Nuclearisation of Africa - Conference in pictures

New law a 'free-for-all' for property developers

Written by  Jo-Anne Smetherham Tuesday, 25 May 2010 15:20
Rate this item
(0 votes)

A Federation of environment groups is to investigate taking legal action against proposed laws that they say would grant property developers a "free-for-all" and leave the environment with little, if any, protection against them.


The final draft of amendments to the National Environment Management Act (NEMA) and the Minerals Petroleum Resources Development Act were presented at a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting attended by several environmental groups on Thursday.

If passed into law, the proposals would allow the building of new dams, golf courses, building complexes and all other developments, with no meaningful criteria for environmental impact assessments (EIAs), says the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE).

"There's no benchmark for EIAs in the amendments," said FSE spokesperson Koos Pretorius.

"We're going to be far worse off than we are now.

"It's going to be a question of who can spend the most money in a court case, and that's a battle we (non-government organisations) lose every single time."

The FSE is to take legal advice on the amendments and then decide whether to fight them in court if they are passed, says Pretorius.

The current law states that developers - including companies opening new mines - "must" do the following, but the amendments state merely they "may" be done:

  • Provide for public information and participation, giving all interested and affected parties an opportunity to participate.
  • Investigate mitigation measures to keep negative consequences to a minimum.
  • Report on gaps in knowledge.
  • Plan and set up ways of monitoring and managing the impacts.
  • Investigate the consequences of alternatives to the development.


Several other organisations have objected to the changes on the same grounds as the FSE. They include the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, the Botanical Society and development groups, including the Nkuzi Development Association.

The proposed changes to the law would be disastrous for the environment and vulnerable communities in mining areas, said Pretorius.

Under the amendments, NEMA would determine the criteria for all EIAs for new mines. However, the Minerals Petroleum Resources Development Act - which is also being amended - would govern how long the EIA should take.

The Minister of Minerals and Energy would be the authority in charge, approving new mines. The changes to the two laws would mean that mining EIAs, which should take 18 months to complete, would have to be finished in only 120 days, said Pretorius. Anybody
objecting to an application for a new mine would have to do so within 30 days of the minister receiving the application.

Under a normal EIA process, objections can be received after a full EIA is completed, which gives those objecting a chance to assess the consequences of the new mine.

Cape Times: Jo-Anne Smetherham

 

SA NEWS

FSE - DONATION OF TREES AND TREE PLANTING IN SIMUNYE, WEST RAND IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOUTH DEEP MINE

The FSE, in association with Gold Fields’ South Deep Mine, donated 40 white Karee Trees (Searsia penduline) during Arbor Week to the mining affected community of Simunye in the West Rand and participated in the tree planting ceremony with the community of Simunye, the local Municipality and officials from South Deep Mine.  The FSE also delivered a presentation during the ceremony.

"Varkies" gou op hok, maar als nie pluis | Beeld

Article also available for download as an attachment.

Radon Alert - Carte Blanche

Millions of South Africans are exposed to radioactive radon gas in their homes and workplaces every day, as the naturally occurring gas escapes through cracks in the earth. The second leading cause of lung cancer in several countries, radon breaks down and when inhaled, decaying atoms emit alpha radiation that can damage the DNA. There are no safe levels of radon concentration. The United States Environmental Protection Agency emphasises any radon exposure has some risk of causing lung cancer. Carte Blanche investigates why South Africa has no regulations to protect against radon accumulation in the home and what you can do to test your home and prevent lung cancer.   Watch the video here.

WITS Economics & Finance Courses: Mining for Development: The Taxation Linkage

Economics & Finance Courses at the University of the Witwatersrand. Mining for Development: The Taxation Linkage - Understand taxation for development and sustainability in mining. View the course here. Enrolment starts on the 7th of October 2019.

WATER

How Relevant are the Vaal Barrage's Catchment Corums

Article in North Star - Vereeniging & Midvaal.Author: Johann Tempelhoff Article attached for download.

UNPACKING THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN WATER

PDF article attached for download....

The Federation for a Sustainable Environment’s ongoing role in addressing the sewage pollution in the Vaal River

‘People the same as pigs’ in the VaalBy Sheree Bega | 16 Oct 2020 Foul: Pigs ro...