The South African Plant Breeders’ Rights Act No. 12 of 2018 (the new Act) was assented to on 27 March 2019 and published in the South African Government Gazette on 29 March 2019. Although the new Act has been assented to, it is not yet in force. The new Act will only come into force once it has been proclaimed and Regulations have been published. This is only likely to take place in 2020.
Until such time as the new Act comes into force, the current Plant Breeders’ Rights Act No. 15 of 1976 (the current Act) and the Regulations thereto will remain in force.
South Africa is a signatory to the 1978 UPOV Act. Although the current Act complies with the 1991 UPOV Act in many respects, there were some areas that do not. One of the objectives of the new Act is to bring South Africa’s Law into line with the 1991 UPOV Act and then for South Africa to accede to the 1991 UPOV Act.