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van Schalkwyk introduces Integrated Coastal Management Bill at the National Assembly

by Selwyn Bergman
on 09 May 2008
Oceanography SA
Oceanography SA

South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, introduced the new Integrated Coastal Management Bill in the National Assembly yesterday (8th May 2008).

In his speech, van Schalkwyk said "the purpose of the National Coastal Management Bill is to provide a legal and administrative framework that will promote cooperative, coordinated and integrated coastal development; preserve, protect and enhance the status of the coastal environment as the heritage that belongs to us all; to ensure coastal resources are managed in the interest of the whole community; to ensure there is equitable access to the opportunities and benefits derived from the coast; and to give effect to certain of South Africa's international legal obligations."

The Bill also reinforces the legislation regarding set-back lines - that mark the closest point to the sea that development can legally take place - to assist in the protection of the shoreline as well as the protection of property to phenomena such as sea level rise due to climate change and coastal storms.

The Bill also recognises the importance of water quality on the Tourism Sector and calls for a critical review of all existing effluent discharges into estuaries and the ocean. "There have been a number of recent reports in the media about sewage spills and sub-standard effluent from fish factories being discharged into harbours and the coastal zone," said van Schalkwyk.

The Bill declares that the seashore, coastal waters, estuaries, and South Africa's territorial waters to be public property and thus requires the State to act as the custodian of it. This means that South Africans can now expect a rejuvenated effort from the State towards the improved management of the coast.

Further reading:
Marthinus van Schalkwyk's speech at the National Assembly - 8th May 2008


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