Question NW2805 to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

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26 October 2023 - NW2805

Profile picture: Breedt, Ms T

Breedt, Ms T to ask the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

What informed the decision and notice of the Registrar of the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Seeds and Remedies Act, Act 36 of 1947, that 28 active ingredients and their formulations that meet the criteria of carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and reproductive (CMR) toxicity categories 1A and 1B for the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of classification, will be banned in the Republic as from 1 June 2024; (2) what are the reasons that the Registrar's notice did not also extend to active ingredients in pesticides registered for use in the Republic, which are categorised as World Health Organisation Classification 1a and 1b; (3) whether the Registrar has commissioned any experts to advise him on which active ingredients registered for use in the Republic might meet the CMR categories 1A and 1B for the GHS of classification; if not, why not; if so, will she furnish Ms T Breedt with a (a) list of the specified experts and (b) copy of their terms of reference; if not, why not, in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case; (4) (a) on which methodology did the Registrar rely to compile the list of 28 active ingredients earmarked for banning in the Republic, (b) who did the specified work and (c) what was the output of the process in terms of a report and/or findings; (5) (a) what else needs to occur before the list is finalised and (b) by what date does the Registrar envisage the publication of a finalised list?


1. The decision by the Department is informed by the Pesticide Management Policy of South Africa, 2010. The Policy amongst others issues, requires measures to be taken to deal with pesticides that pose unmanageable risk, such as those with Endocrine Disrupting Properties, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), carcinogenic and immunotoxic potential, formulations classified by World Health Organization as Extremely Hazardous (Class 1a) and Highly Hazardous (Class 1b), as well as pesticides associated with frequent and severe poisoning incidents. The measures outlined in the Policy include restrictions, phase-out, and ban.

Based on the definition of Highly Hazardous Pesticides as per the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2016, it was decided that pesticides that meet the criteria of Carcinogenicity, Mutagenicity and Reproductive (CMR 1A or 1B) of Globally Harmonized System (GHS) should be banned as they cause disproportionate harm to human and animal health. CMR 1A or 1B are pesticides that are scientifically proven to induce or increase cancer, heritable genetic defects, and adverse effects in the progeny and/or an impairment of male or female reproductive functions or capacity.

2. Most of the pesticides that fall within the World Health Organization Classification 1a and 1b are fumigants. Although such pesticides are classified as extremely hazardous (1a) and highly hazardous (1b), the Department decided that rather than banning such pesticides, the appropriate measure would be to impose restrictions as currently, there are limited viable alternative pesticides. Restrictions as per the said Policy is one of the regulatory measures where sales and use of certain pesticides of concern are limited to trained professional applicators. Where pesticides are restricted, exposure to such products by the public and workers is limited.

3. The Fertilizer, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, 1947 (Act No. 36 of 1947) provides for the Minister to appoint Technical Advisors to advise the Registrar on technical matters. The Registrar together with Technical Advisors also relies on advice from other relevant government departments, international bodies like the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), World Health Organisation (WHO), and regulatory bodies from other countries (e.g. European Union).

(a) Apart from reliance on Technical Advisors appointed in terms of the said Act, no outside experts were commissioned to advise the Registrar on the determination of the active ingredients that meet the CMR 1A or 1B categories.

(b) The Department relies on the classification of pesticides based on the Globally Harmonized System of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS) to determine the list. Using the criteria of Highly Hazardous Pesticides as defined by the FAO and WHO 2016, together with the European database the list of pesticides with CMR 1A or 1B properties were identified. It should be noted most countries rely on the European Pesticide and European Chemical Agency (ECHA) databases, as such, the identified list of pesticides is harmonised with other countries. Furthermore, as review of pesticides with CMR 1A or 1B is continuing at an international level, the Department will update the list as the information becomes available. The Department does not see the need to repeat the work that is already being done by a world recognized regulatory authority.

4. (a) To identify CMR substances, pesticide active ingredients and their formulations that meet the criteria of carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and reproductive toxicity categories 1A and 1B of the GHS was used as references. To assess whether a pesticide is category 1A or 1B for CMR, DALRRD does not do its own classification, but rather relies on data sources from the European Pesticide database and European Chemical Agency (ECHA).

(b) The classification was done by the European Union Authority. Based on the GHS criteria, individual companies did their own initial classifications. Using the GHS criteria together with the European Union databases, the Registrar after verifying the information approves the classification and label where such was done correctly.

(c) The outputs are the approved Safety Data sheets and labels. There are no reports compiled.

5.(a) The list has been finalised.

(b) The list will be published by 31 October 2023 on the Department’s website. Once the list is published the Department would welcome comments for further consideration.

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