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Rhino horn ruling brings threat of legal action

Publish date: 10 April 2017
Issue Number: 721
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

The Constitutional Court’s confirmation that rhino horn can be legally traded inside South Africa threatens to open a floodgate of legal steps, according to a Beeld report. Environmental Affairs’ Magdel Boshoff said in court papers there would be serious implications for pending rhino poaching criminal trials if the moratorium is set aside with retrospective effect – as has now happened. She referred in particular to the criminal case against Limpopo farmer Dawie Groenewald and his 10 co-accused. Their criminal trial on 1 872 charges was postponed in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) last year pending the outcome of the moratorium case. Hennie Erwee, the lawyer acting on behalf of Johan Kruger – who first challenged the moratorium in 2012 – said the legal implications of the Constitutional Court’s judgment were severe, ‘especially for people who were prosecuted in the last seven years for the trade in rhino horn and those who are currently standing trial’.

Full Beeld report (subscription needed)