South African Invasive Species Legislation: NEMA, NEMBA, CARA and PESTICIDES ACT
Invasive species legislation is governed by the following legislation.
- NEMBA Chapter 5 specifically deals with Alien Invasive Species – “Species and organisms posing potential threats to biodiversity”.
- NEMBA Chapter 5 is divided into four parts, of which Part 1 includes Alien Species and Part 2 Invasive Species.
- NEMBA Alien and Invasive Species (AIS) Regulations were passed into law in 2014 and updated in 2020.
NEMBA Alien and Invasive Species (AIS) Regulations and Lists
The AIS Regulations and Lists are two documents.
- REGULATIONS: Manage the control and management of invasive species in South Africa.
- Permit conditions for all Category 2 species
- An explanation of the 'duty of care' responsibilities for private landowners and organs of state.
- LISTS: The National List includes 567 species in 4 categories. The National List of Invasive Species is updated periodically.
2021 (24 February): AIS Commencement Notice No 115. The Minister gazettes:
- AIS Regulations gazetted in 2020 will only come into effect on 1 March 2021
- Removed: Rainbow trout and Brown trout are removed from the national list of invasive species.
- Update of the 2016 AIS Species Lists
- The National List includes: Plants (383), mammals (43), birds (14), reptiles (30), amphibians (7), fresh-water fish (30), terrestrial invertebrates (24), fresh-water invertebrates (12), marine invertebrates (17) and microbial species (7). Total: 567 species
- Removed: The category listing ‘Prohibited species’
- Removed: Declaration of Invasive Species Form required before selling any property.
- National invasive species lists are updated.
- Regulations outline the FOUR categories, restricted activities, exempted alien species, national status reports, permits, risk assessment, permits and prohibited species in ten chapters.
- National List includes: Plants (383), mammals (41), birds (24), reptiles (35), amphibians (7), fresh-water fish (15), terrestrial invertebrates (23), fresh-water invertebrates (8), marine invertebrates (16) and microbial species (7). Total: 559 species
CARA Regulations 15 and 16 concern invasive or problem plants in agricultural lands. CARA is managed and enforced by officials in the Ministry of Agriculture (in the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development)
The CARA Regulations and Lists comprise the following suite of documents:
- REGULATIONS: CARA Regulations 15 and 16 under this Act, which concern invasive or problem plants, were amended during March 2001.
- INVASIVE ALIEN PLANT LISTS: CARA Regulations refer to Table 3 - a National List of 198 Invasive Alien Plants, which are divided into three categories.
- SPECIES WITH EXEMPTIONS: CARA Regulations allow for species which are exempted for various reasons.
- BUSH ENCROACHMENT: CARA Regulations list indigenous species which are invasive. Also known as Table 4 in the CARA Regulations.
Developed by Debbie Muir (DFFE), this herbicide policy is the most comprehensive document covering the legal and safe use of herbicides in South Africa.
Information regarding the amendment to control measures relating to invasive species in terms of the Agricultural Pests Act as per the Government Gazette no 37702.
Lists and regulations for invasive species in South Africa
2020: NEMBA Alien and Invasive Species List (18 September, 2020)
2020: NEMBA Alien and Invasive Species Regulations (25 September, 2020)
The regulations are encapsulated in 10 Chapters:
- Chapter 1 – Interpretation
- Chapter 2 – Categories of Listed Invasive Species
- Chapter 3 – Restricted Activities
- Chapter 4 – National Framework Documents
- Chapter 5 – Registers and Notification
- Chapter 6 – Risk Assessment
- Chapter 7 – Issuing, Amendment and Cancellation of Permits
- Chapter 8 – Emergency Suspension
- Chapter 9 – Compliance and Enforcement
- Chapter 10 – Repeal, Short Title and Commencement
Four Categories for 567 Listed Invasive Species
Listed invasive species are assigned to four categories:
- Species which must be combatted or eradicated.
- Immediate steps must be taken to combat or eradicate.
- Authorised officials must be permitted to enter properties to monitor, assist with or implement the combatting or eradication.
- If an Invasive Species Management Programme has been developed, a person must combat or eradicate the listed invasive species in accordance with such programme.
- Species which must be controlled.
- Property owners and organs of state must control the listed invasive species within their properties.
- If an Invasive Species Management Programme has been developed, a person must control the listed invasive species in accordance with such programme.
- Authorised officials must be permitted to enter properties to monitor, assist with or implement the control of listed species.
- Any Category 2 listed species (where permits are applicable) which fall outside of containment and control, revert to Category 1b and must be controlled.
- Any Category 3 listed species which occur within a Protected Area or Riparian (wetland) revert to Category 1b and must be controlled.
- The Minister may require any person to develop a Category 1b Control Plan for one or more Category 1b species occurring on a property.
Any species listed under Category 2 requires a permit issued by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to carry out a restricted activity (See Permit Applications.)
- A permit is required to carry out any restricted activity.
- No person may carry out a restricted activity in respect of a Category 2 listed invasive species without a permit.
- A person in control of a Category 2 listed species must take all necessary measures to ensure that specimens of the species do not spread outside of the land or area, such as an aviary) specified in the permit.
For permit details, view PERMIT APPLICATIONS.
- Category 3 listed invasive species are subject to certain exemptions in terms of section 70 (1)(a) of the NEMBA Act, which applies to the listing of alien invasive species.
- Any Category 3 listed plant species that occurs in riparian areas, must be considered as Category 1b and the appropriate control measures instituted.
The nine provinces in South Africa each have their own respective provincial legislation in the form of provincial ordinances or bills. Here you can download the Nature Conservation Ordinances for each province. Some sections may relate to exotic alien species and invasive species.
Provinces listed alphabetically:
Provincial nature conservation in the Eastern Cape Province is administered by the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Conservation and Tourism.
Provincial nature conservation in the Free State Province is administered by the Free State Department of Tourism, Environment and Economic Affairs.
Provincial nature conservation in Gauteng Province is administered by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD).
Provincial nature conservation in KwaZulu-Natal Province is administered by Ezemvelo-KZN Wildlife.
Provincial nature conservation in Limpopo Province is administered by the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET).
Provincial nature conservation in Mpumalanga Province is administered by the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency.
North West Province
Provincial nature conservation in North West Province is administered by the North West Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment.
Provincial nature conservation management in the Northern Cape is undertaken by the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation.
Provincial nature conservation in the Western Cape Province is administrated by Cape Nature.
South African National Parks oversees the management of all the national parks in South Africa. SANParks carries out invasive species control programmes in their respective parks.
Control plans as required by Section 76 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 Of 2004) (NEMBA) for species listed as invasive in terms of Section 70 of this Act.
WHO NEEDS TO DEVELOP A CONTROL PLAN? Invasive species control plans are needed by:
- Any organ of state that manages land - such as a municipality, nature reserve or parastal
- Any landowner of severely invaded land which receives a directive to control the invasives as part of a citizen's 'duty of care'
- Any organisations or groups of private land owners that would like to be considered for funding under a Land Users Incentive Scheme
THE LAW: Under Section 76 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA), all organs of state must have a invasive species control plan in place - as part of their annual development plans.
An invasive species monitoring, control and eradication plan must include ...
- A detailed list and description of any listed invasive species occurring on the relevant land
- A description of the parts of that land that are infested with such listed invasive species
- An assessment of the extent of such infestation
- A status report on the efficacy of previous control and eradication measures
- The current measures to monitor, control and eradicate such invasive species
- Measurable indicators of progress and success, and indications of when the control to is be completed
DEVELOPING A CONTROL PLAN: Do you need assistance on how to develop an invasive species control plan? A guideline document, written by Dr Ian MacDonald, was released in 2015 to assist custodians and managers of land to embark on a process to document, monitor, control and manage listed invasive species over a period of five or ten years.
Entitled, Guidelines for the Monitoring, Control and Eradication Plans, the guidelines offer details on how to ...
- Compile the list of invasive species for the area
- Describe the parts of the relevant land that are infested with listed invasive species
- Assess the extent of infestations
- Report on the efficacy of previous control or eradication measures
- Implement measures to monitor, control or eradicate listed invasive species
- Measure progress and success.
- Work out how long it will take for a control plan to be completed
STATUS REPORTS: Invasive Species Status Reports for South Africa
The monitoring and assessment of invasive species in South Africa is recorded in National Status Reports submitted to the Environment Minister every three years.
The reports are produced and published by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in consultation with government officials, invasion scientists and a range of stakeholders.
The National Status Reports provide data and information on the status of biological invasions in South Africa as well as control and management programmes initiated to manage invasive species. The reports are available for download:
Owing to the Covid lockdown, this report was launched in May 2021. The 95-page document provides information on the impacts of the 215 invasive species have been formally assessed. Seven of these are found to have caused massive negative environmental impacts. The report highlights ways forward in the control and management of invasive species given the often complex environmental and social dynamics.
SANBI launch of the 2019 Status Report by Minister Barbara Creecy.
This 163-page document outlines the national strategy for dealing with biological invasions in South Africa. It covers the legislative and regulatory environment, pre- and at-border management, post-border risk management, managing established species, information management, capacity building, research, raising awareness and funding.
SANBI launch of the 2017 Status Report by Minister Derek Hanekom.
STRATEGY: National Invasive Species Strategy for South Africa
A 184-page strategy document was the first summary document covering the strategy for dealing with biological invasions in South Africa. This document provides a strategy for managing biological invasions in South Africa, at a national scale and over a time horizon of ten years. It constitutes a national-level plan for the costeffective achievement of specific objectives in an environment of uncertainty - covering legislation, pre- and post-border risk and management of invasive species.
This Strategy aims to facilitate the achievement of 11 complimentary sub-objectives:
- To promote co-ordination and collaboration across all affected sectors.
- To establish an effective legislative and regulatory environment.
- To prevent the introduction of species that pose a substantial invasion risk.
- To eradicate introduced species where possible and desirable.
- To reduce the rate of spread of invasions and reduce the impacts of existing invasions.
- To manage and provide access to information.
- To develop adequate management and research capacity.
- To foster research and development to improve management and decisionmaking.
- To raise awareness of the problem.
- To provide adequate financial resources for management.
- To ensure effective monitoring and evaluation.
How do you apply for a permit for a Category 2 Invasive Species?
- Any person wishing to carry out a restricted activity in terms of a Category 2 listed species must apply for a permit through the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).
- Category 2 listed species may be plants or animals.
- Conditions and exemptions will be stated on the permit informing the permit holder of what activities can or cannot be undertaken with the listed invasive species.
- Restrictions on the permit may include breeding, cultivation, or transporting across provincial boundaries.
A Permit Application Form be downloaded here:
Cost of lodging an application for a permit
- Import into the Republic - R200 per species
- All restricted activities - R100 per species
- Renewal of permit - R50 per species
- Appeals - R50 per species
Who issues permits for Category 2 species?
Biosecurity Directorate: Issuing Authority
Department of Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment
14 Loop Street, Cape Town, 8000
T: +27 (0) 21 441 2748/ 2725/ 2756/ 2812/2707
Applying for a permit BEFORE you sell a Category 2 species.
If a person wishes to sell, donate or transfer a Category 2 listed species, the new owner must make an application for a permit before the sale or transfer can commence.
Chapter 6 of the Regulations covers the Risk Assessment Framework.
- A risk assessment must be undertaken for an application for an import permit for an alien species.
- Risk assessments must be carried out by a suitably qualified and registered Risk Assessment Practitioner. The Institute or issuing authority may also undertake the risk assessment.
- Results of a Risk Assessment may be reviewed by Provincial Authorities to which the alien species is destined.
Importing alien species
- Anyone wishing to important an alien species in South Africa must apply for an importation permit.
- The application must be accompanied by a Risk Assessment to prove that the species does not pose a risk of invasion in South Africa. There are also veterinary and quarantine requirements that must be adhered to.
- All imported specimens must be accompanied by veterinary health certificates or phytosanitary certificates as official declaration by the exporting authority that the risk of such specimen becoming a potential vector of invasive diseases or pathogens has been effectively managed.
For more information, CLICK HERE.