Please find below the following interesting readings and notices – applicable to the environmental field.

Bills

  1. Gas Amendment Bill, 2021 [B9-2021]

Notices

  1. “National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 – PNs 20 & 22 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – Additions to an existing nature reserve – Karkloof and Ncandu Private Forest and Grassland Nature Reserves”;
  2. “National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 – PN 20 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – Declaration of a protected environment – Central uMngeni Conservancy Protected Environment”;
  3. “National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 – PN 20 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – Declaration of a nature reserve – Cumberland Nature Reserve”;
  4. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 373 in GG 44481 of 23 April 2021 – Generic Environmental Management Programme (EMPr) for Gas Transmission Pipeline Infrastructure (2020)”;
  5. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 383 in GG 44504 of 29 April 2021 – Identification of expanded geographical areas of strategic importance for the development of electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure and of procedures to be followed when applying for or deciding on environmental authorisations for large scale electricity transmission or distribution development activities when occurring in geographical areas of strategic importance”;
  6. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 411 in GG 44551 of 7 May 2021 – Procedures to be followed when applying for or deciding on an environmental authorisation for the development or expansion of gas transmission pipeline infrastructure when occurring in strategic gas pipeline corridors};and,
  7. “National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008 – GN 400 in GG 44539 of 5 May 2021 – Amendments to the Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations, 2020 and notices regarding extended producer responsibility”.

Western Cape

  1. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – PN 41 in PG 8422 of 4 May 2021 – Environmental Management Framework Regulations, 2010: Notice of adoption of the Greater Saldanha Area Environmental Management Framework”;and,
  2. “Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and Local Government: Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2002 – LAN 21239 in PG 8425 of 7 May 2021 – Drakenstein Local Municipality – Air Quality Management By-law, 2021”

For comment

  1. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 371 in GG 44477 of 22 April 2021 – Proposed amendment to Financial Provisioning Regulations, 2015 – for comment”

KwaZulu Natal

  • “Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 – MN 6 in PG 2266 of 1 April 2021 – uMhlathuze Local Municipality – Review of the Spatial Development Framework (SDF) for 2017/2018-2021/2022 – for comment”.

Interesting reads

Biodiversity

  • Yeld J “Environment group goes to court to block wetland road project” GroundUp 7 April 2021
  • Royal Society: Cowling RM “Behaviours for conserving biodiversity” April 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 13 April 2021]
  • Steyn D “Robben Island is showing signs of decay” GroundUp12 April 2021

Conservation: Cape Town to spend R62m to clear alien invasive plants

“Cape Town City Council has approved a memorandum of agreement between the City and the US-based global environmental non-profit, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), which will see the City spending R62m to clear alien invasive plants. A Cape Argus report notes that the City’s money will be used over three years to remove alien invasive plants from mountainous catchment areas that feed important water-supply dams for Cape Town. The City’s contribution will be administered by TNC, who will match the City’s R62m rand-for-rand through contributions raised in the private sector and from philanthropists.” Full Cape Argus report (subscription needed) Legalbrief Environmental 13 April 2021

  • The competence required of a wetland assessment practitioner (October 2020)
  • A guide for hydropower project developers and operators on delivering good international industry practice
  • GroundUp: “Environment group goes to court to block wetland road project” (Noordhoek)
  • TimesLive: “Born to burn’: The alien trees that turned Cape Town fire into a disaster” 24 April 2021
  • Booysen C “Concept approval for R4bn River Club development a ’slap in the face’ for indigenous people” IOL21 April 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 27 April 2021]
  • Steyn D “Robben Island Museum is ailing and yet R102 million of its infrastructure grant went unspent” GroundUp7 May 2021

Climate change and energy

  • Climate Home News: “Emerging economies share ‘grave concern’ over EU plans for a carbon border tax” 9 April 2021
  • Bizcommunity: Zollner E “2 vital tools for carbon tax compliance” 7 April 2021
  • allAfrica: Planting S “South African Companies Scramble to Comply With the New Carbon Tax” 7 April 2021
  • Legislation: Gas Amendment Bill heads to Parliament

An explanatory summary of the long-promised Gas Amendment Bill was gazetted yesterday in anticipation of its tabling in Parliament. With a view to providing for and promoting the ‘orderly’ socio-economically and environmentally sustainable development of SA’s gas industry, the proposed new piece of legislation seeks to ‘facilitate’ co-operation between the private and public sectors on matters of investment in gas infrastructure among other things; ‘enhance’ the existing regulatory framework; ‘promote’ broad-based black economic empowerment; improve compliance; and strengthen enforcement. According to a media statement on the 24 February Cabinet meeting at which the Bill was approved, once operationalised it will also enable the gas industry’s ‘alignment’ with new ‘natural and unconventional’ gas transportation technologies.” Read full report in Legalbrief Policy Watch 14 April 2021

  • Mail & Guardian: “South Africa’s planned harmful gas limits ‘off target’” 19 April 2021
  • Bizcommunity: “South Africa’s green hydrogen potential” 23 April 2021
  • Engineering News: De Bruyn C and Creamer T “South Africa’s energy transition” 30 April 2021
  • Creamer T “Future of oil refining in South Africa highly uncertain” Mining Weekly30 April 2021
  • Natural Justice: “Ground-breaking litigation sees organisations challenge new power plant in Richards Bay” 6 May 2021
  • Cronje J “Govt now has eight weeks to decide on powership project after it clears environmental hurdle” fin2429 April 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 4 May 2021]

Environmental enforcement

  • Bizcommunity: “Environmental plan for construction of SKA published” 6 April 2021
  • Heritage: Lobby group flags demolition of Bantry Bay buildings

“The Simon van der Stel Heritage Foundation, a conservation lobby group, is up in arms over the alarming rate at which Heritage Western Cape (HWC) has allowed the demolition of Bantry Bay structures considered to be of heritage importance. A Cape Argus report notes that HWC issued demolition permits for four 20th century buildings situated on Saunders Road and on Bantry Road. The foundation submitted objections against the demolition of these buildings, which it said were important heritage resources that still contributed positively to the enjoyment of this old neighbourhood. Foundation chairperson Ian Pretorius said Bantry Bay has suffered numerous losses because of demolitions over the past 20 years. ‘These early 20th century buildings represent the very early architectural and urban-making fabric of old Bantry Bay. If we wipe out these tangible reminders of a neighbourhood’s past and the achievements of our forebears, we will end up with a sterile, monotonous neighbourhood that looks like any other modern neighbourhood in the world,’ he said. HWC acting CEO Colette Scheermeyer said the structures were considered to have insufficient heritage significance to warrant retention and were not within a declared or proposed Heritage Protection Overlay. ‘As a heritage authority, if there is no heritage context to formally protect the structure, nor does the structure possess heritage value, HWC has no valid reason for not issuing a permit.’” Full Cape Argus report (subscription needed) Legalbrief Environmental 13 April 2021

  • Fin24: “Green groups pin hope on stopping powerships by getting environmental authorisation pulled” 13 April 2021
  • Odendaal N “More upfront work now needed on water-use licence applications” Engineering News29 April 2021

Water, waste, oceans and chemicals

  • Bega S “SA will miss UN’s clean water targets” Mail & Guardian 9 April 2021
  • Kretzmann S “Report shows dangerous levels of pollution in Cape Town’s rivers, vleis and estuaries – Quality of water bodies has declined over 40 years” GroundUp 9 April 2021
  • Legislation: Marine Spatial Planning Act commences

Aimed at facilitating improved ocean governance in keeping with international obligations, the 2018 Marine Spatial Planning Act came into effect on 1 April. It provides for the development and implementation of an environmental management system that will apply across SA’s territorial waters; the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf; and to zones around the Prince Edward Islands. Provision is also made for the institutional arrangements necessary for a co-ordinated approach to activities that will include documenting and mapping physical, chemical and biological ocean processes, as well as associated threats and opportunities.” Read full report in Legalbrief Policy Watch 7 April 2021

  • Waste: Algoa Bay oyster farmer sues metro for polluting seawater

“Algoa Bay oyster farmer Zwembesi Farms is suing the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality for R34m for loss of income after its oysters were polluted by sewage that, the company alleges, was negligently discharged by the metro. The Herald reports that Acting City Manager Mandla George has sought approval from the council to defend the matter at the Gqeberha Magistrate’s Court. George’s report was discussed behind closed doors and approved by the council. The Department of Environmental Affairs has also opened a criminal case against the municipality and the matter is due to be heard on 12 April. Zwembesi Farms, part of the Knysna Oyster Company, specialises in fresh and cultivated oysters. It has been running its Algoa Bay oyster operation, 1km north of the Port Elizabeth Harbour since 1998. The oyster cultivator claimed in an affidavit that the municipality had wrongfully breached its duty of care by dumping human waste into the ocean between November 2011 and January 2013. ‘In so doing, the mortality rates of the plaintiff’s oysters to significantly increase above acceptable levels.’ The company claimed the municipality had repeated its transgressions between July 2017 and August 2017, ‘causing the E. coli levels of the Bay around and in the plaintiff’s oyster beds to increase above acceptable levels,’ the affidavit read.” Full report in The Herald (subscription needed) Legalbrief Environmental 6 April 2021

  • City of Cape Town “2019 Inland Water Quality Report” (February 2021) [Legalbrief Environmental 13 April 2021]
  • “Hazardous chemical agents: new regulations gazetted” Polity6 May 2021.

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