Western Cape provincial legislature Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)
The public has until today to comment on provincial government’s proposed amendments to its constitution, which includes a request to remove the position of the commissioner for environment and the right to decide on taxes for provincial citizens.

Provincial government reasons in the proposed amendments that “the Western Cape government is of the view that the filling of the vacancy of the commissioner for the environment is not desirable”.

“The Western Cape government is also of the view that national legislation and international conventions provide the necessary protection of the environment. 

"Unless the provisions relating to the establishment of the commissioner for the environment are repealed, the Western Cape government is failing to fulfil a Constitutional obligation. 

"It is proposed that the provincial constitution be amended to repeal the provisions relating to the Commissioner for the environment.”

The Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) called on locals to urgently submit their comments and input.

Other proposed amendments to the provincial constitution include changes to the Money Bill - to allow the province to impose additional taxes on the public and the appointment of an administrator for a municipality.

SAFCEI spokesperson Francesca de Gasparis said government wanted to phase out this position while the province was facing environmental issues, such as the ongoing drought and disputed development of aquifer land, like the Philippi Horticultural Area.

The public can submit comments via email to [email protected] or fax 021 487 1685.