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Mineral Sands Resources (Pty) Ltd v Magistrate for the District of Vredendal and others

20 March 2017

High Court of the Republic of South Africa, Western Cape Division, Cape Town 

Case no. 18701/16

Date: 20 March 2017

This matter concerned the validity of a search warrant issued by the Magistrate for the District of Vredendal to officials in the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for the search for documents and things related to alleged contraventions of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (NEMA) and the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, 2008 (NEMICMA) at Tormin Mine, a mine operated by Mineral Sands Resources (Pty) Ltd.

The issuing of a search warrant was set aside by the Court, primarily on the basis that the DEA lacked jurisdiction to bring an application for a search warrant as the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) is now the chief functionary for monitoring compliance with and enforcing environmental laws in the mining sector.

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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.

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