Legal Articles and Guides
The owner of an illegally constructed R3m west coast beach house has been fined R175 000 by the provincial environmental authority – and may still be ordered to demolish it completely and rehabilitate the site. A BusinessLIVE report notes the fine has to be paid before the Western Cape’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning will process the owner's application for condonation of the illegal construction.
Directors of the Australian-owned Mintails could face charges after a parliamentary investigation found that the company is R460m short on the money it owes to clean up the environment at its mining operations near Krugersdorp, says a Business Day report. Sparked by an Oxpeckers investigation into Mintails’ failing 1 715ha gold surface re-treatment operation, Parliament’s Committee on Mineral Resources launched its own inquiry, uncovering illegal activities and lax oversight by the company and the Department of Mineral Resources.
Environmental justice activists, including the Global Environmental Trust, have failed in a bid to close down an anthracite mine next to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi nature reserve in northern KZN. According to a TimesLIVE report, KZN High Court (Pietermaritzburg) Judge Rishi Seegobin ruled that the company, Tendele Coal Mining, was acting lawfully and that the applicants had simply failed to make any case for an interdict shutting down the mine.
A Limpopo man who faces a string of criminal charges together with alleged rhino horn kingpin Dawie Groenewald, has been fined R100 000 in a separate matter. Nardus Rossouw, a professional hunter who was charged along with Groenewald's Musina Mafia in 2010, appeared in the Mokopane Regional Court after spending the past year in police custody for illegally trafficking rhino horns without permits.
Landfill company Interwaste has been ordered to close its FG landfill site near the Midstream Estate in Gauteng within 10 days and to rehabilitate the area, Beeld reports. The Ministry of Environmental Affairs issued this directive after the JSE listed company challenged a similar directive from the Green Scorpions on 10 February.
China appeared to backtrack on a controversial decision to lift a ban on trading tiger bones and rhinoceros horns, saying it has been postponed, state media has reported. The State Council, China's cabinet, unexpectedly announced last month that it would allow the sale of rhino and tiger products under 'special circumstances', a move conservationists likened to signing a death warrant for the endangered species.
The Constitutional Court ruled yesterday that a platinum miner that has a deal with a tribal chief could not evict a group of black farmers, in a decision a Polity report suggests could curtail the power of traditional leaders. At issue was a deal agreed with the council of the Bakgatla tribe to allow Pilanesberg Platinum Mines (PPM), a unit of unlisted Sedibelo Platinum Mines, to evict farmers to expand its open-pit mine.
The Centre for Environmental Rights has told MPs that the government should drop its plan to commission new coal power from independent power producers (IPPs) or face legal action, says a Business Day report. Two years ago the government called for bids for 1 000MW of coal power by IPPs and selected two consortiums to build the stations.
West Coast farmers launched an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court yesterday concerning water rights, which may have far-reaching consequences for agriculture, reports News24. At the heart of the case is whether it is lawful for irrigation boards to approve the transfer of water rights from one farm to another in a board's area of jurisdiction. Irrigation boards have been doing this for years with the knowledge of the Department of Water and Sanitation, functioning as 'water management institutions' in terms of the National Water Act.
The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) has applied for an urgent interdict in an attempt to stop the government from facilitating selling lion bones used in fake tiger bone wine and other questionable purposes, according to a Daily Maverick report, which notes the lion bone trade is the ugly side of the already discredited canned lion hunting industry.
The Western Cape High Court has set aside the government’s lobster quota for 2017-18, ruling it irrational and unlawful, Die Burger reports. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) took on the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries about the decision to allow 1 924 tons of lobster to be caught on the West Coast.
Consultants employed by Australian company Mineral Sands Resources have acknowledged that the massive expansion of mining for mineral sands on 10 West Coast beaches will cause unavoidable environmental damage, but claim that the damage can be reduced to 'acceptable' levels.
The mastermind in a multi-million rand perlemoen enterprise Morne Blignaut was sentenced to an effective 20 years behind bars in the Eastern Cape High Court (Port Elizabeth) yesterday. IoL reports that Blignaut pleaded guilty and was convicted on two charges of racketeering and a charge of contravening the Marine Living Resources Act.
A R1.5bn plan by the City of Cape Town to develop Maiden's Cove, a scenic headland and beach in Camps Bay, is facing a court challenge from city residents. The development of the cove area, devised in 2015, includes plans for 52 residential homes, a boutique hotel, retail and restaurant spaces, and a parking garage for 700 vehicles.
The case involving 19 men and women charged with corruption and racketeering in an alleged abalone syndicate will be transferred to the Western Cape High Court, the Cape Town Regional Court heard this week. A News24 report notes that the 19 suspects, nine of whom are marine inspectors from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, were arrested in March.