City will soon have an environmental enforcement ‘sting’ as Green Scorpions go local.  The City of Cape Town will soon have its own Environmental Management Inspectors (EMIs) or ‘Green Scorpions’ to enhance environmental compliance, monitoring and enforcement.

The designation of City staff as Green Scorpions will be possible thanks to an agreement between the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille, and the Provincial MEC for Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell.

“The City of Cape Town is a key role-player in environmental monitoring and enforcement and has the staff on the ground to detect and respond to illegal activities.  Having staff designated as Green Scorpions will give us greater powers to investigate and enforce environmental legislation where needed,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Alderman Belinda Walker.

The National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) provides that the MEC may designate as an EMI any staff member of any municipality in the province. Such designation can only be made by agreement between the relevant MEC and the local authority (represented by the Executive Mayor).  

Designation as Green Scorpions will give City officials environmental compliance monitoring and enforcement powers in terms of the NEMA and the Specific Environmental Management Acts for air, water, waste, protected areas, and biodiversity management.  This includes the powers to stop suspects and conduct search  and seizure operations; question a person about any act or omission; investigate any act or omission; conduct routine inspections; remove any waste or other matter deposited or discharged in contravention of the law; and conduct administrative and criminal environmental enforcement.

Currently the City has more than 10 staff members who have undergone and passed the EMI training and are ready to be designated as Green Scorpions. The City’s Green Scorpions will work closely with existing City Law Enforcement staff and the Provincial authorities, as well as national agencies including the National Department of Environmental Affairs, the National Department of Water Affairs, the National Prosecuting Authority, the South African Police Services, the South African Revenue Services, and the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

“This is an important step towards the City’s strategic focus of a Safe City for our residents,” said Alderman Walker.

Issued by: Integrated Strategic Communication and Branding Department, City of Cape Town on 7 September 2012

Media enquiries: Keith Wiseman, Manager: Environmental Compliance, Environmental Resource Management Department, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 487 2283, Cell: 084 213 9482, or E-mail

Alderman Belinda Walker, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 1381 or Cell: 083 629 8031, E-mail: