Insights

How alien plant species could invade your sale

Invasive species are controlled by the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) (Act 10 of 2004). Here are the basic regulations, which could change the way you sell. Knowledge is power in the property world.

NEMBA regulations and how they affect you:

  •  A property that contains invasive species is a liability to the buyer. The NEMBA regulations state that the seller of any immovable property must, prior to the relevant sale agreement, notify the purchaser of the property in writing of the presence of listed invasive species on that property. Before any sale, a copy of the Declaration of Invasive Species forms needs to be lodged with The Compliancy Officer, Biosecurity Services, Department of Environmental Affairs (see details below on page 30).
  • These regulations affect gardeners, pet enthusiasts and property owners across the country. If any of the declared invasive species which require a range of control measures including removal, permits and management plans are found on your property, offenders may face prosecution under the Act.

In all cases, the law requires property owners to check if any of these species are on your property. If they are present, you need to control them from jumping the garden fence (Category 1a) or submit an invasive species management control programme explaining why you should be granted a permit to keep them on your property (Category 1b). If there is no reason why they should be on your property, a permit can be denied and the law requires you to remove and destroy the species on your property.

The AIS Regulations list four different categories of invasive plant species that must be managed, controlled or eradicated from areas where they may cause harm to the environment, or that are prohibited from being brought into South Africa:

Category 1a: Invasive species which must be combatted and eradicated. Any form of trade or planting is strictly prohibited.

Category 1b: Invasive species which must be controlled and wherever possible, removed and destroyed. Any form or trade or planting is strictly prohibited.

Category 2: Invasive species, or species deemed to be potentially invasive, in which a permit is required to carry out a restricted activity. Category 2 species include commercially important species such as pine, wattle and gum trees.

Category 3: Invasive species which may remain in prescribed areas or provinces. Further planting, propagation or trade is however prohibited.

What to do if your property has invasive plant species:

If you’re not sure if your new or old property contains any invasive species, consult accredited invasive species practitioners, landscapers or garden centres.

For contact lists, go to: www.invasives.org.za or www.sagic.co.za
or: www.sali.co.za or www.sana.co.za
or: www.wessa.org.za

You can download a Declaration of Invasive Species from www.environment.gov.za or from www.invasives.org.za.

Deliver permit applications using any of the following channels:

  1. By Hand Delivery: The Issuing Authority, Biosecurity Services, Environmental Programmes, Department of Environmental Affairs, 1st Floor, 14 Loop Street, Cape Town, 8000.
  2. By Post: The Issuing Authority, Biosecurity Services, Environmental Programmes, Department of Environmental Affairs, Private Bag X4390, Cape Town, 8000.
  3. By Fax: 086 604 4080
  4. By Email: AISpermits@environment.gov.za

Download the Pam Golding Guide to Biodiversity