4.8 Waste Information System

In terms of Section 60 of the Waste Act the Minister has established a national waste information system for recording, collecting, managing and analysing waste data. The South African Waste Information System (SAWIS) addresses the lack of reliable data on the waste sector.

SAWIS will provide information to inform Integrated Waste Management Plans and Industry Waste Management Plans, and to evaluate their implementation. The information in SAWIS must inform public health and safety management, and help to assess the impact of waste on health and the environment. It must also provide information on waste to educators and researchers to raise public awareness.

Access for the public and industry to information stored on SAWIS is a statutory requirement of the Waste Act. However, safeguards will be put in place to ensure that companies have access to their own information only and that aggregated information is available for industrial sectors. Proprietary company information will not be exposed to third parties.

DEA will publish National Waste Information Regulations which will make reporting to SAWIS obligatory, and which will provide the volumetric or mass thresholds at which SAWIS registration and reporting is required. The volumetric or mass thresholds avoid the need for reporting by small scale recyclers. The regulations will stipulate sanctions for noncompliance.

Section 60(3) of the Waste Act provides for an incremental implementation of SAWIS57.

DEA will undertake a baseline study of the current quantities of waste which are generated, reduced, re-used, recycled, recovered, stored, transported, treated and disposed of for each of the waste types set out in the National Waste Information Regulations. This will inform the further development of SAWIS, and create a baseline for interpreting SAWIS information.

Provinces may optionally create their own waste information systems58. Provincial waste information systems should include all the information that the national system requires. Some provincial WIS systems already exist and dual reporting requirements are undesirable. To avoid multiple reporting, the Minister may exempt entities reporting to a provincial system from requirements to report to the national system once mechanisms exist to replicate information from the provincial system to the national system.

SAWIS will be implemented within the new technology framework for information systems described in Section 3.4.2. Horizontal integration of SAWIS with other waste regulation and information systems is required for licensing procedures (currently captured on NEAS). A new framework that integrates business procedures using a single underlying data base will enable this horizontal integration. The current implementation of SAWIS will move to the new framework.

An integrated procedure for licensing and registration on SAWIS is desirable, but does not exempt licencees from separately registering with SAWIS. Facilities that fail to meet licensing requirements or are granted exemptions from licensing requirements will still be required to register with SAWIS. A standard categorisation system exists for waste information submitted to SAWIS and it will align with the WCMS and reporting requirements stipulated in licences.


  1. For instance, generators of hazardous waste are currently not required to submit waste data. Instead, waste managers submit this data on their behalf.
  2. Section 62 of the Waste Act.