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

Chapter 5 : Integrated Environmental Management

24C. Procedure for identifying competent authority

 

(1) When listing or specifying activities in terms of section 24(2) the Minister, or an MEC with the concurrence of the Minister, must identify the competent authority responsible for granting environmental authorisations in respect of those activities.

 

(2) The Minister must be identified as the competent authority in terms of subsection (1), unless otherwise agreed to in terms of section 24C(3), if the activity-
(a) has implications for international environmental commitments or relations, and where—
(i) it is identified by the Minister by notice in the Gazette; or
(ii) it is an activity that takes place in an area protected by means of an international environmental instrument, other than—
(aa) a conservancy;
(bb) a protected natural environment;
(cc) a proclaimed private nature reserve;
(dd) a natural heritage site;
(ee) the buffer zone or transitional area of a biosphere reserve; or
(ff) the buffer zone or transitional area of a world heritage site;

[Section 24C(2)(a) amended by section 6(b) of Act No. 30 of 2013]

(b) [Section 24C(2)(b) deleted by section 6(c) of Act No. 30 of 2013];
(c) has a development footprint that falls within the boundaries of more than one province or traverses international boundaries;
(d) is undertaken, or is to be undertaken, by—
(ii) a provincial department responsible for environmental affairs or any other organ of state performing a regulatory function and reporting to the MEC; or
(iii) a statutory body, excluding any municipality, performing an exclusive competence of the national sphere of government; or
(e) will take place within a national proclaimed protected area or other conservation area under control of a national authority.

[Section 24C(2) amended by section 6(a) of Act No. 30 of 2013]

 

(2A) The Minister responsible for mineral resources must be identified as the competent authority in terms of subsection (1) where the listed or specified activity is directly related to—
(a) prospecting or exploration of a mineral or petroleum resource; or
(b) extraction and primary processing of a mineral or petroleum resource.

[Section 24C(2A) amended by section 3(a) of Act No. 25 of 2014]

 

(2B)
(a) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, and in the event of the Minister not being the competent authority, the Minister must be identified as the competent authority where a Cabinet decision stipulates that the Minister must be the competent authority for activities related to a matter declared as a national priority or matters related to such national priority.
(b) Notice must be given by the Minister in the Gazette approximately 90 days prior to the Cabinet decision referred to in paragraph (a).
(c) The notice referred to in paragraph (b) must as a minimum contain the following information:
(i) The proposed decision to be considered by Cabinet and its rationale;
(ii) the approximate date of the consideration of the proposed decision by Cabinet;
(iii) the proposed date on which the decision will come into effect;
(iv) the proposed time-frame for which the Minister will be the competent authority, where appropriate;
(v) the activities contemplated in section 24(2)(a) or geographical areas contemplated in section 24(2)(b); and
(vi) any transitional arrangements that may be applicable to applications for environmental authorisations that already have been or are being processed.
(d) Once Cabinet has made the decision referred to in paragraph (a), the Minister must publish the decision by notice in the Gazette.

[Section 24C(2B) inserted by section 6(d) of Act No. 30 of 2013]

 

(2C)
(a) Whenever a decision on an application for an environmental authorisation is not made within the time-frames applicable to that process, the applicant may apply to the Minister to facilitate the process of taking the decision by the Minister responsible for mineral resources, or where appropriate, to take the decision.
(b) The applicant must notify the Minister responsible for mineral resources in writing of the intention to exercise the option in paragraph (a) at least 30 days prior to the exercising of such option.
(c) The application contemplated in paragraph (a) must, at least, contain all the documents submitted to the Minister responsible for mineral resources in order to enable the Minister to take a decision.
(d) Before taking a decision contemplated in paragraph (a), the Minister must request the Minister responsible for mineral resources to provide him or her with a report within a specified time period on the status and causes of delay in the application and whether the Minister will be able to take the decision within a specified time period.
(e) After having received the report referred to in paragraph (d) or in the event that no response or no satisfactorily response or cooperation is received from the Minister responsible for mineral resources within the specified time period, the Minister must, where appropriate, take the decision or such other steps as the Minister may deem necessary, within a reasonable time period.
(f) The Minister must, simultaneously with the submission of the annual report contemplated in section 40(1)(d)(i) of the Public Finance Management Act, 1990 (Act No. 1 of 1999), submit a report to Parliament setting out the details regarding the exercise of the power referred to in subsection (e) during the previous financial year.

[Section 24C(2C) inserted by section 3(b) of Act No. 25 of 2014]

 

(3) The Minister and an MEC may agree that applications for environmental authorisations with regard to any activity or class of activities—
(a) contemplated in subsection (2) may be dealt with by the MEC;
(b) in respect of which the MEC is identified as the competent authority may be dealt with by the Minister.

 

(4) In accordance with section 125(2)(b) of the Constitution, whenever an MEC fails to take a decision on an application for an environmental authorisation within the time periods prescribed by this Act, the applicant may apply to the Minister to take the decision.

[Section 24C(4) inserted by section 6(e) of Act No. 30 of 2013]

 

(5) The applicant must notify the MEC in writing of the intention to exercise the option in subsection (4) at least 30 days prior to the exercising of such option.

[Section 24C(5) inserted by section 6(e) of Act No. 30 of 2013]

 

(6) The application contemplated in subsection (4) must, at least, contain all the documents submitted to the MEC in order to enable the Minister to take a decision.

[Section 24C(6) inserted by section 6(e) of Act No. 30 of 2013]

 

(7) Before taking a decision contemplated in subsection (4), the Minister must request the MEC to provide him or her with a report within a specified time period on the status and causes of delay in the application.

[Section 24C(7) inserted by section 6(e) of Act No. 30 of 2013]

 

(8) After having received the report referred to in subsection (7) or in the event that no response or no satisfactory response or cooperation is received from the MEC within the specified time period the Minister must, where appropriate—
(a) inform the applicant in the event that the MEC had complied with the relevant prescripts;
(b) assist the MEC in accordance with section 125(3) of the Constitution to fulfil his or her obligations under this Act; or
(c) direct the MEC to take the decision and such other steps as the Minister may deem necessary within a specified time period.

[Section 24C(8) inserted by section 6(e) of Act No. 30 of 2013]

 

(9) In the event that the MEC fails to take the decision within the specified time period or in any other manner fails to comply with the directive contemplated in subsection (8)(c), the Minister must take the decision within a reasonable period of time.

[Section 24C(9) inserted by section 6(e) of Act No. 30 of 2013]

 

(10) The Minister must, simultaneously with the submission of the annual report contemplated in section 40(1)(d)(i) of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act No. 1 of 1999), submit a report to Parliament setting out the details regarding the exercise of the power referred to in subsection (8) during the previous financial year.

[Section 24C(10) inserted by section 6(e) of Act No. 30 of 2013]