In terms of Section 24 of the Constitution of South Africa all citizens have the right to live in a clean and safe environment and it places an obligation on the state to ensure such an environment. New and modern legislation was drafted for the Province. This resulted in the promulgation of the Mpumalanga Conservation Act, Act 10 of 1998, together with its regulations. Mpumalanga was the first province to promulgate new Conservation legislation in South Africa.
Wildlife Protection Services played an important role at National level, by taking part in the formulation of a suite of modern conservation legislation under the umbrella of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 and 8 of 2004 (NEMA). This all resulted in the signing of the new Protected Areas Act (NEMPAA number 57 of 2003), the new Biodiversity Act (NEMBA number 10 of 2004) as well as the formulation of regulations under these 2 Acts (Threatened or Protected Species and CITES). This modern legislation brings South Africa in line with the developed world, as far as environmental legislation is concerned and forms part of South Africa’s commitment to the International Convention on Biodiversity.
Mandate and Role of WPS
The MTPA derives its Conservation mandate from the Mpumalanga Conservation Act, Act 10 of 1998 and Act 5 of 2005 (Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency Act, Act5 of 2005 and specifically from Section 3 (Objects of the Agency), and Section 4 Powers and Functions of the Agency sub. 14 (a) to (f) and sub. 15 (a) to (d). In 2002 the MTPA was delegated the authority to act as the Management authority for CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species) in Mpumalanga and to manage all trade with species, hunting, and wildlife.
In Feb 2008 the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations (TOPS) was published in terms of the NEMA act, Act 107 of 1998. All provinces, as delegated to by the National Minister, are responsible to implement TOPS and to issue all TOPS related permits. Since the MTPA is mandated for regulating Conservation in the province, the Regulatory function for all legislation promulgated in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), Act 107 of 1998 lies with the MTPA and is performed by Wildlife Protection Services.
Who are We
The surface area of Mpumalanga province is 7, 9 million hectares and covers 22 magisterial districts. Mpumalanga borders onto Mozambique for approximately 100km’s, Swaziland approximately 300km’s and the Kruger National Park approximately 370km’s. To provide a sufficient service to the public the province was divided into 9 Conservation Districts.