Any affected person including you as an Interested and Affected Party may Appeal against a Competent Authority’s decision to grant or refuse an Environmental Authorisation or Exemption. Someone who appeals a decision is called an Appellant.
If the Competent Authority is the national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, your Appeal will be directed to the Minister. If the Competent Authority is the provincial department of environment, your Appeal will be to the MEC of the Province. However, where the Minster or MEC is the Competent Authority and therefore made the decision themselves, there is no Appeal provided. The Authority you Appeal to is known as the Appellant Authority.
It is important to note that the submitting an Appeal against an Environmental Authorisation, does not suspend the authorisation. The holder of the authorisation may therefore continue with the activity as authorised. The Appellant Authority may, however, issue a directive, demanding that the authorisation be suspended, if it does so, it must notify the Interested and Affected Parties.
See the diagram below that illustrates the process you, as an Interested and Affected Party, have to follow in lodging an Appeal.
Starting Your Appeal
The appeal process begins with the Appellant lodging a Notice of Intention to Appeal. This notice must be lodged within 10 days of being notified of the decision you wish to Appeal against and must be lodged with either the Minister or the MEC, depending on who made the decision you wish to appeal. If, as an Interested and Affected Party, you wish to Appeal a decision you must give a copy of your Notice of Intention to Appeal to the Applicant (the person that requested the Environmental Authorisation from the Competent Authority). If the Applicant however initiates an Appeal, he/she must serve a copy of its Notice of Intention to Appeal on all registered Interested and Affected Parties. Please note that your Notice of Intention to Appeal does not have to contain your detailed reasons for appealing.
As the Appellant you must indicate where and for what period your Appeal submission will be available for inspection. The same will apply to an Applicant who appeals and you will then be entitled to inspect the Appeal submission.
The Appellant Authority must acknowledge receipt in writing of the Appellant’s Notice of Intention to Appeal within 10 days of lodging.
Within 30 days of the Appellant lodging his/her Notice of Intention to Appeal, the Appeal must be submitted to the Appellant Authority. The appeal must be on an official form and must set out the grounds for appeal.
The Appellant Authority must acknowledge receipt of the Appellant’s appeal within 10 days of submission.
Provision is made for a person that received a Notice of Intention to Appeal from the Appellant to respond to the Appeal. This response is called a responding statement and the person submitting it is known as the Respondent. A responding statement must be made within 30 days of the Appellant’s Appeal being made available for inspection. It must be submitted to the Appellant Authority.
The Appellant Authority must acknowledge receipt of the responding statement within 10 days of submission.
If the responding statement contains new information (i.e. informationthat was not included in the Appellant’s appeal submission), the Appellant will have an opportunity to answer to this new information. The answer is called an answering statement and must be submitted to the Appellant Authority within 30 days of receipt of the Respondent’s statement.
The Appellant Authority must acknowledge receipt of the Applicant’s answering statement within 10 days of submission.
Processing Your Appeal
Once it has received the Notice of appeal and any possible responding and answering statements, the Appellant Authority will process the Appeal. In processing an Appeal, the Appellant Authority may ask either the Appellant or Respondent to submit more information. It may also appoint an independent appeals panel to help it in reach a decision.
If an appeals panel is appointed, Interested and Affected Parties must be informed. If the appeals panel introduces new evidence (i.e. information not contained in the submissions of the Appellant and Respondent), both the Appellant and Respondent can submit more statements regarding the new evidence to the appeals panel. This must be done within a certain specified period of time.
Your Appeal Decision
Once the Appellant Authority has reached a final decision,(with or without the assistance of an appeal panel), it must notify the Appellant and any Respondents in writing. The Appellant must give written reasons for its decision if requested.
It is also important to note that the Appellant Authority, may, in writing, on good cause extend the time periods within which to submit a Notice of Intention to Appeal, an Appeal, a responding statement or an answering statement.
How To Calculate Time Periods
When calculating a period of time that begins on or after a particular day, begin counting the days from the start of the day following the particular day to the end of the last day of the period. But if the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or public holiday, the time period is extended to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or public holiday. If the day your comments have to be submitted therefore falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Public holiday, you only have to submit your comments on the first working day. You can therefore submit your comments on the Monday, which will be the first working day after the Sunday.
For example: If you are notified of the Competent Authority’s decision to grant Authorisation on the Thursday, day 1 will therefore be the Friday. If day 10 falls on a Sunday you will only have to lodge your Notice of Intention to Appeal by the Monday i.e. the first working day following the Sunday deadline.
It is also important to note that the Appellant Authority, may, in writing, on good cause extend the time periods within which to submit a notice of intention to appeal, an appeal, a responding statement or an answering statement.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision reached on your Appeal, you do have the option of approaching the High Court and submit a Review Application. If you decide to follow this route you must approach an attorney for legal advice. Please note that there are time limits within which you have to submit your application for Review.
Download the relevant Forms and Guidelines.