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

Chapter 5 : Integrated Environmental Management

24G. Consequences of unlawful commencement of activity

 

(1) On application by a person who—
(a) has commenced with a listed or specified activity without an environmental authorisation in contravention of section 24F(1);
(b) has commenced, undertaken or conducted a waste management activity without a waste management licence in terms of section 20(b) of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008),

the Minister, Minister responsible for mineral resources or MEC concerned, as the case may be, may direct the applicant to—

(i) immediately cease the activity pending a decision on the application submitted in terms of this subsection;
(ii) investigate, evaluate and assess the impact of the activity on the environment;
(iii) remedy any adverse effects of the activity on the environment;
(iv) cease, modify or control any act, activity, process or omission causing pollution or environmental degradation;
(v) contain or prevent the movement of pollution or degradation of the environment;
(vi) eliminate any source of pollution or degradation;
(vii) compile a report containing—
(aa) a description of the need and desirability of the activity;
(bb) an assessment of the nature, extent, duration and significance of the consequences for or impacts on the environment of the activity, including the cumulative effects and the manner in which the geographical, physical, biological, social, economic and cultural aspects of the environment may be affected by the proposed activity;
(cc) a description of mitigation measures undertaken or to be undertaken in respect of the consequences for or impacts on the environment of the activity;
(dd) a description of the public participation process followed during the course of compiling the report, including all comments received from interested and affected parties and an indication of how the issues raised have been addressed;
(ee) an environmental management programme; or
(viii) provide such other information or undertake such further studies as the Minister, Minister responsible for mineral resources or MEC, as the case may be, may deem necessary.

 

(2) The Minister, Minister responsible for mineral resources or MEC concerned must consider any report or information submitted in terms of subsection (1) and thereafter may—
(a) refuse to issue an environmental authorisation; or
(b) issue an environmental authorisation to such person to continue, conduct or undertake the activity subject to such conditions as the Minister, Minister responsible for mineral resources or MEC may deem necessary, which environmental authorisation shall only take effect from the date on which it has been issued; or
(c) direct the applicant to provide further information or take further steps prior to making a decision provided for in paragraph (a) or (b).

 

(3) The Minister, Minister responsible for mineral resources or MEC may as part of his or her decision contemplated in subsection (2)(a), (b) or (c) direct a person to—
(a) rehabilitate the environment within such time and subject to such conditions as the Minister, Minister responsible for mineral resources or MEC may deem necessary; or
(b) take any other steps necessary under the circumstances.

 

(4) A person contemplated in subsection (1) must pay an administrative fine, which may not exceed R5 million and which must be determined by the competent authority, before the Minister, Minister responsible for mineral resources or MEC concerned may act in terms of subsection (2)(a) or (b).

 

(5) In considering a decision contemplated in subsection (2), the Minister, Minister responsible for mineral resources or MEC may take into account whether or not the applicant complied with any directive issued in terms of subsection (1) or (2).

 

(6) The submission of an application in terms of subsection (1) or the granting of an environmental authorisation in terms of subsection (2)(b) shall in no way derogate from—
(a) the environmental management inspector’s or the South African Police Services’ authority to investigate any transgression in terms of this Act or any specific environmental management Act;
(b) the National Prosecuting Authority’s legal authority to institute any criminal prosecution.

 

(7) If, at any stage after the submission of an application in terms of subsection (1), it comes to the attention of the Minister, Minister for mineral resources or MEC, that the applicant is under criminal investigation for the contravention of or failure to comply with section 24F(1) or section 20(b) of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008), the Minister, Minister responsible for mineral resources or MEC may defer a decision to issue an environmental authorisation until such time that the investigation is concluded and—
(a) the National Prosecuting Authority has decided not to institute prosecution in respect of such contravention or failure;
(b) the applicant concerned is acquitted or found not guilty after prosecution in respect of such contravention or failure has been instituted; or
(c) the applicant concerned has been convicted by a court of law of an offence in respect of such contravention or failure and the applicant has in respect of the conviction exhausted all the recognised legal proceedings pertaining to appeal or review.

 

[Section 24G substituted by section 9 of Act No. 30 of 2013]