Ideal integrated national environmental management system for South Africa : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University
The South African environmental management system has been characterised by fragmentation and the lack of effective legislation. The number of statutes concerned with conservation issues is an associated problem. The implementation of the Environmental Conservation Act 1989 has been viewed as inefficient because of the lack of enforcement and control of environmental management issues. The Act has not provided opportunities for public participation, particularly from black communities, in decision-making about environmental matters. The South African environmental management system has not recognised and integrated indigenous peoples resource management systems into the country's legal framework. This is illustrated by the impacts of conservation programmes which have resulted in black communities being uprooted from their lands for the establishment of national parks and tourism facilities, without compensation to traditional owners. Research has identified the need for a revision of environmental impact assessment (EIA) practices in South Africa. There is also an associated need to integrate environmental impact assessment (EIA) into the planning process to achieve sustainability. Studies carried out in South Africa have identified the lack of effective regulations for enforcing the provisions with regard to the status of the coastal zone. The criticisms of the White Paper delivered by participants at the Conference held at Megawatt Park, Sandton, 10 June, 1993, highlight the need for a comprehensive environmental management system to ensure the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. An ideal system would improve the quality of life in the South African community, while maintaining the integrity of the natural resource base. Even though the criticisms have been valid, they fall short of suggesting ideas for the formulation of a new integrated environmental management system for South Africa. Research carried out in South Africa has also identified the inadequacies of the proposed Integrated Environmental Management procedure referred to in the White Paper. This procedure has been perceived as inadequate to achieve the universal principles of sustainable development. This project evaluates the White Paper, the submissions criticising the White Paper and the proposed Integrated Environmental Management system in South Africa. A matrix is used as a method to examine both the New Zealand Resource Management Act 1991 and the South African environmental management provisions against the recommended national actions in the IUCN/UNEP/WWF (1991) and Agenda 21. Research from a number of disciplines concerned with integrated environmental management, are used to recommend changes to the South African environmental management system. Criteria derived from the IUCN/UNEP/WWF (1991) strategy and Agenda 21 are used in the thesis to evaluate the White Paper, submissions criticising the White Paper, and the proposed Integrated Environmental Management system. Finally, An ideal National Integrated Environmental Management System for South Africa is proposed.