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NCOP Seeks Comment on NEMLA Bill

December 6, 2019

Parliament

6 December 2019

The national council of provinces (NCOP) seeks comment on the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill [B14D – 2017].

The bill was tabled in parliament in May 2017.

It was remitted back to the portfolio committee on environmental affairs in September 2018 prior to its second reading debate in the national assembly.

The committee adopted the bill in June 2018 and sent it to the national assembly for its second reading debate scheduled for 4 September 2018.

However, the former environmental affairs minister, Edna Molewa, wrote to the former speaker of parliament, Baleka Mbete, requesting the postponement of the second reading debate.

The bill was subsequently passed by the national assembly and sent to the NCOP for concurrence in November 2018.

It lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament but was revived by the NCOP in October 2019.

The bill seeks to amend a raft of environmental legislation including the National Environmental Management Act, National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, National Environmental Management: Waste Act and the National Environmental Management Amendment Act.

It aims to provide for clarity on certain matters and textual amendments.

The proposed legislation seeks to put in place a single application process for licences and permits and allow for the issuing of integrated licences and authorisations.

In terms of the one environmental system provisions, the bill seeks to provide for simultaneous submission of all environmental applications linked to mining activities and clarify that the mineral resources minister is responsible for implementation of the licensing system for waste activity flowing from mining operations.

During its deliberations, the portfolio committee introduced new provisions in the bill that were not contained in the tabled bill.

The NCOP first called for comment on the bill in February 2019.

The select committee on land reform, environment, mineral resources and energy seeks comment on the bill until 24 January 2020.

The select committee also seeks comment on the National Forests Amendment Bill [B 11B – 2016].

The bill was tabled in parliament in July 2016.

The portfolio committee on agriculture, forestry and fisheries called for comment on the bill in 2017.

The national assembly passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in August 2018.

The bill lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament but was revived by the NCOP in October 2019.

The aim of the bill is to amend the National Forests Act of 1998 in order to:


• provide for clear definitions of natural forests and woodlands;
• provide for public trusteeship of the nation’s forestry resources;
• increase the promotion and enforcement of sustainable forest management;
• increase the measures provided for in the Act to control and remedy deforestation;
• provide for appeals against decisions taken under delegated powers and duties;
• reinforce offences and penalties; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

Comment is also sought until 24 January 2020.