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Legal Toolbox

Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act

Section 6(1) of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act empowers the Minister to prescribe control measures for land users to comply with which include, amongst others, the utilisation and protection of vleis, marshes, water sponges, water courses and water sources, and the protection of water sources against pollution on account of farming practices and the grazing capacity of veld.

Type of protection

Failure to comply with a control measure results in liability of a fine not exceeding R5 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment for a first conviction, and is liable to a fine not exceeding R10 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four years or to both such fine and such imprisonment, for a second conviction.

Benefits

  • Control measures for protection of veld against over-grazing: Over-grazing of communal land is a threat to our water source areas. This is regulated by the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act Regulations, through a range of control measures.
  • Enforceability of measures and directions: These control measures and directions are enforceable; a refusal or failure on a land user to comply with a control measure or direction amounts to an offence.
  • Control measures binding on successor in title: Control measures which have been published in the Gazette are binding on the land user and his/her successor in title

Challenges

  • Limited application: The Act does not apply to land that is situated in an urban area, except insofar as it relates to weed and invasive plants.
  • No control measures for protection of water sources against pollution on account of farming practices: The Gazetted regulations provide control measures for most foreseen circumstances listed in the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, except for the protection of water sources against pollution on account of farming practices.
  • Exemptions applicable: A land user may be exempt from complying with the control measures, on application for consent to the Executive Authority.