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Invasive Alien Plants

Invasive Alien Plants

Property Owners, Developers and Home Owners’ Associations can be fined R10m or face imprisonment for non-compliance

Legislation has been passed to eradicate invasive alien plant species and this has been long overdue. Invasive plant species have invaded and taken over 10 million hectares of land in South Africa – this is the size of KwaZulu-Natal. These invasive plants use 7% of the water resources in South Africa, which is probably more than the water consumed by South African households. Below are examples of such species that may be in your garden:

In terms of the regulations which came into effect on the 1st of October in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 , hefty fines can be imposed on land owners should they not eradicate such species and all home owners are advised to familiarise themselves with the list of these invasive species can be found at

A land owner must allow an authorised official from the Department of Environmental Affairs to enter onto the land to monitor, assist or implement the combating or eradication of the species and developers and home owner’s associations are encouraged to engage with the Department to ensure that they manage this process correctly, or employ an environmentalist to attend thereto.

A failure to comply with the Regulations can lead to a fine of R10m or even imprisonment.

Furthermore, in terms of regulation 29(3) the “seller of any immovable property must, prior to the conclusion of the relevant sale agreement, notify the purchaser…of the presence of listed invasive species”.

Sellers are urged to disclose the existence of any such invasive plants, on their listing information. In certain instances permits can be granted to hold alien invasive plant species on land and such permit would have to be transferred upon the sale of a property.

It is also prudent to amend the voetstoots clause in sale agreements to make reference to the Act, so that a seller who may inadvertently sell a property which does contain invasive alien plant species he or she was not aware of, would be protected against any claims by a purchaser.

This does not however exonarate a land owner from their obligations in terms of the Act and the regulations thereto. It is also recommended that where a ‘Sellers Declaration’ is used, the seller makes a full disclosure of the existence of such plants or vegetation, and the steps that would be taken prior to transfer, to remove such plants. It must be noted that when any land is sold (this includes residential property) all plants on the property forms part of the property sold and the onus should be on the seller not only to remove such plants, but also to inform the purchaser of the existence of such plants.

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