_: The Minster of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa published for public participation, in terms of section 97 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004), the Draft Regulations for the Registration of Professional Hunters, Hunting Outfitters and Trainers in Gazette No 36744 of 13 August 2013.
The Draft Regulations for the Registration of Professional Hunters, Hunting Outfitters and Trainers originates from a chapter contained in the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Act, 2013 (Act No. 14 of 2013) (NEMLA Act 2013) signed by President Jacob Zuma on 24 July 2013. These draft regulations are aimed at providing a national system for the registration of professional hunters, hunting outfitters and trainers.
The regulations will assist in preventing “province hopping”; meaning a situation where a professional hunter or hunting outfitter would contravene provincial legislation in one province, where after his/ her permit is revoked in that province, and then continues to operate in another province.
According to the draft regulations, an individual may not operate as a professional hunter, hunting outfitter or trainer, unless such an individual is registered in terms of these regulations. Furthermore, the holder of the registration is not authorised to operate as a professional hunter, hunting outfitter or trainer unless he/she is also the holder of a permit issued in terms of the applicable provincial conservation legislation.
Applications must be submitted to the provincial conservation authority but the Minister remains the issuing authority for the national registration and the registration will be valid nationally.
Applications to register as a professional hunter must be accompanied by, amongst others, proof that the applicant is a South African citizen or has a valid permanent residency permit, the applicant must be above the age of 18 and the applicant must provide proof that he/she has obtained the necessary knowledge, skill, ability and experience required to act as a professional hunter.
An individual applying for the registration as a professional hunter to accompany a hunting client on the hunt of dangerous game such as white and black rhinoceros and lion, must also submit to the provincial conservation authority a summary containing information on dangerous game hunted on extensive wildlife systems and written evidence indicating that the applicant has either personally hunted or hunted as a back-up professional hunter under the supervision of a registered dangerous game professional hunter, or proof of having attended a course on the hunting of dangerous game.
Applications to register as a hunting outfitter must be accompanied by, amongst others, proof that the applicant can provide the necessary services and facilities within the boundaries of the province in which he/she is applying, proof that the applicant is above the age of 21 and the applicant must provide proof that he/she has obtained the necessary knowledge, skill, ability and experience required to act as a hunting outfitter, by having attended and passed the professional hunting course.
Applications to register as a trainer must be accompanied by, amongst others, curriculum vitae indicating the applicant’s past ten years’ experience in the accompanying of hunting clients and the organising and management of hunts, copies of professional hunters and hunting outfitters permits and references from hunting clients.
In addition, an applicant registering as a trainer must also submit, amongst others, proof that he/she is in possession of a valid professional hunters and hunting outfitters permit for the province and details of the training facilities including the shooting range, first aid and fire fighting services and terrain where free roaming wild animals are present for practical experience.
An application for the registration as a professional hunter, hunting outfitter or trainer may be refused under certain circumstances. Some of the circumstances in which an application can be refused are if the applicant has been convicted of an offence in terms of the Biodiversity Act, if the applicant’s professional hunters permit, hunting outfitters permit or trainers permit has been revoked in any province or if the applicant has failed to address a formal complaint lodged by a hunting client against him/her to the satisfaction of the relevant provincial conservation authority.
Furthermore, an application for the registration as a professional hunter, hunting outfitter or trainer may be cancelled if, amongst others, the registration holder has failed to comply with any of the provisions of the Biodiversity Act or if the registration holder has fraudulently altered the registration certificate.
An application received by the provincial conservation authority for the registration as a professional hunter, hunting outfitter and trainer must be considered within ten working days and a recommendation must be made to the Department regarding the registration.
If the recommendation is positive, the registration certificate must be issued within 5 days. The draft regulations state that the registration is valid throughout the country for a period of three years. The holder of the registration must apply for renewal of the registration prior to its expiration date.
Moreover, the draft regulations stipulate that if an individual is a registered professional hunter or hunting outfitter in one province but wishes to practice in another province, such an individual must write the legal examination of that province prior to obtaining a permit and practicing in that province.
In terms of reporting, the national Department of Environmental Affairs must report, on a quarterly basis, to the provincial conservation authorities on registration certificates issued for professional hunters, hunting outfitters and trainers.
The draft regulations do, however make transitional provisions for present professional hunters, hunting outfitters and trainers. Such individuals are required to renew their permits in line with these regulations.
The holder of a registration is guilty of an offence if he/she does not comply with any of the conditions of the registration, fraudulently alters the registration or allows any person other than his/her hunting client to hunt a wild animal.
Individuals found guilty of such offences will be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, a fine not exceeding R5 million and in the case of a second conviction, to a fine not exceeding R10 million or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years or in both instances, both a fine and imprisonment.
Members of the public are invited to submit to the Minister, within 30 days after publication of the notice in the Gazette, written comments or inputs to the following addresses:
By post to: The Director-General: Department of Environmental Affairs
Attention: Mr Thomas Mbedzi
Private Bag X447