Tag Archive: NGO

Ground-breaking’ victory for community against drug giant

Fromn the Cape Times Newspaper – January 28, 2010 Edition 1


MEMBERS of a small Eastern Cape community are elated after taking on a German pharmaceutical giant over a patent to produce extracts from two local plant species – and winning. “This is the first time that a patent is challenged successfully by Africans. It ends Schwabe’s monopoly over the use of our genetic resources and traditional knowledge,” said Nomtunzi Api, a community representative from Alice.

In a “ground-breaking” judgment in Munich this week, the European Patent Office (EPO) withdrew a patent held by Schwabe Pharmaceuticals to produce an extract from the roots of two species, Pelargonium sidoides and Pelargonium reniforme. The extract is the active ingredient in
Schwabe’s popular treatment for bronchitis, Umckaloabo. But the patent for the extraction process was successfully challenged by members of the rural Eastern Cape community of Alice, represented by NGO the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) and a Swiss anti-biopiracy watchdog, the Berne Declaration. The patent was also opposed by several of Schwabe’s competitors in a public hearing before the EPO’s Opposition Division.

According to EPO spokesman Rainer Osterwalder, the patent was revoked because the extraction process

Regulation of GMOs in South Africa

? The African Centre for Biosafety 2007
ISBN: 978-0-620-39333-1
by Mariam Mayet

The ACB has been motivated to write this paper by the coming into effect on the 17th April 2007, of the Genetically Modified Organisms Amendment Act (No. 23 of 2006).(ii) This amends the Genetically Modified Organisms Act No. 15 of 1997 (‘GMO Act’), 10 years after it became part of the body of post-apartheid statutes in South Africa.

The author has in the past few years, on behalf of the NGO, Biowatch South Africa, thoroughly interrogated and critiqued the GMO Act.(iii) In addition, the ACB has interrogated countless permit applications in terms of the GMO Act,(iv) and thus, offers this document as a further contribution to our on-going work in the field of biosafety in South Africa.

read more

Table of Contents

Summary of GMO act as amended
Historical context
GMOs in South Africa
GMO Policy
GM Regulation in SA
The GMO Act (as amended)
Executive Council and decision making
Additional powers of the Executive Council
Advisory Council
Role, functions and powers of the Registrar
Labelling and the right to know
Traceability and implications for international trade
Liability and redress

Interrogating GMO Decision-Making: Critique of GMO Permit Applications in South Africa 2004-2007

This book aims to give insight into the role a public interest NGO can play, the context within which participation can happen, the breadth of GMO applications, the institutions involved, the trends developing and the tremendous range of issues that have to be grappled with.

Title: Interrogating GMO Decision-Making: Critique of GMO Permit Applications in South Africa 2004-2007

Author: Rose Williams


Publisher: African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) www.acbio.org.za

ISBN: 978-00620-38907-5

Design and Layout: Lesley Lewis, Inspots




Support: The production and publication of this booklet has been made possible by the generous support received by EED,HIVOS and NORAD



Decoding the names of GMOsExecutive Council decisions on a selection of GMO Applications

Objections made by the ACB:

  • GM Cassava
  • GM Cotton
  • GM Grapes
  • GM HIV Vaccine
  • GM Maize
  • GM Maize for food
  • GM Maize for biofuels
  • GM Potatoes
  • GM Rice
  • GM Sorghum
  • GM Sugar
  • GM Wheat
  • GM Wine Yeast
Overview of ACB’s Involvement
Appendix 1
Useful websites
We have printed 100 copies for free distribution (one per NGO, CBOs). If you would like to receive a copy, please contact our offices as follows: 
Telephone: +27 11 482 8915
Suite 3 12 Clamart Road, Richmond