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

Acts

  1. “Marine Spatial Planning Act 16 of 2018 – Proc 4 in GG 44383 of 1 April 2021 – commenced 1 April 2021”.

Notices

  1. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 105 in GG 44173 of 5 February 2020 – Adoption of Generic Environmental Management Programme for Working for Ecosystems Programme and identified activities excluded from the need to obtain environmental authorisation”;
  2. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 106 in GG 44173 of 5 February 2020 – Adoption of Generic Environmental Management Programme for Working for Water Programme and identified activities excluded from the need to obtain environmental authorisation”;
  3. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 106 in GG 44173 of 5 February 2020 – GN 107 in GG 44173 of 5 February 2020 – Adoption of Generic Environmental Management Programme for Working with Wetlands Programme and identified activities excluded from the need to obtain environmental authorisation”;
  4. “National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 – Commencement 1 March 2021 for Alien and Invasive Species Lists, 2020 published in GN 1003 in GG 43726 of 18 September 2020 (excluding the listing of Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss – Walbaum, 1792) and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta – Linneaus, 1758) as invasive species on List 7 ‘National List of Invasive Freshwater Fish Species’ Items 20 and 29)”;
  5. “National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 – GN 115 in GG 44182 of 24 February 2021 – Commencement 1 March 2021 for Alien and Invasive Species Regulations, 2020 published in GN R1020 in GG 43735 of 25 September 2020 from 26 October 2020”;
  6. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 250 in GG 44320 of 25 March 2021 – Adoption of amended Chapter 2 and Chapter 5 of the Integrated Environmental Management Plan for Phase 1 of the Square Kilometre Array and amendment to the conditions of exclusion”;
  7. “Animal Identification Act 6 of 2002 – GN 259 in GG 44333 of 26 March 2021 – Regulations amended”;
  8. “Petroleum Products Act 120 of 1977 – GN R281 in GG 44362 of 30 March 2021 – Draft Regulations regarding Petroleum Products Specifications and Standards published for comment in GN R211 in GG 44265 of 12 March 2021 replaced”,and;
  9. “National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 – GN 276 in GG 44341 of 29 March 2021 – Adoption of a generic environmental management programme for the management and mitigation of environmental impacts resulting from the implementation of the landcare projects and the exclusion of these projects from the requirement to obtain an environmental authorisation”.

Western Cape

  1. “National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act 24 of 2008 – PN 25 in PG 8401 of 19 March 2021 – Establishment of coastal management line”

For comment

  1. “National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 – GN 232 in GG 44293 of 19 March 2021 – Notice of intention to declare the remaining extent of Erf 4492, Swellendam as part of the Bontebok National Park – for comment”;
  2. “National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008 – GN 239 in GG 44295 of 19 March 2021 – Draft Amendments to the Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations, 2020 and notices regarding extended producer responsibility – for comment”;
  3. “Petroleum Products Act 120 of 1977 – GN R281 in GG 44362 of 30 March 2021 – Draft Amendment Regulations regarding the Mandatory Blending of Biofuels with Petrol and Diesel, 2021 – for comment”; and,
  4. “National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008 – GN 275 in GG 44340 of 29 March 2021 – Proposed norms and standards for the treatment of organic waste – for comment”.

Interesting reads

Biodiversity

  • GroundUp: Van der Vyver “The spekboom: Miracle plant or just another succulent?” 23 February 2021
  • Mail & Guardian: Bega S “South Africa’s freshwater fish face extinction” 12 March 2021.
  • TimesLive: Nombembe P “How conservationists’ wing tags are actually endangering the Cape vulture” 13 March 2021.
  • “SA trout pulled from invasive species list amid fly-fishing outrage” News24 12 March 2021
  • “Consultation on the proclamation of land in the western and eastern cape as part of the cape floral region protected areas” DEFF Website 9 March 2021.
  • Regulations: Mpumalanga, Western Cape not Tops compliant – Creecy

“Mpumalanga and the Western Cape are not complying with Threatened and Protected Species (Tops) regulations, said Barbara Creecy, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. According to a Mail & Guardian Online report, this emerged in response to parliamentary questions posed by the IFP’s Narend Singh. He had asked Creecy whether, ‘given that certain provinces are allegedly not complying with Tops regulations’, had her department conducted an audit to determine which provinces are noncompliant and why this was the case. He also wanted to know the details of the progress in standardising all environmental legislation and regulations, including bringing all provinces in line with Tops regulations. In her reply, Creecy said the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency had indicated serious capacity problems that had affected its ability to implement the regulations. In the Western Cape, she said, CapeNature considered the Tops regulations’ implementation as an ‘unfunded mandate’, given that additional funds are not allocated to CapeNature for the implementation function. After an audit in 2016, the department had amended the Tops regulations and lists. The revised regulations and lists, Creecy said, still ensured the conservation of species were not compromised.” Full report on the Mail & Guardian Online site [Legalbrief Environmental 9 March 2021].

  • Daily Maverick: Carnie T “Crippled conservation: Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is ‘a very big ship with a very small rudder’” 28 March 2021.
  • Conservation: Baviaanskloof farmers go back to grassroots

“Farmers in the Baviaanskloof are hoping the grass on their side of the fence will soon be much greener, as their ongoing environmental rehabilitation programmes were given a leg up by some much-needed rainfall last week. According to a report in The Herald, scattered showers brought up to 70mm of rain to parts of the World Heritage Site, prompting conservation workers to sow grass seeds across hectares of farmland set aside for conservation, erosion prevention and rehabilitation. Baviaanskloof Hartland Bewarea managing director Justin Gird said they sowed about 70ha of mixed grass seeds last week, and a further 70ha over the following few days. ‘We hope these seeds grow to the point where the grass shoots its own seeds again and we can see some real rehabilitation start to take place,’ Gird said. The bewarea, or conservancy, was established in 2014 and stretches over about 37 000ha. It consists of 15 members – 10 of whom are commercial small stock or cattle farmers in the region. The goal of the conservancy is to implement sustainable farming that protects the area’s natural resources, prevents soil erosion and rehabilitates vegetation lost due to outdated and unsustainable practices.” Full report in The Herald (subscription needed) Legalbrief Environmental 23 March 2021.

Environmental enforcement

  • Lexology: Fasken: Joubert F, Rushton J and Phiri Ona “SLAPP defence recognised for the first time in South African legal history by the Western Cape High Court” 17 February 2021.
  • Criminal: DEFF officials linked to illegal abalone trade

Corrupt government officials can’t seem to distance themselves from operating multimillion-rand businesses in the illegal harvesting and selling of abalone. A Cape Argus report notes that Independent Media’s investigation unit spoke to fishermen who alleged that once they are caught, the abalone is confiscated and set for auction wherein syndicate members would purchase the same abalone for trade purposes from Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries (DEFF) officials. DEFF’s Director of Communications, Zolile Nqayi, acknowledged the allegations and confirmed there were new officials linked to syndicates, apart from the nine officials arrested in 2018 for running the country’s biggest abalone poaching syndicates. ‘There are currently cases involving government officials, identified as fisheries inspectors, who were based at the Gansbaai station in Overberg. Three months ago another official employed on our fishery patrol vessels was investigated for collusion with poachers. He resigned before we could bring disciplinary charges. However, the criminal case is ongoing,’ said Nqayi. Officials arrested in 2018 were back in their jobs after being released on bail and were part of a syndicate run by abalone poachers Paul Julies and Solomon Sauls, who were last month sentenced to 18 years’ and 15 years’ imprisonment, respectively. Western Cape police spokesperson FC van Wyk confirmed investigations involving government officials and poachers, organised syndicates and criminal kingpins.” Full Cape Argus report (subscription needed) Legalbrief 23 March 2021.

Climate and Energy

  • Daily Maverick: Stoddard E “A ray of regulatory sunshine: Gold Fields finally gets approval for solar project” 26 February 2021.
  • Lexology Fasken: Joubert F, Rushton J and Phiri O “Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries identifies additional areas of strategic importance for energy development in South Africa” 18 March 2021.
  • Bizcommunity: “Offshore wind energy could help solve SA’s energy woes” 15 March 2021.
  • Yeld J “Controversial Watsons’ wind farm approval overturned on review” GroundUp 24 March 2021.
  • Thomas Reuters Foundation: Harrisberg K “Coal-powered industry plan for South Africa’s ‘Eden’ sparks green outcry” 29 March 2021.
  • “Minister Barbara Creecy launches South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contribution” Government Statements 30 March 2021.
  • “Geographical areas for the development of renewable energy development zones gazettes” DEFF 31 March 2021.

Mining

  • Lexology: Falcon and Hume Inc: Hayes E and Cloete J “Spotlight: the legal framework and licensing regime for mining in South Africa” 10 November 2020.
  • “Reprieve for Mpumalanga Strategic Water Source Area as court halts start of new coal mine” CER 24 March 2021.
  • Yeld J “Aussie mining company fires Mark Caruso as CEO” GroundUp 1 April 2021.

Water, waste, oceans, and chemicals

  • Youtube: Awuah A and Mbona M “Freshwater Biodiversity Programme and Wetland Map 6 Update” (26 February 2020) posted 26 February 2021.

Workshops and webinars

NWU: Unit for Continuing Education Short Courses

o              CEM-05.1.1 Environmental Impact Assessment: 10 – 14 May 2021

o              CEM-02.1.1 Environmental law: 24 – 28 May 2021

o              CEM-05.3.1 Environmental Risk Assessment: 7 – 11 June 2021

o              CEM-03.1.1 Environmental Management Systems: 5 – 9 July 2021

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