In 2014 legislation was gazetted that requires sellers of property to inform purchasers of any alien invasive species present on the property being sold. While the legislation does not demand that the seller obtains the services of an expert to establish whether any listed alien invasive species are actually present, it is difficult to imagine how the average property owner would be able to fulfil their obligation without calling on expert help.
The need for Inspection of properties for Alien Invasive species has come about because of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act 10 of 2004). The aim is to conserve our natural resources by controlling a range of alien invasive plants, animals (vertebrates and invertebrates) and microbes.
In the Act section 73.2 states – Duty of care relating to listed invasive species which covers the following:
A person who is the owner of the land on which a listed invasive species occurs must –
a) notify any relevant competent authority, in writing, of the listed invasive species occurring on that land – this will be sent to The Compliancy Officer, Biosecurity Services, Environmental Programmes, Department of Environmental Affairs at 14 Loop Street, Cape Town,
b) take steps to control and eradicate the listed invasive species and to prevent it from spreading, and
c) take all the required steps to prevent or minimise harm to biodiversity.
In 2014 further regulations were gazetted. Section 29.3 of the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations, 2014 states that
“The seller of an immovable property must, prior to the conclusion of the relevant sales agreement, notify the purchaser of that property in writing of the presence of listed invasive species on the property.”
So like the Electrical Certificate of Compliance, the Entomological Clearance Certificate, the Gas Certificate of Conformity and the Electric Fence Certificate of Compliance, the property seller needs to submit a document in respect of Alien Invasive Species to the Conveyancing Attorney, for use to facilitate the property sale.
Why does the property seller need expert help?
Identifying the species that require reporting is a very technical matter. If we focus on plant species alone, there are some 403 species listed.
These Alien Invasive Species plants are categorised into 4 groups, namely:
Group 1a: Emerging highly invasive plants which must be controlled. They may not be sold, moved, propagated or grown. Example: Red valerian (Centranthus ruber).
Group 1b: Plants may not be grown on land, and must be removed. Examples: Lantana (Lantana camara) and Bugweed (Solanum mauritianum).
Group 2: Plants may be grown if a permit is obtained. This includes plants with a commercial value. Examples: Pines, gum and some wattle. However, if found in a riparian area, it then becomes Group 1b.
Group 3: Plants may be on the land but not sold or replanted. Example: Jacaranda. However, if found in a riparian area, it then becomes Group 1b.
Just how well equipped is the average property seller to deal with this?
A list of Qualified Alien Invasive Property inspectors can be found on the following 2 websites:
Call Alcocks Pest Control on 031 569 2996 for a free, no-obligation quotation – or fill in the contact form below and we’ll contact you.
www.invasives.org.za and www.sagic.co.za.