On 24 January 2020, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries published her intention to amend the Section 24H Registration Authority Regulations, 2016 (Regulations) under NEMA (Amendment Notice). The Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa (EAPASA) was established as the single registration authority for environmental assessment practitioners (EAPs) in terms of the Regulations on 8 February 2018.
The Regulations provide that the EAP registration requirements take effect 24 months from the date of the appointment of EAPASA. This requires all EAPs primarily responsible for an EIA to be registered with EAPASA on and from 8 February 2020.
In order to make the 8 February 2020 deadline, EAPs should have submitted their applications by 8 October 2019 (given the timeframes allotted to EAPASA to process an application). Applications submitted after 8 October 2019 may not be processed by 8 February 2020. It follows that an EAP that submitted an application after 8 October 2019 will not be allowed to practice (sign-off any documentation) from 8 February 2020 until such time as their registration has been received. To date, EAPASA has successfully registered only a limited number of applications.
It is estimated that there are 1700 EAPs in South Africa. Of this number, only those EAPs primarily responsible for an EIA are required to register. Even if only 50% of this total number of EAPs require registration, it is likely that the registration requirement will not be met by the due date.
For this reason, the Amendment Notice proposes to amend the registration effective date to 48 months from the date of the appointment of EAPASA., i.e. until 8 February 2022.
The public has been given 30 days to submit comments on the Amendment Notice.