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Three Environment Bills Passed by National Assembly

May 25, 2017

Department of Environmental Affairs and Water

The National Environmental Management Laws Third Amendment Bill, the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Bill and the National Water Amendment Bill have been passed by the National Assembly this week.

The three bills have been referred to the select committee on land and environmental affairs in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) which began a review of the bills today.

The National Environmental Management Laws Third Amendment Bill aims to address aspects of exploration, prospecting, mining and production activities which were previously excluded from the scope of the act.

Such activities were referred to in three acts including the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (2002), the National Environmental Management Act (1998) and the National Water Act (1998) and this created duplication and also long delays in processing applicable authorisations.

The amendment bill therefore brings these authorisations under the authority of the Department of Environmental Affairs which will develop and maintain applicable regulations.

The amendments of the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Bill (2013) will:
• Establish a waste management bureau to provide for capacity for implementation of waste management plans and associated waste charges.
• Address processing and approval processes regarding integrated waste management plans and industry waste management plans.

The bill acknowledges the identification of the waste sector as having potential for job creation and contributing to the macro economy.

The National Water Amendment Bill clarifies the roles of the department and the Water Tribunal relating to water use licences applicable to prospecting, exploration, mining or production activities.

The amendment will therefore allow for the Minster of Water Affairs and the Water Tribunal to be the responsible authority for appeals relating to these activities.

The bill will come into operation on the same date as the National Environmental Laws Third Amendment Act (2014) to which it primarily refers.