News on Advocacy
Stakeholder Rights and Administrative Justice
Along with obtaining a legal opinion on the matter, CAIA has made contact with various Government Departments to discuss the administrative- and process-related challenges that are being experienced by stakeholders when engaging with Government. The Department of Environmental Affairs’ Legal, Authorisations, Compliance and Enforcement Directorate, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, as well as the Department of Public Service and Administration are being approached to find a solution to foster more collaborative work between Government and stakeholders. This work will gather momentum during 2018.
As expected, Government’s focus on sustainable development, including climate change, continues to be further entrenched at all Spheres of Government and Organs of State; as witnessed this year in both the Minister and Deputy Minister’s Budget Vote Speeches. The commitment to sustainability and the Responsible Care in Action Campaign, together with Advocacy initiatives undertaken by CAIA, place the industry in a good footing to continue the achievements already made in increasing sustainability – from a safety, health, environmental, monitoring, reporting, as well as business sustainability perspective. Domestically, there have been numerous legislative and policy developments in the Climate Change space. A draft Climate Change Legislative Framework was released for input, the National Pollutions Prevention Plans Regulations and associated Declaration Notice were published, as was the National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulations. Development continues on the proposed Carbon Tax and its associated allowances, the liability for which is likely to be calculated according to what is submitted in compliance with the greenhouse gas emissions reporting regulations. At this time there is no policy certainty beyond 2020, making investment decisions challenging. CAIA updates members through communiques, its Environment Committee and other fora.
The draft National Chemicals Management Bill that was developed following the release of the Draft Discussion Document has resulted in the Department of Environmental Affairs needing to go back to the drawing board following stakeholder engagement and the need for a Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Study to be undertaken. Besides the need to domesticate multilateral environmental agreements that is supported, CAIA is paying close attention to the perceived need to develop a chemicals management bill in the economic circumstances that South Africa currently faces, to ensure that the perceived challenges of the Department are justified, and to make use of existing legal provisions where necessary without developing a further Act.
A case in point is the development of draft regulations this year to phase-out Persistent Organic Pollutants as a part of South Africa’s responsibilities towards the Stockholm Convention. CAIA continues making inputs on draft South African position papers for meetings that are held internationally; for example regarding mercury and the Minamata Convention as well as the phase-out of ozone depleting substances.
A number of changes to waste management legislation in South Africa have taken place or a busy being contemplated. These include changes to activities that require waste management licences, changes to thresholds of activities that require environmental authorisations, the development of draft waste exclusion regulations, the promulgation of waste tyre regulations, and discussion surrounding the need for industry waste management plans, and taxes to fund such schemes. CAIA places great focus on solid waste management matters, both from a policy and implementation perspective, due to the relative contribution these activities make to operations of the chemicals and allied industries and CAIA’s drive to increase sustainability through the Responsible Care® Initiative.
Positive changes are afoot in the environmental management landscape with changes having been promulgated to the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations and Listing Notices, discussions over removing certain activities from requiring environmental impact assessments to be replaced with compliance with standards, and the publication of a draft regulation on alternative environmental management instruments. Environmental Impact Assessment requirements and procedures have always been found to be lacking in efficiency and to be onerous and CAIA trusts that the future holds strong improvements in this area.
Few policy changes have taken place this year from a water resources perspective and, disappointingly, regulations have been promulgated by the Department of Water and Sanitations that were not consulted on. The regulations in questions are crucial to have industry’s input on as they set out the procedures for applications and appeals for water use licences. CAIA remains involved to provide members with updated information as it becomes available.
The Integrated Resource Plan and Integrated Energy Plan that were released as drafts by the Department of Energy await finalisation. There was criticism on the Plans by a variety of sectors of the economy and CAIA awaits a further update from the Department. Due to various challenges in the energy sector – ranging from the link with Climate Change to the struggling State-Owned Enterprise Eskom – CAIA places close attention to matters of energy.
CAIA continues its engagement at the National Economic Development and Labour Council’s Non-Agricultural Market Access and Non-Tariff Barriers Task Teams with an overall position of ensuring the protection if South African products and manufacturing during the negotiation of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements with other countries and Regional Economic Communities.
Through CAIA’s engagement with Government, other industry and business sectors, as well as with its members, positions are developed that intend to put the interest of members first, while collaborating as closely as possible with Government to find solutions to the challenges that are identified that require the development of policy and/or legislation.