The National Environmental Management Act, Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA) established the Environmental Management Inspectorate.
This combined existing efforts in the biodiversity and protected areas; environmental impact assessment; pollution and waste; and marine and coastal sectors; into a single framework, by creating a single chapter in NEMA which created environmental management inspectors as compliance and enforcement officers. They have mandates, powers, functions and duties ensuring that national environmental legislation is complied with and properly enforced where contraventions are detected.
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment:
The DFFE is responsible for the Legal Authorization and Compliance Inspectorate. NEMA makes provision for obtaining environmental authorisations from the competent authority prior to undertaking listed activities. Activities that are listed in either in Listing 1 or in Listing 2 require Environmental Authorisation before commencement (see respective documents). Depending on the type of activity, the Application for Authorisation must either be subjected to a Basic Assessment (smaller scale activities, the impacts of which are generally known and can be easily managed) or the more thorough Scoping and EIA (likely to have significant impacts that cannot be easily predicted; therefore higher risk activities that are associated with potentially higher levels of pollution, waste and environmental degradation). The applicant can also apply to the Competent Authority for exemption from any provision of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.
Issue of a Compliance Notice Where a company is failing to comply with provisions of an environmental statute, a compliance notice may be issued by the DFFE. When issuing a compliance notice, the DFFE does not have to believe there is any actual harm to the environment from the transgression but simply that there is non-compliance with a technical, legally binding requirement.
Issues of a Directive The DFFE also has power to issue a directive. Unlike a compliance notice the authorities may only issue a directive if they believe that actions by the company are actually causing pollution or other damage or degradation to the environment. The obligation in the statutes is to take reasonable measures to avoid such pollution or damage.
NECER National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report The NECER is a communication mechanism that tells the public about the work of the Inspectorate in the preceding financial year. It also provides a national overview of environmental compliance and enforcement activities undertaken by relevant institutions across the country.
Who to contact
If you assist in bringing an environmental criminal to justice, a court imposing a fine may order that an amount of up to a quarter of the fine be paid to the person whose evidence led to the conviction.
(Section 34B of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998)
Follow the link below to access Environmental Authorastion and Amendment of Environmental Authorastion Application forms (under the Legal Authorisations and Compliance Inspectorate)