Western Cape Provincial Legislature invites you to provide comment, input or objection to the Bill.
- The Bill amends the Constitution of the Western Cape, 1997 (Act 1 of 1998) (the provincial Constitution) so as to align it with the amendments that have already been made to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the National Constitution),
- to repeal the provisions relating to the Commissioner for the Environment;
- and to effect textual changes.
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Alignment with national Constitution
Various amendments have been made to the national Constitution. These amendments have not been incorporated in the provincial Constitution. Section 143(1) of the national Constitution provides that a provincial constitution must be consistent with the national Constitution. Seven of the nine clauses in the Bill propose amendments to the provincial Constitution to align it with the national Constitution in order to avoid any inconsistencies and difficulties with interpretation.
Commissioner for the Environment
Section 71 of the provincial Constitution establishes the position of Commissioner for the Environment. Since the commencement of the provincial Constitution, various pieces of national legislation that establish authorities and structures for the protection of the environment have been passed. The national legislation includes the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act 107 of 1998), the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act 10 of 2004), the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act 57 of 2003), the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act 59 of 2008), and the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, 2008 (Act 24 of 2008). The Western Cape Government is of the view that the filling of the vacancy of the Commissioner for the Environment is not desirable, because it would involve an overlap and duplication of roles and functions provided for in national legislation and would consume scarce state resources. The Western Cape Government is also of the view that national legislation and international conventions provide the necessary protection of the environment. It is accordingly proposed that the provincial Constitution be amended to repeal the provisions relating to the Commissioner for the Environment.