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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Mining

Publications

Zero Hour: Poor Governance of Mining and the Violation of Environmental Rights in Mpumalanga (May 2016)

In this Report, the CER documents government’s failure to ensure that mining companies comply with the law. Non-compliance with the law is leading to unprecedented environmental degradation and chronic health problems in Mpumalanga – with dire consequences for communities and South Africa’s future prosperity. The situation is the result of neglect, limited resources and wilful inaction by the Departments of Mineral Resources and Water and Sanitation.

Environmental Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement at Mines: The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s performance during the financial years 2017 to 31 March 2019

In 2016, the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) published a Report titled, “Zero Hour: Poor Governance of Mining and the Violation of Environmental Rights in Mpumalanga”. The Report documents government’s failure to ensure that mining companies comply with environmental laws and highlights how such non-compliance has led to unprecedented environmental degradation and chronic health problems in Mpumalanga – with dire consequences for communities and South Africa’s future prosperity. Zero Hour finds that this failure to enforce environmental laws at mines arose as a result of neglect, limited resources and willful inaction by the Departments of Mineral Resources and Water and Sanitation. Since the publication of Zero Hour, the CER has continued to track the environmental compliance monitoring and enforcement (CME) activities of these Departments at mines. Using the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA), the CER asked the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) about its capacity to undertake inspections and any necessary enforcement action in the 2017 to 2019 financial years. The CER hoped to see an improvement as the DMRE settled into its role as the competent authority for compliance with NEMA by mining companies. The information supplied by the DMRE shows that there has not been any significant improvement in the DMRE’s capacity to conduct environmental CME since the publication of Zero Hour in 2016 and therefore that it remains woefully inadequate. View our report here.

Mining: An Environmental Rights Resource Kit (February 2014)

Minimum Requirements for the Regulation of Environmental Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing in South Africa: A position statement (February 2014)

This document sets out the minimum requirements that the CER believes – and are advised by independent experts both in South Africa and abroad – should be incorporated into any regulatory framework to regulate fracking on South Africa in order to give effect to the environmental right in section 24 of the Constitution, and as developed in South African environmental law. We have prepared this memorandum as a contribution to the process of developing appropriate and effective legal and governance systems to ensure that fracking does not infringe the fundamental right in section 24. It is likely that this document may involve as more information becomes available both locally and internationally around best practice and poor practice.

When Mines Break Environmental Laws: How to Use Criminal Prosecution to Enforce Environmental Rights (February 2014)

The Centre’s guide is an accessible, easy-to-use guide to use the criminal process as a tool to report non-compliance by mining companies with environmental and mining laws, and comes with a schedule of criminal offences potentially applicable to mining activities (which will be updated from time to time).

 

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Section 24of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

Report a Violation

0800 205 005

Contact the National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours) or one of the national and provincial hotlines.