The Department of Environmental Affairs briefed the Committee on several impending pieces of legislation. The Chairperson noted that the Committee had been disappointed when the original South African Weather Services Amendment Bill had been withdrawn in August 2012 after being supported by all political parties. Some provisions inserted by the Committee seemed to have been deleted from the new version. There should be some room for state intervention in the South African Weather Service in the event of mismanagement, and government should be responsible for policy matters. The Committee was told that the Bill had been redrafted to deal specifically with hoax warnings and misleading information. There had been a call to respect the right to freedom of speech, and as a result action for spreading a hoax and other misleading warnings would be taken at high level.
The Committee was told that the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill would shortly be introduced into Parliament. Both the Departments of Environmental Affairs and of Mineral Resources had responsibilities in the management of environmental issues in mining areas. There was an agreement between the respective Ministers, but Members noted that this agreement was a contradiction to earlier decisions in Parliament. There was confusion over how appeals against government decisions would be made. Members were concerned that this Committee would have to do the work of the Committee for Mineral Resources, while the Minister of Environmental Affairs would be reduced to the role of an arbiter on appeals. The Department was cautioned that the slow pace of its drafting of this legislation could see it not being adopted in the current term of Parliament.
Members were briefed on the Protected Areas Amendment Bill which was close to being certified. There was a split function between the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on matters relating to marine life. This was resulting in a measure of confusion. Members criticised the Department for not providing them with enough information to appraise the situation properly.
The Department briefed the Committee on the Air Quality Amendment Bill which would be certified the following week. Much of the implementation would be left up to local authorities. Members doubted the wisdom of this, as many municipalities would not have the capacity to deal with this matter and there was no provision for higher spheres of government to intervene where local government was seen to be failing. Members also questioned the increase in the consideration phase for licence applications from six months to two years.
Members were briefed on the Waste Amendment Bill. Provinces would be responsible for compiling an integrated waste management plan. Members were concerned given the lack of capacity even at the level of provincial Executives. The Bill made provision for the establishment of waste management agencies. The Committee protested about this. The function should be undertaken by the Department, not by creating an agency with a governance structure and which could take a position contrary to government policy. Members were despondent that the Department was not listening to what the Committee had been telling it for some time.
The Department briefed the meeting on estuary management. This would fall under the municipality in which it was found, but in some cases where it fell across municipal, district, provincial or even national boundaries there would be shared responsibility. A management plan had to be drawn up by the responsible authorities. Members were concerned that there was not enough scope for national government to exercise oversight where necessary, especially as it was felt that some provinces were not serious enough about environmental issues.
The meeting ended with a brief discussion on Alien and Invasive Species Regulations. These had been presented in the National Council of Provinces. Members felt that the Portfolio Committee should have more engagement with regulations which fell within their portfolio. It was disappointing that no presentation had been prepared for the Committee.
The Chairperson noted that this would be the first briefing on a number of Bills. The original South African Weather Service Amendment Bill had been withdrawn in August 2012 despite all political parties agreeing on the amendments.
South African Weather Services Amendment Bill
Mr Sibusiso Shabalala, Director: Law Reform, Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), said that the main issue in the Bill was offences, and a secondary issue was emissions. The other matter was that of the powers of the Minister regarding supervision of the South African Weather Service. The issues raised by the Committee had now been addressed.
The Chairperson asked what had happened to the items put forward by the Committee. If so, there was no need for further discussion. However, he had seen a few issues in the Bill with which he did not agree.
Mr Shabalala said that ambient monitoring had been included.
The Chairperson asked if Mr Shabalala had seen the amended Committee Bill, and compared it to the Bill now being put forward by DEA.
Mr Shabalala said that there had been other issues.
The Chairperson asked if the Bill, the product of many weeks of work, was the same.
Mr Shabalala said that the Committee had agreed to some issues, and most of these were in the Bill. What was new was the powers of the Minister regarding the South African Weather Service. The Minister was empowered to monitor the execution of the powers delegated to the South African Weather Service.
The Chairperson noted that the Minister would be able to make policy. He felt that the policy of the South African Weather Service should emanate from the Minister and DEA. Policy should come from government. Entities under government should not be policy-makers, and there could be legal challenges to such a situation. It was also useful if the Minister was given the right to intervene if things went wrong, or if policies were not being implemented. DEA and the legal team should look at this aspect. The issue had been raised strongly before but not included in the draft Bill.
Mr Shabalala said that there had been reference to emissions reports to be submitted to the South African Weather Service. References to emissions had been deleted, and the Bill now only spoke to ambient atmospheric conditions. The meeting ordered by the Committee had been held, and the South African Weather Service was now only the custodian. The removal procedure had been deleted.
The Chairperson could not believe this. There had to be some provision to remove the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from office should circumstances warrant this. This could not be left for discussion. He dismissed the suggestion that the Labour Relations Act would cover such a situation. Every piece of legislation contained such a clause. The Committee had deliberated at length over this matter, and he demanded that this must be returned to the Bill, and also that a written explanation be provided why this had been removed. The events with the South African Broadcasting Corporation had been an illustration for the need for such a procedure to be included; otherwise the courts would have to make a decision. This would reflect badly on government.
The Chairperson asked if the section regarding offences had been changed. There had been a public outcry.
Mr Shabalala said that the clause on offences had been left as decided by the Committee.
The Chairperson asked about the concept of an ambient warning regarding air quality. The Committee had felt that this should not come from the South African Weather Service, as it was not a government department. It would be better if such a warning came from government directly. The South African Weather Service could do all the background work, but it should be left to the Minister to issue the necessary warnings. There would need to be some urgency in such a situation, and several departments might be affected.
Mr Shabalala referred to clause 3B.
The Chairperson asked why DEA had rejected the suggestion put forward by the Committee. The South African Weather Service should not be making an announcement impacting on other departments. DEA should draft the protocols relating to such an announcement being made.
Mr F Rodgers (DA) was new to the Committee. He asked if there was a definition of 'severe weather'.
The Chairperson said that the concerns over the issue of weather warnings had fallen away after some discussion. The proposed ban would have been a restriction on freedom of speech.
Mr Shabalala said that the Bill had been redrafted to deal specifically with hoax warnings and misleading information.
The Chairperson said that this would still be dealt with when the Committee deliberated on the Bill.
Mr Alf Wills, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Environmental Advisory Services, DEA, said that the definition of severe weather was highly controversial internationally, especially when there was a question of liability.
The Chairperson said that one of the protections created was that a prosecution would only happen at the behest of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). This power could not be delegated. The decision to prosecute should be taken at a very high level to prevent restrictions on freedom of speech, and would also depend on the severity of the factors involved. He had not received a copy of the amended Bill yet, despite it being tabled on the ATC already.
National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill, 2013
Mr Shabalala said that the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment (NEMLA) Bill would be tabled in Parliament the following week.
The Chairperson warned that some of the Bills might not be passed due to Bills not being presented in good time. He regretted the absence of State Law Advisers (SLA) at this meeting.
Mr Shabalala said that the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) did not cover mining issues, as they were covered by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). It had been agreed that there should be one environmental management system. In 2008 there had been two amendments to the NEMA and MPRDA to give effect to the agreement of 2006. The Minister of Mineral Resources would implement environmental issues in mining areas. There had been two amendments passed to address these issues.
Mr Wills said that there had been certain legal technicalities in the Act which needed to be corrected before it could be implemented.
Mr Shabalala said that the two Amendment Acts were dependent on each other being implemented. The last to come into effect was the MPRDA Act. In 2011 the two Ministers had met to discuss issues regarding environmental management in mining areas. A committee had been established, with task teams to deal with issues of capacity, communication, compliance monitoring, time frames regarding permits, environmental and water licences, joint planning for protected areas, and any appeals lodged during or after the commencement as well as possible amendments. In 2012 there had been an agreement between the departments, but this deviated from the earlier agreement. The Minister of Mineral Resources (MR) would retain control over environmental issues rather than see this revert to the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs (WEA). There was an agreement over time frames. Alignment was needed.
Mr Shabalala said that this Bill had to be read in conjunction with various Acts regarding the environment and mineral resources. The objectives of the current NEMLA Bill were to amend relevant sections of NEMA and the Waste Act. The Minister for MR would be empowered to exercise environmental control.
Mr Shabalala said that clause 1 dealt with definitions, including definitions for 'environmental management inspector' and 'Minister of Mineral Resources'. The Minister for WEA would still make regulations regarding waste and residue, but this would be controlled by the Minister for MR.
The Chairperson said that this would be a highly controversial issue. Parliament had agreed on a process to revert all control over environmental issues to the DEA. This was now all being overturned. There had been an agreement to synchronise procedures. He did not have a copy of the agreement. Nothing was being done to address the synchronisation process. This would probably be left for the Regulations. He feared that the Bill would not be processed during the current term of Parliament. He saw the need for parliamentary control over certain aspects of the Regulations. He foresaw major political battles ahead.
Mr Shabalala said that clause 2 dealt with the development of regulations regarding stockpiles in mining areas. This must be repeated in the Waste Act.
Mr Shabalala said that Clause 3 would declare the Minister of MR the custodian of prospecting rights. The scope of powers would be narrowed. Clause 4 would reduce the consultation process to 30 days. Clause 5 would insert a new section empowering the Minister to appoint environmental management inspectors.
Mr Shabalala said that Clause 6 would be a consequential amendment. The inspectors would only have jurisdiction over certain aspects of NEMA.
The Chairperson asked why there would be no amendment to the Waste Act.
Mr Shabalala explained how the Waste Act would be amended. Clause 7 would deal with transitional arrangements regarding pending appeals. When a mineral licence was issued, an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) had to be attached. If an appeal was lodged, this could be against the permit or the EMP. The challenge was that while the Minister of WEA was only responsible for environmental issues, there needed to be a separation of appeals on environmental and other issues such as social concerns.
The Chairperson said that DEA had dragged its heels in not implementing legislation of 2008.
Mr Shabalala said that some appeals had been in process for some time, and DEA might not know how they related to environmental issues.
The Chairperson said that this issue needed to be reconsidered.
Mr Shabalala said that Clause 8 would insert a definition of 'residue deposits and residue stock piles' into the Waste Act. Clause 9 would move certain clauses into the Waste Act. Clause 10 would ensure that Minister for MR continued to be the licensing authority regarding residue deposits. Clause 11 would insert a paragraph empowering the Minister of WEA to develop regulations on the management of residue deposits. Some activities needed to be licensed. This licence would have to be issued by the Minister of MR at present.
The Chairperson was nervous about the reference to implementation.
Mr Wills said that the Minister would be responsible for authorisation, and for the appointment of environmental inspectors to monitor compliance.
Mr Ishaam Abader, DEA DDG: Legal, Authorisation, Compliance and Enforcement, said that some of the residue stockpiles would be remined, as was done with the gold mine dumps. He understood the permits would pertain to such remining activities.
The Chairperson said that the clause was about the licensing authority. The clause should be referring to the process of licensing. DEA needed to reconsider the wording of the clause. More areas were now being created.
Mr Shabalala said that NEMA defined prospecting, production and exploration areas.
The Chairperson hoped that there was a clause in the Waste Act providing that the same meaning was attached to the defined areas. There needed to be a link to the definitions.
Mr Abader said that the procedure for dealing with appeals was clearly defined.
The Chairperson disagreed. The Amendment spoke to claims or appeals lodged after the implementation of the Act, but this was not specified. The appeal could be on a matter that was still pending under the previous legislation. The wording needed to be corrected, although he liked the present form.
Mr Shabalala said that Clause 13 and 14 would repeal section 13 and Schedule to NEMA.
Mr J Skosana (ANC) understood that MR would have more control over environmental resources than DEA. Only appeals and regulations fell under the Minister of WEA. This did not seem to be consistent with the agreements of 2008. He wanted to see a copy of the agreements.
The Chairperson said that there would be problems with the Bill in its current form. There was a package of agreements. He wanted to see the processes being synchronised. There should first be an environmental authorisation, and then a water authorisation. Only then should mining considerations come into play. Without these, he agreed with Mr Skosana that this Committee would be doing the work of their MR counterparts. The Parliamentary decisions of 2008 would have to be overturned. This was in fact what was in the agreement between the Ministers. The current state of stagnation could not be allowed to persist. One of the things in Regulations was that any decision on a mining licence without concurrence of water and environmental authorities would be ultra vires. He wanted to be pragmatic but wanted to see an alternative arrangement. He wanted to see a package being put together, as the current proposal would not work. It would only serve to overturn the earlier decision by Parliament.
Mr Skosana could not allow this Bill to unfold, which would only make the Minister a route of appeal. Regulation could not be made and then not implemented.
The Chairperson said that the only procedure was that of an appeal. The Minister had no power to intervene if he or she saw anything going wrong during the process. There would still be problems at the public hearings, and there needed to be an alternative available.
National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Amendment Bill
The Chairperson said that the Protected Areas Amendment Bill was the subject of a court case. A shark cage diving concern had launched a challenge under the previous departmental structure. There was some uncertainty over which of the new departments was concerned. The court had been unable to determine the intention of the President in making the proclamation regarding the change of departmental structure.
Adv Radia Razack, Director: Law Reform and Appeals, DEA, said that the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) had fallen under the then Department of Fisheries and Tourism. In 2004, the Protected Areas Act had been implemented. Marine protected areas had been included. In 2009 there had been a split, and the functions of Fisheries had moved to the Department of Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries (DAFF). There had been three proclamations to enable this. Marine aquaculture had moved from the control of Environmental Affairs to Fisheries. In 2010 the Fisheries Department had wanted to take over all captive fisheries functions, leading to the confusing proclamation of 2010. There was confusion over which powers and governance procedures were to be moved, and which retained. Regulation of shark diving activities remained with DEA, and the case referred to by the Chairperson could not easily be located under any particular authority.
Adv Razack said that there had been serious discussions with DAFF, DEA, the Presidency and SLA. Proper proclamations had to be crafted. The mandates of the departments had to be spelled out. There had been a proclamation published on 31 May 2013. The Bill could not be done until the mandate had been clarified. Some functions under the MLRA went to Fisheries, and others to Environment. DEA was left with protected areas and species conservation functions.
Adv Razack said that the Threatened or Proected Species (TOPS) Regulations dealt with sharks and whales.
The Chairperson recalled comments made by one of the Members at the time.
Adv Razack said that the details of the permitting was in the Regulations.
The Chairperson asked that the situation be checked.
Ms Razack continued that the proclamation was not legislation. This had to be done to separate the mandates. DEA had to take on the protected areas and species conservation functions, and frame this with legislation. This was the purpose of the Bill. The amendments would incorporate the management of Marine and Protected Areas. The Minister needed powers to proclaim and withdraw the status of protected areas. Much of this needed to be in the Act rather than Regulations. Consultation was needed. There were fishing zones within protected areas, and the regulations regarding allowable catches fell under DAFF. Consultation was needed between the ministries. Many protected areas were attached to national parks, and sufficient information needed to be exchanged.
Adv Razack said that Prince Edward Island was the latest addition to the protected areas suite.
The Chairperson had often said that Departments should prepare well for their visits to the Committee. He would have liked to have seen copies of the proclamations and the MLRA. This had not happened. This was also the case with the presentation on mining. He felt that this was a sign that the Committee's inputs were not really needed.
Mr Skosana asked how far DEA had gone to engage DAFF over common interests. The functions needed to be clear. Such engagement was essential.
The Chairperson asked where the Bill was.
Adv Razack said that the Bill was close to being certified, but had not yet been tabled. She would send whatever documents she had at her disposal through the liaison officer. The Bill was the result of a year-long consultation process.
The Chairperson said that the documents should still be available. This Bill seemed to be more technical in nature. He was concerned over the sharks, and did not see anything about regulations. It would be important to have a clause ensuring that marine interests were covered.
Mr Geoffrey Cowan, DEA Director: Protected Area Planning Legislation Compliance & Monitoring, said that the Protected Areas Act did make provision for the Minister to make regulations. He believed that the marine areas would be covered.
National Environmental Management: Air Quality Amendment Bill, 2013
Mr Shabalala said that all the Bills had been submitted for certification at the same time. The Air Quality Amendment Bill should be certified in the following week.
Dr Thuli Mdluli, Chief Director, DEA, said that the Air Quality Bill would protect the quality of air in the country. Clause 1 would correct definitions. Clause 2 would establish a National Air Quality Advisory Committee.
The Chairperson had been stunned to hear at a previous briefing that national government would not be implementing the Act. Complaints would come to national government, but it seemed that municipalities would be doing the implementation.
Ms Mdluli said that Clause 6 would determine that the Minister of Environmental Affairs would be the licensing authority.
The Chairperson said that powers were being taken from another level of government. This could be challenged. It was easy to say this, but it was not clear how a strategic project would be defined.
Mr Shabalala said that the process was already outlined in the NEMLA second amendment. If a matter was declared as a national priority the public must be informed. It was linked to a Cabinet process.
Ms Mdluli said that the other amendment was related to the Waste Act. Again the Minister would be the licensing authority.
Mr Abader said that the Minister would be licensing authority for a number of activities.
The Chairperson saw no reference to local government. This was already in the Act. Air quality was about the last priority for this sphere. He had been shocked when he had first heard this.
Ms Mdluli said that there would be certain areas where national government would fulfil the air quality function.
The Chairperson asked that a clearer explanation be prepared for a following meeting. This should at least be a concurrent power. National government would then retain its powers. Not every power should be taken away from local government. NEMA should be revisited, and the mechanisms described there could be used to take over functions from local government if they were not being performed.
Ms Mdluli said that the Bill would make provision in Clause 3 for an air quality management plan to be approved within 24 months rather than the current six.
The Chairperson felt that six months was too short a period, but development would stagnate if two years would be taken up by this plan.
Ms Mdluli said that Clause 4 would allow the licensing authority to act against certain unlawful activities. Offences and penalties would be stipulated. Section 29 of the Air Quality Act would allow for pollution prevention plans. This provision would be given teeth.
Mr Abader said that if a municipality did not have the capacity, they could call on other spheres of government.
The Chairperson accepted this, but there had to be provision for higher spheres of government to intervene if there was a failure.
Ms Mdluli said that Clauses 7, 8 and 9 would deal with applications for atmospheric emission licences. Clause 10 would provide for a validity of one year for a provisional licence from the date of commissioning. Clause 11 would clarify the intention of section 49 regarding the criteria for fit and proper persons who could be employed as a director or manager.
The Chairperson agreed with the intent, but it would be hard legally to make a case against the person who employed a person who was not fit and proper. This clause needed to be worded differently. There should perhaps be a prohibition of employing a person who had been found guilty of certain offences.
Ms Mdluli said that it would not be an offence not to comply with established controlled fuel standards established in terms of section 28.
Mr Wills said that this would apply to all fuels, including coal with a high sulphur content.
The Chairperson said that other tools would be needed for effective punishment of transgressors. There should be provision for licences to be evoked immediately given the length of prosecutions and light sentences.
Ms Mdluli said that Clause 13 made provision for Regulations to be made. Clauses 14, 15 and 16 would make provision for transitional arrangements. The standards had already been promulgated.
The Chairperson asked if this was the subject of hearings that had been held.
Ms Mdluli said that the recommendations had not yet been implemented, which was why the Committee had not been given a copy yet.
The Chairperson said that it was important not to stagnate power at a certain level. He would need to hear an explanation of what could be done.
Dr S Huang (ANC) questioned the extension of the time frame for applications from six to 24 months. This was a priority area. He wanted to hear a strong reason for this.
Ms Mdluli replied that the 24 months was based on current practice. A baseline report had to be compiled, and then a model could be built on a prediction on where emissions would be deposited. She undertook to investigate if the process could be shortened.
The Chairperson said that most of the principles had already been discussed.
National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Bill, 2013
Mr Mark Gordon, DDG: Chemical and Waste Management, DEA, introduced himself. There would be a briefing on rivers in August.
Mr Shabalala said that the amendments to the current Waste Act would include definitions for 'by-product', 'recovery', 're-use' and 'waste'. It would make provision for integrated waste management plans. The objectives of the Bill included improved waste management.
Mr Shabalala said that Clause 1 would provide for definitions. Clause 2 would ensure that the disposal of animal waste and carcasses would be provided for. Clause 3 would clarify the requirements for municipal waste management plans being endorsed by the Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) responsible for local government.
The Chairperson hoped that there would be a procedure for consultation.
Mr Shabalala said that Clause 4 would provide that DEA was not required to develop an integrated waste management plan. He was not sure if municipal plans were sent to DEA.
The Chairperson said that this was vital. Some provinces were weak, and the endorsement of the MEC meant nothing in some cases. A process was needed. DEA should at least have sight of the plans.
Mr Shabalala said that Clause 5 provided for an annual report to be submitted to the MEC. Clause 6 would provide for the MEC to act in concurrence with the Minister. Clause 7 would clarify that provinces would only have to compile an integrated waste management plan and not an industry waste management plan. Clauses 8, 9 and 10 were consequential amendments related to Clause 7.
Mr Shabalala said that Clause 11 would provide for the Minister to have a discretionary power on the creation of a waste management agency. Clause 12 would repeal section 78 of NEMA. All appeals would be processed under section 43.
The Chairperson said that Clause 11 was far-reaching. A power was being created. He was opposed to the creation of agencies. There were government officials in place to exercise these functions. He did not understand the trend to create boards and agencies. He wanted to flag this issue. He was much more in favour of good professional people working with the Department. This was an important area where there could be huge job creation.
Mr Shabalala said that Clause 13 would provide for a licensing authority with a legal mandated to review or amend the authorisation related to waste management agencies.
The Chairperson said that agencies were being created, but the Minister did not have the power to make policies. He wanted to know who drafted the legislation. He could not believe that the same problems were still happening. If this was a collective process, then he wanted to know what was done with the collective views expressed by the Committee. It seemed that DEA took no heed of what the Committee was saying. He went to the extreme of suggesting that the Committee be disbanded.
Mr Skosana said that the DEA was busy with a volume of work. Members were always complaining about consultants, but the new buzz-word was agencies. Skills development should address the challenges within departments. Democracy was about people being involved. This was not being done by DEA. It seemed that agencies were being made a priority, but this should not be the case.
The Chairperson said that there should be capacity within the unit of DEA rather than within an agency with all its trimmings.
Mr Gordon said that one of the streams was developing clear regulations.
The Chairperson was happy to have government capacity, but the capability should be within the department rather than an agency. The directors could be businessmen, who could adopt a policy at odds with government policy. A strategic resource stream could be given to a foreign company, and government's ability to intervene would be restricted. Waste was a serious issue, and should fall within the policy domain of the DEA. These should be line functions of the DDG.
National Estuarine Management Protocol
The Chairperson said that the Committee had dealt with the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) aspect the previous day.
Mr Xola Mkefe, Director: Coastal and Biodiversity Conservation, DEA, said that the document presented was a guideline on how to develop an estuary management plan. The status of the different estuaries had been rated based on various factors such as ecological degradation. Most of the best systems were found in rural areas where there was less pollution.
Mr Mkefe said that there had been various Acts impacting on estuaries. All the concerned departments had been involved in the development of the protocol. The purpose of the protocol was to determine a strategic version. Management standards needed to be set. There was no nationally co-ordinated plan in the past.
Adv Razack said that conditions were diverse, and this had made it difficult to develop a co-ordinated plan in the past.
Mr Mkefe said that the protocol had been passed and published in the Gazette in May 2013. Estuaries needed to be managed in a sustainable manner. They were often centres of economic development. Standards were set to maintain ecological systems. An important consideration was identifying responsible authorities. If the system fell totally with the boundary of a single municipality, then that municipality was responsible for the plan. There were other considerations where the estuary straddled municipal, district, provincial and even national boundaries. The National Ports Authority was also involved where the estuary fell within a harbour.
Mr Mkefe said that some estuaries permitted fishing and others not. There was a public participation process in the ICM Act. There were defined role players in the institutional and review processes.
The Chairperson liked what he had heard, but failed to see the link between DEA and how the plan was to be implemented. Provincial governments would approve plans, but there seemed to be a huge gap in terms of evaluation and monitoring.
Dr Monde Mayekiso, DDG: Oceans and Coasts, DEA, said that there had been an historical split. There had been no enforcement of regulations in the past. DEA was now dealing with ocean and coastal issues. There was some enforcement.
Mr Abader said that this would be done in terms of NEMA. Specialists would be used to ensure that there was compliance.
Adv Razack said that the ICM Act was one of a suite of tools.
The Chairperson wanted a proper input on how the protocol could be linked to implementation. Estuaries were defined in the ICM Act. The amendments should be made now, and DEA must see where these were needed.
Mr Skosana also praised the presentation, but was concerned about how the different plans could be brought together.
The Chairperson said that if local government failed to produce a plan it would be up to provincial government. Some of the provinces were not good on environmental issues. The problem was to look at the next step. DEA was responsible for the environment and should be able to determine if provincial and local authorities had the capacity to manage the environment. He asked that this be taken back to senior management. Good work was being done but seemed to stall at a certain point. DEA should consult on legalities if there was uncertainty. While the role of the different spheres of government were defined, there were claw-back clauses to cover for failures at provincial or local level. The frameworks were important, but DEA had to determine how it could have a say in what local government was doing to implement national laws. He wanted to see a broader discussion at a management level.
Mr Wills said that the conceptual work done by the Committee on NEMA amendments required a carry-through to the other subsidiary Acts. This had been done to some degree on Air Quality, but even that still needed some work.
The Chairperson asked for DEA to send a strong team for the public hearings the following week. There had already been extensive amendments on the EIA Bill. There was a problem in implementing policies. Further amendments could still be accommodated while the Bills were still being processed, but time was an issue.
Mr Wills said that one approach was cross-referencing. The work was being done under NEMA.
The Chairperson said that thought must be given on how the protocol should be made to work.
Alien and Invasive Species Regulations
The Chairperson said that he had received a complaint, and had been unaware of the existence of Alien and Invasive Species Regulations. These were being processed in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). There was a Committee to look at delegated legislation, that is, regulations. The Portfolio Committees were better equipped to assess the standard of regulations in their sphere of influence. That Committee had approved the regulations.
Mr Abader had asked the person responsible, but she was not available to attend the Committee.
The Chairperson was amazed. The Biodiversity Team was too busy to brief the Committee. There had been sufficient notice given.
Mr Abader had only learnt of the requirement the previous day.
The Department's Parliamentary Liaison Officer was aware of the approximate date for the inputs.
The Chairperson wanted a full briefing to distribute to Members, who would then decide if a presentation was needed. There should have been a briefing available even if the members of that directorate were not available to present it personally, even if it was largely a repeat of the presentation made at the NCOP. While regulations were not the responsibility of the Committee, he would like to have more engagement. The Committee also had a role to ensure that the legislation it had processed was in fact being implemented. He was concerned that the documentation provided to Members was incomplete, which hampered his role in guiding the meeting. Members needed the information. The work presented to Members was being done professionally, but more background information was needed.
The Chairperson said it was now likely that the legislation discussed in the meeting would not go to Parliament before the final session of the year. Even then there was a limited time frame available for passing legislation.
The meeting was adjourned.
- National Environmental Management: Air Quality Amendment Bill, 2013 presentation
- National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill, 2013 presentation
- South African Weather Service Amendment Bill presentation
- National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Amendment Bill
- National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Bill, 2013 presentation
- B28-2013 - National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Amendment Bill
- B23-2013 - South African Weather Service Amendment Bill
- B32-2013 - National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Bill
- B26-2013 - National Environmental Management Laws Third Amendment Bill
- B27-2013 - National Environmental Management: Air Quality Amendment Bill
- B8-2013 - National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Amendment Bill
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting