Draft Climate Change Bill Under Construction

Department of Environmental Affairs

A Draft Climate Change Bill is in the pipeline.

Speaking during her department’s budget vote debate in parliament, the environmental affairs minister, Edna Molewa, clarified that the proposed legislation is designed to provide an effective national response for both mitigation and adaptation measures.

The minister also announced that the environmental affairs department was currently implementing Phase One of South Africa’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction System.

Carbon budgets had already been allocated to most of the big emitters.

“We are working towards Phase Two, and are confident that once implemented it will support our transition to a low carbon economy and society.”

A Marine Spatial Planning Framework was also in place and the development of sub-regional Marine Spatial Management Plans was underway.

The minister also announced that the National Waste Management Strategy was currently under review for the third time.

“It will take into consideration our commitments to waste minimisation, the further development of the Circular Economy and consider the capacity or resource implications for the implementation of waste management functions.”

In her speech, the deputy minister, Barbara Thomson, announced that Part 8 of the Waste Act dealing with “remediation of contaminated land is in full force and various contaminated sites are planned to be remediated.”

“This is a great step in ensuring that we re-use the brownfields for economic development and thereby saving green fields for agricultural production amongst other competing important uses.”

Meanwhile, the environmental affairs department recently provided responses to parliament on submissions on the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill.

The bill was tabled in May 2017.

It 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.

The bill 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.

Some of the responses include that the amendments to Chapter 5 will have the opposite effect than to stifle economic activities and growth, there is no intention to use permit systems to block any benefits arising from the use of biological resources and the proposed changes in respect of invasive species do not change the current regulatory approach of Chapter 5 but clarifies that a distinction between control and eradication is required.

The department also provided additional proposed amendments to accommodate the financial provisioning regulations.

Sabinet Cape Town Office