Per the PROA constitution and with 85% support by rhino owners (10% undecided and 5% anti trade per the 2015 PROA/RMG survey) we have lobbied for the right to sell horn both domestically and internationally, to use this revenue to mitigate our rhino security and management costs. Two rhino owners John Hume and Johan Kruger took DEA to court to achieve this right as the Minister has consistently upheld the Moratorium despite our repeated requests for its removal. This matter still sits with the Constitutional Court and we await their ruling
The Minister announced per Gazette Notice 74 of 2017 dated the 8th February; Draft Regulations for the Domestic Trade in Rhinoceros Horn etc. and calling for public comment. PROA has made a submission in support of the Draft Regulations with legal input from Izak du Toit. Thanks to those of you who also submitted per our request to owners. The Department will now have to review all submissions and either proceed or review their Draft but as can be anticipated this will take some time.
In light of the above the PROA Board has proposed the creation of an in-house selling structure (brokerage or CSO). The concept outlining three types of trade was circulated to all members prior to our AGM and adopted by unanimous consent; ‘That the PROA Rhino Horn Trade Proposal be approved in principal, and that the Board of the Company be authorized to develop, promote and/or amend same in the furtherance of the Companies objective of sustainable use of rhino horn as a recognized renewable natural resource’.
It must be noted that PROA is a non-profit company and accordingly acts on behalf of its members. We are currently drafting a ‘Heads of Agreement’ to formulate the Private Rhino Owners Association relationship between PROA and its members who wish to trade (those reserves who do not wish to are unaffected by this arrangement). We will call for tenders from service providers to provide a centralized storage facility for horn with the necessary stock control, data management and independent audit. This arrangement will allow for both domestic as well as international speculative trade (NB the horn remains within SA and is not in violation of any domestic legislation or CITES trade bans).
Once we have completed the research of the storage and proposed trade structure we will circulate to our members. Please remember irrespective if wishing to trade or not the facilities I describe above are open to all rhino owners.