The advertising and entertainment industry was in frenzy
recently over who may issue a license to animal wranglers. Animal
wranglers were faced with uncertainty as they were told that
magistrates were no longer issuing such licenses. Many needed to
apply for or renew their licenses as they are only valid for a
calendar year and expire on 31 December of each year.
The confusion started when the National Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
("NSPCA") challenged the
constitutionality of section 2 and 3 of PAPA, which states that a
magistrate may issue such a license. The NSPCA argued that
magistrates are not experts on animals and therefore should not
have the power to issue these licenses. The North Gauteng High
Court found that both sections were invalid and ordered that the 2
representatives from the Department of Agriculture and 2
representatives from the NSPCA form a committee that would issue
such licenses pending the confirmation of its decision by the
On 11 July 2013, the Constitutional Court made its decision and
confirmed the finding of the High Court that section 2 and 3 of
PAPA was unconstitutional. In its reasoning the court said that the
doctrine of separation of powers had been infringed as the
judiciary, by issuing these licenses was usurping the powers of the
The court has referred the Act back to parliament and has given
it 18 months to change the Act, removing the powers from the
magistrates and giving it to the executive.
In the interim however, magistrates will continue to issue these
licenses as the committee set up by the High Court was only
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