The civil rights organisation AfriForum submitted commentary with the Department of Environmental Affairs on 1 July 2019 on the National Environmental Management Act (Nema) and the proposed regulations that were published in the Government Gazette of 17 May 2019.
This after the Department opened public commentary for regulation amendments.
AfriForum supports the proposed outlined regulations that a person/company is responsible for paying for the rehabilitation and so forth of the mine or area on which they work. AfriForum also praises the Minister of Environmental Affairs for the inclusion of measures in these proposed regulations requiring that applicants and holders make information about these financial provisions available and accessible to the public. This will ensure the transparency of the entire scheme.
AfriForum is however concerned that the proposed regulations do not include sufficient measures to ensure that the Minister of Mineral Resources (or their delegates) will manage this financial provision securely and transparently.
“The amendment and adjustment of regulations can be positive. It is however especially important that organisations and stakeholders take part in the commentary process so that regulations are not changed only for political reasons,” says Lambert de Klerk, AfriForum’s Head of Environmental Affairs.
AfriForum therefore requested that the proposed regulations be amended before final publication to include measures ensuring that supplied funding is properly and safely managed. The scope of the regulations must also be expanded to include all state organs and state entities.
“Although the general purpose of these regulations is good, one must however point out that the Department of Mineral Resources already faces financial and human resource limitations that could hinder the effective implementation and enforcement of the proposed regulations,” says De Klerk.