Objectives are designed within the milieu of Municipal government objectives as set out in section 152(1) of the Constitution referring to the objective “To promote a safe and healthy environment” including the Principles of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and the Bill of Rights as stated in the Constitution.
Government’s commitment to long-term sustainable development is achieved, when explicit recognition is given in its policy-making processes that its economic systems are essentially products of and dependent on social systems, which in turn are products or, and dependent on, natural systems.
Effective management of the interdependencies between ecosystem health, social equity and economic growth will further require a significant change in current governance practices, in adopting an integrated and co-operative environmental management approach to governance that includes an accurate valuation of environmental goods and services.
What is Environmental Management:
Environmental management is “a purposeful activity with the goal to maintain and improve the state of an environmental resource affected by human activities.
Definition of Environmental Management:
Environmental Management can be defined as “the management of the interaction and impact of human activities on the natural environment”.
Environmental management further aims to ensure that ecosystem services and biodiversity are protected and maintained for equitable use by future human generations, and also, maintain ecosystem integrity as an end in itself by taking into consideration ethical, economic, and scientific (ecological) variables. Environmental management tries to identify the factors that have a stake in the conflicts that may rise between meeting the needs but protecting the environment.
- Identification: Via complaints/concerns from the community we identify a certain environmental problem
- Evaluation: Inspections with relevant Government Departments (Provincial and National) we determine the extent of the problem
- Control: The problem is brought to the attention of the transgressor/polluter and the person/company who is informed to stop the illegal activity and address the problem or concerns which include the rehabilitation of the area(s).
Key Performance Areas
Environmental Management is part of sustainable development principle as outlined in NEMA and Integrated Development Plans (IDP’s) of municipalities. Environmental Management includes the following:
KEY PERFORMANCE AREAS
- Environmental Education and Awareness Raising – Calendar days and outreach programmes for the youth, including Marine Week, International Coastal Clean-up, Arbor Month, etc.
- Integrated Coastal Management – Implementation of the ICM Act and Municipal Coastal Management Programme (CMP)
- Estuary management (Estuary Management Plans and Forums/Task Teams for Olifants, Verlorenvlei and Berg River)
- Inland Water Management with regard to the management of recreation and boating activities on the water surfaces for Bulshoek and Misverstanddam through a boat licensing process (Agreement with Department of Water Affairs)
- Addressing Environmental complaints – pollution, degradation and rehabilitation/restoration with various stakeholders and Government Departments and conservation associations
- Alien Clearing and Rehabilitation and Training Programmes – Partnership Project with DAFF and Landcare and registered as an EPWP Environmental Sector Project and part of the Social Responsibility Programme
- Biodiversity Conservation within Regional Forums (Partnership with Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor – GCBC, Knersvlakte Bio-Region and Cape West Coast Biosphere)
- Coast Care – Working for the Coast – Assisting and supporting the National Department Environmental Affairs programme within the WCDM area
- Environmental Workshops, meetings and work sessions with regard to environmental resource management with conservation associations and organisations within the region
- Acting as a commenting authority giving inputs and commenting (out of an environmental point of view) on environmental and mining applications
- Assisting as a help desk with regard to all environmental related issues
Environmental Management Officials has statutory obligation to protect the environment for the present and the future generations as enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights
In particular, the Bill of Rights stipulates that:
“Everyone has the right –
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
(b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that –
(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(ii) promote conservation; and
(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development”.
Sustainable Development is defined as Development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
Section 152 of the Constitution, together with Schedules 4 and 5, outline the objectives, powers and functions of national, provincial and local government. The objectives for local government are to:
- Provide democratic and accountable government for local communities;
- Ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner;
- Promote social and economic development;
- Promote a safe and healthy environment; and
- Encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government.
Schedules 4B and 5B contain a total of 38 ‘local government matters’ which, under the subsections above, are the responsibility of local government. The following are of particular relevance to the management of the environment:
- Air pollution
- Fire-fighting services
- Local tourism
- Municipal planning
- Municipal health services
- Storm water management in built up areas
- Water and sanitation services (limited to potable water supply systems and domestic waste-water and sewerage disposal systems)
- Local amenities
- Municipal parks and recreation
- Noise pollution
- Public places
- Refuse removal, refuse dumps and solid waste removal
NEMA provides the overarching legislative framework for environmental governance in South Africa. Several sector specific National Environmental Management Acts (SEMA’s) have now been promulgated, all of which fall under the overarching NEMA. The point of departure of NEMA is a set of National Environmental Management Principles that inform any subsequent environmental legislation, implementation of that legislation and formulation and implementation of environmental management plans at all levels of government.
The following principles reflect the core values of NEMA:
- Environmental management must place people and their needs at the forefront of its concern, and serve their physical, psychological, developmental, cultural and social interests equitably.
- Development must be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
Statutory obligations and Acts with regard to Environmental Management:
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996)
The Constitution of the Western Cape (Act 1 of 1998)
The National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) (Act 107 of 1998)
Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Regulations
All SEMA’s (“Specific Environmental Management Acts)
- NEMA: Biodiversity Act (Act 10 of 2004)
- NEMA: Air Quality Act (Act 39 of 2004)
- NEMA: Protected Areas Act (Act 57 of 2003
- NEMA: Integrated Coastal Management Act (Act24 of 2008)
- NEMA: EIA Regulations
- Environmental Conservation Act – ECA (Act 73 of 1989)
Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000)
Municipal Structures Act (Act 117 of 1998)
National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998)
Water Services Act (Act 108 of 1997)
Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (CARA) (Act 43 of 1983)
Disaster Management Act (Act 57 of 2002)
National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA) (Act 25 of 1999)
National Forests Act (Act 84 of 1998)
National Veld and Forest Fire Act (No 101 of 1998)
Land Use Planning Ordinance (Ordinance 15 of 1985)
Nature and Environmental Conservation Ordinance (Ordinance 19 of 1974)
There are also several international environmental conventions which have relevance to the West Coast District, including the Convention on Biodiversity; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Langebaan and Verlorenvlei); the Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites; the African Convention on Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources; and the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals.
Tel: 022 433 8400 – Charles Malherbe