Notice prohibiting certain restricted activities involving rhino horn published

10 June 2020


Notices related to tighten provisions related to the domestic trade in rhino horn have been published for implementation by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy.

The regulations were published in Government Gazette 43386 on 3 June 2020.  These are: notice no. 625 pertaining to the prohibition of certain restricted activities involving rhinoceros horn;

The notices were published in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) (NEMBA) and will commence on a date to be determined by the minister.

Publication of the regulatory measures in relation to the domestic trade in rhino horn for implementation followed a lengthy process that saw these draft measures being republished for additional public comments in September 2018. 

The regulatory measures apply to all subspecies of black rhino found in South Africa, including the Eastern black rhino, and the white rhino. They provide clear information on requirements that must be complied with, and the information that must be submitted when applying for a permit to buy or sell rhino horn. This includes information of the marking of the rhino horn, the size of each, a certificate as proof of the DNA analysis and a clear photograph of the rhino horn. An inspection must also be done by the issuing authority to verify the information provided before issuing the permit. Additionally, all the information provided must be recorded on the national database.

The requirements for the selling or buying of rhino horn through an auction, the sale of rhino horn on behalf of the owner of the horns, and the export or re-export of the rhino horn are also stipulated.

Activities that are prohibited in terms of the prohibition notice include:

  • The intentional powdering of rhino horn, or creating slivers, drill bits, chips or similar derivatives, or removing parts or layers of rhino horn; and
  • Selling, donating, buying, receiving or accepting as a gift or donation any piece of rhino horn smaller than 5cn in length. This also applies to the export or re-export of powder, slivers, drill bits or layers of rhino horn smaller than 5 cm in length.

An exclusion from the prohibition is the creation of powdered rhino horn under specific circumstances, such as when drilling the horn to insert a microchip, when collecting a DNA sample for genetic profiling, or for scientific purposes.

The prohibitions will be reassessed after three years.

For media inquiries contact:
Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871