NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT: EXTENSION OF THE APPOINTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT PRACTITIONERS ASSOCIATION 

Title: National Environmental Management Act, 1998: Extension of the Appointment of the Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa as the Single Registration Authority in terms of the National Environmental Management Act 

Gazette reference: GN 4292 in GG 50046 of 30 January 2024 

Commencement date: 30 January 2024 

On 30 January 2024, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment extended the appointment of the Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa (EAPASA), as a single registration authority, in terms of section 24(H)(3), read with section 24(H)(6), of the National Environmental Management Act for a period of 24 months. 

The EAPASA was appointed as the single registration authority for five years, with effect from 8 February 2018 until 7 February 2023, whereby the appointment period was extended until 7 February 2024. This appointment is further extended until 7 February 2026 to enable the Minister to adequately consider what the most sustainable way forward will be for the long-term regulation of environmental assessment practitioners.  

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT: AIR QUALITY ACT: NOTICE REGARDING MANUAL REGISTRATION OF DATA PROVIDERS  

Title: National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004: Notice Regarding Manual Registration of Data Providers and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 Reporting Cycles  

Gazette reference: GN 4248 in GG 49984 on 11 January 2024 

Commencement date: 11 January 2024 

On 11 January 2024, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, in terms of regulation 5(4) and 7(5) of the National Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulations 2016, as amended, gave notice regarding the manual registration of data providers and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions for the 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 reporting cycles. Data providers must register and report greenhouse gas emissions data and information manually using the prescribed templates attached to the Notice. 

The reasons for manual registration of data providers and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions is that the South African Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting System (SAGERS) will no longer be used for registration and reporting during the 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 reporting cycles due to planned system upgrades.  

WASTE ACT: NOTICE OF EXTENSION ON COMMENTING PERIOD ON THE DRAFT STRATEGY FOR REDUCING FOOD LOSSES AND WASTE 

Title: National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008: Notice of extension of commenting period on the draft Strategy for reducing food losses and waste 

Gazette reference: GN 4138 in GG 49794 on 1 December 2023 

Deadline for public comments: 18 December 2023 

On 1 December 2023, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, in terms of sections 72 and 73 of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, extended the commenting period on the draft Strategy for Reducing Food Losses and Waste (as was published for public comments in GN 3888 on 19 September 2023). 

The South African Government is a signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with specific focus on SDG12 which seeks to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Target 12.3 calls for cutting in half per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level and reducing food losses along production and supply chains (including post-harvest losses) by 2030. 

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has developed the Food Losses and Waste Strategy as one of the key interventions of the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) 2020. The Food Losses and Waste Strategy was developed based on current research, reviews from sector experts and inputs from industry stakeholders. The result of this translated into a focused implementation plan with five strategic pillars and associated goals backed by strong legislative instruments and best practices. 

DRAFT NOTICE PROHIBITING CERTAIN ACTIVITIES INVOLVING AFRICAN LIONS

Title: Publishing of Draft Notice Prohibiting Certain Activities involving African Lion (Panthera Leo) for Public Comment

Gazette reference: GN 3926 n GG 49383 on 29 September 2023

Deadline for submitting comments: 29 October 2023

On 29 September 2023, the Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, in terms of section 9A read with sections 99 and 100 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004, announced her intention to prohibit the establishment or registration of new captive breeding facilities, commercial exhibition facilities, rehabilitation facilities or sanctuaries in respect of live specimens of African lion and the keeping of live specimens of African lion in any other new controlled environment. The main purpose appears to be to prohibit the establishment of new captive lion breeding facilities for lions and to provide that new sanctuaries, commercial exhibition facilities or rehabilitation facilities for lions may not be established unless they “provide a public function” or are operated on a non-profit basis.

Members of the public are invited to submit written comments by 29 October 2023 by email to lionprohibition@dffe.gov.za.

DRAFT POLICY POSITION ON THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF ELEPHANT, LION, LEOPARD AND RHINOCEROS: COMMENTS INVITED ON THE DRAFT

Title: Draft Policy Position on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhinoceros: Comments invited on the Draft

Gazette reference: GN 3887 in GG 49319 on 19 September 2023

Deadline for submitting comments: 19 October 2023

On 19 September 2023, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, published the draft Policy Position on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhinoceros (the “Draft ELLR Policy”) for public comment. Some commentators on the first draft of the ELLLR Policy pointed out that an overarching policy on all species should be adopted first. Consequently the ELLR Policy development process was suspended until that had been done.

Policy development process was suspended until that had been done.

The draft ELLR Policy is informed by:

(c) the White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity which was published for implementation on 14 June 2023;

(d) the report of the High Level Panel (HLP) on Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhinoceros;

(e) the recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry that was appointed to advise on the possibility of proposing legal interventions on international trade in rhino horn to the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); and

(f) the Colloquium report on captive lion breeding for hunting.

REVIEW OF THE NATIONAL WATER RESOURCES STRATEGY

Title: National Water Act 36 of 1998: Review of the National Water Resources Strategy

Gazette reference: GN 3855 in GG 49225 on 1 September 2023

Commencement date: 1 September 2023

On 1 September 2023, the Minister of Water and Sanitation, in terms of section 5(4)(b) of the National Water Act (NWA), published the revised National Water Resource Strategy, 3rd edition.

The revised National Water Resource Strategy, 3rd edition, consists of the following Chapters:

– Introduction

– Strategic Imperatives

– Context

– Reducing Water Demand

– Increasing Water Supply

– Redistributing Water for Transformation

– Managing Effective Water and Sanitation Services

– Regulating the Water and Sanitation Sector

– Managing Water and Sanitation Under a Changing Climate

– Promoting International Cooperation

– Improving Water Quality

– Protecting Aquatic Ecosystems and Maintaining Restoring Ecological Infrastructure

– Creating Effective Water Sector Institutions

– Collecting Data and Analysing and Managing Information and Effective Monitoring

– Evaluation and Reporting

– Building Capacity for Action

– Ensuring Financial Stability

– Enhancing and Enabling Deployment of Research, Development and Innovation

– Addressing Legislative and Policy Gaps

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT: AMENDMENT TO THE FINANCIAL PROVISIONING REGULATIONS

Title: National Environmental Management Act, Act 107 of 1998: Amendment to the Transitional Arrangements in the Financial Provisioning Regulation, 2015

Gazette reference: GN 3841 in GG 49220 on 1 September 2023.

Commencement date: 1 September 2023

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment extended, by 5 months, the date of compliance for holders of rights and permits obtained under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 28 of 2002 (“MRPDA”).

The Regulations pertaining to the Financial Provision for Prospecting, Exploration, Mining or Production Operations (GNR.1147 of 20 November 2015, as amended) made under the National Environmental Management Act (“the Financial Provisioning Regulations, 2015”) contain transitional provisions that specify when these regulations must be complied with. Regulation 17A deals with when holders of offshore oil and gas exploration or production rights must comply with those Regulations, and regulation 17B deals with compliance by holders of other rights under the MPRDA (e.g. holders of prospecting or mining rights). The Minister has again extended the deadline by which such rights holders must comply with the Financial Provisioning Regulations, 2015 by amending Regulation 17B to read:

“Unless regulation 17A applies, a holder, or holder of a right or permit who applied for such right or permit prior to 20 November 2015, regardless of when the right or permit was obtained –

(a) must by no later than 19 February 2024 comply with these Regulations; and

(b) shall, until 18 February 2024, be regarded as having complied with the provisions of these Regulations, if such holder has complied with the provisions and arrangements regarding financial provisioning, approved as part of the right or permit issued in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002).”

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT: DRAFT NATIONAL APPEAL REGULATIONS 

Title: National Environmental Management Act, 107 of 1998: Draft National Appeal Regulations, 2023. 

Gazette reference: GN 3815 in GG 49189 of 25 August 2023. 

Deadline for comments: 26 September 2023. 

On 25 August 2023, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment published the Draft Regulations Pertaining to the Processing, Consideration of, and Decision on Appeals, in terms of sections 43, 44(1)(b) and 47 of NEMA, for public comment. 

The Regulations are intended to regulate the procedure contemplated in section 43 of the Act relating to the submission, processing, consideration of, and decisions on appeals to the Minister in respect of the Act and any specific environmental management Act. 

Members of the public are invited to submit written comments and inputs on or before 26 September 2023. 

A full copy of the Notice can be accessed here. 

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT: INTENTION TO AMEND THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT REGULATIONS 

Title: National Environmental Management Act: Consultation on the Intention to Amend the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, Listing Notice 1, Listing Notice 2 and Listing Notice 3 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2014 for Activities Identified in Terms of Section 24(2) and 24D of the Act. 

Gazette reference: GN 3773 in GG 49081 of 4 August 2023. 

Deadline for comments: 4 September 2023. 

On 4 August 2023, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, in terms of section 24(2), 24(5) and 44, read with section 47 of the NEMA, announced that she intends to amend the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2014, as amended and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations Listing Notice 1, 2 and 3 of 2014, as amended. 

These proposed amendments relate, among other things, to the inclusion of mining activities, including EMPr and closure plans.  

A copy of the Notice can be accessed here

NATIONAL WATER RESOURCE INFRASTRUCTURE AGENCY BILL, 2023: NOTIFICATION TO INTRODUCE THE BILL, INTO PARLIAMENT AND PUBLICATION OF EXPLANATORY SUMMARY OF THE BILL 

Title: National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency Bill, 2023: Notification to Introduce the Bill into Parliament and Publication of Explanatory Summary of the Bill. 

Gazette reference: GN 3746 in GG 49063, on 1 August 2023. 

Commencement date: TBD. 

On 1 August 2023, the Minister of Water and Sanitation announced his intention to introduce the National Water Resource Infrastructure Bill, 2023 into Parliament. The following Explanatory Summary of the Bill was published: 

The Bill seeks:  

  • To establish a juristic person under the ownership and control of the State in order to administer, fund, finance, develop, operate, maintain, manage and provide advisory services in respect of national water resources infrastructure in an efficient and cost-effective manner to meet the social and economic development needs of current and future water users within the framework of national government policy and in accordance with section 27(1)(b) of the Constitution; 
  • to ensure the sustainable, equitable and reliable supply of water to meet nationally and regionally defined social and economic objectives of government; 
  • to transfer national government waterworks to the Agency;  
  • to alleviate the burden on the State’s resources in water resources development; and 
  • to provide for the disestablishment of the TCTA and the transfer of all its assets, liabilities, rights, obligations, powers, Treaty and non-treaty functions as a going concern into the Agency. 

A copy of the Bill can be accessed at the Department of Water and Sanitation’s website here

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT: AMENDMENT TO PROTOCOLS FOR SPECIALIST ASSESSMENT AND REPORT CONTENT REQUIREMENTS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ON TERRESTRIAL ANIMAL AND PLANT SPECIES  

Title: National Environmental Management Act, 1998: Amendment to the Protocols for the Specialist Assessment and Minimum Report Content Requirements for Environmental Impacts on Terrestrial Animal and Plant Species 

Gazette reference: GN 3717 in GG 49028 of 28 July 2023 

Commencement date: 28 July 2023 

On 28 July 2023, the Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, amended the protocols in respect of specialist assessment and minimum report content requirements for environmental impacts on terrestrial animal and terrestrial plant species, by removing the reference to “terrestrial” where it occurs in the protocols. The amendment allows the protocols to apply to all animal and plant species (and not just terrestrial species) as well as providing for minor adjustments to the requirements for compliance statements.  

The amendment is necessary to allow for the protocols to apply to freshwater species (many of which are threatened species). The requirements of the protocols will apply to freshwater species from the date of publication, except where the application provides proof to the competent authority that the specialist assessment affected by these amendments were commissioned prior to the date of publication of the amended protocols, in which case Appendix 6 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2014, will apply to such applications.