Introduction to the NEMBA Act

Invasive species legislation is governed under the various Environmental Acts signed into South African law. These Acts include the National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1988) and NEMBA – National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act 10 of 2004). Within the NEMBA (2004) framework, Chapter 5 specifically deals with Alien Invasive Species – “Species and organisms posing potential threats to biodiversity.”

Chapter 5 is divided into four parts, of which Part 1 includes Alien Species and Part 2 Invasive Species. With specific reference to Chapter 5 of NEMBA, the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations were passed into law in 2014 and amended in 2020.  This is published as a Government Notice on 1 August 2014 and officially titled: National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) Alien and Invasive Species Regulations, 2014. However, the 2014 Regulations are now repealed and replaced by the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations (25 September 2020).

These Regulations outline the control and management of alien invasive species in South Africa, including permit applications, national invasive species lists, and duty of care placed upon private and state landowners and managers.

A National List of Invasive Species is published periodically. This list includes all listed invasive species which are categorized into 4 categories (see NEMBA AIS Regulations). The latest gazetted AIS lists were published in September 2020. The monitoring and assessment of alien invasive species is published periodically in the National Status Reports produced and published by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in consultation with government officials and invasion scientists and other key stakeholders. The latest status report was published in 2020: The Status of Biological Invasions and their Management in South Africa.

NEMBA AIS Regulations

The NEMBA AIS Regulations (2014) are encapsulated into 10 Chapters:

  • Chapter 1 – Interpretation
  • Chapter 2 – Categories of Listed Invasive Species
  • Chapter 3 – Restricted Activities
  • Chapter 4 – National Framework Documents
  • Chapter 5 – Registers and Notification
  • Chapter 6 – Risk Assessment
  • Chapter 7 – Issuing, Amendment and Cancellation of Permits
  • Chapter 8 – Emergency Suspension
  • Chapter 9 – Compliance and Enforcement
  • Chapter 10 – Repeal, Short Title and Commencement

Categories of Listed Invasive Species

Listed invasive species are assigned to four categories:

Category 1a:

  • Species which must be combatted or eradicated.
  • Immediate steps must be taken to combat or eradicate.
  • Authorised officials must be permitted to enter properties to monitor, assist with or implement the combatting or eradication.
  • If an Invasive Species Management Programme has been developed, a person must combat or eradicate the listed invasive species in accordance with such programme.  

Category 1b:

  • Species which must be controlled.
  • Property owners and organs of state must control the listed invasive species within their properties.
  • If an Invasive Species Management Programme has been developed, a person must control the listed invasive species in accordance with such programme.
  • Authorised officials must be permitted to enter properties to monitor, assist with or implement the control of listed species.
  • Any Category 2 listed species (where permits are applicable) which fall outside of containment and control, revert to Category 1b and must be controlled.
  • Any Category 3 listed species which occur within a Protected Area or Riparian (wetland) revert to Category 1b and must be controlled.
  • The Minister may require any person to develop a Category 1b Control Plan for one or more Category 1b species occurring on a property.

Category 2:

Any species listed under Category 2 requires a permit issued by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to carry out a restricted activity (See Permit Applications.)

  • A permit is required to carry out any restricted activity.
  • No person may carry out a restricted activity in respect of a Category 2 listed invasive species without a permit.
  • A person in control of a Category 2 listed species must take all necessary measures to ensure that specimens of the species do not spread outside of the land or area, such as an aviary) specified in the permit.

For permit details, view PERMIT APPLICATIONS.

Category 3:

  • Category 3 listed invasive species are subject to certain exemptions in terms of section 70 (1)(a) of the NEMBA Act, which applies to the listing of alien invasive species.
  • Any Category 3 listed plant species that occurs in riparian areas, must be considered as Category 1b and the appropriate control measures instituted.

Download the latest gazetted Alien and Invasive Species List (2020) here: Alien & Invasive Species Lists 25 September 2020.