The efficiency and alignment of planning and environmental impact assessment (EIA) authorisation processes in the Mpumalanga Province
Steenkamp, Carli Stephani
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The legal reform process in South Africa has led to increasingly complex legislative requirements for new developments in the form of various authorization processes. Currently different organs of state, at different spheres of government exercise a range of powers and functions in respect of the approval of development applications. These authorisations typically relate to planning, water management, heritage resources, environmental management, air quality, etc. In order to improve the efficiency and alignment of authorisation processes there is a serious need to gain a better understanding of the interaction between the different authorisation processes as well as the challenges experienced. This research presents the results of a critical analysis of planning and environmental impact assessment (EIA) authorisation processes in the Mpumalanga Province and examines how authorisation processes are implemented and aligned, how efficient the processes are, why process inefficiencies occur and how the efficiency of processes can be improved. The outcome of the research suggests that there are three main success factors for efficiency, namely the legislative framework that provides for administrative and environmental justice, co-operative governance that provides the basis for good communication, and information and competence that injects expertise into the authorisation process. The so-called 'efficiency triangle' is conceptualised, which clearly illustrates the interaction between these success factors.
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