Department of Environmental Affairs
“Non-substantive” amendments to regulations affecting threatened or protected species (ToPS) have been published for immediate implementation.
Made under National Environmental Management, Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004, they can be found in notice R614 of Government Gazette 35565 dated 3 August 2012.
According to an article on the department’s website, in terms of the original regulations certain legal responsibilities in respect of biodiversity conservation fall under the provinces.
However, in the case of Mpumalanga, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the function of biodiversity conservation is performed by organs of the state and not the provincial departments concerned.
The definition of ‘provincial department’ in the original regulations did not take this into account and was therefore open to interpretation.
“The amendments … rectify this with a definition of provincial departments that is inclusive of an organ of state responsible for the conservation of biodiversity in a province.”
Further, in the original regulations, the minister was the sole issuing authority for restricted activities carried out by national and provincial departments on land under their jurisdiction, as well as in national protected areas.
The amendments provide for the following, that:
• the minister is the issuing authority for permits relating to the carrying out of restricted activities involving any listed threatened or protected species in a national protected area by an official of an organ of state and by an organ of state for the control of damage-causing animals originating from protected areas or private land; and that
• a provincial MEC is the designated issuing authority for permits relating to the carrying out of restricted activities involving specimens of any listed threatened or protected species, excluding permits relating to:
– restricted activities carried out in a national protected area;
– restricted activities carried out by an official of an organ of state;
– listed threatened or protected marine species; and
– the control of damage-causing animals by an organ of state originating from protected areas or private land.
Also according to the statement, notice 382 of Government Gazette 35343 dated 14 May 2012 regarding the prohibition of trade in certain encephalartos (cycad) species has been repealed with immediate effect. The notice was found to be “in direct conflict with ToPS regulations 25 and 71(3).”