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Report an environmental transgression

Description

Residents of Gauteng can report illegal environmental activities related to waste, air quality, land use and industrial development. These offences are transgressions in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA).

How do I submit a complaint?

The following Specific Environmental Management Acts (SEMAs) deal with waste, air quality, flora and fauna issues in relation to the management and protection of the environment in terms of the NEMA:
  1. Complete the Environmental Complaints and Referral Form
  2. Submit the following evidence if available:
    • For illegal dumping, you can submit the vehicle registration
    • Submit pictures if any
    • Submit the location, street name, city, municipality
    • ​Any document that will assist in the investigation of the offence
  3. ​​Submit the  Environmental Complaints and Referral Form via email to green.scorpions@gauteng.gov.za​ | Click here to complete/download the form | Instructions on how to complete the form online

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful
Section 24 of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 ensures 'everyone the right to an environment that is not harmful to his or her health or wellbeing, and the right to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislation and other measures that: 
  1. Prevent pollution and ecological degradation; 
  2. Promote conservation; and 
  3. Secure ecological sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development 
Legislation

The Specific Environmental Management Acts (SEMAs):
Environmental Management Inspectorate
The Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998) was promulgated in order to ensure that this right is realised by everyone who lives in the Republic of South Africa. However, this legislation was criticised for lacking in monitoring and enforcement powers. Hence its amendment in 2006 to include chapter 7: Compliance, Enforcement and Protection, upon which the Environmental Management Inspectorate is established.​
Environmental Management Inspectors
Environmental Management Inspectors (EMI) are government officials designated as an Environmental Management Inspectors in terms of Sections 31B or 31C of the National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998).
EMIs are mandated in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998) to monitor compliance and enforce non-compliance with the legislation in their mandate including authorisations issued under such legislation. 

In terms of section 31H of the NEMA, EMIs have powers to:
  • Question a person regarding an offence, breach of the law or an condition of a permit;
  • Issue a written notice;
  • Inspect or question a person about any document, book, record or any electronic information; 
  • Copy or make extracts from any document, book, record or any written or electronic information;
  • Require a person to produce or deliver any document, book, record or any written or electronic information to a place specified by the EMI;
  • Inspect or question a person about, and if necessary remove any specimen, article, substance or other item on reasonable suspicion that it may have been used to commit an offence, breaching the law or breaching a condition of a permit or authorisation;
  • Take photographs, make audio-visual recordings of anything or person relevant for the purposes of the investigation;
  • Dig or bore into the soil;
  • Take samples;
  • Remove any waste or other matter deposited or discharged in contravention of the law in terms of the inspector is designated;
  • Carry out any other prescribed duty that is not inconsistent with the NEMA; 
  • These powers are in terms of the legislation for which the inspector is designated to enforce and monitor compliance with; 
  • The written notice issued in terms of section 31H (1)(b) must be in the prescribed format and require a person to answer specified questions either orally or in writing, either alone or in the presence of a witness or require that questions are answered under oath or affirmation;
  • A person who received a written notice must answer all questions truthfully and to the best of his or her ability, notwithstanding that:
    • any answer may incriminate him or her;
    • Any answer that incriminate may not be used against such a person in any subsequent criminal proceedings in terms of NEMA or the SEMAs 
  • An EMI must provide a receipt for:
    • Any document, book, record, written or electronic information removed in terms of section 31H (1)(d); 
    • Any specimen, article, substance or either item removed in terms of section 31H (1) (f);
  • An EMI must return anything removed within a reasonable period, at the conclusion of any relevant criminal proceedings, subject to section 34D; and 
  • An EMI has all the powers assigned to a police official who is not a commissioned officer in terms of chapters 2, 5, 7 and 8 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977.  
  • In terms of section 34A, a person is guilty of an offence if he/she:
    • Hinders or interferes with an EMI in the execution of his or her duties;
    • Pretends to be an EMI, interpreter or assistant of an EMI;
    • Furnishes falls or misleading information when complying with a request of an EMI; 
  • Below are the pieces of legislation monitored and enforced by EMIs:
    • The National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998);
    • The Specific Environmental Management Acts, SEMAs, namely, 
    • National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (Act 10 of 2004);
    • National Environmental Management Air Quality Act (39 of 2004);
    • National Environmental Management Protected Areas Act (Act 57 of 2003); 
    • National Environmental Management New Waste Act (Act 59 of 2008); and 
    • National Water Act, 1998; and 
    • Environmental Conservation Act, 73 of 1998. 
The NEMA defines commencement as the start of any physical implementation in furtherance of a listed activity or specified activity including site preparation and any other action on the site or the physical implementation of a plan, policy, program or process, but does not include any action required for the purposes of an environmental investigation or feasibility study as long as such investigation or feasibility study does not constitute a listed activity or specified activity. 
 
Section 24F (1) prohibits commencement or continuation of a listed activity without an environmental authorisation and is an offence in terms of Section 24F (2) to commence or continue with a listed activity without an environmental authorisation. Listed activities are activities that have been identified in terms of Section 24F (2) (a) and (d) of the NEMA.  
The listed activities referred to above are identified by the Minister of Environmental Affairs in terms of Section 24 F(2) (a), (b) and (c) and the Regulations listed below were promulgated to provide a detailed list of such activities. 
         
The environmental transgressions investigated by the EMIs therefore are in terms of the legislation and regulations described above.
 
Success stories of  the Gauteng Environmental Management Inspectorate

Send enqueries to :

green.scorpions@gauteng.gov.za

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