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Indigenous knowledge theft still a concern | Sci-Tech

"South Africa, like many countries, has a history of intellectual property misappropriation by both individuals and organisations," science and technology minister Derek Hanekom said in Pretoria at the signing of a consortium agreement between the department and a number of research institutions and community organisations.

"With a few notable exceptions, it is unfortunate that many big corporations continue to ignore their moral and legal obligations to seek prior informed consent and to share benefits that result from their use of the knowledge and genetic resources of indigenous communities."

However, indigenous products must be subjected to credible research and people must not make false claims about their efficacy or safety, otherwise they lose their credibility, he said.

Indigenous knowledge systems are a focus of the department, as it is seen as a way to create jobs in rural areas and boost industry – through pharmaceutical, nutrition products and food, and cosmetics derived from local plant and animal knowledge.