A farmer from Clanwilliam faces legal action in the form of a R3.5-million fine after intentionally building two dams on his property without registering them.
The farm, Tierhoek Boerdery, was initially only found guilty of five transgressions but after further investigations six additional counts were added.
Of the 11 transgressions the farm was found guilty of, six related to water and five related to environmental concerns after it was found Tierhoek Boerdery intentionally did not register newly-built dams on their property.
Tierhoek Boerdery first appeared in court earlier in 2017 after the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) conducted their first monitoring and enforcement blitz which lead to the discovery of two dams that had not been registered within the 120-day window.
The farm also appeared in the Clanwilliams Court in March of 2018 specifically for allegations of unlawful water activities and the lengthly battle resulted in a fine.
The farmer was slapped with a multi-million rand fine after it was confirmed that he did not comply with an act and stored a large amount of water without proper authorization.
According to a release issued by the DWS, the farm committed the following counts relating to water:
– Contravened Dam Safety Regulation 4(1) of the National Water Act, 36 of 1998, by unlawfully and intentionally failed to apply for a licence to construct the dams with safety risk without permission from the Director General of the department
– Contravened Regulation 10 of the Safety of Dams Regulations where he constructed Category 2 dams without relevant documents
– Contravened Section 120(2), 151k and 151(2) of NWA, 36 of 1998 and Regulation 37 of the Regulations of the Safety Dams, where he unlawfully and intentionally failed to register the dams with safety risk within 120 days and submit registration documents to the department after completing constructing the dams
– Contravened Regulation 3 pertaining to the registration of water use
– Contravened Regulation 7 pertaining to the registration of water use by unlawfully and intentionally failing to be in possession of a registration certificate to use water
– Contravened Section 151(1) (a) and Section 151(2) of NWA 36, 1998, Sections 21(b) and 22(a-c) of the act by unlawfully and intentionally failed to comply with the act by storing water without authorisation.
The offender was instructed to pay R1 250 000 to the DWS, R1 250 000 to DEA and DP, and R1 000 000 to the NPA.
Ms. Boniswa Hene, Director of Regulation, is hoping this case will serve as an example and a deterrent for other possible future offenders.
“Government acknowledges that the farming community also plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of the country; however, we encourage every water-user to respect the law. We call on all other potential transgressors to come forward and exercise voluntary compliance with water and related laws. DWS is available to assist the water users with compliance to Regulations,” said Hene.