NEMA

The National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA), creates the legal framework which gives effect to the environmental rights guaranteed in section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the Constitution). Section 24 of the Constitution provides:
Everyone has the right –
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
(b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that –
(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(ii) promote conservation; and
(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

NEMA was the first piece of national environmental legislation in South Africa that attempted to promote co-operative governance and inter-governmental relations.  NEMA also contains provisions to establish procedures and institutions to facilitate and promote public participation in environmental governance. Section 2 of NEMA provides various principles, two of which are important to cycads; these are that "global and international responsibilities relating to the environment must be discharged in the national interest" and that "the environment is held in public trust for the people, the beneficial use of environmental resources must serve the public interest and the environment must be protected as the people’s common heritage".

The threats to cycads are internationally recognised in terms of the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Beyond South Africa's international duty's in respect of cycads is its duty to ensure cycads are protected as part of our national heritage to be enjoyed in the wild by current and future generations.
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