The complex bill, which was gazetted on 15 December 2006 and which will lead to the adoption of a new approach to the management of South Africa's coastal resources, generated much public comment, some of which has now been incorporated into it.
The purpose of the National Coastal Management Bill is to:
- Provide a legal and administrative framework that will promote cooperative, coordinated and integrated coastal development;
- Preserve, protect and enhance the status of the coastal environment as the heritage of all;
- Ensure coastal resources are managed in the interests of the whole community;
- Ensure there is equitable access to the opportunities and benefits derived from the coast, and
- To give effect to certain of South Africa's international law obligations.
The bill creates two zones, a "coastal public property zone" and a "coastal protection zone" (which can be widened or narrowed depending on the area's sensitivity). It is worth noting that these two zones do not affect:
* Existing property rights;
* Provincial, municipal, cadastral, or other legally recognised boundaries;
* Powers of any organ of state to dispose of land.
Environmental Affairs Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said that" the most important changes to the gazetted version were the streamlining of government processes, reduction of duplication, clarification of certain clauses and better alignment with other legislation."