The impact of marine spatial planning legislation on environmental authorisation, permit and licence requirements in Algoa Bay

Author: Denning Metuge

ISSN: 2521-5442 Affiliations: Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Public Law, Nelson Mandela University Source: Amalwandle Ethu: Journal of Ocean Law and Governance in Africa, 2021, p. 79 – 121


With a focus on Algoa Bay, this article considers the potential conflicts that may arise between South Africa’s marine spatial planning (MSP) legislation and the environmental authorisations, permits and licencing requirements provided under specific environmental management Acts (SEMAs). The legislation for MSP in South Africa is the Marine Spatial Planning Act, 2018 (MSPA). It provides that ‘[a]ny right, permit, permission, licence or any other authorisation issued in terms of any other law must be consistent with the approved marine area plans’. What is more, where there is a conflict between the MSPA and any other legislation ‘specifically relating to marine spatial planning’, the provisions of the MSPA prevail. Particular attention is given to the principle of sustainability that the MSPA incorporates into MSP and its impact on environmental authorisation, permit and licence requirements issued in terms of three SEMAs: the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (NEM:BA), the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (NEM:PAA) and the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (NEM:AQA). The article concludes by summarising the potential impact the MSPA will have on the discussed SEMAs when it comes into operation and makes recommendations to prevent the occurrence of potential conflicts.