South Africa is busy establishing a central national database of active hunting industry professionals.

The objective is to, for the first time ever, develop and maintain a central national database for active, registered, licensed professional hunters and hunting outfitters, as well as PH School directors. The system is further intended to incorporate the ability of a person’s national registration, if that person’s permit to operate has been withdrawn in a specific province for reasons such as a gross violation of NEMBA (National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act). This will prevent the person from licensing in another province.

The concept is still in its baby shoes, and the Department of Environmental Affairs is still drafting regulations to facilitate the process, which will have to follow the normal RSA legislative process of consultation and public comment before implementation. This process may commence in 2013, but the implementation schedule is still uncertain.

As it currently stands the database will not replace the current need for professionals to license in all provinces in which they intend operating. The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) has welcomed the signing of the new National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Act into law, saying it is the first step towards one national permit system and issued the following statement which included the following: ‘The current system where professional hunters, outfitters and professional hunters’ school directors have to register in each province has proved to be an administrative nightmare and PHASA has been lobbying for a national register for many years. We hope it paves the way for the establishment of a national permit system, which would overcome the administrative burden of having to abide to nine provincial plus one national sets of legislation. It might also further close down any loopholes for abusing the system. The abuse of the permit system has blemished the reputation of the professional hunting industry and PHASA continues to work with the National Department of Environmental Affairs and other NGOs to look at other ways of stamping out illegal hunting activities.’