A legal framework for integrated environmental governance in South Africa and the North-West Province
Kotzé, Louis Jacobus
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The environmental governance sphere in South Africa is fragmented. This fragmentation is exacerbated in the provinces. Fragmentation manifests in various ways, including, inter alia, structural fragmentation between the various spheres and line functions of government, fragmented environmental legislation which is silo-based and issue-specific, jurisdictional overlaps, and duplication of procedures and processes. Fragmentation poses several disadvantages and may ultimately hamper effective and sustainable service-delivery by government. The problem of fragmentation forms the crux of this study. The principal objective of this thesis is accordingly to investigate possible solutions to address fragmentation and to propose a more sustainable strategy to achieve integration of currently fragmented environmental governance efforts in South Africa and the North-West Province (NWP). The NWP has specifically been chosen as a case study in this regard since problems of fragmentation are exacerbated in the provinces. The first step in this thesis is to analyse the theoretical concept of sustainability in order to establish the eventual objective of what integrated environmental governance efforts should achieve. The concept of fragmented governance and possible generic reasons for fragmentation, including unco-operative and unsustainable organisational behaviour, are also investigated to highlight the nature and disadvantages of fragmentation and other factors that may contribute to it. A further component of the theoretical analysis includes an investigation of the concepts of integrated, or holistic governance, and an investigation of the concepts integrated environmental management (IEM), co-operative environmental governance (CEG), and integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC). These concepts are investigated in order to ascertain the possible solutions for integration that they may pose. Secondly, this thesis investigates the current state of the fragmented environmental governance regime in South Africa and the NWP. The extent and reasons for fragmentation are discussed; and unco-operative organisational behaviour patterns in the national, provincial and local spheres of government are investigated. The concepts of IEM, CEG and IPPC, as they are established in South African law, are also discussed. Thirdly, this study investigates integrated approaches to environmental governance in the international sphere by way of a comparative study. For this purpose, the relevant provisions of the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive, 1996 are discussed. The comparative study is concluded with an investigation of the provisions of the Directive as they are applied in national legal frameworks in the EU, with specific reference to Finland and the Netherlands. The main objective of this part of the study is to ascertain whether established solutions for integration of governance efforts are available in practice, and if so, to what extent they are employed to address fragmentation. This study concludes with recommendations on how the fragmented environmental governance sphere in South Africa may be integrated. These include short-, medium-and long-term scenarios, namely: a less radical strategy which must aim to optimise the current environmental governance regime by employing established concepts such as IEM, CEG and IPPC; a more radical strategy, which aims to establish a single act to regulate all procedural aspects relating to environmental governance and authorisations, and a single authority that is responsible for all procedural aspects in terms of the act; and an extremely radical strategy, which aims to establish a one-stop environmental governance shop, with a single act regulating all procedural and substantive aspects, and a single lead agent responsible for regulation in terms of this act.
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