- Government Gazette - National Environmental Management Law Amendment Bill (3.34 MB)
Members of the public were invited to comment on the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment (Nemla) Bill of 2011, which Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa published for comment on August 26.
The Bill can be found in Government Gazette 34558, general notice number 586.
The Nemla Bill proposed amendments to certain provisions under the National Environmental Management Act (Nema), the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (Nemba) and the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act (Nemaqa).
The primary objective of the Bill was to close the regulatory gaps identified during the implementation of Nema, Nemba and Nemaqa. The amendments were intended to improve environmental management and service delivery.
Some of the proposed amendments to Nema included an amendment creating a mandate for the Minister to restrict or prohibit developments in certain geographical areas for a period of time on certain conditions; a proposed new section on preparation and publication of state of environment reports every four years by the national Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), provinces and metropolitan and district municipalities.
Another proposed amendment to Nema was an increase of the Section 24G administrative fine from R1-million to R5-million, exemption of a listed activity undertaken in emergency response situations from the payment of such a fine, and to provide the environmental management inspectors (Green Scorpions) with additional powers to seize a vehicle, aircraft and any other transport mechanisms used in committing an offence.
Proposed amendments to Nemba included clarification of the Minister’s regulatory powers pertaining to the sustainable use of threatened or protected species; provision for flexibility in the exercise of the Minister’s powers relating to aliens and listed invasive species; providing the Minister with regulatory powers on biotraders involved in the exploitation of South Africa’s indigenous natural resources for commercial use.
Further proposed amendments to Nemba would allow the DEA to keep all money arising from bioprospecting agreements in a separate fund for the benefit of communities, and to provide for heavy penalties against offenders involved in bioprospecting of indigenous natural resources without the necessary permit under the Act.
Under Nemaqa it was proposed that penalties and offences for contravening regulations under the Act were in line with other specific environmental management Acts.