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National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998)

Chapter 4 : Fair Decision-Making and Conflict Management

18. Conciliation


(1) Where a matter has been referred to conciliation in terms of this Act, the Director-General may, on the conditions, including time-limits, that he or she may determine, appoint a conciliator acceptable to the parties to assist in resolving a difference or disagreement: Provided that if the parties to the difference or disagreement do not reach agreement on the person to be appointed, the Director-General may appoint a person who has adequate experience in or knowledge of conciliation of environmental disputes.


(2) A conciliator appointed in terms of this Act must attempt to resolve the matter—
(a) by obtaining such information whether documentary or oral as is relevant to the resolution of the difference or disagreement;
(b) by mediating the difference or disagreement;
(c) by making recommendations to the parties to the difference or disagreement;
(d) in any other manner that he or she considers appropriate.


(3) In carrying out his or her functions, a conciliator appointed in terms of this Act must take into account the principles contained in section 2.


(4) A conciliator may keep or cause to be kept, whether in writing or by mechanical or electronic means, a permanent record of all or part of the proceedings relating to the conciliation of a matter.


(5) Where such record has been kept, any member of the public may obtain a readable copy of the record upon payment of a fee as approved by Treasury.


(6) Where conciliation does not resolve the matter, a conciliation may enquire of the parties whether they wish to refer the matter to arbitration and may with their concurrence endeavour to draft terms of reference for such arbitration.


(a) The conciliator must submit a report to the Director-General, the parties and the person who referred the matter for conciliation, setting out the result of his or her conciliation, and indicating whether or not an agreement has been reached.
(b) In the event of no agreement having been reached, the report may contain his or her recommendations and reasons therefor.
(c) Where relevant, the report must contain the conciliator's comments on the conduct of the parties.
(d) The report and any agreement reached as a result of the conciliation must be available for inspection by the public and any member of the public may obtain a copy thereof upon payment of a fee as approved by Treasury.


(8) The Director-General may from time to time with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance, appoint persons or organisations with relevant knowledge or expertise to provide conciliation and mediation services.