On 13 October 2015 in Government Gazette 39287 Notice Number 986 the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, published the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill 2015.
The Bill seeks to amend:
1. The National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA)
- Amendments to streamline and strengthen the “One Environmental System”;
- amendments to provide clarity on certain definitions;
- to provide for the simultaneous submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) application and any other related application for a licence or permit required under Specific Environmental Management Acts (SEMA’s);
- to provide for the simultaneous submission of applications under NEMA and SEMAs within 14 months of the acceptance of a mining or permit right under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 (MPRDA);
- to provide clarity for when two applications have the same competent authority, clarity on the range of persons who may be issued with a directive and clarity regarding the costs that can be claimed by the competent authority in remediating a situation;
- amendments to section 24G, section 24M and 24P;
- to provide for joint and several liability in respect of the responsible persons identified in the duty of care provision;
- provides clarity for environmental management inspectors and environmental mineral resources inspectors;
- amendments of section 34G, section 43, section 49A(1)(p) and 49B(3); and
- amendment of Schedule 3.
2. The National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 (NEM:PAA)
- To allow the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the South African National Parks (SANParks) to be a member of the board;
- to create a new offence which will prohibit certain activities in marine protected areas; and
- to rectify incorrect references.
3. The National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004
- To provide clarity on certain definitions, on the steps, actions or methods to be undertaken to control or eradicate listed invasive species and that the MEC must follow a consultation process when exercising power under the Act;
- to allow the CFO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) to be a member of the board; and
- to allow the Minister to make decisions in place of the provincial issuing authority in certain circumstances.
4. The National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004 (NEM:AQA)
- To provide clarity on the consequences of unlawful commencement of a listed activity and when a provincial department responsible for environmental affairs is the licensing authority where a listed activity falls within the boundaries of more than one municipality; and
- amendment to section 36(5)(d).
5. The National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act 24 of 2008 (NEM:ICMA)
- To allow for the removal of structures erected prior to the commencement of the Act; and
- to provide clarity on the appeal process.
6. The National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008 (NEM:WA)
- Amendments to definitions;
- to provide clarity on the Waste Management Bureau and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bureau;
- amendments regarding the implementation of the waste management licensing system and amendments relating to the waste management system as it relates to mining, processing fees and exemptions;
- to provide for the simultaneous submission of the site assessment report and remediation plan relating to contaminated land;
- to empower the Minister to take a decision in place of the provincial licensing authority in certain circumstances; and
- to substitute Schedule 3 with a new schedule.
7. The National Environmental Management Amendment Act 62 of 2008 (NEMAA 2008)
- To provide clarity relating to Environmental Management Programmes (EMPrs) or Plans; and
- to provide clarity on the commencement date of the NEMAA 2008.
8. The National Environmental Management Amendment Act 25 of 2014 (NEMAA 2014)
- To provide clarity relating to EMPrs or Plans; and
- to allow for the continuation of environmental regulations developed under the MPRDA.
Members of the public are invited to submit written comments on the Bill within 30 days of publication of this notice in the gazette.
A copy of the Bill can be downloaded from the Department of Environmental Affair’s website.
Written by Warburton Attorneys