ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH AND SAFETY AND FOODSTUFFS LEGAL UPDATE REPORT (SOUTH AFRICA) February 2023
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Below please find a summary of selected relevant environmental, health and safety and foodstuffs legal developments that took place during February 2023.
1) Biodiversity Act
- Norms and Standards for the Management of Elephants
This replaces the Norms and Standards from 2008.
- Norms and Standards for the Trophy Hunting of Leopard
These new Norms and Standards were published.
- Rhinoceros horn related
Various laws dealing with rhinoceros horn were amended:
- Amendment of the Notice Prohibiting the Carrying out of Certain Restricted Activities involving Rhinoceros Horn, GN R 625 in GG 43386 of 3 June 2020
- Amendment of the Regulations Relating to Trade in Rhinoceros Horn, GN R 626 in GG 43386 of 3 June 2020
- Repeal of the Notice Amending the Alien and Invasive Species List and the List of Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable and Protected Species, GN R 627 in GG 43386 of 3 June 2020
- Determining the coming into effect on 1 April 2023 of the Notice Prohibiting the Carrying out of Certain Restricted Activities involving Rhinoceros Horn, GN R 625 in GG 43386 of 3 June 2020, and the Regulations relating to Trade in Rhinoceros Horn, GN R 626 in GG 43386 of 3 June 2020
The intention of the above changes is to allow the selling or otherwise trading in, giving, donating, buying, receiving, accepting as a gift or donation, or acquiring or disposing of rhinoceros horn with South Africa, or the export of horn from the country, but only those specimens that have been adequately marked.
- Regulations pertaining to Threatened or Protected Terrestrial Species and Freshwater Species
These new Regulations repeal and replace the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations, GN R 150 of 23 February 2007. They enter into force on 1 April 2023. Any permits issued in terms of the old Regulations will, however, remain valid until their expiry date, whereafter they may not be renewed (as the new Regulations will now govern this).
- List of Terrestrial Species and Freshwater Species that are Threatened or Protected, Restricted Activities that are Prohibited, and Restricted Activities that are Exempted
This new List repeals the list of species published under GN R 151 of 23 February 2007, and the amendments published under GN R 1187 of 14 December 2007.
2) National Health Act
- Regulations relating to the Surveillance and Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions, 2017
These Regulations identify medical conditions/diseases for which notification must be given to the Department – this includes the coronavirus.
Tables 1 to 4 in Annexure A were replaced in their entirety. They deal with category 1 to 4 notifiable medical conditions.
3) National Environmental Management Act
- Regulations to Domesticate the Requirements of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade
These new Regulations will enter into force on 21 June 2023. At this point they will then repeal the 2021 Regulations (GN R 413 of 12 May 2021).
They apply to banned or severely restricted chemicals listed in Annexure I, and which are governed by the:
- National Environmental Management Act
- Fertilizer, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act
- Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act. (Reg 2)
They do not apply, among others, to:
- Radioactive materials and substances as regulated by the Hazardous Substances Act, Group IV Radioactive Substances
- Nuclear Energy Act
- Waste regulated by the Waste Act
- Chemicals used as food additives regulated by the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act
- Chemicals exported for the purpose of research or analysis in quantities that are unlikely to affect human health or the environment and that in any event do not exceed 10 kg from each exporter to each importing country per calendar year. (Reg 2).
The Regulations prohibit the import or export into or from South Africa, without prior consent of chemicals listed in Annexure I of the Regulations. (Reg 3).
Any person wishing to import or export a chemical must submit a notification to the SA designated national authority (DNA) (i.e. the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment). The Regulations set out further requirements of what must be included in the notification. (Regs 4 and 5).
Importers and exporters of chemicals must keep accurate and up to date records of the:
- Actual quantities of chemicals imported or exported
- Origin or source of the chemicals
- Actual use or application of the chemicals imported or declaration of the intended end use/application if the importer is supplying to another person
- Intended destination of the chemicals
- Date of import/export. (Reg 6).
The importer/exporter must submit annually, at the end of each March, to the SA DNA:
- Actual quantities of chemicals imported/exported
- Customs import/export declaration documents for every consignment of chemicals. (Reg 7).
Persons convicted under these Regulation are liable to:
- A fine not exceeding R 5 million or to imprisonment not exceeding 5 years in the case of a first offence
- A fine not exceeding R 10 million or to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years in the case of a second or subsequent conviction.
4) Disaster Management Act
Regulations were passed on 27 February 2023 to deal with the ongoing energy crisis.
They were published twice that day as GN R 3089 and GN R 3095 respectively even though they appear to be the same. Presumably there were minor errors in the initial version.
The Regulations are aimed at the various government spheres and set out their powers and duties. While they do not impose any obligations on companies or individuals it is concerning that the Regulations allow the government to waive or by-pass environmental legal requirements, including licences and environmental authorisations for energy related upgrades, projects etc for the duration of the state of national disaster. Any activity permitted by an authorisation or exemption granted in terms of Regulations or Directions issued under the state of disaster remain lawful even after the state of disaster is terminated.
5) Eastern Cape
- Kowie Estuarine Management Plan
This plan, which was drawn up in terms of the Integrated Coastal Management Act, was approved for implementation.
- Integrated Waste Management Plan, 2022 – 2026 (Final draft)
The province’s updated integrated waste management plan was published. It is aimed at provincial and municipal government, and not individuals or companies (although the latter will be affected by any measures implemented by these government spheres).
No other relevant provincial legislation was published this month.
6) Edumbe Local Municipality
The Control of Public Nuisances By-law was promulgated.
Should you require copies please contact the SABS as standards are copyright protected meaning that we cannot upload or provide them to clients or third parties.
7) SANS 10108:2023 Ed 7 – The classification of hazardous locations and the selection of equipment for use in such locations
A new edition of this standard was published on 24 February 2023. It covers the classification of surface and underground locations (i.e. explosive atmospheres/areas) in which fires or explosions can occur owing to the presence of flammable gases, vapours or mists, dusts, fibres or flyings in the air, in order to permit the proper selection of electrical equipment and mechanical equipment, such as compression ignition engines (diesel engines), to be used in such locations.
The classification of hazardous locations and ensuring that electrical machinery and equipment in same is safe is further regulated by Reg 9 of the Electrical Machinery Regulations which require an employer to conduct an inspection.
8) SANS 14063:2023 Ed 2 – Environmental management – Environmental communication – Guidelines and examples
Edition 2 of the standard was published on 24 February 2023. It gives guidelines to organizations for general principles, policy, strategy and activities relating to both internal and external environmental communication.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.