Legislation pertaining to environmental stewardship is endless and even has its foundations defined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Some of these acts are:
- Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act, Act 45 of 1965
- Bill of Rights – Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996
- Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, Act 43 of 1983
- Environment Conservation Act (ECA), Act 73 of 1989
- Environmental Laws Rationalisation Act, Act 51 of 1997
- Marine Living Resources Act, Act 18 of 1998
- Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, Act 28 of 2002
- Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Act, Act 49 of 2008
- Municipal Systems Act, Act 32 of 2000
- National Energy Act, Act 34 of 2008
- National Environmental Management Act (“NEMA”), Act 107 of 1998
- National Environmental Management: Air Quality Management Act, Act 39 of 2004
- National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, Act 10 of 2004 More…
- National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, Act 24 of 2008
- National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, Act 57 of 2003
- National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Amendment Act, Act 15 of 2009
- National Environmental Management: Waste Act, Act 59 of 2008
- National Forests Act, Act 84 of 1998
- National Heritage Resources Act, Act 25 of 1999
- National Parks Act, Act 57 of 1976
- National Veld and Forest Fire Act, Act 101 of 1998
- National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998
- Physical Planning Act, Act 125 of 1991
- Water Services Act, Act 108 of 1997
- Water Services Amendment Act, Act 30 of 2004
For purposes of the discussions to follow, the following is highlighted from the Government Notice No. R. 1182, Government Gazette No.18261, Pretoria, 5 September 1997
ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION ACT, 1989 (ACT No. 73 OF 1989)
THE IDENTIFICATION UNDER SECTION 21 OF ACTIVITIES WHICH MAY HAVE A SUBSTANTIAL DETRIMENTAL EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
[Amended by GN R 1355 of 1997-10-17, GN R 448 of 1998-03-27, GN R 670 of 2002-05-10 and GN R 782 of 2002-06-07]
1.The construction, erection or upgrading of-
- facilities for commercial electricity generation with an output of at least 10 megawatts and infrastructure for bulk supply;
- nuclear reactors and facilities for the production, enrichment, processing, reprocessing, storage or disposal of nuclear fuels and wastes;
- with regard to any substance which is dangerous or hazardous and is controlled by national legislation-
- infrastructure, excluding road and rails, for the transportation of any such substance; and
- manufacturing, storage, handling, treatment or processing facilities for any such substance;
- roads, railways, airfields and associated structures;
- marinas, harbours and all structures below the high-watermark of the sea and marinas, harbours and associated structures on inland waters;
- above ground cableways and associated structures;
- structures associated with communication networks, including masts, towers and reflector dishes, marine telecommunication lines and cables and access roads leading to those structures, but not including above ground and underground telecommunication lines and cables and those reflector dishes used exclusively for domestic purposes;
- racing tracks for motor-powered vehicles and horse racing. But not including indoor tracks;
- canals and channels, including structures causing disturbances to the flow of water in a river bed, and water transfer schemes between water catchments and impoundments;
- dams, levees and weirs affecting the flow of a river;
- reservoirs for public water supply;
- schemes for the abstraction or utilisation of ground or surface water for bulk supply purposes;
- public and private resorts and associated infrastructure;
- sewerage treatment plants and associated infrastructure;
- buildings and structures for industrial, commercial and military manufacturing and storage of explosives or ammunition or for testing or disposal of such explosives or ammunition
2.The change of land use from-
- agricultural or zoned undetermined use or an equivalent zoning to any other land use;
- use for grazing to any other form of agricultural use; and
- use for nature conservation or zoned open space to any other land use.
3.The concentration of livestock, aquatic organisms, poultry and game in a confined structure for the purpose of commercial production, including aquaculture and mariculture.
4.The intensive husbandry of, or importation of, any plant or animal that has been declared a weed or an invasive alien species.
5.The release of any organism outside its natural area of distribution that is to be used for biological pest control.
6.The genetic modification of any organism with the purpose of fundamentally changing the inherent characteristics of that organism.
7.The reclamation of land, including wetlands, below the high-water mark of the sea, and in inland waters.
8.The disposal of waste as defined in section 20 of the Act, excluding domestic waste, but including the establishment, expansion, upgrading or closure of facilities for all waste, ashes and building rubble.
- Scheduled processes listed in the Second Schedule to the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act, 1965 (Act No. 45 of 1965).
10.The cultivation or any other use of virgin ground.
11.In these Regulations, unless the context indicates otherwise –
“relevant authority” means a relevant authority as defined in regulation 1 of Government Notice No. R.1183 of 5 September 1997, as amended by Government Notice No. R. 1645 of 5 December 1998;
“road” means –
- any road determined to be a national road in terms of section 40 of the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act, 1998 (Act No. 7 of 1998), including any part of such road;
- any road for which a fee is charged for the use thereof;
- any provincial road administered by a provincial authority;
- any arterial road or major collector street administered by a metropolitan or local authority;
- any road or track in an area protected by legislation for the conservation of biological diversity or archaeological, architectural or cultural sites or an area that has been zoned open space or an equivalent zoning; or
- any road or track in an area regarded by the relevant authority as a sensitive area.
“upgrading” means the expansion beyond its existing size, volume or capacity of an existing facility, installation or other activity referred to in this Schedule, but does not include regular or routine maintenance and the replacement of inefficient or old plant, equipment or machinery where such does not have an increased detrimental effect on the environment;
“virgin ground” means land which has at no time during the preceding 10 years been cultivated.