The South African Minister of Environmental Affairs, Nomvula Mokonyane, has announced her intention to regularise hazardous waste management businesses. Any business or person who conducts a hazardous waste management operation will need to apply for a waste management license.
This applies to businesses that managed hazardous materials before the National Environmental Management: Waste Act was introduced on 1 July 2009. These entities will have one year to apply for their waste management licenses once the final notice from the minister has been published.
This regularisation of hazardous waste management activities is intended to standardise safety and handling practices in the industry, ensuring that all hazardous refuse is disposed of correctly and lawfully.
The minister’s notice is aimed at ensuring that hazardous waste handlers that operated before the Waste Act was enforced in 2009 are valid and authorised. Hazardous waste management businesses that operated before 1 July 2009 without valid authorisation must apply for their waste management licenses. Those hazardous waste businesses that started operating after 1 July 2009 without a valid waste management license are deemed illegal.
This notice applies to all hazardous waste management businesses including waste disposal, landfills, recycling, treatment and recovery of hazardous materials. Although the minister’s notice is currently in draft form, it has been released for public comment.
The notice does not currently specify the consequences of non-compliance and for operating without a waste management license. However, it is believed that if a business fails to comply, it’s current authorisations could be revoked and a monetary fine will need to be paid. Once the final notice is submitted by the minister, details of consequences and the application process will be more clear.
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