The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning has partnered with the South African National Biodiversity Institute in a concerted effort to address biodiversity crimes in the Cape Winelands. The objective of this partnership is to mitigate threats to biodiversity through environmental enforcement action.
The Biodiversity and Land Use intends to address the challenges threatening biodiversity and societal growth by striking a balance between development and job creation, and conservation and sustainable biodiversity use. The project also aims to strengthen collaboration between intergovernmental organisations to encourage and promote compliance with legislation, whilst creating awareness and communication regarding critical biodiversity value, sustainable land management and the benefits of biodiversity.
One of the project deliverables includes compliance and enforcement operations be conducted in conjunction with various organs of state. These operations are designed to address incoming complaints and the high number of backlog cases. The objective of these so called Blitz Operations is to ascertain non-compliance with the National Environmental Management Act (1998) and Specific Environmental Management Acts.
To date four Blitz operations have been successfully conducted since the commencement of the SANBI project, throughout the Cape Winelands District by a young group of people passionate about the environment.
These operations generated numerous administrative enforcement actions as a result of non-compliances identified. It also concluded many cases which allowed files to be closed and investigations to be successfully finalized, subsequently reducing the amount of backlog cases significantly. To date one case investigated during one of the afore-mentioned Blitz operations has been logged with the National Prosecution Authority for possible prosecution on unlawful clearing of indigenous vegetation.
This Article was published by SANBI. For the original of this article please click here