“Our Constitution, by including environmental rights as fundamental, justiciable human rights, by necessary implication requires that environmental considerations be accorded appropriate recognition and respect in the administrative processes in our country. Together with the change in the ideological climate must also come a change in our legal and administrative approach to environmental concerns.” (Director: Mineral Development, Gauteng Region v Save the Vaal Environment)

The constitutionally protected environmental right has increased the awareness of environmental law in every aspect of decision making which might have an impact on the environment. Companies’ operating within the South African environmental sphere have an obligation to adhere to the legal obligations, norms, standards, principles and guidelines as contained in South Africa’s multifaceted network of environmental legislation. Stemming from the vast array of environmental legislation that companies have to contend with, almost on a daily basis, it has become vital for companies to obtain strategic environmental legal advice in this unique field.

Legislation which may be applicable to companies includes, but is not limited to:     Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No. 108 of 1996);     National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998);

    National Water Act, 1998 (Act No. 36 of 1998);

    Environment Conservation Act, 1989 (Act No. 73 of 1989);

    Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002);     Hazardous Substances Act, 1973 (Act No. 15 of 1973);

    Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 1983 (Act No. 43 of 1983);     National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act No. 25 of 1999);

    National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004);

    National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act No. 57 of 2003);

    National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Act No. 39 of 2004);     Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act, 1965 (Act No. 45 of 1965);

    Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 (Act No. 29 of 1996);

    Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993); and

    Regulations, Ordinances and Bylaws.

GCS can provide the following services to enable companies to legally operate their activities in an environmentally sound manner:     Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Legal Compliance Audits.

    Assessment   of   environmental   legislative   compliance   and   authorisation   investigations   relevant   to   new   project developments.

    Assisting clients with the identification of environmental legal risks and liabilities during the planning and pre-feasibility,

feasibility, operational and closure stages of projects.     Due diligence investigations.

    Legal Review for Scoping documents and Environmental Impact Assessment Report.

    General environmental legal advice and legal assistance.

    Monitoring and updates of  legal  developments  and  the  opportunity  to  provide  input  into  legislative  and  policy developments if applicable.

    Assessment of the environmental legislative framework for African countries.

    Environmental Legal Compliance Audits for African countries.