NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT LAWS AMENDMENT BILL, 2017
Title: National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill, 2017
Government Gazette Notice: GN 245 in GG 40733 of 31 March 2017
Commencing Date: Not yet specified
The Minister of Environmental Affairs intends on introducing the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill, 2017 (the Bill) in Parliament during April 2017. An explanatory note was recently issued. The purpose of the Bill is to amend certain provisions under the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA), the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 (NEMPAA); the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA); the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004 (NEMAQA); the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act 24 of 2008 (NEMICMA); the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008 (NEMWA), and the National Environmental Management Amendment Act 62 of 2008 (NEMAA). The main purpose of the Bill is to provide for clarity on certain matters and textual amendments.
Several amendments to the above-mentioned acts are proposed, including (but not limited to):
- NEMA: Amendments are proposed to provisions pertaining to, amongst others, financial provision, the implementation of the one environmental system, the management of residue stockpiles and deposits, environmental management and mineral and petroleum inspectors, legal liability, directives and offences and penalties. The inclusion of a new environmental management principle promoting diversity in sector is also proposed.
- NEMPA: Amendments are proposed to provisions to include the Chief Financial Officer of the South African National Parks as a member of the board, to create a new offence for non-compliance with section 48A which prohibits certain activities in marine protected areas and to rectify incorrect references to offences.
- NEMBA: Clarity on the meaning of “control” and “eradicate” is proposed. Furthermore, clarity on measures to be undertaken to eradicate listed invasive species is proposed, including the steps, actions or methods to be undertaken. The purpose of the amendments also includes to ensure that the MECs responsible for environmental affairs follow the consultation process set out in sections 99 and 100 before exercising a power in terms of a provision under the Act.
- NEMAQA: Amendments are proposed to provide clarity on the consequences of unlawful commencement of a listed activity, to provide clarity that a provincial department responsible for environmental affairs is the licensing authority where a listed activity falls within the boundaries of more than one metropolitan municipality or more than one district municipality, to ensure alignment with respect to the implementation of one appeal process under NEMA and with regards to certain provisions regarding the grant of exemptions.
- NEMICMA is proposed to be amended to allow for the removal of structures erected prior to commencement of the Act and to provide clarity that an appeal against a decision issued by delegated official must be lodged at the appropriate sphere of government and appeal authority.
- NEMWA is proposed to be amended to move all definitions from Schedule 3 to section 1, to provide for textual amendment to the definitions of “residue deposits” and “residue stockpiles” and “waste” and to provide for the exclusion of residue stockpiles and residue deposits from the provisions of the Act. NEMWA is also proposed to be amended to provide for the simultaneous submission of the site assessment report and remediation plan relating to a contaminated land and to provide clarity that the Minister responsible for mineral resources is responsible for implementation of the waste management system in so far as it relates to a waste management activity that is directly related to prospecting, exploration, primary processing of a mineral or petroleum resource. Increases to the fines that could be imposed in terms of regulations made under the Act are also proposed, as well as clarity that there will be no exemptions provided from obtaining a waste management licence. Schedule 3 will also be substituted with a new Schedule.
- NEMAA is proposed to be amended to clarify that an environmental management programme or plan approved in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act on or before and after 8 December 2014 is valid under NEMA and to provide clarity that an appeal against an environmental management programme or plan lodged in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act must be finalised under that Act.
- Amendments are also proposed to provide for, amongst others, the transitional provisions regarding environmental management programme or plan approved in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act on or before and after 8 December 2014,to clarify that environmental regulations developed under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act continued until the development and publication of such regulations under the NEMA and the NEMWA and to provide for transitional provisions regarding residue stockpiles and residue deposits approved in terms of the NEMWA.
So what for my operation?
Once this Bill is enacted, it will constitute many amendments to the above mentioned environmental acts that can be applicable to your operations. It is, therefore, important to familiarise yourself with the proposed amendments to all the environmental acts and to ensure that you comprehend the implications thereof on your operations.
What is Shangoni’s approach?
Shangoni has a team of highly qualified and diverse individuals specialising in, amongst others, environmental management and legislation. These individuals can assist you in conducting a change impact screening on how these can affect your organisation’s current control mechanisms. For more information, contact Brian Hayes at email@example.com.