South Africa’s Government has started the roll-out of its One Environmental System in a bid to streamline the licencing processes for mining, environmental authorisations and water use.
The system is set to improve South Africa’s global competitiveness as a mining investment jurisdiction and the government believes it will ease the conditions for businesses in the country.
The Departments of Mineral Resources and Environment Affairs and Water Affairs said in a joint statement: "Under the One Environmental System, the Minister of Mineral Resources will issue environmental authorisations and waste management licences in terms of the National Environmental Management Act 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) (NEMA) and the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) respectively for mining and related activities."
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa will serve as the appeal authority for the authorisations.
Fixed timeframes have been agreed by the Ministers of Environmental Affairs, Mineral Resources, and Water and Sanitation for consideration and issuing of the permits, licences and authorisations in their respective legislation.
Further, the ministers also agreed to synchronise the permit issuing process, licences and authorisations within a 300-day period.
"In the event that a decision to issue a license is appealed, an additional maximum period of 90 days is provided for legislatively, to finalise the process," the statement added.
The timeframes laid down in NEMA would be applicable until all requisite legislative amendments have been effected, to formalise the process.