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National Veld and Forest Fire Bill to be Tabled Soon

November 11, 2021

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

The Draft National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill will be tabled in parliament soon.

The forestry, fisheries and the environment department published the draft bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 45449.

The explanatory summary indicates that uncontrolled veldfires are responsible for environmental degradation, loss of jobs, displacement of communities, and general destruction of infrastructure, livestock, habitat and biodiversity.

The draft bill aims to amend the National Veld and Forest Fire Act in order to:

• Improve the administration of the act;
• Deal with a number of important technical enhancements;
• Align the legislation with the post 1996 constitutional framework; and
• Ensure that the act remains responsive and relevant in the field of combating and preventing veld and forest fires.

The proposed legislation calls for the setting up of fire protection associations by municipalities or a traditional council.

The draft bill also seeks to extend the powers of entry, search, seizure and arrest to peace officers and traditional leaders under certain conditions.