephants in South African (29 February 2008)
Application procedure for selling and buying of rhino horn within the Republic
- If the applicant resides in the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Western Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga or North West, the applicant must complete a TOPS application form and submit the completed form to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) at TopsPermits@environment.gov.za.
The DEA may request the relevant provincial issuing authority to conduct an inspection of the horn(s) to be sold.
- If the applicant resides in the Free State or Province, the applicant must complete a TOPS application form and submit the completed form to the relevant provincial issuing authority.
- In the event that a permit for selling/buying of rhinoceros horn is required in terms of provincial conservation legislation, the applicant must also submit an application for a provincial permit to the relevant provincial conservation authority.
Requirements for applications to trade in rhinoceros horns within the republic
In order for the selling/buying permits to be issued, the following requirements must be met:
- That rhinoceros horns have been legally obtained (valid possession permit)
- That the applicant has never been convicted of an offence in terms of NEMBA; and
- That the applicant is not under investigation for the contravention/ failure to comply with any provisions of NEMBA.
- That the rhinoceros horns to be traded are registered on the national rhinoceros horn database;
- That the DNA analysis of the horn to be traded has been done (DNA analysis required in terms of the rhinoceros Norms & Standards published in 2012)
Supporting information/documentation to be submitted by the applicant
- Supporting information/ documentation to be submitted by seller
- Proof of payment of the permit processing fee
- Certified copy of the identity document or permanent residence certificate and Passport
- Proof of residential address (FICA documents to verify residential address and not older than three months)
- Proof of legal possession of the horn(s):
- Certified copy of TOPS possession permit or
- Certified copy of provincial possession permit for Mpumalanga & Western Cape - Applicants must have been authorised by permits to possess horns from the relevant issuing authority
- Genetic Profiling Certificate of each horn to be sold to prove that the DNA sample of the horns were analysed. The applicant must apply for the DNA Analysis Certificate from the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) of the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria at Onderstepoort.
- Applicant must provide details of marking of the individual rhinoceros horns including:
- Photographs of good quality of each individual horns
- ZA identification numbers
- Micro-chip numbers
- List of rhinoceros hons to be sold
- Supporting information/ documentation to be submitted by a buyer
- Proof of payment of the permit processing fee
- Certified copy of buyer’s ID or permanent residence certificate and/or Passport
- Proof of buyer’s residential address (FICA documents to verify residential address and not older than three months)
- Certified copy of seller’s permit
- Details of the rhino horn to be bought including:
- Photographs of good quality of the individual horns
- ZA identification numbers
- Micro-chip numbers
- List of rhinoceros horns to be bought/received;
- Reference number of the Genetic Profiling Certificate of each horn to be bought/received
NB. The issuing authority may request any additional information in terms of section 88(2)(a) of National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004(Act 10 of 2004) and regulation 9(1) of the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations, 2007.