Amnesty for Bioprospectors and Biotraders on the Cards

Department of Environmental Affairs

A period of amnesty to facilitate compliance with the provisions of Chapter 6 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act and the Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit Sharing Regulations (BABS) is on the cards.

The environmental affairs department called for comment on the proposed amnesty in Government Gazette 41220.

The proposed amnesty will apply to bio-prospectors and bio-traders in the indigenous genetic and biological resources sector operating without a permit.

Applicants are expected to, in addition to a permit application, submit a sworn affidavit outlining the benefits to be shared with the holders of indigenous knowledge once the amnesty has expired.

Applicants will have six months from date of declaration of the amnesty to submit permit applications.

The department will have ten days after receipt of the application to assess the information and issue an amnesty letter.

This will allow the successful applicant to continue working in bio-prospecting or bio-trading without a permit.

The amnesty will be in place for two years.

Failure to take advantage of the limited opportunity to facilitate compliance with Chapter 6 of the act and the BABS regulations will result in enforcement measures.

Comment on the proposal is invited within 30 days of date of publication.

Sabinet Cape Town Office