The magnificence of the South African Constitution lies in its provision for the protection of the rights of the country’s residents and resources. One such provision is the 24th Section of the Bill of Rights, which declares that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), in consultation with the Departments of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE), and Water and Sanitation (DWS), is launching an environmental violations reporting portal. This platform will allow individuals and communities to efficiently report violations to the relevant government department.
Residents have previously faced many challenges in reporting environmental violations, including a lack of access to government departments and even threats to their safety. Whistleblowers will now have the option to conveniently and anonymously report violations from their mobile phone or computer.
The steps to submitting a report have been made easy and can be seen on the portal’s tutorial video. Upon submitting a report, a reference number is issued to enable the person reporting the violation to follow up with the relevant department.
Here is how you can direct your violations:
- Departments of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) – All mining-related violations
- Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) – Illegal dumping, illegal development, possession of wild animals without a permit, poaching, infestation of alien invasive species, air pollution, hazardous waste, etc
- Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) – All water-related violations
According to Thobeka Gumede, attorney at CER, a portal is a necessary tool that affords affected persons the ability to assert their human rights by calling on the relevant authorities to enforce environmental compliance.
“Communities living next to polluting industries face environmental degradation on a daily basis.
They should not be subjected to the additional burden of trying to figure out where and how to report these environmental violations.”
We encourage communities to make use of this platform, exercise their rights, and hold these government departments accountable. Though the CER will only be providing the channel for reporting, and not tracking these reports, the existence of such a platform connects communities’ environmental challenges directly to the department and is a leap towards more active citizenship.
Online portal: https://cer.org.za/report-a-violation
Watch the portal demonstration animation videos here: