The evaluation of climate change-related risks as part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process has gained significant traction globally over the past decade. The International Association for Impact Assessment's best practice principles for climate change in impact assessments (CCIA) acknowledge that "impact assessment has much to contribute in assisting governments with meeting their international commitments to address human-induced climate change, and in assisting industry and the public to understand the environmental and social consequences of climate change".
On 28 June 2021, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment published the Draft Policy Position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhino. The Draft Policy is the Department's first step towards implementing the recommendations contained in the report of a High Level Panel appointed to conduct a review of policies, legislation and practices on matters relating to management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of these animals, published on 2 May 2021.
Planning for day zero
As nations around the world continue to battle through the COVID-19 era of lockdowns and social distancing, we are inundated with news on the many existential crises that the world currently faces. The manner in which countries (both individually and collectively) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic may, however, provide useful insight into how countries might respond to climate change – the greatest existential threat of our time. It may also serve as an important pre-COP26 warning to the developed world that it urgently needs to agree on whether or not (and how) it will to come to Africa's aid as the continent is forced to respond to the consequences of climate change.
In April 2021, Absa Bank Limited (Absa) became the first commercial bank in Africa to execute a certified green loan with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Absa will use the US$150 million green loan to finance and refinance biomass and renewable energy projects in support of its strategy to expand its climate finance business.
On 21 May 2021, a Draft National Mine Closure Strategy 2021 (the Strategy) was rather unexpectedly published for public comments by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy in Government Notice R. 446 in Government Gazette 44607.
In the mid-1990s, the law firm that I was at took the bold step of appointing a partner who would only be practising Environmental Law. At the time, there were very few lawyers who knew what Environmental Law was, and even fewer who focused on Environmental Law. Now, a law firm that does not have a dedicated environmental partner or team is rare to find, because of the significant shift to, and emphasis on, compliance with Environmental Laws.
In the KwaZulu-Natal Division, a groundbreaking judgment was delivered in South African Human Rights versus Msunduzi Local Municipality and Others (8407/2020P)  ZAKZPHC 35 (17 June 2021), regarding compliance with a compliance notice (enforcement action) issued in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (107 of 1998) (NEMA).
The costs of the recent insurrection in KwaZulu-Natal continue to add up, as the list of lives lost grows and the cost to the economy escalates. While both are devastating and tragic, it's also essential to assess the impact and scope of environmental damage caused by the mid-July mayhem.
This is the vexing question that was considered by the High Court in Mbombela, Mpumalanga Division, in the case of Arqomanzi Proprietary Limited v Vantage Goldfields (Pty) Limited and Others (Arqomanzi Case).
As we face ongoing pressures on the South African economy in 2021, we need to consider the number of financially distressed companies that continue to operate on the cusp of insolvency and potential collapse. Recently published statistics by STATS SA (June 2021) show that the number of liquidations increased by 46.2% in the first six months of 2021, when compared to the first six months of 2020. South Africa has seen 997 (132 for June 2021) filings for liquidations since January 2021, with trade, catering, accommodation, financing, insurance, real estate and business service sectors leading the way, followed by community, social and personal services. There have been 2 275 business liquidations since the hard lockdown in April 2020.
A recent judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal clarifies the applicability of the moratorium on legal proceedings or enforcement actions against a company in business rescue.
The slogan, "lights, camera, action" has historically been preserved for the film and entertainment industry, but could it be that company law pertaining to general meetings of shareholders may be taking on a similar hue?
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is celebrating major milestones in 2021: The Rand turned 60 on 14 February, the SARB recently celebrated 25 years as an independent central bank – the independence of the SARB was enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa when the Constitution was signed into law in 1996 – and more importantly, the SARB turned 100 years old on 30 June. The SARB is the oldest central bank in Africa, and has certainly evolved since it opened its doors in Church Street, Pretoria, in 1921.
The Copyright Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed by Parliament, despite widespread criticism and condemnation by informed commentators. The CAB was rejected by President Ramaphosa and referred back to Parliament with the direction that it be reviewed and amended where necessary. His objections mainly centred on the issue that it contained provisions that are in conflict with the South African Constitution and, more particularly, the Bill of Rights contained in Chapter 2, sections 7 – 39.