On 13th of December 2009, Syngenta published a public notice of their intent to apply to the GMO Registrar for a permit for the general release of genetically modified maize, GA21. Having obtained a ‘non-confidential-business-information’ version of Syngenta’s application, it is our contention that the application cannot be adequately assessed. The information provided is sketchy at best, key information required for a full and thorough assessment of the event in question is designated confidential business information and therefore not made available to the very public who are expected to consume the product. Claims made regarding gene stability are by reference to information provided by the developer of the GMO and not to any independent, objective source. Additionally, assertions made as to the socio-economic benefits pertaining from a general release of GA21 are grossly misleading and do not hold up to objective scrutiny.
In 2009 section 78 of the Biodiversity Act was amended, and now provides that:
‘…if the Minister has reason to believe that the release of a genetically modified organism into the environment under a permit applied for in terms of the Genetically Modified Organisms Act, 1997 (Act No. 15 of 1997), may pose a