In the Bill of Rights, it is explicitly stated in Section 24 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 measure 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

Biodiversity and conservation are key pillars in preserving our environment and are key tools in tackling climate change. The policies below are useful in understanding the frameworks South Africa uses to protect one of its richest resources.

National National Biodiversity Framework (2008) The purpose of this framework is to co-ordinate and align the efforts of the many organisations and individuals involved in conservation and managing South Africa's biodiversity, in support of sustainable development
National The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2015) The NBSAP sets out the strategy and plan for contracting parties to fulfill the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The plan identifies the priorities for biodiversity management in South Africa for the period of 2015 - 2025.


Draft White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa's Biological Diversity (1997)

This policy builds on the three objectives of the CBD: i.) the conservation of biological diversity; ii.) the sustainable use of biological resources; and iii.) the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.


National Forest Act (Act No. 84 of 1998)

This act looks to promote the sustainable management and development of forests for all; create the conditions necessary to restructure forestry in State forests; promote the sustainable use of forests for environmental, economic, educational, recreational, cultural, health and spiritual purposes; promote community forestry; and promote greater participation in all aspects of forestry and forest products industry


National Veld and Forest Fire Act (Act No. 101 of 1998)

This Act intends to reform the law on veld and forest fires; its purpose is to prevent and combat veld, forest and mountain fires and provide for a variety of institutions, methods and practices for achieving this purpose
National Forestry Laws Amendment Act (Act 35 of 2005) This Act seeks to ament the National Forests Act of 1998, to allow for greater clarity; allow for an exemption for the use and handling of protected trees and their products; and to authorise the Minister to establish a trust in respect of State forests


Environment Conservation Act (Act No. 73 of 1989)

This Act provides for the effective protection and controlled utilisation of the environment


Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (Act No. 43 of 1983)

This Act provides for control over the utilisation of the natural agricultural resources of the Republic in order to promote the conservation of the soil, the water sources and the vegetation and the combating of weeks and invader plants


Draft Policy Document on the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land (2016)

This Draft Policy aims to ensure sustained long-term national and household food security; promote a balanced approach to the use of the agricultural land; ensure the sustainable development of the agricultural sector; ensure a reduction in poverty levels and a sustained improvement in quality of life; increase agricultural land remains available for agricultural production and development; promote and encourage the maintenance of the economic value of agricultural land so as to ensure the sustainable and continued agricultural production and/or utilisation of land parcels; promote and ensure the development of agricultural infrastructure and services.


National Heritage Resources Act (Act No. 25 of 1999)

This Act seeks to introduce and integrated and interactive system for the management of national heritage resources; to promote good governance at all levels and empower civil society to nurture and conserve their heritage resources; to lay down general principles for governing heritage resources; to introduce an integrated system for the identification, assessment and management of the heritage resources; to establish the South African Heritage Resources Agency and set norms and controls on the movement of significant heritage objects


National Environmental Management Act 1998

This Act provides for co-operative, environmental governance by establishing principles for decision-making on matters affecting the environment, institutions that will promote co-operative governance and procedures for coordinating environmental functions exercised by organs of state
National Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2014 The purpose of these Regulations is to regulate the procedure and criteria relating to the preparation, evaluation, submission, processing and consideration of applications for environmental authorisations for the commencement of activities
National National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (Act No. 57 of 2004) This Act prescribes the norms and standards that will effect a national system of protected areas in South Africa as part of a strategy to manage and conserve biodiversity and promote sustainable utilisation of protected areas for the benefit of people, whilst preserving the ecological character
National National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act No.10 of 2004) The purpose of these Regulations is to further regulate the permit systems and provide for the registration and regulation of persons and facilities in respect of listed threatened or protected marine species

National Environmental Management: Waste Act (Act No. 59 of 2008)

The Act provides national norms and standards for regulating the management of waste by all spheres of government; specific waste management measures; and licencing and control of waste management activities
National National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (Act No.39 of 2004)  This Act is set to reform the law regulating waste management in order to protect health and the environment by providing reasonable measures for the prevention of pollution and ecological degradation and for securing ecologically sustainable development
National National Pollution Prevention Plans Regulations These Regulations prescribe the requirements that pollution prevention plans of greenhouse gases declared as priority air pollutants
National National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (Act No. 39 of 2004) Declaration of Greenhouse Gases As Priority Air Pollutants This Act lists priority pollutant greenhouse gases, the persons required to submit pollution prevention plans, requirements for the submission of pollution prevention plan and requirements for monitoring, evaluating and reporting

National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (Act No. 39 of 2004): National Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulations

The purpose of this Act is to introduce a single national reporting system for the transparent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, which will be used (a.) to update and maintain a National Greenhouse Gas Inventory; (b.) for the Republic of South Africa to meet its reporting obligations under the UNFCCC and instrument treaties to which it is bound; and (c.) to inform the formulation and implementation of legislation and policy

In progress


National Environment Management Laws Amendment Bill


This Act looks to amend the National Environmental Management Act, 1998, so as to correct the citation to the definition of "Constitution"; to add new definitions and clarity to a number of terms such as "audit', "black", and others

National Forests Amendment Bill


This Bill will amend the National Forests Act, 1998, so as to provide for clear definitions of natural forests and woodlands; to provide for public trusteeship of the nation's forestry resources; to increase the promotion and enforcement of sustainable forest management; to increase the measures provided for in the Act to control and remedy deforestation; to provide for appeals against decisions taken under delegated powers and duties; to reinforce offences and penalties etc.