Environmental Services

We focus on environmental authorization applications, environmental permitting and compliance auditing.

DSA has been successfully delivering high level specialists’ studies in a wide range of sectors, and in the process the need to consolidate and offer environmental management and consultancy arose. Sitting under the ‘same roof’ as the specialists and working with the networks provides efficiency in making decisions and EAPs are empowered to be proactive in the management of projects.


We focus on environmental authorization applications, environmental permitting and compliance auditing.

The environmental services include:

Environmental impact assessments: BAR, Scoping & EIA, Environmental Management Plans, Section 24G applications;

In terms of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (“NEMA”), environmental authorization must be obtained before any person can conduct activities that cause damage to the environment. The process of impact assessment and identifying potential environmental damage is conducted through collecting, organizing, analyzing, interpreting and communicating information that is relevant to decision-making.

A Basic Assessment (BA) is the process undertaken for a project that is included under Listing Notices 1 & 3 and the environmental impacts of a BA are generally easier managed and the intensity of the impacts often limited.

The Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process undertaken for a project that is included under Listing Notice 2 and environmental impacts of an EIA are generally more specialized managed and the intensity of the impacts often higher and/or permanent.

Through either process, public participation is conducted and an environmental management plan (EMP) is compiled, which is a document and instruction to manage the impacts by means that provide the most benefit or causes the least damage to the environment as a whole in the long term as well as in the short term, at a cost acceptable to society.

A Section 24G application is an application that is made to the Department of Environmental Affairs and applies to a person/company who has commenced with a listed or specified activity without an environmental authorization. Depending on the outcome of consultation with the Department, specialist reports, BAR, or full EIA’s might be requested coupled with a public participation process.

Therefore, a Section 24G application provides an administrative process coupled with a calculation of a fine, which is determined by the Department.

Environmental permitting: Water Use License, Mining/Prospecting Right or Mining Permit License

Water Use License

South Africa’s National Water Act (No. 36 of 1998) (NWA) makes provision for one’s “right” to water. Except for the water required for basic human needs use, all other water uses must be authorized by the Department of Water and Sanitation or a Catchment Management Agency (CMA). Section 21 of the NWA lists the water uses that require authorization and are as follow:

Section 21 Water Use Example
a) Taking water from a water resource

Abstracting water from a river or borehole for the following purposes: – domestic use

– irrigation

– watering of livestock

– industrial

– mining

– water bottling, etc.

b) Storing water Raw water containment facilities constructed in-stream and in off-channel dams.
c) Impeding or diverting the flow of water in a watercourse Construction of structures/facilities within surface water resources, e.g. weirs, bridges, pipelines, etc.
d) Engaging in a stream flow reduction activity Plantation of forestry species (Eucalyptus, Pine and Wattle)
e) Engaging in a controlled activity identified as such in section 37(1) or declared under section 28(1) of the NWA Irrigation with water containing waste, artificial recharge of aquifer, modification of atmospheric precipitation and in-stream power generation activities
f) Discharging waste or water containing waste into a water resource Discharging of water containing waste into a surface water resource, e.g. discharging treated effluent into a river or a wetland
g) Disposing of waste in a manner which may detrimentally impact on a water resource Disposal of effluent into a water containment facility, dust suppression and stockpiles
h) Disposing of waste in a manner which contains waster from or which has been heated in any industrial or power generation process Discarding of industrial/power generation waste water or water which has been heated
i) Altering the bed, banks, courses or characteristics of a watercourse Construction of structures/facilities within surface water resources, e.g. weirs, bridges, pipelines, etc. Introduction of unnatural characteristic to the resource
j) Removing, discharging or disposing of water found underground if it is necessary of the efficient continuation of an activity or for the safety of the people Extraction of water from underground workings for safe continuation of activities
k) Using water for recreational purpose The use of surface water resources for fishing, boating, etc

Prospecting/Mining Right or Mining Permit (Mining and Borrow pits)

The South African State is the custodian of all the mineral resources in South Africa and as the custodian, the State has the right to grant or refuse mining rights, permits, or prospecting rights. No person may prospect for or remove, mine, conduct technical co-operation operations, explore for and produce any mineral or commence with any work incidental thereto on any area without authorization from the government.

Authorization to mine or prospect is obtained by the granting of an environmental authorization, the issuing of a mining/prospecting right or a mining permit, as the case may be, and giving the landowner or lawful occupier of the land in question written notice.

Compliance auditing: Environmental Auditing, WUL Auditing, Performance Assessment Reports for mines and mine closures; and

Environmental Auditing

The holder and any person issued with an environmental authorization must monitor the impacts and conduct regular auditing on the level of compliance with the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and compliance with the conditions of the environmental authorization.

Through this process, possible short comings, environmental risks, and effective or ineffective mitigation measures, appropriateness and adequacy of the EMP can be identified, addressed and rectified.

WUL Auditing

In some cases, the Department may exercise their right of power to ensure compliance with the NWA and may request that the holder of a water use license conduct an audit report to verify the level of compliance with the conditions of the water use license issued.

Performance Assessment Reports for mines

Similar to environmental audits, the holder of a prospecting/mining right or mining permit must regularly assess his or her environmental liability in a prescribed manner and must assess his or her financial provision for rehabilitation, to the satisfaction of the Minister responsible for mineral resources, from an independent auditor.

Through this process, possible shortcomings, environmental risks, and effective or ineffective mitigation measures, appropriateness, and adequacy of the EMP, as well as financial risk can be identified, addressed, and rectified.

Mine closures

The holder of a prospecting right, mining right, mining permit, or previous holder of an old order right or previous owner of works that has ceased to exist, remains responsible for any environmental liability, pollution, ecological degradation, the pumping and treatment of extraneous water, compliance to the conditions of the environmental authorization and the management and sustainable closure thereof until the Minister has issued a closure certificate in terms of this Act to the holder or owner concerned.

Application for a closure certificate must occur upon the lapsing, abandonment or cancellation of the right or permit in question; the cessation of the prospecting or mining operation; the relinquishment of any portion of the prospecting of the land to which a right, permit or permission relates; or on the completion of the prescribed closing plan to which a right, permit or permission relates.

Part of the closure application is the submission of a Closure Plan, which must as far as is reasonably practicable, provide instruction to rehabilitate the environment affected by the prospecting or mining operations to its natural or predetermined state or to a land-use which conforms to the generally accepted principle of sustainable development.

We also provide general environmental legal advice and Section 53 applications (MPRDA).


Natalie Sharp has a Masters in Environmental Management combined with 17 years of experience in environmental impact assessments. She has worked on a wide variety of different developing projects such as mining, light industrial developments, agriculture, and applications for exemptions, Section 24G, water quality and water use licensing. She has excellent experience in writing environmental reports, which ranges from Scoping Reports, Environmental Management Plans, Environmental Awareness Plans, Closure Plans, Risk Assessments, Environmental Audit Reports, and Plan of Study reports. Natalie is a SACNASP registered scientist, as well as EAPASA Registered Environmental Practitioner and has completed more than 82 Environmental Impact Assessments.

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    Eastern Cape Office:

    1 Kemsley Road, Richmond Hill, Port Elizabeth
    +27 (0)67 622 5687 | natalie@dsafrica.co.za