Environmental Assessment Practitioners must register before allowed to practice

The Minister of Environmental Affairs have appointed the Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa (EAPASA) as the Single Registration Authority in terms of Section 24H of the National Environmental Management Act. This appointment was made on 8 February 2018 and is valid for a period of 5 years.

The appointment also triggered the commencement of regulation 14, 24 months after the date of appointment of EAPASA which prohibits any person other than a registered environmental assessment practitioner, registered with a registration authority, from holding the primary responsibility for the planning, management, coordination or review of environmental impact assessments and associated Environmental Management Programs.

So from 9 February 2020, practitioners who holds the primary responsibility for EIA’s must be registered with EAPASA.

EAPASA has also applied to SAQA for recognition as a professional body for Environmental Assessment Practitioners and the Minister have invited comments on the application on or before 2 June 2019.

Repeat of the SACPCMP?

In 2014 we saw the rise of the SACPCMP as registration authority for Construction Health & Safety. We also saw the fall of the Construction Industry, partly as a result of under-provision of registered CHS Agents where permits were required, despite an 18 month transitional period, extended by a couple of exemptions. This begs the question. Will EAPASA be able to deliver?

We know from experience that the DEA outperforms the DOL when it comes to the quality of their legislation and enforcement thereof. This is mainly because the DEA decentralised the administration of NEMA to provincial government level as allowed for in the Constitution. The DOL however, does not have this option, which hampers OHS law development and enforcement. Only time will tell if EAPASA can raise the bar.