Skip to Content

Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

Support Us Join our Mailing List

Virtual Library

Member of the Executive Council for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Western Cape and another v Plotz and another

1 December 2017

Supreme Court of Appeal 

Citation: (495/2017) [2017] ZASCA 175 (1 December 2017)

Date: 1 December 2017

Judges: Meyer AJA (Shongwe AP, Swain and Mathopo JJA and Mokgohloa AJA concurring)

This matter involved an application for the review of a decision by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning to impose a levy a fine in terms of section 24G(2) of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998. The High Court found that the fine was unreasonable and therefore lowered the fine significantly. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeal found that Plotz N.O. did not exhaust his internal remedies before approaching court as required in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (PAJA). the High Court’s order was therefore set aside on appeal. The Court also found that the litigation was not undertaken to assert constitutional rights, but a commercial interest. The Biowatch principle on costs therefore was not applicable.

The original fine therefore stands and Plotz was ordered to pay the costs of the matter.

Download the judgment 

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

Case No. 12736/2014

Date: 20 May 2016

Judge: van Staden AJ

Judicial review application relating to a decision to impose a fine in terms of section 24G(2) of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998

Download the judgment



Contact Us

  • Cape Town

    Second Floor, Springtime Studios, 1 Scott Road, Observatory, 7925 - View Map
  • Johannesburg

    First Floor, DJ du Plessis Building, West Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, 2001 - View Map

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.