All activities with GMOs in South Africa are regulated under the GMO Act. This includes research and development, import/export, production, consumption and other uses of GMOs and their products. The GMO Act establishes minimum standards to ensure the food/feed and environmental safety and socio-economic sustainability of all activities involving GMOs.

It further establishes the necessary operational procedures and infrastructure required for the regulation of GMOs:

  • The Registrar (seated within DAFF) is responsible for administrating the Act.
  • Inspectors are responsible for ensuring permit conditions are adhered to.
  • The Advisory Committee (AC) is a panel of independent scientists that evaluates all applications.
  • The Executive Council (EC) is the decision making body and consists of 10 members representing seven different state agencies, i.e. DAFF, DoH, DST, DEA, DTI, DoL and DAC.

Decisions are based on the information in the application, the AC’s recommendations, the public’s inputs and within government’s policy framework. A unanimous EC resolution is required for a permit to be issued.


GMO permit application