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National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998

The National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 or NEMA as it is more commonly called, is a framework law, which means that it sets the framework for environmental regulation and governance in South Africa. NEMA comprises ten chapters, each focusing on a different element of environmental regulation/governance, from establishing principles for decision-making on matters affecting the environment (chapter 1), to developing an integrated environmental management approach (chapter 5), to compliance and enforcement, including the establishment of the Environmental Management Inspectorate (the Green Scorpions) (chapter 7) and details various environmental crimes (chapter 10).

Did you know:

  • NEMA provides a number of principles that must be considered in all decisions which may affect the environment – you can find these important principles in section 2.
  • NEMA requires any potential impacts or consequences of developments (including certain farming practices) or mining activities to be considered before the development or mining activity starts. You will need to undertake an environmental impact assessment and be granted an environmental authorisation before you can start developing / mining.
  • NEMA allows for private prosecution, meaning that instead of the National Prosecuting Authority doing the prosecution, it can be done by any South African so long as it is done in the public interest or in the interest of protecting the environment, the person is represented by an attorney and the National Prosecuting Authority has been notified.

Section 43 of NEMA allows you to appeal certain decisions taken under environmental laws – see the National Appeal Regulations for more detail.

Provincial Legislation