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National Implementation of Agenda 21



Information Provided by the Government of South Africa to the
United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
Fifth Session
7-25 April 1997
New York

United Nations Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development
Division for Sustainable Development
The Information contained in this Country Profile is also available on the World Wide Web, as follows:


This country profile has been provided by:

Name of Ministry/Office: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

Date: November 1996

Submitted by: Ms. Annette Hugo

Mailing address: Private Bag 447, PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA

Telephone: 27 12 310-3446

Telefax: 27 12 322-6287


Note from the Secretariat: An effort has been made to present all country profiles within a common format, with an equal number of pages. However, where Governments have not provided information for the tables appended to Chapters 4 and 17, those tables have been omitted entirely in order to reduce the overall length of the profile and save paper. Consequently, there may be some minor inconsistencies among the formats of the different country profiles.

All statistics are rendered as provided by the respective Governments.


2. International cooperation to accelerate sustainable development in developing countries and related domestic policies
3. Combating poverty
4. Changing consumption patterns
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability
6. Protecting and promoting human health
7. Promoting sustainable human settlement development
8. Integrating environment and development in decision-making
9. Protection of the atmosphere
10. Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources
11. Combating deforestation
12. Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought
13. Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development
14. Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development
15. Conservation of biological diversity
16. Environmentally sound management of biotechnology
17. Protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources
18. Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources: application of integrated approaches to the development, management and use of water resources
19. Environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals, including prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products
20. Environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, including prevention of illegal international traffic in hazardous wastes
21. Environmentally sound management of solid wastes and sewage-related issues
22. Safe and environmentally sound management of radioactive wastes
23-32. Major groups
33. Financial resources and mechanisms
34. Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building
35. Science for sustainable development
36. Promoting education, public awareness and training
37. National mechanisms and international cooperation for capacity-building in developing countries
38. International institutional arrangements
39. International legal instruments and mechanisms
40. Information for decision-making


APELL Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level
CFC chlorofluorocarbon
CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research
CILSS Permanent Inter-State Committee on Drought Control in the Sahel
EEZ exclusive economic zone
ECA Economic Commission for Africa
ECE Economic Commission for Europe
ECLAC Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
ELCI Environmental Liaison Centre International
EMINWA environmentally sound management of inland water
ESCAP Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
ESCWA Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
GAW Global Atmosphere Watch (WMO)
GEF Global Environment Facility
GEMS Global Environmental Monitoring System (UNEP)
GEMS/WATER Global Water Quality Monitoring Programme
GESAMP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution
GIPME Global Investigation of Pollution in Marine Environment (UNESCO)
GIS Geographical Information System
GLOBE Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment
GOS Global Observing System (WMO/WWW)
GRID Global Resource Information Database
GSP generalized system of preferences
HIV human immunodeficiency virus
IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
IAP-WASAD International Action Programme on Water and Sustainable Agricultural Development
IARC International Agency for Research on Cancer
IBSRAM International Board of Soil Resources and Management
ICCA International Council of Chemical Associations
ICES International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
ICPIC International Cleaner Production Information Clearing House
ICSC International Civil Service Commission
ICSU International Council of Scientific Unions
IEEA Integrated environmental and economic accounting
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
IGADD Intergovernmental Authority for Drought and Development
IGBP International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (ICSU)
IGBP/START International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme/Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training
ILO International Labour Organisation
IMF International Monetary Fund
IMO International Maritime Organization
INFOTERRA International Environment Information system (UNEP)
IOC Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
IPCS International Programme on Chemical Safety
IPM integrated pest management
IRPTC International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals
ITC International Tin Council
ITTO International Tropical Timber Organization
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
MARPOL International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
PGRFA plant genetic resources for agriculture
PIC prior informed consent procedure
SADCC South African Development Co-ordination Conference
SARD sustainable agriculture and rural development
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNDRO Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA United Nations Population Fund
UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund
UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNU United Nations University
WCP World Climate Programme (WMO/UNEP/ICSU/UNESCO)
WFC World Food Council
WHO World Health Organization
WMO World Meteorological Organization
WWF World Wide Fund for Nature (also called World Wildlife Fund)
WWW World Weather Watch (WMO)
ASESP African Social and Environmental Studies Programme
CEC Committee for Environmental Coordination
COTEP Committe on Teacher Education Policy
DEA&T Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
DME Department of Minerals and Energy
DWAF Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
E,G Environmental Monitoring Group
EMP Environmental Management Programme
NAP National Action Programme
RDP Reconstruction and Development Programme
SABS South African Bureau of Standards
SADC Southern African Development Community
SARCCUS Southern African Regional Commission for the Conservation and Utilization of the Soil


SOUTH AFRICA - Five years after UNCED

South Africa did not participate officially at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. A country report, "Building the foundation for sustainable development in South Africa" was however prepared which described the state of the environment in South Africa. The report also highlighted responses to the challenges of sustainable development, and provided an agenda for action. A follow up document, giving a general overview of the environmental situation and its management in South Africa, was published early in 1996.

South Africa participated officially for the first time in the meetings of the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) at its third session in April 1995. In 1995, the official South African delegation consisted of representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The delegation to the fourth session of the CSD in 1996 was considerably larger, represented more national departments and demonstrated the commitment of South Africa to participate fully in CSD meetings.

Two International Conventions/Agreements were ratified by the South African Government since UNCED. They are the Basel Convention (ratified in May 1994), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (ratified in September 1995). The Convention on Desertification was signed by South Africa in January 1995 and should be ratified soon. The Framework Convention on Climate Change and the World Heritage Convention still have to be ratified.

Although various Agenda 21 related initiatives have been launched in South Africa, these are mostly uncoordinated due to the absence of a comprehensive national strategy for the implementation of Agenda 21. The recently constituted Committee for Sustainable Development in South Africa will address this issue as a matter of urgency in 1997. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been approached to assist South Africa in this regard through the UNDP Capacity 21 programme.

Several local authorities are assisted to develop local environmental strategies and action plans as part of the Local Agenda 21 initiative in South Africa. During 1994, officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism visited selected local authorities to inform them on Local Agenda 21, as well as to determine their needs with regard to local environmental management. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has also, for more than ten years, published a magazine, targeted to inform and educate local authorities on environmental issues. Through this magazine, local authorities were kept informed inter alia on Local Agenda 21 and its implementation locally and internationally.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, with the assistance of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives and USAID organised an African Regional Seminar in 1995, with the theme Towards Urban Reconstruction and Development. The Seminar focused mainly on two topics, namely the experience of non-African countries with the implementation of Local Agenda 21 initiatives, and African initiatives in this regard. The three South African cities that are taking part in the Model Communities Programme, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg also shared their views and approaches to Local Agenda 21.

Currently two local authorities (Johannesburg and Pretoria) are supported financially by the central government to initiate two Local Agenda 21 initiatives. It is now clear that there is an urgent need to establish and monitor real life dynamic models in order to define and measure what is and what is not sustainable in communities, especially those benefitting from Reconstruction and Development actions throughout South Africa. Such an action would provide valuable input for ongoing decision-making on development policy at international, national and local levels.

The Government, through its Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, is in the process of developing guidelines which will assist local authorities in setting up Local Agenda 21 projects. A pilot project, which will aim to develop guidelines through a participatory process in selected local communities, will start early in 1997. Once completed, these guidelines will be made available to all provinces and local authorities. As part of this process, an official of the Department was delegated to attend a training programme on Agenda 21 in Sweden in April 1996, where valuable knowledge was gained.

In response to a call from the CSD to establish a program for the testing of the indicators for sustainable development (ISD's), South Africa indicated its intention to participate. After the Glen Cove meeting, South Africa was approached by Finland to form a twinning arrangement in this regard. This was agreed upon in principle. At the time of writing this report, a meeting between South Africa and Finland to discuss the twinning arrangement in detail had yet to take place, although preliminary contact was established via correspondence.


(Fact Sheet)


1. Key National Sustainable Development Coordination Mechanism(s)/Council(s).

Subcommittee on Sustainable Development

Contact point (Name, Title, Office): Ms Annette Hugo,

Subcommittee on Sustainable Development, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, SOUTH AFRICA

Telephone: 27 12 310-3446

Fax: 27 12 322-6287


Mailing address: Private Bag X447, PRETORIA 0001, SOUTH AFRICA

2. Membership/Composition/Chairperson:

Chairperson: Dr Rudi Pretorius, Director Sustainable Development

2a. List of ministries and agencies involved: Departments of: Environmental Affairs and Tourism; Foreign Affairs; Water Affairs and Forestry; Minerals and Energy; Housing; Transport; Trade and Industry; Health; Education; Agriculture; Land Affairs;

South African National Defense Force; Department of Welfare; Department of Finance;

Gauteng Province; Northern Province; North West Province; Mpumalanga Province;

Free State Province; Kwazulu/Natal Province; Northern Cape Province; Eastern Cape Province;

Western Cape Province.

2b. Names of para-statal bodies and institutions involved, as well as participating of academic and private sector bodies:

2c. Names of non-governmental organizations involved:

3. Mandate role of above mechanism/council: to promote and coordinate the implementation of sustainable development in accordance with Agenda 21. The Committee for Environmental Coordination, a statutory body, established in accordance with Article 12 of the Environmental Conservation Act, is the most important coordinating structure. Its functions include: coordinating actions which are taken by departments and which may have material influence on the protection and utilization of the environment; promoting cooperation between such departments; drawing up reports; advising departments which are concerned with matters affecting the environment with a view to pursuing common objectives in respect of the protection and utilization of the environment; investigating the state of the environment biennially in the manner it deems fit, and reporting to the Minister thereon.

4. If available, attach a diagram (organization chart) showing national coordination structure and linkages between ministries:

Submitted by

(Name): Ms. Annette Hugo



Date: 26 November 1996

Ministry/Office: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

Telephone: As above.

Fax: As above.

e-mail: As above.


STATUS REPORT: The establishment of a Health Sector within the Subregion SADC (Southern African Development Community) has been approved in principle by the Heads of States Summit on 27 August 1996. South Africa is cooperating with other African countries of WHO Afro to address the health issues of this initiative. The Minister of Health represents Region 5 of Africa on the Programme Coordinating Board of UNAIDS.

The national Department of Education is currently a member of the African Social and Environmental Studies Programme (ASESP) in Nairobi, Kenya. Three environmental conferences have been attended, namely in Bradford, Nairobi and Harare.

The Department of Minerals and Energy is involved in the activities of SADC specific to mining, geology, mineral resources, environment, mineral processing, mineral markets, information systems, etc. With regard to energy, an important project investigation is underway regarding a regional hydropower network (Powerpool) involving Zaire and other Southern African Countries.

Regular formal and informal communication is conducted between the Gauteng Province (Directorate of Environment) and the Canadian, United States of America and the Danish Trade Offices in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Visits by prominent environmentalists looking for trade opportunities in the environmental area are encouraged, particularly those offering technology which have the potential for improving the quality of life in the Gauteng Province. The Western Cape Province (Department of Education) encourages guides and coordinates school activities that are orientated towards the promotion of sustainable development through trade liberalisation. Young people are exposed to subjects and programmes that equip them with necessary skills and knowledge. Both Education with Production and Maritime Studies are pilot programmes which will make it possible for youth to understand that trade and environment are mutually supportive.

International Trade Fairs have been attended which serve to improve reactions, highlight products and processes which contribute towards sustainable living and encourage investment in South Africa. However, to date, few domestic policies have been formulated which are designed to accelerate sustainable development through trade. Continuous discussions are taking place to integrate trade and environmental affairs and concrete proposals are expected.

The implementation of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Rare and Endangered Species) in terms of permit controls, involves regulations and the issuing of permits, the ongoing training of nature conservators in the General Investigations, Special Investigations, and in particular, the Import Export Sections which enforce the requirements of the international convention. Inspections are also done of traders who presently issue CITES II documents to overseas visitors to the Gauteng Province to ensure that errors are minimized.

Special Investigations make provision for the execution of covert investigations as a proactive means to curb the mercenary trade in illegal wildlife products. It also provides for a monitoring function at major airports to regulate the in- and outflow of wildlife products.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

SADC - Minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Minister of Trade and Industry

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Training of nature conservators.

3. Major Groups:

4. Finance:

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Various SADC working groups and project teams.



STATUS REPORT: Poverty is the single greatest burden of the people of South Africa. Poverty afflicts millions of people, the majority of whom are women and rural dwellers. South Africa is also characterized by large scale unemployment in the formal sector of the economy (estimated at 40% of the economically active population). The increasing growth rate of the economically active population in conjunction with a declining or stagnant rate of growth of the GDP, implies that the level of unemployment is set to increase still further.

The South African government has adopted the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) as its national strategy to combat poverty and unemployment. The RDP is the result of inputs from a broad spectrum of society.

Focus of national strategy

The RDP aims to combat unemployment and consequential poverty by pursuing the following goals:

* Boosting production and household income through job creation, productivity and efficiency, improving conditions of employment and creating opportunities for all to sustain themselves through productive activity

* Improving living conditions through better access to basic services, health care, education and training

* Establishing a social security system and other safety nets to protect the poor, disabled, elderly and other vulnerable groups

Some of the strategies and programmes which have been devised to meet the above goals are:

>land reform >housing and service provision

>water and sanitation >energy and electrification

>telecommunications >transport

>environment >nutrition and health care

>social security and social welfare >education and training

As the programmes are cross cutting, line function national departments are responsible for implementation.

Highlight activities aimed at the poor and linkages to the environment

Some of the programmes currently being implemented include:

* Integrated Nutritional - an intersectoral project aimed at improving nutrition and linked to the production of goods that require cheap appropriate technologies which are environmentally friendly

* The National Housing - aimed at provisions of housing and services while at the same time creating job opportunities and providing training, thus improving living standards. The programme has a high multiplier effect

* Electrification Schemes - designed to provide electricity on a mass scale to reduce dependance on wood and fossil fuels, thereby preventing deforestation and air pollution, improving health profiles as well as improving the living standards of women

* Growth and Development Strategy - strategy to improve the economic performance of the country by attracting foreign investment, stimulating export orientation and thereby creating jobs, stimulating small, micro and medium enterprises (SMME), businesses and environmentally based businesses

* Land Reform - aimed at the redistribution and restitution of land to previously disadvantaged communities, especially women, with necessary support services such as training and education, thereby reducing dependence on marginal lands

* Water Supply Programm - also aimed at poorer, rural communities to improve living standards and improving equity in water provision. Also focuses attention on the scarceness of water and its efficient utilization

* Social Security and Welfare Systems are being revised so that targeted assistance is provided to the most severely affected sectors of society.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Responsibilities for RDP implementation are apexes in the Deputy President's office. Additionally, all line function ministries also bear responsibility for the RDP. A cabinet committee also monitors progress.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Capacity-building programmes are in place for nutrition workers, local communities, women, etc.

3. Major Groups: The beneficiaries of the RDP are previously disadvantaged communities, women, youth and rural dwellers. Fora for interacting and developing participatory programmes with these groupings exist.

4. Finance: All line function ministries' budgets are to be revised and funds redirected to priority RDPs. Additionally, a central RDP fund is located in the Ministry of Finance. These funds can be addressed by NGOs, communities as well as line function departments for RDP priority.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Funds for the RDP and specific programmes of line function ministries have been secured mostly by Development Aid from foreign countries. Additionally, South Africa participates in all regional and international fora and organizations. Particular mention needs to be made of development programmes which have a regional development focus with South Africa's neighbours, such as Mozambique. These programmes will develop infrastructure, in the region, as well as provide job opportunities and other economic benefits to the Southern African region.

Latest 1993
Unemployment (%) 40%
Population living in absolute poverty 53%
Public spending on social sector %
Other data



National policy objectives/focus

No policy has been drafted yet, although a subcommittee of the International Standard Organization (ISO) 4020-25 has given input to the eco-labeling standard. Eco-labeling is used by some South African wood companies for the export of wood, namely FEC label. Government initiatives are being formulated within guideline documents and research is being done in terms of eco-labeling and life -cycle assessments.

Consumers in South Africa are not as aware of their environment or ways in which sustainability could be achieved as other developed countries. Consumption of energy (including fuels), products, natural resources and the production of greenhouse gases and wastes of all types have not been controlled or managed properly in the past. This has led to a situation which is not conducive to improvement without legislation and the introduction of economic incentives. Although awareness has grown, legislation has been slow to emerge and thus consumption patterns appear not to have changed. Workshops, committees and forums, media coverage, waste recycling and waste re-use initiatives are continuously growing and are being adopted by provincial and local government. The State of the Environment Report, which is being compiled at both provincial and national levels, will allow the current situation to be described and targets to be set. Policy responses to the critical issues will be aimed at changing the behaviour of society at large.

Encouraging cleaner production/cleaner technology through capacity-building and pilot projects will also serve to reduce the use of non-renewable resources, reduce the consumption of environmentally sensitive materials and reduce emissions and waste streams.

The message that water is a very scarce natural resource in South Africa is slowly but surely getting through to the public.

The national Department of Trade and Industry is responsible for the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) - the national standards controlling body. The SABS formulates and implements standards policy. The SABS has also represented the South African government viewpoint at the ISO. Thus, the SABS has been thoroughly involved in the drafting of the new ISO 14000 series. Additionally the SABS is also involved in the investigation of new eco-labeling schemes. The Department of Minerals and Energy is currently investigating the possibility of an eco-labeling scheme for energy efficient consumer appliances, in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Unfortunately, to date, South African consumers have not been environmentally educated. Thus, consumption patterns have not yet been influenced. Under the new South African constitution, the protection of consumer rights will be the responsibility of the Department of Trade Industry and the Provincial Departments of Economic Affairs. Additionally, all provinces have created provincial consumer affairs offices. Thus, it is envisaged that the education of consumers will increase and consequently so too will consumer activism. In addition, it is envisaged that " green consumerism" will also emerge in the future.

National targets The following national targets for changing consumption patterns have been defined by the Government: minimizing the generation of waste through optimal utilization of minerals and use of Best Available Technology Not Entailing Excessive Cost (BATNEEC) in the exploitation of minerals; the reclamation of mining discards rather than merely opening new mines, and recycling resources such as mining waste is considered important and must be considered as an option.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Capacity-building through pilot projects using cleaner technology and cleaner production, formal training and study tours with DANCED will assist Provincial Government in changing consumption patterns. Since October 1995 until end August 1996, 19 155 person days of training have been done in the project. The training was both technical (machine operators, mountaineering, supervisors, divers etc.) and social (or life skills such as personal financial management, conflict resolution, health and safety training, entrepreneurial skills, etc.).

3. Major Groups: Major target groups are industry and households. Major contributions come from all tiers of government, NGOs and donor agencies.

Department of Water Affairs and Forestry; Cape Nature Conservation; Western Cape RDP Office; Local Authorities through their RDP Forums.

4. Finance: Funding from DANCED for the production of a State of the Environment Report for Gauteng Province.

Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (R13.5 million in 1995/96 financial year, R22 million in 1996/97 financial year).

Cape Town City Council (R20 million in 1996/97 financial year)

Hermanus (0.5 Million 1996/97 financial year).

Cape Nature Conservation (R1.8 million hidden costs in both 1995/96 and 1996/97 financial years).

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Cooperation is interdepartmental. There is cooperation between Denmark and South Africa.

GDP per capita (current US$)

Real GDP growth (%)
Annual energy consumption per capita (Kg. of oil equivalent per capita)
Motor vehicles in use per 1000 inhabitants
Other data: Real GDP per capita (PPP US$ in 1992) 3885

Government policies affecting consumption and production.

1. Goals and Agents (Stakeholders)

Indicate with a (X) those agents which your Governments policies are meant most to influence.





Civil society
Material efficiency X
Energy efficiency:
Housing X X X
Reduce X
Reuse X
Recycle X


2. Means & Measures and Agents (Stakeholders)

Indicate with an (R) those agents who assume primary responsibility for any of the policy measures indicated; indicate with an (I) the agents for which the impact is expected to be especially significant.


Means & Measures






Improving understanding and analysis
Information and education (e.g., radio/TV/press)
Evaluating environmental claims
Form partnerships
Applying tools for modifying behaviour
Community based strategies
Social incentives/disincentives (e.g., ecolabelling)
Regulatory instruments
Economic incentives/disincentives
Voluntary agreements of producer responsibility for

aspects of product life cycle

Provision of enabling facilities and infrastructure

(e.g., transportation alternatives, recycling)

Procurement policy
Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing performance
Action campaign
Other (specify)



STATUS REPORT: Stemming from the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in September 1994 in Cairo, a new Population Policy has been developed in South Africa. The ICPD links closely with several other international conferences and forums, such as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the World Summit on Social Development. The goal of the policy is to bring about changes in the determinants of the country's population trends, so that these trends are consistent with the achievement of sustainable human development. Through the new policy, the South African Government acknowledges the current international development paradigm which places the population at the centre of development as its driving force and ultimate beneficiary. The reciprocal relationship between population, development and the environment is therefore inherent to the approach of the population policy. This means that the basic tenets of the policy concerns are multifaceted and that efforts to address them within the context of the national strategy should be multi sectoral. Various programmes aimed at poverty eradication, especially concerning children under the age of five and women are underway.

The objectives of the policy are to ensure:

* the availability of reliable and up-to-date information on the population and human development situation in the country, in order to inform policy making and design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation at all levels and in all sectors;

* the systematic integration of population factors into all policies, plans, programmes and strategies, aimed at enhancing the quality of life of the people at all levels and within the various sectors and institutions and government; and

* a coordinated, multi sectoral, interdisciplinary and integrated approach in the design and implementation of programmes and interventions that impact on the major national population concerns.

Major strategies of the policy:

The policy objectives will be achieved through 24 major strategies, of which only three are listed below:

* Establishing and continuously updating a national statistical database and information system that will pool pertinent data and information from various departments, making such information accessible to the various planning units and the general public, in order to enhance the sharing and exchange of such information.

* Ensuring environmental sustainability through comprehensive strategies which address population, production and consumption patterns independently as well as their interactions.

* Advocating and facilitating measures that will enable women and girls to achieve their full potential.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The National Population Unit in the Department of Welfare is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Population Policy in South Africa. Other sectoral departments such as the Departments of Education, of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, of Health, of Home Affairs and others, are involved in implementing the Population Policy.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Capacity building at national and provincial levels is facilitated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other international agencies who are involved in SA.

3. Major Groups: Besides government structures at national, provincial and local levels, relevant non governmental organisations and community-based organisations, as well as organisations representing civil society, are key stakeholders in implementing the Population Policy in South Africa.

4. Finance: The Government of South Africa is committed to providing the necessary resources to facilitate the implementation of the policy process. This process will be supplemented by contributions from international donor agencies, involved in population and development s in SA.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been involved in subregional co-operational in the field of population and development. A Southern African Ministerial Conference on Population and Development was held from 28 - 31 October 1996 in Pretoria, to explore and initiate collaboration in the field of population and development between countries in the SADC. Appropriate structures and institutional arrangements will be established to facilitate this collaboration. All relevant stakeholders in the subregion will be involved to promote population and development aims and objectives in the subregion

Latest 1994
Population (Thousands) mid-year estimates 38 012 40 436 41 244
Annual rate of increase (1990-1993) 2,26 2,26 2,17
Surface area (Km2) 1 223 210
Population density (people/Km2) 33,8
Other data:

The population growth rate is estimated to decline further to about 1,99% in the annum 2000 - 2010 period.


STATUS REPORT: The provision of adequate and wholesome food, free from harmful ingredients (safe food) is one of the essential components of primary health care. Human health conditions are promoted by informing and educating consumers, law enforcers and the food industry on matters relating to food safety. The specific or operational objectives that have been planned with a view to achieving the broad objectives are as follows:

- Compilation of legislation and regulations to protect consumers and comply with international standards

- To ensure effective national food monitoring

- To protect the health of all our people by informing and educating consumers, industry and law enforcers through awareness, prevention, monitoring and gender strategies as well as legislation.

The control of communicable diseases is of national importance. The major s focus on tuberculosis, vaccine, preventable and vector-borne diseases with the Expanded on Immunisation (EDI) and the National Tuberculosis Control being the topmost priority.

AIDS education is considered a priority. The implementation of a HIV/AIDS programme as a matter of urgency, is reflected by the Government's decision to select this as one of four Presidential Lead Projects in the Department of Health. The Department of Education has unequivocally stated its intention to build partnerships with other government departments in order to realise the human resource development functions which they have in common.

Through the requirements of the atmospheric pollution prevention Act, rehabilitation of residue facilities at asbestos mines ensures that health risks are reduced in urban and rural environment from environmental pollution and hazards. Active involvement in rehabilitation of ownerless mines (specifically asbestos) and through the required Environmental Management s (EMPs) for mines, aims to ensure that environmental rights/impacts are addressed which have human health influences/risks.

The aim of the New Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 (Act 29 of 1996) is to provide for the protection of the health and safety of employees and other persons at mines (working environment).

The following projects and initiatives have health and safety related objectives:

* The low smoke coal project intends to address respiratory problems due to smoke in underdeveloped communities.

* Research on exhaust fumes.

* Safe supply of flammable/toxic products such as paraffin containers to communities using these products.

The Government believes that the provision of clean water, sanitation and housing is paramount in the promotion of human health. The Government supports the promotion of environmental management systems, including ISO 14000, in the private sector and Provincial Government through awareness raising activities and the introduction of economic instruments to encourage self-regulation.

The Government seeks to ensure integration of environmental concerns into as many projects or developmental level as possible, i.e. the implementation of Agenda 21 principles through environment support services.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Policy development and the provincial implementation of policy are being executed in consultation with all relevant role players.

The Ministries of Development Planning and Local Government, Environmental Health, Land Affairs, Housing, Water Affairs and Forestry and Environmental Affairs are the decision-making bodies with regard to policy formulation.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Valuable technical and other support from agencies such as WHO, UNICEF and CDC is being received.

3. Major Groups:

Abortion Rights Action Group

Environmental Monitoring Group

Health Promotion Resource

National Progressive Primary Health Care Network

4. Finance:

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Collaboration on matters such as malaria control and the control of other epidemics is receiving attention. Assistance has been provided to Zaire during the Ebola virus outbreak during 1995. The National Institute of Virology in Johannesburg serves WHO as a reference laboratory for the identification of the polio virus.



Life expectancy at birth*



55,2 years

62,5 years


59,9 years

65,5 years

Infant mortality (per 1000 live births) 76***** 53****
Maternal mortality rate (per 100000 live births)** 1993: 54
Access to safe drinking water (% of population)*** 1994

Urban: 90%

Rural: 63%

Total: 76%

Access to sanitation services (% of population)*** 1994

Urban: 76%

Rural: 38%

Total: 56%

Other data
* Central statistical services: Statistical release P0015

** Excluding statistics from TBVC countries

_ Based on recorded births and recorded deaths

_ Department of Health: Health Trends: 1994

*** Department of Health: Basic Subsistence Facilities report, 1994

**** World Resources Institute, 1994 - 95. (1990 - 1995)

***** World Resources Institute, 1994 - 95. (1970 - 1975)


STATUS REPORT: The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) is the policy framework for the government's Urban Development and Rural Development Frameworks aimed at promoting sustainable human settlements in South Africa. These Frameworks are currently in draft form and have been published for comment. It is envisaged that they will be finalized as policy Frameworks to guide provincial and local governments in ensuring the sustainable development of human settlements. Within these policy Frameworks various development programmes have been launched. South Africa's Urban Development Strategy has been released as a discussion document. In terms of implementation, focus will be on action areas. Integrating the Cities and Managing Urban Growth aims to negate apartheid-induced segregation, certain fragmentation and inequality. Investing in Urban Development involves upgrading and the construction of new housing, restoring and extending infrastructure services, alleviating environmental health hazards, encouraging investment, and providing job opportunities and social and community facilities. Building Habitable and Safe Communities pursues social, economic and physical development. Promoting Urban Economic Development and Creating Institutions for Delivery requires significant transformation and capacity-building. The Special Presidential Projects on Urban Renewal aim to kick-start development in selected urban areas in crisis. The Urban Infrastructure Investment involves facilitating the development of city and local infrastructure investment plans and enhancing the efficiency of the urban sector. The Rehabilitation and Extension of Municipal Services comprises the rehabilitation of infrastructure systems and ensures the provision of basic municipal services. The Masakhane Campaign is aimed at building a sense of individual responsibility towards the community and encouraging payment for housing and services, thereby stabilizing the environment.

Local Economic Development programmes will be encouraged to expand employment opportunities. Local Economic Development Forums will be drawn from a wide range of role-players. The National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency are aimed at expediting housing delivery within metropolitan areas. Project Preparation Facilities are being established in the provinces to give them the capacity to plan projects with community involvement at the city and local level. The Forum for Effective Planning and Development will reappraise and reform the urban and regional planning system in South Africa. The Development Facilitation Act is aimed at expediting the identification and release of land for development, particularly for housing.

The Department of Land Affairs has established a new Directorate: Land Use Advisory Services with the purpose of optimizing the utilization of land for land reform. Functions of the directorate include, inter alia, the development of mechanisms to promote effective land use management and planning.

To address current urban problems, healthy cities projects have been introduced in two South African cities, namely Johannesburg and Pretoria. The project seeks to enhance the physical, mental, social and environmental well being of people that live and work in cities.

Through the requirements of the Minerals Act, 1996, the Department of Minerals and Energy promotes responsible environmental management during the mining of materials to ensure that potential environmental damage to the resource base is addressed while concurrently providing for sustainable construction activities and ultimately, sustainable human settlement.

The Government has put emphasis on the Habitat II agreement of June 1995 in the form of integration of environmental concerns into development plans.

The Government participates in national, provincial and local policy matters of direct relevance to environmental impact management through evaluation of applications for new businesses, housing developments, land rezoning applications etc. on a daily basis. Input is in the form of written comments, public hearings, committees and forums. This is particularly important in the implementation of the new Development Facilitation Act, which is designed to facilitate development and the formulation of the Land Development Objectives by each local authority.

Status Cont'd

Problems are experienced in most of the large cities with informal settlements which do not have bulk services and therefore have a significant impact on the environment. Educational s and community projects are in existence which show the benefits of sustainable living.

The Government engages in Structure Planning ( insistence on quality environmental input and public participation) and the assessment of development applications (which mainly focus on on-site impacts guided by Structure plans and input from environmental organizations and authorities). Major environmental issues such as energy, water and (solid) waste management are not integrated with spatial planning.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The above-mentioned programmes and projects are managed and implemented at provincial and local levels on the basis of approved business plans and coordinated at the central level by the various responsible line function departments. The projects and programmes are implemented in accordance with the seven principles of the RDP, namely integration and sustainability; people driven/centered development; peace and security; nation building; meeting basic needs and building the infrastructure; democratization; and assessment and accountability. Its plan of action revolves around the RDP's five key programmes, namely meeting basic needs; developing human resources; building the economy; democratizing the state and society; and implementing the RDP. (Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994). Given that mining is a specific resource-based operation that exerts influence on human settlement, decisions related to human settlement must accompany the granting of a mining authorization.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Capacity-building forms an integral part of the design of programmes and projects. Training has been provided for capacity-building to regional offices/provinces/ local authorities dealing with land development. The Minerals Bureau has extensive information on existing mineral production (also specific to industrial/ construction materials). Very little environmental capacity exists within national, provincial and local government.

3. Major Groups: The RDP is aimed at the development of previously disadvantaged communities.

4. Finance: Financial contributions come from the state and are supplemented with funding from the private sector, communities and donor countries.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Various donors have contributed to projects in the area of human settlements development. Longstanding agreements with neighbouring countries on settlement and provision of jobs for migrant labourers are continuously reviewed.

Urban population in % of total population 48.6%
Annual rate of growth of urban population (%) 2.3%
Largest city population (in % of total population) 11,9%
Selected Statistical Estimates 1995
Population 43 million
Households 8.3 million
Projected annual new household formation (1995 to 2000) 200 000
Rate of urbanisation 4-5%
Urban housing backlog 1.5 million


(See pages vii and viii at the beginning of the profile)

STATUS REPORT: In 1989, the first version of Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) was published. IEM is a procedure which provides an integrated framework for environmental management and decision-making to promote sustainable development and the equitable use of resources. The fundamental principles of this framework are an open, participatory approach with interested and affected parties, the consideration of the whole project life-cycle, the pursuit of a balance between social and environmental costs and benefits of decisions, informed and accountable decision-making, a holistic consideration of the environment, the consideration of alternatives, mitigation of negative impacts and enhancement of positive outcomes and regard for the democratic rights and obligations of individuals and communities. IEM was accepted by all, including industry, with great enthusiasm. Guidelines on how to apply the principles of IEM in practice were published in 1992. Developers were therefore afforded the opportunity to voluntarily apply IEM in the planning and implementation process of development projects. However, the implementation of IEM by developers was disappointing and increasing pressure for stricter environmental protection measures was experienced, especially in light of international tendencies where regulatory environmental impact control is required.

In the light of the above, legislation in terms of the Environment Conservation Act, 1989, which will provide for thorough and uniform control of environmental impact management of development projects, was published for comment in the Government Gazette of 4 March 1994. This action may be regarded as the first step in formalising EIA in South Africa and is in line with similar developments internationally. This is also the legislative mechanism which will be used to coerce those who have not yet accepted the voluntary control of environmental impacts in their actions. Executive powers in this regard will be delegated to provincial and local government. The Government is envisaged to promulgate this legislation during the first quarter of 1997.

Action is also taken by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEA&T) to integrate the regulatory, self-regulatory (e.g. ISO 14 000 series) and market-based environmental management approaches. It is envisaged to develop a national environmental impact management framework policy and guidelines once the national environmental policy has been finalised. National, provincial and local government departments, industry, NGOs, community-based organisations, trade unions, academics and other interest groups are involved in this participatory process.

In order to support a more integrated approach to decision-making, a computerised series of environmental potential atlases (ENPAT) has been completed by the DEA&T. ENPAT is a decision support system for environmental impact management. A National ENPAT Book Atlas will be published in 1997.

Spatial and development planning in South Africa are also in the process of transformation. Previous policies and legislation in this regard are being replaced by new policies and legislation which provide for the integration of environment and development in decision-making. The Growth and Development Strategy is a fundamental pillar of the transformation process of spatial and development planning. This Strategy has been initiated by the National Departments of Land Affairs, of Housing and the Development Planning Section in the Deputy President's Office and will be implemented by the provincial Departments of Local Government and Housing. The Development Facilitation Act, 1995, also provides for the integration of environment and development in decision-making. Principles to encourage environmentally sustainable land development practices and processes are incorporated into this Act. In terms of this Act, an environmental evaluation can be required in order to assess the potential impacts of land development on the environment. The success of integrating the environment and development in this Act can only be determined once it is implemented. In terms of the Interim Constitution, legislation competence with regard to development planning was given to the Provincial Governments.

The Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) adopted the concept of sustainable development as part of its policy. Through the requirements of the Minerals Act, 1991 (Act 50 of 1991) the DME aims to achieve the integration of environment and development at policy, planning and management levels. Through the Environmental Management Report (EMPR) process, the DME strives to achieve integration of all other departments' requirements, as eventually manifested in the Environmental Management (EMP). Consultation does take place in this regard with all the relevant stake holders. A one-window approach is sought, thus ensuring public participation and access to information. Socio-economic issues are also considered in the EMPR process and the integration also involves up-front informed decision-making and life cycle management.

Status Cont'd

Currently, a new Minerals and Mining Policy for South Africa is being drawn up by integrating environmental and developmental issues. A new institutional structure is also now approved to allow for the full integration of environmental and developmental issues, at all levels of decision-making.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure (please also refer to the fact sheet): In terms of schedule 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Provincial Governments were given the responsibility for decision-making with regard to development. At this stage the Development Facilitation Act, 1995, is being implemented by the provincial Departments of Local Government and Housing. The national Department of Mineral and Energy is responsible for decision-making with regard to the exploitation of mineral resources and the national Department of Water Affairs and Forestry is responsible for decision-making with regard to water resources and forestry developments.

It is the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's responsibility to facilitate the integration and coordination of environmental management in development decision-making.

Mining authorization is subject to various requirements prior to decision-making. Cross-sectoral coordination and cooperation already exist as required by the EMPR process. Appropriate legal and regulatory policies, instruments and enforcement are in place at national and provincial level, as spelled out in the Minerals Act. Dissemination of information on effective legal and regulatory innovations, like the draft strategy for EMP Performance Auditing, will take place thus, ensuring compliance with commitments undertaken in the environmental management. Judicial and administrative procedures for legal redress and remedy of action affecting the environment and development do exist.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Training is provided for capacity-building to regional offices, provinces and local authorities dealing with land development and the Development Facilitation Act, 1995. Each region has an executive function with the necessary structure and resources.

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: No information



The Montreal Protocol (1987) was signed in 1990. The London Amendment (1990) was signed in 1992. The Copanhagen Amendment (1992) has not yet been signed. The latest reports to the Montreal Protocol Secretariat were prepared in 1995.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The UNFCCC was signed in 1993.

Additional comments relevant to this chapter

South Africa sent delegates to INC-9, -10 and -11 and also to COP-1 and COP-2. A National Committee for Climate Change (NCCC) was established in 1994, to coordinate government steps towards forming a climate change policy with the other stakeholders, including the 9 newly formed provincial governments. In February 1995, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEA&T) issued a preliminary document, for information at INC-11, entitled: South African Policy - Management of Global Climate Change. Also in 1995, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), contracted by the DEA&T, published two reports: "South African Greenhouse Gas Inventory, CSIR report done on behalf of DEA&T", and "Greenhouse Gas Adaptation Strategy for South Africa. CSIR report done on behalf of DEA&T". The DEA&T and FCCC have held workshops and seminars to inform all stakeholders, including NGOs about the implications of the FCCC and also to stimulate an advance towards ratification of the Convention. In August 1996, the Government decided to establish a coordinating office in order to facilitate and improve communication between the several national and international stakeholders. One of the goals of the Department of Transport is to provide cost effective efficient and safe transport systems which are economically and environmentally sustainable, and which minimise negative side effects.

One of the strategies that will be used will be closer cooperation between transportation planning and land-use planning. Inventories of requirements and indicators will be compiled to allow progress to be monitored on a regular basis, in accordance with government policy. The South African Navy has initiated a programme to upgrade naval ships to make provision for the phasing out of CFCs in accordance with the Montreal Protocol. The Army and Air Force are also in the process of investigating the implications thereof in order to plan and implement the necessary amendments to equipment and procedures.

Guidance is given by the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) on coal emissions at power stations. A low smoke coal project has a specific objective pertaining to protection of the atmosphere. MINTEK, a parastatal body, is involved in monitoring air quality in certain key areas. The EMP process has specific requirements on air quality, including dust pollution. The rehabilitation of asbestos mines and goldmine slimes dams is aimed at addressing dust pollution. The DME assists DEA&T in drawing up an inventory of greenhouse gasses and promotes the concept of best practicable means and the use of clean technology.

The Gauteng Province initiated the Clean Air Programme which will contribute towards air quality improvements. The programme will be run on a pilot-project basis in one area once the principles are accepted by the relevant authorities and will promote the use of cleaner technology/production and incentives. Another area of involvement is in the Vaal Triangle Atmospheric Protection Action Committee, which addresses the air pollution problem in the most impacted area of Gauteng.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

The Montreal Protocol: Self regulation rather than legislation. Imposition of a R5, 00 per kilogram "environmental levy" on ODS's. Imports and production of ODS's regulated by import - or production permits.

FCCC: The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEA&T) is in charge of protection of the atmosphere

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

The Montreal Protocol: Creation of working groups from industry and government comprising of Working Groups for Solvents; Foams; Aerosols; Automotive Air Conditioning; Refrigeration; Mining; and Methyl Bromide.

FCCC: Reports on emissions, including vehicle emissions have been commissioned by the DEA&T. In addition, a database for all independently monitored atmospheric emissions is being organised at the South African Weather Bureau, which is a sub-sector of the DEA&T.

3. Major Groups:

FCCC: Those included in the NCCC are government departments, the provinces, labour groups, NGOs and academics.

4. Finance:

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

The Montreal Protocol: Participation in ODSONET AF/E Workshops for English speaking African Ozone Officers.

Member of Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee (MBTOC)

FCCC: South Africa is arranging for its participation in the Country Studies with the US and with the German GTZ. The latter will require ratification prior to inauguration.



CO2 emissions (eq. million tons)
SOx "
NOx "
CH4 "
Consumption of ozone depleting substances (Tons)
Expenditure on air pollution abatement in US$ equivalents (million)
Other data


STATUS REPORT: Currently, South Africa is in the process of rationalising policies and legislation pertaining to the control, planning, utilization, management and conservation of land resources.

The national and provincial authorities now have concurrent legislative competence with regard to the functional areas concerned with the planning and management of land resources, but minerals and water are still national functions.

Various high level committees have been established to promote cooperation between national and provincial authorities to integrate policies and legislation. On national and provincial ministerial levels, a MinMEC committee has been established. The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the nine provincial Members of the Executive Council (MECs) responsible for the environment are represented on this committee. Section 12 of the Environment Conservation Act, 1989 provides for the establishment of a Committee for Environmental Coordination (CEC) to coordinate actions taken by departments on national and provincial levels which may have an impact on the planning, protection, management or utilisation of land resources. This Committee has several subcommittees - for environmental impact management, integrated pollution control, sustainable development and environmental education - to assist the CEC with its tasks.

It is also the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's responsibility, as the lead role players in the above-mentioned coordinating committees, to influence and participate in the development of other national and provincial department's policies and legislation in order to integrate the planning and management of land resources. The following progress has been made on the national level in this regard: Department of Finance - participate in the development of economic instruments such as green taxes, subsidies etc.; Department of Transport - reviewing its legislation and are formulating an Environmental Policy for Transport. The use of environmental impact management tools and cleaner technologies are promoted in this policy. A guideline document has been finalised which integrates environmental management into its planning, development and decision-making processes; Department of Land Affairs - is in the process of rationalising national physical planning. Various policies and legislation are being develop which integrate the planning and management of land resources; Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) - is drafting a new Energy Policy which considers the impacts of energy supply on the environment. The Minerals Section supports the concept of Integrated Environmental Management (IEM). It is in the process of integrating environmental management into the planning, exploitation and management of mineral resources. The DME has, through the Minerals Act, 1991 (Act 50 of 1991), been instrumental in furthering this objective in the mining industry specific to mining areas. The Minerals Act, 1991, provides the authorities with dedicated control measures which, if judiciously applied, will ensure economic growth and environmental conservation. The act provides that the rehabilitation of the land surface disturbed by mining shall be carried out by the holder of the prospecting permit or mining authorization in accordance with an Environmental Management (EMP) and as an integral part of mining operations. Department of Trade and Industry - is in the process of developing an Environmental Policy; Department of Water Affairs and Forestry - implemented the principles of IEM in its policy and environmental impact management processes; Department of Agriculture - is in the process of developing a new "Sustainable Utilisation of Agricultural Resources Act"; The South African National Defence Force has developed a Military Integrated Environmental Management Plan to ensure the integration of military utilisation and environmental management.

Most Provincial Governments are currently in the process of capacity-building and training due to the responsibilities assigned to them in terms of the Constitution. With regard to integrating the planning and management of land resources, an Integrated Rural Development Policy is being drafted by the KwaZulu/Natal Province. Furthermore, KwaZulu/Natal Province approaches the integration of land resources through a hierarchy of plans system. The overall spatial development distribution, frameworks for planning at lower levels, plans for areas of intersection and interaction between

Status Cont'd

areas covered by regional and local councils will be determined by this system. At the lower regional, metropolitan and local levels, planning exercises will be undertaken which will address the efficient utilisation and management of land resources. The Natal Parks Board, a conservation body which has adopted its IEM principles in its policies, programmes and procedures, is assisting the KwaZulu/Natal Provincial Government in developing the hierarchy of plans system. Management of provincial and national protected areas execute burning programmes, alien plant control, erosion control, game census, the game reduction, infrastructure. It creates jobs, contributes towards eco-tourism and economic growth and food security through community participation.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: In 1997, IEM processes will become mandatory in South Africa. The Development Facilitation Act, 1995 allows for a streamlined Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. Decision on mining authorisation is made by the Regional Director of DME after consultation with each department which administers laws pertaining to the environment.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: See comment Chapter 8

3. Major Groups: See comment Chapter 8

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Regional cooperation and exchange of information take place through involvement in the Southern African Developing Communities (SADC). A specific project regarding an environmental regulatory framework for mining activities in SADC is currently being undertaken.


STATUS REPORT: Special reference is made to Agenda 21 in the White Paper Sustainable forestry development in South Africa, published in March 1996. Subsequently, preparation of a national forestry action plan (NFAP), recognised by FAO and UNCED as the most appropriate planning process for sustainable forest development and implementation of Agenda 21, began in August 1996. Forests of all kinds are encompassed by the NFAP. Promotion of community forestry is seen as an important component of the strategy to counter the degradation of natural woodland by those who rely on fuelwood as an energy source.

Through signing the Convention to Combat Desertification, South Africa has committed itself to combating deforestation as a priority.

Kwazulu/Natal Province is in the fortunate position that most natural forests occur in areas which have statutory protection, either as state forest areas, nature reserves or wilderness areas, or as statutory protected areas under nature conservation legislation. This is a reflection of the small proportion of the province where natural forests occur. Where local communities have access to forest resources, e.g. for medicinal purposes, or for fuel wood, arrangements and agreements between the nature conservation agency and local communities have been structured to ensure that the use is sustainable, and that there is no net loss of components, either quantitatively or qualitatively. For natural forests on private land, a number of programmes have been developed to inform landowners of the value of these resources and the need for their protection, and to enlist the support of landowners in protection. These are the establishment of conservancies, where a complex of private land owners commit themselves to the joint management of adjacent lands, biosphere reserves, where a statutorily proclaimed protected area forms a component part of a multiple use zone, the South African Natural Heritage Site where sites are designated as meeting certain criteria and where landowners commit themselves to the conservation management of the sites, and finally, sites of conservation significance, where features of regional value for nature conservation are designated.

Through the Environment Management (EMP) and mining authorisation processes, sensitive forest areas are either excluded or a specific Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has to be done prior to approval of an EMP. Rehabilitation of mining areas takes cognisance of the specific vegetation and land capability requirements.

Wood supply for rural areas is scarce in many places. In view of indoor air pollution caused by fuel wood and its scarcity, alternatives to the use of wood fuel are investigated and promoted.

The "Buyer Must Pay Initiative" of the Department of Minerals and Energy has been completed and the responsibility of wood supply and tree planting is now in the hand of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Forestry is an area of national legislative competence, and the principle decision-maker is the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, supported by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. Partnerships are developed to facilitate holistic decision-making. Development of the NFAP involves other government departments, the forestry industry, forestry industry labour, communities and all stakeholders. The NFAP will ultimately form part of a National Environmental Plan, coordinated by DEA&T. The management of some state forests has been delegated to provincial government.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: The NFAP directs special attention to capacity-building. A working group has been established to address research, technology and innovation issues.

3. Major Groups: The White Paper includes commitments inter alia to improve the role of women at all levels of forestry-related decision-making, to promote community management and utilisation of forest resources, and to provide support for small growers and processors.

4. Finance: The NFAP is being developed with the assistance of expertise from an international development aid agency.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The White Paper includes a commitment to work with SADC to achieve sustainable development and management of forest resources in the region.

Latest 1996
Forest Area (Km2) [1]
293 000
295 000
295 600
Protected forest area (Km2)
50 000
48 000
47 000
Roundwood production (solid volume of roundwood without bark in mill m3) [2]
Deforestation rate (Km2/annum) [3]
Reforestation rate (Km2/annum) [4]
Notes:[1] Forest area includes indigenous, closed canopy forests (1996: 3 280 km2), woodlands with 40 - 99% cover (1996:

12 400 km2), wooded grasslands with 5 - 40% cover (1996: 266 000 km2), and exotic commercial plantations (1996: 13 900km2).

[2] Roundwood production refers mainly to commercial plantations. [3] Deforestation refers to indigenous vegetation only.

[4] Reforestation refers to exotic plantations only.

Other data



The International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification

Particularly in Africa was signed in 1995.

Additional comments relevant to this chapter

South Africa signed the CCD in January 1995. The process leading to ratification has already commenced and will include, inter alia, a wide consultation process.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is responsible, with the advice of the Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG), a non governmental organisation, for the coordination of the implementation of the Convention in South Africa to develop and implement the National Action Programme (NAP).

In South Africa's approach towards the NAP, the following objectives have been determined to implement the Convention:

* to develop a NAP to combat desertification (a white paper) through an inclusive, consultative process with the relevant actors and affected groups;

* to create an institutional basis for planning and implementing the NAP and to build capacity within this basis; and

* to use the process to raise awareness of the relevant actors and affected groups.

The project includes the following components/working units:

* a national audit on the status of desertification in South Africa;

* organising, leading and facilitating the consultative process and awareness-raising activities on a provincial and national level;

* raising awareness of desertification throughout the process of drawing up the NAP; and

* editorial work on the NAP (white paper).

With regard to actions that have been or are undertaken to implement the Convention, the following have been done:

* A workshop to formulate a strategy on awareness-raising,

* In developing a NAP for South Africa, the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism organised a meeting during which all the provincial governments and national departments were informed about the Convention, as well as their roles in the implementation phase.

* The formulation of a White Paper on Desertification is the responsibility of the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism with the advice of the EMG. In terms of a draft proposal, the process will be guided by a Steering Committee, consisting of the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism and the EMG. A need was identified for a more comprehensive group (The Reference Group) which will be responsible for guidance and technical inputs and to make recommendations as far as the process is concerned.

* The Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism is currently negotiating with international donors to procure funds for the development of the NAP, the audit, as well as for the awareness-raising campaign.

The Rehabilitation of mining areas through the requirements of the minerals act, takes into consideration climatic conditions, land capability and aspects of desertification.

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry is promoting, via its National Action Plan, the development of community forestry to reduce the pressure on natural woodlands, which are the sole source of energy for a significant part of the population, and which are rapidly being denuded.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: A reference group has been established to implement the national programme to combat desertification Steering Committee, chaired by the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Agriculture, in attendance at INCCD - as well as Valdivia Group meetings.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Through the process of developing a National Action Programme, capacity will be built on a national, provincial and local level. The Government has attended Asia-Africa Forum meetings to combat desertification as well as the Southern African Regional Commission for the Conservation and Utilization of the Soil (SARCCUS) and SADC relevant annual committee meetings. The Government has also partcipated in the initiation and management of Reclamation and Rehabilitation programmes throughout South Africa's nine Provinces in collaboration with the relevant Provincial authorities, NGOs and Community Based Organisations (CBOs).

3. Major Groups: NGOs such as the Environmental Justice Networking Forum and Environmental Monitoring Group and CBOs are working on desertification issues in South Africa. National, provincial and local governments and private sector are also involved in combating desertification and drought.

4. Finance: Reclamation and rehabilitation programmes financed by the Department of Agriculture and donations from overseas institutions, e.g. for the Government of Ireland (Witbank farm, Northern Cape Province) are escalating annually. Reconstruction and Development funds are also being incorporated in combating desertification for e.g. the Department of Water Affairs & Forestry's invasive plant control programmes in water catchment areas throughout South Africa, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, NGOs and CBOs. The Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism is currently negotiating with international donors to procure funds for the development of the NAP, the audit, as well as for the awareness raising campaign.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: In the sub-regional context, South Africa is a member of the Southern African Developing Community (SADC), which is currently busy formulating a sub-regional action programme to combat desertification. South Africa is the coordinator of desertification issues within the Valdivia Group (member countries of the Group of Temperate Southern Hemisphere Countries on Environment). The Valdivia Group fosters exchange and cooperation on environmental and scientific matters between the participating countries (Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and Uruguay).

In forestry initiatives, relationships exist within SADC with respect to training courses, exchange of information and advice, and acquisition of seedstocks.

Land affected by desertification (Km2)
Other data


STATUS REPORT: A significant percentage of the major mountain ranges in the country are state-owned land and are managed as protected or conservation areas. A project plan has been developed for the proposed establishment of the entire Cape Peninsula including Table Mountain as a National Park. Plans are also underway to register Table Mountain as a World Heritage Site.

Fragile mountain catchment ecosystems are considered sensitive areas in the Environmental Management (EMP) and mining authorisation process. The mountainous areas of South Africa are a critical natural asset especially as water catchment areas for the country and its neighbours which in the recent decade have become water-stressed areas. There are broadly speaking two mountainous areas, namely, the Cape Fold Region and the Mountains of the Great Escarpment, especially of the Eastern seaboard. The latter includes the Drakensberg Mountains which are shared with Lesotho. Major land-uses in such areas besides water catchment are indigenous forestry, commercial afforestation, recreation, nature conservation, agriculture and communal land.

The major mountain ecosystem in the Kwazulu/Natal Province is largely contained within statutorily proclaimed protected areas, collectively described as the Natal Drakensberg Park. This straddles the international border between Kwazulu-Natal Province (South Africa) and Lesotho. The protected area is managed for water production and for the protection of biodiversity, as well as for the provision of nature-based recreation. Since the 1970s, the Natal Parks Board, through an intergovernment liaison structure, has been engaged in the promotion of a transboundary protected area with the National Environmental Secretariat of the Government of Lesotho. The European Union has agreed to provide the funding for a feasibility study for an integrated conservation and development in the Lesotho component of the Drakensberg-Maluti mountain range. It has been suggested that a similar programme should be promoted in South Africa. The Natal Parks Board is in the process of preparing a nomination for World Heritage status for the Natal Drakensberg Park, and for the inclusion of certain key areas in Lesotho as component areas. In addition, the Natal Parks Board has submitted a nomination for the Natal Drakensberg Park to be designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. Community liaison forums have been established along the length of the Natal Drakensberg Park within the context of the Natal Parks Board's Nature Conservation Outreach to ensure that the nature conservation objectives and the needs of local communities can be integrated. This has resulted in the establishment of many joint programmes, including the provision of a basic infrastructure, the promotion of community and agency capacity for sustainable living and projects such as vegetable gardens, craft markets and medicinal plant propagation.

A representative of the Natal Parks Board attended the Intergovernmental Consultation on Sustainable Mountain Development held in Addis Ababa in May 1996, which identified the issues and main actions for the implementation of Chapter 13 in the African context. This has also given further impetus to the development of sub-regional cooperation for sustainable mountain development in the countries which form the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as to promote further contact with countries elsewhere in Africa.

Programme area A: Generating and strengthening knowledge about the ecology and sustainable development of mountain ecosystems. Two major research projects were funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the period since 1992 towards meeting the objective in South Africa. These were conducted in the Kogelberg in the south and Zoutpansberg in the north. Proposals for biosphere reserves are being developed in a number of areas. Consideration is being given to four areas which may be proposed by South Africa for inclusion as World Heritage Sites (Drakensberg, Kogelberg, Richtersveld and Table Mountain).

Programme area B: Promoting integrated watershed development and alternative livelihood opportunities. A major programme entitled Working for Water funded by the Reconstruction and Development (RDP) was launched in 1995.

Status Cont'd

Through the clearing of invasive alien plants in our catchment areas, the programme is helping to secure vital water supplies. It typifies the aspirations of the RDP. It has brought hope and dignity to thousands of South Africans by creating jobs and business opportunities, and by empowering local communities to care for water and their natural environment. The Drakensberg Park has been submitted by South Africa for designation to the List of Wetlands of International Importance in terms of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar), partly because of its hydrological importance to the country.

The Kwazulu/Natal Province has recognised the importance and the ecological sensitivity of the Natal Drakensberg Park and has initiated a number of planning projects to look at the sustainable planning and management of the areas adjoining the Natal Parks Board area. The current policy in place is the Drakensberg Approaches Policy, and the Town and Regional Planning Commission has funded a project investigating the feasibility of a Drakensberg Regional Authority.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: A wide range of legislation controls the development of mountain ecosystems. The provincial governments are responsible for Mountain Catchment Areas in terms of the Mountain Catchment Areas Act, Wilderness Areas in terms of the Forest Act and nature reserves and planning (rural and urban development) in terms of their ordinances. Development of water resources is controlled by the Water Act and forestry (silviculture) is controlled by the Forest Act, both of which are the responsibilities of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. The Department of Agriculture is responsible for the implementation of the Agricultural Resources Act. National Parks are managed by the National Parks Board in terms of the National Parks Act.

National and Provincial Government are responsible for legislation affecting mountain areas. Although there is a Mountain Catchment Areas Act, there is a need to harmonize legislative policies and formulate new mountain specific legislation.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Very little has been done towards capacity building in relation to these programmes since 1992. There are national institutional bases that carry out research, training and dissemination of information which relates to sustainable development of the economies of mountain ecosystems, but these activities need to become more focussed on the problems experienced in such areas.

3. Major Groups: A large part of our mountainous areas is in private ownership. In the wetter areas, forestry companies have changed the natural grassland to commercial plantations of exotic timber species. There is some concern regarding the effects of this type of development on our biodiversity, our wetland ecosystems and our water supply. Wetlands, while a major cross sectoral issue, are considered to be extremely important and equally fragile ecosystems and in future should warrant a chapter on their own.

4. Finance: Financial resources to cover the objectives of sustainable mountain development are obtained from each organisation's budget. Specific figures are not available.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: South Africa has joined the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Most regional cooperation will be through the structures of this organisation. Bilateral cooperation with Lesotho on the Drakensberg-Maluti ranges continues. South Africa is an active member of a number of relevant international treaties and organizations including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat, the Convention on Migratory Species, and the IUCN.

Lesotho and South Africa cooperate and coordinate activities relating to the management of the upper Drakensberg mountain catchment area. South Africa attended the 'African Inter-Governmental Consultation on Sustainable Mountain Development' held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 3 - 7 June 1996. A number of socio-economic, technical, legislative and institutional issues were identified which can be considered in all national development policies and programmes.


STATUS REPORT: A National Environmental Policy for South Africa that includes all the aspects of South Africa's environment including agriculture is being drawn up. A White Paper for Agriculture was developed during 1995 addressing production, marketing, sustainable utilization of natural resources, agricultural financing, institutional infrastructure, information and agricultural technology, research, extension and training. Based on the White Paper, an in-depth policy review, including the formulation of policy principles, strategies and programmes, is in progress to ensure that the role of government in agriculture is a dynamic, positive one. To oversee this process, a ministerial policy unit was established, focussing on food security, trade, drought and disaster management, cooperatives, credit and finance, sustainable resource utilization, farmer support services and rural tenure systems.

Besides this, agricultural goals and strategies to support the government's growth and development plan, at national and provincial levels were developed. Provincial Governments are also in the process of formulating Integrated Rural Development Policies aimed at implementing above-mentioned issues in sustainable agricultural and rural development.

The National Department of Agriculture, supported by the nine provincial Members of the Executive Council responsible for agriculture, established a national design team for broadening access to agriculture for those who previously lacked access. Their report, tabled during April 1995, dealt with financial services, human resource development, technology development and delivery systems. A South African Land Care initiative is being developed with the focus on people participation by means of a bottom-up approach to promote conservation awareness, capacity building and rural development.

From 1972 to the present, more than 90% of South Africa was covered by a Land Type survey, at 1:250 000 scale such that each Land Type displays a marked degree of uniformity with regard to terrain, soil and climate parameters. It is foreseen that this process will be completed within the next five years. Through the integration of the Land Type information and crop modeling, within a geographical information system, high potential land for rain-fed annual crop production in South Africa was demarcated on a 1:2 500 000 scale during 1996. The full potential of the Land Type database would only become a reality after completion of the second, or ecotope, phase that will lead to the establishment of an electronic database indicating areas that are homogeneous with respect to land suitability or land sensitivity. Research proposals for a pilot ecotope project are being considered at present.

As agriculture is mainly a provincial function, many activities aimed at sustainable agriculture were launched by the nine Provinces dealing for example with:

* food production by resource poor communities

* access to agricultural produce through appropriate marketing strategies

* identification of available land for farmer settlement

* formulation of adapted farming practices and management plans

* coordination and channeling financial aid to farmers

* promotion of conservation practices

* construction of conservation and reclamation works

* alien plant control

* social upliftment programmes for farm workers

* household food security

* job creation

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The National Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs and the nine Ministries of the Provinces are responsible for sustainable agriculture and rural development. These functions are being dealt with under the following national legislation:

a) The Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (Act 43 of 1983)

b) The Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act (Act 70 of 1970)

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: The involvement in these matters are wide and include the following major role players: National Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs; The nine Provincial Ministries; Universities; Agricultural Research Council; Various NGOs and CBOs.

3. Major Groups: The major groups involved are Organised Agriculture, Universities, the Agricultural Research Council, NGOs and CBOs.

4. Finance: The Agricultural Credit Act forms the basis for action by the Agricultural Credit Board. The Board's assistance makes provisions available to communal farmers, subsistence and beginner farmers, small farms, part-time and commercial farmers. In addition, the Board provides assistance to farmers for purchasing land under certain conditions. State assistance is also available to facilitate production loans to small farmers. Farmers can apply for various subsidies concerning drought assistance, sustainable agriculture and the conservation of natural agricultural resources.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Regional cooperation with the rest of Africa takes place in a Southern African context through the Southern African Regional Commission for the Conservation and Utilization of the Soil (SARCCUS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). International cooperation with multilateral organisations such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the SA/US Binational Committee has also taken place.

Latest 199_
Agricultural land (Km2) 1.220 000
Agricultural land as % of total land area 85
Agricultural land per capita 2.6 ha
Latest 199_
Consumption of fertilizers per Km2 of agricultural land as of 1990
Other data



The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed in 1993 and ratified in 1995.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was signed in 1975 and the latest report was submitted in 1995.

Additional comments relevant to this chapter

Other conventions which support the principles of the conservation of biodiversity to which South Africa is a party to, are the Bonn Convention and the Ramsar Convention.

The conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is given very high priority by the South African Government. A national policy on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is presently being developed and is in the final green paper stage, with submission to Parliament for acceptance envisaged early in 1997. Under the auspices of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, a National Forestry Plan is also being developed in collaboration with other relevant sectors. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is acting as a national focal point for matters relating to biodiversity and biosafety with national policy making and coordination as main function. Executive functions regarding protection and conservation of biological and other resources of the natural environment reside with the National Parks Board and the Provincial Nature Conservation Authorities. An assessment of the natural resources in the area of each of the authorities is presently underway and is to be collated into a national status report towards the end of 1997. In 1997, a process to develop a national strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity will also be initiated with a target date for completion of the national strategy by the end of 1997. A subcommittee on biodiversity has been established under the Committee for Environmental Coordination and began its work in September 1996.

The Natal Parks Board has initiated a process in the Kwazulu/Natal Province for assessing the degree to which current policies, programmes and actions meet the requirements of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and to reformulate these as a Provincial Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. This process should be complete by the end of 1996. It is emphasized that most current programmes, which are highly advanced, and under the control of the provincial nature conservation authorities, meet the requirements of the Convention. The current process is a review which may lead to a revised prioritisation of current activities.

A wetlands conservation bill has been tabled in parliament, and a national act for the protection of endangered species is being prepared.

Conservation bodies work together with various government and non-government organizations with regard to the following projects, e.g. Proteas, Bird and Frog Atlassing Projects, Rhino Management and Zoos.

For more information on the implementation of the CITES Convention, please refer to Chapter 2.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Ministry for Environment and Tourism is responsible for national decision-making on matters of the environment whereas specific powers rest also with Provincial Authorities, as nature conservation is a concurrent responsibility of national and provincial governments. Executive powers pertaining to specific relevant areas and issues rest also with other government departments and the National Parks Board.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is responsible for national legislation and policy. The Provinces have their own Ordinances/Acts which are administered by Provincial Departments. Local Authorities manage their areas and often have staff responsible for nature conservation.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: A regional capacity-building programme in plant taxonomy was developed and funding was approved.

Information contained in Environment Management Programme Reports (EMPRs) on biodiversity enhances the information resource capacity. Less research is being done by government organisations. Universities and other research institutions are contracted for research work.

3. Major Groups: The following entities are involved in activities concerning the conservation of biological diversity in South Africa: the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Provincial Nature Conservation Authorities, National Parks Board, National Botanical Trust, Private Landowner and Game Farmers; Vulture Study Group, Wildlife Society, WWF, Endangered Wildlife Trust, Anglers Societies, Falconry Clubs, SANCCOB, various Commercial Organizations, Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology.

4. Finance: Many functions have been delegated from Central Government to Provincial Government without the necessary finances being provided. Funds for biological conservation are, therefore, decreasing.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: South Africa participates in regional planning with other countries of the southern African Subregion through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as IUCN-ROSA. South Africa is also active in the broader African Regional context as well as within the Valdivia Group of countries. The Government participates in an Interprovincial Coordinating Body concerned with trade in protected species and translocations.

Latest 1996
Protected area as % of total land area 5,52%
Number of threatened species
Other data


STATUS REPORT: A draft bill on the safe use and handling of genetically modified organisms has been developed and submitted to parliament for approval to be written into national legislation. The bill takes into account the UNEP Guidelines for Biosafety. South Africa is also actively involved on subregional, regional and global levels in the negotiations on the development of a protocol on biosafety under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

It is intended to control genetically modified organisms by means of the Genetically Modified Organism Act, 1996 which is to be administered by the Department of Agriculture. The application of the Act includes genetic modification of organisms, use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and gene therapy. Excluded from the Act is human gene therapy, activities which are considered conventional and which do not involve r-DNA, and where GMOs are not used as recipient or parental organisms in conventional techniques. Human gene therapy should be controlled by the Department of Health because of the moral and ethical issues that are involved in this type of therapy.

The disposal of pharmaceutical waste as well as the disposal of sharps and syringes has never been legislated and occurs in many ways. Reports from the provincial pharmacists as well as first hand information gained from visits to various facilities nationally with a UNICEF Cold Chain and Operations consultant has yielded the following:

* A few of the authorities have employed firms specialising in waste disposal, and where this has taken place, needles are being stripped from syringes to save costs. (Needle strippers on the waste disposal containers are meant for use in special circumstances only when the needle has to be stripped from the syringe).

* The majority of hospitals have incineration facilities, but the incineration is not always at the correct temperature, resulting in noxious fumes, smoke and incomplete burning of the waste. Half-burnt needles are found in the ash dumps, especially when these are concentrated in small containers. Many of the hospitals do not supply correct disposal containers, using old plastic bottles (PVC - which produce toxic fumes on incineration) or even cardboard boxes through which there is needle penetration.

* In the rural areas, shallow burning pits are used, and the waste is incompletely burnt and often next to a public pathway where children walk and play.

* Pharmaceutical waste in the form of expired medicines is often poured into the sewerage drains, so polluting the water table.

* During the measles campaign in August 1996, the volume of spent syringes for disposal was calculated at 701 000 litres, and to date many disposal containers have not been collected by the contractors.

In the Cold Chain and Operations manual currently being compiled, provision is being made for the correct disposal methods of both sharps and pharmaceutical waste. The South African Bureau of Standards Code of Practice 0248:1993 "Handling and disposal of waste materials within health care facilities" has been used as the basis for the policy on disposal, and a request was made that this same code be incorporated into the regulations of Chapter 6 of the Health Act which has been published for comment.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Generically Modified Organisms (GMO) Bill is submitted under the administration of the Department of Agriculture and will be administered by a statutory Executive Council consisting of cross-sectoral representation. Biotechnology research is conducted by government departments, parastatal bodies and industry.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

3. Major Groups: The following entities are involved in the sound management of biotechnology in South Africa : the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism, the Agriculture Research Council, the Foundation for Research and Development and Industry.

4. Finance: Public and private funding contribute to biotechnology management in South Africa. Public funding for related activities is available within the budgets of relevant government departments.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: South Africa participates in subregional and regional cooperative policy development and capacity building ventures.




The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was signed in 1984.

See also the attached tables on the next pages.

The Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) was signed in 1984, and ratification is currently under review in terms of constitutional requirements. Despite a lengthy consultative process, ratification of LOSC has not yet been approved, primarily as a result of concerns in respect of access to South Africa's living marine resources by landlocked neighbour states in the absence of a clearly formulated and nationally accepted fishery policy.

National policies on environment, on fisheries, on biological diversity, on coastal zone management, and on marine protected areas are presently being developed. The level of importance attached to some of the activities in Tables I to V may change once these national policies have been finalized. South Africa and its subantarctic islands have an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The EEZ of the Prince Edward Islands is administered in accordance with requirements of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLAR), which was signed and ratified by South Africa in 1980

The current fragmentary nature of the decision making structures, and the lack of communication amongst the relevant bodies, causes difficulties in the protection of the marine and coastal areas of South Africa. The creation of a coordinating body to integrate all aspects of conservation of biological diversity has been suggested in the development of a national policy as a solution to this problem.

Except for mining and prospecting, environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are currently not required by law prior to major projects, but the relevant decision making authority can request that an EIA be carried out. Public pressure, and a desire for transparency in decision making processes, has lead to EIAs being requested prior to most major developments, but there is no systematic observation or follow-up to these. This situation will improve once National Policy on the environment and on conservation of biological diversity has been formulated and accepted. Exploitation of gas and precious minerals in the marine environment is regulated by the Minerals Act, and environmental management programmes (EMP) are required for these offshore mining operations.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Responsibility for decision-making is fragmented, but the major role players at a national level are the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Department of Water Affairs. In the Department of Minerals and Energy, the Regional Director approves mining authorisation and EMP after consultation with relevant authorities.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: South Africa has good technological skills in some areas, but very poor in most. Capacity-building is generally lacking, but is being addressed.

3. Major Groups: Governmental, non-governmental, parastatal and community organisations and industry (e.g.Mossgas, SOEKOR, Marine Diamond Association) are involved in activities related to the protection of oceans and the rational development of their living resources.

4. Finance: Programmes and activities related to the protection of oceans are generally under funded.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Regional and International cooperation in this area has been possible only since the 1994 democratic elections. A wide range of cooperation initiatives is being developed. The Government is cooperating with Namibia on activities pertaining to mining in the offshore and near shore marine area.

Catches of marine species (metric tons)
853 117
534 925
755 934
Population in coastal areas
10-15 mil
Population served by waste water treatment (% of country's

total population)

Discharges of oil into coastal waters (metric tons)
1 400
Releases of phosphate into coastal waters (metric tons)
Releases of nitrate into coastal waters (metric tons)
Other data

Chapter 17 (Oceans) Continued:

Check the boxes in the column below left: Check the boxes in the column below right:
For level of importance use: For level of implementation use:
*** = very important *** = fully covered
** = important ** = well covered- gaps being addressed
* = not important * = poorly covered
N = not relevant O = not covered; N = not relevant




*** a. Preparation and implementation of land and water use and siting policies. **
*** b. Implementation of integrated coastal and marine management and sustainable development plans and programmes at appropriate levels. *
** c. Preparation of coastal profiles identifying critical areas including eroded zones, physical processes, development patterns, user conflicts and specific priorities for management. *
*** d. Prior environmental impact assessment, systematic observation and follow-up of major projects, including systematic incorporation of results in decision-making. *
** e. Contingency plans for human induced and natural disasters. **
*** f. Improvement of coastal human settlements, especially in housing, drinking water and treatment and disposal of sewage, solid wastes and industrial effluents. *
** g. Periodic assessment of the impacts of external factors and phenomena to ensure that the objectives of integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas and marine environment are met. *
** h. Conservation and restoration of altered critical habitats. *
** I. Integration of sectoral programmes on sustainable development for settlements, agriculture, tourism, fishing, ports and industries affecting the coastal areas. 0
Question unclear J. Infrastructure adaptation and alternative employment.
*** K. Human resource development and training. *
** L. Public education, awareness and information programmes. *
*** M. Promoting environmentally sound technology and sustainable practices. **
** N. Development and simultaneous implementation of environmental quality criteria. **




*** A. Apply preventive, precautionary and anticipatory approaches so as to avoid degradation of the marine environment, as well as to reduce the risk of long-term or irreversible adverse effects upon it. *
*** B. Ensure prior assessment of activities that may have significant adverse impacts upon the marine environment. *
** C. Integrate protection of the marine environment into relevant general environmental, social and economic development policies. *
** D. Develop economic incentives, where appropriate, to apply clean technologies and other means consistent with the internalization of environmental costs, such as the polluter pays principle, so as to avoid degradation of the marine environment. *
*** E. Improve the living standards of coastal populations, particularly in developing countries, so as to contribute to reducing the degradation of the coastal and marine environment. *
*** F. Effective monitoring and surveillance within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of fish harvesting and transportation of toxic and other hazardous materials. *




** A. Sewage related problems are considered when formulating or reviewing coastal development plans, including human development plans. **
** B. Sewage treatment facilities are built in accordance with national policies. ***
*** C. Coastal outfalls are located so as to maintain acceptable level of environmental quality and to avoid exposing shell fisheries, water intakes and bathing areas to pathogens. **
*** D. The Government promotes primary treatment of municipal sewage discharged to rivers, estuaries and the sea, or other solutions appropriate to specific sites. **
** E. The Government supports the establishment and improvement of local, national, subregional and regional, as necessary, regulatory and monitoring programmes to control effluent discharge. Minimum sewage effluent guidelines and water quality criteria are in use. **




** A. Established or improved upon, as necessary, regulatory and monitoring programmes to control emissions, including recycling technologies. *
** B. Promoted risk and environmental impact assessments to help ensure an acceptable level of environmental quality. **
N C. Promoted assessment and cooperation at the regional level, where appropriate, with respect to the input of point source pollutants from the marine environment. N
*** D. Taken steps to eliminate emissions or discharges of organohalogen compounds from the marine environment. *
*** E. Taken steps to eliminate/reduce emissions or discharges or other synthetic organic compounds from the marine environment. *
** F. Promoted controls over anthropogenic inputs of nitrogen and phosphorous that enter coastal waters where such problems as eutrophication threaten the marine environment or its resources. *
** G. Taken steps to develop and implement environmentally sound land-use techniques and practices to reduce run-off to water courses and estuaries which would cause pollution or degradation of the marine environment. *
** H. Promoted the use of environmentally less harmful pesticides and fertilizers and alternative methods for pest control, and considered the prohibition of those found to be environmentally unsound. *
** I. Adopted new initiatives at national, subregional and regional levels for controlling the input of non-point source pollutants which require broad changes in sewage and waste management, agricultural practices, mining, construction and transportation. 0
** J. Taken steps to control and prevent coastal erosion and siltation due to anthropogenic factors related to, inter alia, land-use and construction techniques and practices. *




** A. Coordinating national and regional observation programmes for coastal and near-shore phenomena related to climate change and for research parameters essential for marine and coastal management in all regions. *
* B. Providing improved forecasts of marine conditions for the safety of inhabitants of coastal areas and for the efficiency of marine operations. *
* C. Adopting special measures to cope with and adapt to potential climate change and sea-level rise. *
** D. Participating in coastal vulnerability assessment, modeling and response strategies particularly for priority areas, such as small islands and low-lying and critical coastal areas. **
** E. Identifying ongoing and planned programmes of systematic observation of the marine environment, with a view to integrating activities and establishing priorities to address critical uncertainties for oceans and all seas. *
** F. Research to determine the marine biological effects of increased levels of ultraviolet rays due to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. 0
** G. Carrying out analysis, assessments and systematic observation of the role of oceans as a carbon sink. *


1. Frequency (external flights) 1. Frequency (external shipping)
2. Frequency (in-country flights) 2. Frequency (in-country shipping)
3. Cooperation at regional level in air transport and civil aviation 3. Cooperation at regional level in shipping
4. Cooperation at international level 4. Cooperation at international level
5. Economic viability of national air line 5. Economic viability of national shipping line(s)
6. Economic viability of regional air line 6. Economic viability of regional shipping line (s)
7. National level training in skills for air transport sector 7. National level training in skills for maritime transport sector
8. Access to training in skills for air transport sector within the region 8. Regional level training in skills for maritime transport sector
9. Access to international training for air transport sector 9. Access to international training for maritime transport sector
10. Supportive of ICAO


Integrated Water Resources Development and Management: Integrated catchment management (ICM) is now widely accepted as a vehicle for developing water resources and managing water in harmony with other natural resources, taking into account the interactions among water, and social and economic development. South Africa's water law is being thoroughly revised, and ICM is one of the principles upon which the new Water Act will be founded. The water law review also provides the opportunity to achieve harmonisation with the approximately 30 other laws which relate to water.

Water Resources Assessment: A general assessment of surface water availability commenced in 1990, and the results were finally published in 1995 (see Statistical Data). The hydrological gauging system, which is under continuous review to ensure that it meets the nation's changing water needs, was the subject of a recent evaluation under the World Bank/UNDP Sub-Saharan African Hydrological Assessment Programme. A programme of groundwater mapping is underway, and a national map at a scale of 1: 2 500 000 was produced in mid-1995. The aim is to produce a set of 23 maps at a scale of 1: 500 000 to cover the whole country by 1998. Work is in progress to improve techniques for estimating groundwater recharge and aquifer capacity in South Africa's many secondary aquifers. Hydrological data collection and dissemination techniques are under constant review.

Protection of Water Resources, Water Quality and Aquatic Ecosystems: Recognising that the aquatic environment is the water resource (and not merely a user), a number of resource protection measures have been initiated, inter alia: receiving water quality objectives for non-hazardous substances, and a pollution prevention approach for hazardous substances; publication of water quality guidelines for domestic, agricultural and recreational users, and preparation of guidelines for the freshwater aquatic environment, and the coastal marine environment; groundwater protection measures; a national programme for biomonitoring; a national water conservation campaign to encourage wise and efficient use of water, and to raise awareness of water issues; a revision of water tariff policy and the promotion of an economic approach to water pricing; inclusion in the principles for the new water law of a requirement to allocate water to maintain the ecological functioning of aquatic and associated ecosystems, and a requirement for environmental impact assessments for all water-related developments (currently policy, but not yet legally mandated). Acid drainage problems from mines are considered to be a problem and a strategy together with the Department of Minerals and Energy has been developed to address these problems through the Environment Management Programme (EMP) process.

Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation: Some 12 million people do not currently have access to an adequate supply of potable water, and about 17 million lack basic sanitation. The Department of water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) is orchestrating a major programme, involving water boards, local authorities, the private sector and NGOs, to address this situation. Key features of the programme are: community involvement at all stages from conceptualisation to implementation; training and capacity-building to facilitate communities taking responsibility for operation and maintenance, especially in respect of women; fostering an ethic of payment for services by beneficiaries. About 300 water supply schemes are currently at various stages of development, to serve about 3.4 million people. In the sanitation field a draft national policy was published in mid-1996. A number of pilot projects are underway to investigate inter alia acceptable levels of service, willingness to pay, and appropriate toilet technologies.

Water and Sustainable Urban Development: Payment for services is being actively promoted to support improvements in water services in the historically non-white urban areas. Two other areas of concern are receiving attention in policy and strategy formulation. In respect of the development of temporary settlements in urban areas, the dilemma is to provide levels of service which will safeguard general health and safety until better, permanent sites can be found, but which will not promote the permanence of inappropriately sited settlements. Local authorities are using approaches which suit their particular local circumstances. In a related initiative, the existing national flood management policy is being revised to give guidance on zoning of flood-prone areas. Experience has shown that flood plains which are left vacant after squatters are relocated are rapidly repopulated unless land uses are established which are acceptable to the community, and which can be policed by the community itself.

Status Cont'd

Water for Sustainable Food Production and Rural Development: The water supply and sanitation programme mentioned above has the supply of water for domestic consumption as its principal focus. Stated agricultural policy now emphasizes inter alia increased support to small-scale farmers, food security at household level, increased rural employment, and sustainable agricultural practices and conservation of natural resources. Some of the water-related

initiatives underway in some rural areas are: establishment of small gardens and vegetable plots, and incorporation into local water supply schemes; water harvesting from roofs for small-scale irrigation; improvement of irrigation efficiency by better management practices, better system and equipment design; integration of soil conservation and rangeland management practices with the development of groundwater sources for livestock watering.

Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources: South Africa's climate is influenced by the ENSO (El Niño/Southern Ocean Oscillation Event) phenomenon, and research at the SA Weather Bureau and a number of universities is concentrating on improving the capability to predict the effect on rainfall of changes in ocean surface temperature. General Circulation Models are being used to predict the effect on rainfall of changes in ocean surface temperature. General Circulation Models are being used to predict the longer term effects of global climate changes, and work is in progress to refine the modeled estimates in respect of rainfall and runoff effects.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Water is an area of national legislative competence, and the principle decision maker is the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, supported by his department (DWAF). Partnerships are developed to facilitate holistic decision-making, for instance, water supply regulations are developed in conjunction with provincial and local governments as implementers; sanitation policy is prepared by DWAF, Environmental Affairs & Tourism, Health, Education, Housing, and Constitutional Development and Provincial Affairs; water law review involves all stakeholders; ICM, and resource protection and environmental issues involve inter alia government departments responsible for the environment, agriculture, mineral and energy affairs, trade and industry, as well as conservation authorities and water scientists.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: The Government has developed a water supply and sanitation programme for training and capacity building to facilitate community involvement at all stages. In regards to the operation and maintenance of water systems and resources, a training institute has been established. Emphasis has been placed on the capacity building of local authorities, as well as on the empowerment of women. The Government has implemented a water conservation campaign to improve public awareness, and facilitate the inclusion of water issues in national educational curricula. The Government is involved in activities to broaden its consultant base to include scientists, engineers and technologists from previously marginalised groups.

3. Major Groups: The Government is committed to improving the representation of women at all decision-making levels in the water sector. Communities, NGOs and the private sector are also involved in water service provision activities. (See also #2 above) Efficiency in the rational use of water resources is emphasized for small farm activities.

4. Finance: DWAF is obtaining international funding from a variety of sources for inter alia, the water supply and sanitation programme, the water conservation campaign, and the water law review.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: South Africa is a signatory to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Shared Watercourse Systems in the SADC Region. The ratification process is underway.

Water resources studies are either in progress, or being planned, between South Africa and various combinations of its neighbours in respect to shared watercourse systems.

1980 [1]
1990 [2]
Fresh water availability (total domestic/external in million m3) [3] 58 800pa 56 400pa
Annual withdrawal of freshwater as % of available water 28 34 (est)
Notes: [1] Latest data on actual use. [2] Latest estimate of available water. [3] Includes an estimated sustainably utilisable 5 400 million m3/a groundwater.

Other data:

Average annual rainfall less than 500mm (60% of world average), highly variable in space and time. Because of flow variability and high evaporation, economically utilisable surface water estimated to be about 31 000 million m3/annum (60% of Mean Annual Runoff). Total storage in large impoundments is 27 600 million m3 (54% of MAR).

Total annual water availability as m3 per capita: 1995 - 1 200 (periodic or regular water stress); 2025 (est) - 750 (chronic water scarcity: lack of water begins to hamper economic development, and human health and welfare).


STATUS REPORT: The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism embarked during 1994 on a project called the Environmentally Safe Management of Hazardous Materials. The objectives of this project have been matched with six programme areas of Chapter 19. Different government departments, private sector as well as NGOs involved in this matter, took part in the process and, although the project has not yet been finalised, a number of codes have already been drafted by the South African Bureau for Standards (SABS) in order to address different aspects of the Environmentally Safe Management of Hazardous Materials.

The South African chemical industry, through its umbrella body, the Chemical Allied and Industry Association, launched a Responsible Care programme which concerns the environment, health and safety.

South Africa is taking part in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure under the auspices of UNEP and FAO and also in programmes of the International Programme for Chemical Safety (IPCS). Terms of an agreement to participate in the IPCS programmes is currently being finalised.

The Department of Health is responsible for the development, updating and monitoring of regulations regarding the control of hazardous chemical substances in terms of the Hazardous Substances Act (Act 15 of 1973). It also assists in policy development, coordination and monitoring of health aspects regarding hazardous chemical substances. It liaises with other government departments, non-governmental organisations, industries and international organisations with a view to create legislation and programs corresponding to the latest trends and legislation. The Department of Health contributes to the development of the SABS Codes of Practice relating to hazardous substances. Where necessary reference is made to SABS Codes and then integrated into regulations to make the Codes enforceable.

The Department of Health is involved in various activities of the IPCS of the World Health Organisation: INTOX rapid response to poisoning, Prevention of Toxic Exposures and the Programme Advisory Committee.

The classification of agricultural and stock remedies registered under the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, 1947 (Act No 36 of 1947) is the responsibility of the central government. The formulations are classified according to the hazards they pose.

Active participation in the Inter Departmental Advisory Committee for Safeguarding Man Against Poisonous Substances( INDAC) is achieved. This group consists of a wide spectrum of government department representatives and experts with the chairmanship in the Department of Agriculture. INDAC meets twice monthly to discuss the registration and labeling of agricultural and stock remedies (including swimming pool chemicals). In terms of the Health Act (Act 63 of 1977), drinking water treatment chemicals can also be regulated and a formal registration system is implemented to ensure illegal importation and use of these chemicals.

In terms of the current regulations (Environmental Conservation Act No.73 of 1989), waste is not formally classified as hazardous or toxic unless designated by the Minister by notice in the Government Gazette. However, waste has in the past been subject to a separation process and the collection, handling and disposal of hazardous wastes and their facilities are distinguishable from those of domestic waste. The "Minimum requirements for the handling and disposal of hazardous waste" was published by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry which gives guidelines on what is regarded as hazardous and how it should be dealt with. The Basel Convention is another document which is used internationally for hazardous waste management.

Cleaner production/technology pilot projects involving toxic substance substitution and life cycle analysis will encourage better management of toxic substances and reduce their occurrence in the waste stream.

The Department of Trade and Industry is fully involved in the negotiations of new chemical conventions such as PIC and POPs.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Ministries of Health and of Agriculture are administrating the Hazardous Substances Act and the Agricultural Stock Remedies Act respectively and are therefore responsible for the control of hazardous chemicals and pesticides including the international traffic in and out of the country.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information

3. Major Groups: No other than those mentioned in (1).

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: South Africa is in contact with member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). A joint FAO/UNEP - UNITAR workshop on the implementation of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and the Sound Management of Chemicals for Countries of Eastern and Southern Africa was hosted by South Africa.




The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was signed in 1994. The latest information was provided to the Basel Convention Secretariat in 1995.

Additional comments relevant to this chapter The Basel Convention came into force in South Africa in August 1994. South Africa has been identified as a host country for a Regional Training Centre for the English speaking countries of Africa. A feasibility study is currently in progress.

Policy and regulations for hazardous waste management have not yet been finalised. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEA&T) is in the process of developing policies and drafting regulations in consultation with interested and affected parties.

Hazardous waste is classified according to the classes in the SABS Code 0228 which uses the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code as its base. The list of hazardous characteristics in the Basel Convention is also taken into account. Hazardous wastes are then hazard rated (Hazard Rating 1 to 4) for disposal, taking into account their acute and chronic toxicity and their environmental fate. This classification also provides a Hazard Rating for transport to implement the cradle to grave principle.

Currently there is no comprehensive legislation for environmental protection which incorporates integrated pollution control. Draft regulations in the form of the Minimum Requirements for Landfill, Minimum Requirements for Hazardous Waste Management and Minimum Requirements for the Monitoring of Waste Management Facilities are the first in a series of guidelines to achieve control over the whole generation cycle from cradle to grave - including generation, transportation, treatment and final disposal. The following points are principles in these guidelines and draft legislation: Precautionary measures; cleaner technology; Polluter pays; Cradle to grave; Duty of care; Continuous monitoring. Environmental health and safety in the workplace (waste facilities) is enforced in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 181 of 1993).

Several national departments administer laws relevant to pollution control and waste management. However, there exists a partnership between the government departments of Water Affairs and Forestry, Health and Environmental Affairs and Tourism for the issuing of permits for Waste Disposal Sites.

Hazardous Waste Sites (H) are classified according to the type of hazardous waste which they are permitted to accept, either the low hazard (Hazard Rating 3 and 4) waste type (h) and higher hazard (Hazard Rating 1 and 2) waste type (H). All of these waste types can be treated and safely disposed of in a landfill if the site is properly managed. Co-disposal of general wastes with hazardous wastes is practised at H sites.

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) initiated a central data base in 1989 consisting of: a registry for all operating and closed sites; types, volumes and site characteristics (WASTEMANAGER); a data base on the producers of hazardous waste and control from generation to disposal (HAZAUDIT); and a data base to enable emergency measures to be applied in case of accidental spillage of toxic materials (HAZBASE).

Mining waste is included, within the definition of hazardous wastes as developed under guidance of DWAF. However it has been agreed that the regulation of mining waste falls with the Department of Minerals and Energy.

The permitting and control of waste disposal (landfills and hazardous waste sites) are a national government competency. The DWAF deals with matters regarding the classification and transboundary movement of waste. The classification of waste has recently been assigned to the Provincial level.

In terms of the current regulations (Environmental Conservation Act No.73 of 1989), waste is not formally classified as hazardous or toxic unless designated by the Minister by notice in the Government Gazette. However, waste has in the past been subject to a separation process and the collection, handling and disposal of hazardous wastes and their facilities are distinguishable from those of domestic waste. The "Minimum Requirements for the Handling and Disposal of Hazardous Waste" was published by the DWAF which gives guidelines on what is regarded as hazardous as well as how it should be dealt with.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: National and provincial environmental departments and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.

Placement of mining waste lies with the Regional Director of the Department of Minerals and Energy after consultation with other departments.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: A number of officials from national and provincial government departments attended international training/capacity building courses throughout the world.

3. Major Groups:

4. Finance: Funding has been obtained from a variety of countries and their agencies.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: A workshop on the establishment of a Regional Centre for Training and Technology for English Speaking African Countries was hosted by South Africa.

Generation of hazardous waste (t) 2 mil ton
Import of hazardous wastes (t) nil
Export of hazardous wastes (t) 11 000 t
Area of land contaminated by hazardous waste (km2) no record
Expenditure on hazardous waste treatment (US$)
Other data


STATUS REPORT: South Africa's total waste stream for 1991 was estimated to be 460 million tonnes of which industrial and mining waste amounts to about 419 million tonnes per year (81%). Non-hazardous industrial waste amounts to approximately 22 million tonnes. Waste from urban areas, domestic and trade, varies considerably from local authority to local authority depending on the socio-economic level of the community. Per capita generation is much higher in communities with a higher income.

95% of urban waste is disposed of on landfill sites of which there are about 1200 in South Africa. These sites are mostly run by local authorities. Of the estimated 1200 landfill sites, 214 (18%) are under permit. The permitting of the sites became a legal requirement during 1991.

Little has been done in the past to address waste management in a holistic, environmentally sound manner. Virtually no legislation, regulations, measures and incentives exist with regard to minimisation/reduction, recycling/reuse and incineration of waste. Existing ventures are self regulatory industry driven and recycling of reusable urban waste developed spontaneously because it is a source of income to many a poor family.

The most significant legislation are the Environmental Conservation Act (Act 73 of 1989), the Water Act (Act 54 of 1956), the Health Act (Act 63 of 1977) and the Hazardous Substances Act (Act 15 of 1973). Environmental health and safety in the workplace (waste facilities) are enforced in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 181 of 1993).

Because of the fragmentation of pollution control functions between the different government departments, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism commenced with an Integrated Pollution Control project during 1993. This project has not yet been finalised since more extensive public participation is sought.

Draft regulations in the form of the Minimum Requirements for Landfill, Minimum Requirements for Hazardous Waste Management and Minimum Requirements for the Monitoring of Waste Management Facilities are the first in a series of guidelines to achieve control over the whole generation cycle from cradle to grave, including generation, transportation, treatment and final disposal.

The departments of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and of Water Affairs and Forestry recently embarked on the National Waste Management project with the main objective the drafting of implementation strategies for the different aspects within the holistic waste management programme.

The Environment Management Programme Report (EMPR) process for mining in South Africa makes provision for a detailed description of the solid waste management facilities, which may include industrial, domestic and mine residue disposal sites. Waste management at mines are also part of the EMP process. Any impacts on the environmental components have to be mitigated by appropriate environmental management measures, rehabilitation, based on the concept of BATNEEC, and monitored, as spelled out in the environmental management programme for every specific mine. This process ensures the promotion of environmentally sound waste disposal and treatment. The handling of different types of waste is also spelled out in the standard environmental management programmes for various mining and prospecting activities. For this purpose the Department of Minerals and Energy is developing specific guidelines and codes of practice. In principle, however, these guidelines adhere to the same concepts as other appropriate guidelines and policies.

A specific code of practice for mining residues is currently being developed through the SABS. The permitting and control of waste disposal (landfills and hazardous waste sites) are a national government competency. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry deals with matters regarding the classification and transboundary movement of waste. The classification of waste has recently been assigned to the Provincial level. Municipalities and private waste handling companies are currently responsible for sewage-related issues and domestic refuse removal and disposal. The local authorities manage the waste stream according to the guidelines published by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and the relevant permits granted to them.

Waste recycling (paper, glass, aluminium cans) is encouraged nationally but there is much room for improvement. The Department of Minerals and Energy has litter abatement projects and paper recycling projects which increase awareness and create jobs. However, the waste stream itself should be addressed. Effective management can be demonstrated through cleaner technology pilot projects and sound environmental management practices.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: A variety of national government departments, provincial departments and local authorities are responsible for the sustainable management of solid waste in South Africa.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: It only recently became possible to attend training courses locally and overseas.

3. Major Groups:

4. Finance: Major financial support has been provided by DANCED.

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

Generation of industrial and municipal waste (t) 37 m ton
Waste disposed(Kg/capita) 1 000 kg
Expenditure on waste collection and treatment (US$) n. a.
Waste recycling rates (%) 26%
Municipal waste disposal (Kg/capita) 328,5kg
Waste reduction rates per unit of GDP (t/year)
Other data



At present, low and intermediate level waste is stored at a national facility at Vaalputs (Northern Cape Province) and at the Thabana Waste Facility at the Atomic Energy Corporation's (AEC) nuclear facility (Gauteng Province). High level wastes, i.e. spent nuclear fuel, from Koeberg power station and the AEC safari research nuclear reactor are stored on site at Koeberg and Pelindaba respectively.

The Department of Health is currently responsible for the control of radioactive materials that are used for medical, scientific, agricultural, commercial and industrial purposes. This includes any radioactive waste that may be produced as a result of any of the above processes.

The Council for Nuclear Safety is responsible for the issue of licences for the disposal of radioactive materials used inside nuclear installations as well as mines and minerals processing facilities which handle radioactive substances. Draft guidelines concerning the technical aspects of assessing residual contamination were drawn up. The AEC launched a new business unit, focusing on radiation safety and the decommissioning of radioactive plant, equipment and sites. This business unit, known as PELRAD is geared specifically towards assisting the mining industry in remediating plant sites contaminated with radiation.

A code of practice has been drafted for mine deposits with other key stakeholders and the South African Bureau of Standards. This involves the establishment of an integrated safety and environmental hazard classification/rating for the residue deposits. The code of practice has the potential to facilitate self-regulation and assign minimum standards to the industry.

Representatives from government are also on the Steering Committee of the Atomic Energy Corporation to facilitate the permitting of new and existing facilities and assist with environmental management of radioactive waste activities. This is to ensure that existing environmental problems are addressed, future problems are avoided, and all activities comply with international norms and standards as well as local legislation.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: In terms of the Nuclear Energy Act (Act No. 131 of 1993), the Atomic Energy Corporation (AEC) is tasked with the management of nuclear waste, whilst all waste repositories (like at Vaalputs) must be licensed with the Council for Nuclear Safety (CNS). The latter oversees the safety of any such site. However, there is at present no National Radioactive Waste Management Policy. The CNS is nevertheless, as mandated by the Minister for Mineral and Energy Affairs, currently engaged in a process to develop, in cooperation with other role players, such a policy.

Both the CNS and AEC report to the Minister for Mineral and Energy Affairs.

Control of all radioactive waste from medical, scientific, agricultural, commercial and industrial usage (sealed and unsealed material) is strictly enforced along international guidelines as part of a radiation control programme.

Criteria whereby the CNS decides who must apply for a license exist and the decisions are made by CNS.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: The Government is developing a comprehensive future Radioactive Waste Management Policy.

3. Major Groups: All users of sealed and unsealed radioactive material in medicine, science, agriculture, commerce and industry participate in the management of radioactive wastes.

4. Finance: In terms of the legislation, each producer of nuclear waste is responsible for the financing its operations. Each pays a licence fee to the CNS. However, since the CNS is an independent body in existence only since 1989, some pre-1989 producers of radioactive waste (such as mines) do not fall under the present legislation. Eskom (Koeberg Nuclear Power Station) and the AEC are nevertheless covered under this legislation. While the state finances the regulatory authorities, the principle of "the user must pay" is adhered to with regard to the costs involved with radioactive waste disposal.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: South Africa cooperates fully with IAEA and assists the training of personnel in neighbouring countries.



The role of major groups are also covered under the various chapters of Agenda 21. The following is a summary of main objectives outlined in Agenda 21. Please check the appropriate boxes and describe briefly any important steps or obstacles.



The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed 29 January 1993 ratified on 15 December 1995.

24.b In 1996, the percentage of women in national government was 20%, and the percentage of women represented at the local government level was 32%.

24.2.e Curricula and educational material is being revised.

24.2.f and 24.2.c Strategies to implement policies, guidelines and plans for the achievement of equality in all aspects of society including issuing a strategy by year 2000 to eliminate obstacles to full participation of women in sustainable development will be in place by the year 2000.

24.2.d Mechanisms are in place to assess the implementation and impact of development and environment policies and programmes on women.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The Constitution of South Africa guarantees the right of women to make decisions as full citizens of the country.

Women towards sustainable development are projects of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Department of Housing and other departments. In terms of government policy, a transformation and gender unit are to be established in each national department promoting the advancement of previously disadvantaged groups, including women.


25.4 establishing processes that promote dialogue between the youth and government at all levels and mechanisms that permit youth access to information and opportunity to present their views on implementing A21.

Name relevant youth fora (3-4 most important):

1. National Youth Council

2. Children and Broadcasting Forum

3. Various political parties youth leagues

4. Various religious youth organizations

Describe their role in

the national process: Youth serve as advisory participants in the national sustainable development process

25.6 reducing youth unemployment : no information

25.5 The Government is committed to ensuring that by year 2000, more than 50% of youth -- gender balanced -- will have access to appropriate secondary education or vocational training.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): South Africa ratified the Convention on the Rights of Children on 16 June 1995. The Cabinet appointed a Core Committee of the Ministers of Health (chair), Welfare, Education, Justice, Finance and of Water Affairs and Forestry to ensure the successful safeguard of children's interests in all sectors of government. A National Programme of Action (NPA) for a Children's Steering Committee was formed which is made up of the Directors-General of the respective departments. The World Summit goals were adopted, and the mid-decade goals have been reported on. The establishment of the National Youth Council and its placement in the office of the Deputy President also highlights the seriousness of this issue for South Africa.


26.3.a No process has yet been established to empower indigenous people and their communities -- through policies and legal instruments.

26.3.b Indigenous people participate on an ad hoc basis in national sustainable development policies.

26.3.c No action has yet been taken to involve indigenous people in resource management strategies and programmes at the national and local level.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The values, traditional knowledge and resources management practices that indigenous people use are highly respected. In order to ensure a healthy development of indigenous knowledge, active participation of indigenous people is encouraged by most provinces. The participation of indigenous people and their communities in the relationship between protected areas and neighbours is encouraged.


27.5 developing mechanisms that allow NGOs to play their partnership role responsibly and effectively.

27.6 reviewing formal procedures and mechanisms to involve NGOs in decision making and implementation.

27.8 promoting and allowing NGOs to participate in the conception, establishment and evaluation of official mechanisms to review Agenda 21 implementation.

Mechanisms already exist to allow NGOs to partcipate in decision-making at the national Level.

According to the Government, NGO inputs are important to the sustainable development process.

27.7 establishing a mutually productive dialogue by 1995 at the national level between NGOs and governments.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):

NGOs are part of the major role players who took part in the process to formulate a new national environmental policy.

Various national government departments have entered into partnerships with NGOs, for example;

* Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Environmental Monitoring Group

* Department of Housing and the People's Housing Partnership

* The South African National Defence Force and the Environmental Advisory Forums.

NGOs are contacted for participation in various decision-making issues.


28.2.d encouraging local authorities to implement and monitor programmes that aim to ensure participation of women and youth in local decision making.

There are at least 6 local agenda 21s. 10% involve representation of women and/or youth.

These local agenda 21 involve _____% of population : no information

The Government plans to support local agenda 21 initiatives.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): In the Government of National Unity's Urban Development Strategy, it is stated that targeted Local Authorities will be assisted by DEA&T to develop local environmental strategies and action plans as part of the Local Agenda 21 process. DEA&T with the assistance of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and USAID, organised an African Regional Seminar. The cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg have joined ICLEI. Durban has achieved significant progress in developing a viable Local Agenda 21 programme. Other local authorities also involved in Local Agenda 21 initiatives are Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Kimberley. A Local Government Negotiating Forum (LGNF) has been set up to address various aspects of sustainable human settlement development policies.


29.2 full participation of workers in implementation and evaluation of A21.

29.3 a to e (By year 2000, (a) promoting ratification of ILO conventions; (b) establishing bipartite and tripartite mechanism on safety, health and sustainable development; (c) increasing number of environmental collective agreements; (d) reducing occupational accidents and injuries; (e) increasing workers' education and training efforts : no information.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): no information


30.6 increasing the efficiency of resource use, including reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste per unit of economic output : no information

30.18.a encouraging the concept of stewardship in management and use of natural resources by entrepreneurs.

List any actions taken in this area: Attempts are made to the sustainable use of traditional medicinal plants. Some Provincial Governments have been proactive in the recycling of paper and have launched an initiative within the Provincial Departments to act as an example and raise awareness. There are also plans to design an environmental management programme for provincial and local government. Furthermore, there is a drive within the Provincial Departments to promote the principles of sustainable development and encourage full participation and integration. There are a number of independent initiatives in this area, e.g. competitions sponsored by the Green Trust. Additionally major business groupings finance and support research.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): Although there are brave moves to establish small entrepreneurs in the recycling business, it is not very successful. There is no recycling in small rural towns. The Department of Minerals and Energy and the mining industry are constantly involved in consultation in order to identify and implement appropriate legislation, guidelines, standards, etc.


31.3.b There is some effort to improve exchange of knowledge and concerns between the science and technology community and the general public.

31.9 developing, improving and promoting international acceptance of codes of practice and guidelines related to science and technology and its role in reconciling environment and development.

Brief comments on this chapter not already described in chapter 35 (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): Research done by the Water Research Commission (WRC), Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and universities pertaining to mining and energy related issues are supported.


32.5.c promoting and encouraging sustainable farming practices and technologies.

32.5.e developing a policy framework that provides incentives and motivation among farmers for sustainable and efficient farming practices.

32.5.f enhancing participation of organizations of farmers in design and implementation of sustainable development policies.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism promotes the sustainable use of urban open space, in terms of sustainable urban agricultural methods. A conference in this regard was held in 1994, with the theme: Productive Use of Urban Open Space. The South African Agricultural Union has been part of all processes on policy and procedures concerning land-use and pollution. The following lead programmes were proposed by the Broadening Access To Agricultural Thrust (BATAT) as national drive areas: Development of previously disadvantaged farmer associations; Addressing the problem of agricultural colleges; Nurturing the land; Reorientation training of agricultural extention staff; State guarantee scheme - finance small farmers; State farmer support scheme - noncredit-based Farmer Support Programme; Human resource development programme; Basic agricultural glossary - guidelines; Farmer training programme; Increasing market awareness; Technology development master plan; Financial assistance pilot projects.

The Community Food Projects enhance the production, processing and accessing of food to benefit mainly the deprived, food-insecure communities on a sustainable and affordable level in order to contribute towards food security.

Farmer Settlement provides the necessary support to enable farmers to be settled and establish economically viable, environmentally friendly and sustainable production units.


Financial resources and mechanisms are also covered under each sectoral chapter of Agenda 21 where relevant. This summary highlights broader national financial policies, domestic and external (including ODA)

STATUS REPORT: Churches, Independent Development Trusts (IDT) and other NGOs have played a major role in financing and supporting social development, particularly in the poverty-stricken communities. Environmental capacity enhancement projects undertaken by community forums and community-based NGOs have recently been funded by the Reconstruction and Development Programme based in different government departments. However, there is a need to engage communities in programmes that stimulate economic growth and sustainable development.


No changes were made in national, provincial and regional budgets to address sustainable development.

NEW ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS: The national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism recently completed a research project on the use of economic instruments to address environmental problems. An assessment of economic instruments and their suitability for environmental management in South Africa was investigated. It is likely that new legislation will be addressed within the next year.

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry is currently focusing attention on adjusting the price of bulk water supply. However, no economic instruments have been implemented so far.

ELIMINATION OF ENVIRONMENTALLY UNFRIENDLY SUBSIDIES: All the subsidies in the South African economy that might have a negative impact on the environment have been identified. No actions to eliminate them have been taken as yet.

ODA policy issues

South Africa is a recipient country of ODA.

ODA funding provided or received (Total US$million)
Average for 92-93
Average for 94-96
Net flow of external capital from all sources as % of GDP
Other data


Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building is also covered under each sectoral chapter of Agenda 21 where relevant. This summary highlights broader national policies and actions relating to chapter 34.

STATUS REPORT ON LINKS BETWEEN NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION NETWORKS/SYSTEMS: Presently action is being taken by the Department of Education to encourage transfer of technology in schools. At the same time, steps are being taken to integrate environmental education across the curriculum in order to ensure that communities have access to information on the environmental risks of technologies. In this way, informed economic choices can be made. Social and cultural priorities are considered during transfer of technology.

Housing Support is necessary to establish a range of financial, institutional, technical and logistical support mechanisms that will enable communities to continually improve their own housing circumstances. Housing Support Centres are in the process of being set up as identifiable bases where beneficiary families may gain access to a serviced site as well as the relevant subsidy package. Here people would also receive training in materials manufacture and basic construction skills, together with the necessary information and advice to enable them to contribute directly to the design and construction of their own homes. Environmentally sound and appropriate technologies including know-how, services, equipment, organisational and managerial skills are provided by the Housing Support Centres.

Provincial departments have created policies which address the need to travel abroad for study tours, conferences or meetings. This is to ensure that capacity building is achieved as well as to strengthen existing networks and build up new information networks. Because of South Africa's geographical location, these types of networks are not always efficient and it has been recognised that Internet and E-mail networking is also of great value. Capacity building is perceived as a major priority by Government, particularly in the field of environment. This is being addressed although no formal policy exists.

The use of Best Available Technology Not Entailing Excessive Cost ( BATNEEC) is considered an essential principle in environmental management.

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: The Housing and Urbanisation Information System (HUIS) and the Housing Subsidy System (HSS) are being developed as a response for the need of housing information for planning purposes. HUIS will address the information needs of the Department of Housing and it will also provide information to the total housing sector and the international community. The basis for the HUIS includes the refinement and updating of a database created by the Development Bank for Southern Africa and the Council for Science and Industrial Research. Tenders for the development of a HUIS have been called for.

Describe any work being undertaken at the national or local level regarding efforts to promote clean production processes and/or the concepts of eco-efficiency. These processes may include training, preferential financial arrangements, information dissemination and changes in legal or regulatory frameworks.

A 2.5 year capacity building project has been launched in the Gauteng Provincial Government with DANCED which will include training in cleaner production/technology. This project involves, among other things, a study tour to Denmark and Sweden which concentrates on these issues and the implementation there of. Provincial Governments have budgeted for some small pilot projects in this area, the results of which will go towards new national regulatory frameworks.

Provide information on the adoption of environmental management systems. National reaction to environmental management system standards such as the ISO 14000 Series and others. Please note efforts made at the national level to promote their adoption and the creation of certification infrastructure in order to facilitate access to these standards to local industry.

The South African Bureau of Standards (a parastatal standard making body) has been involved in the development of the ISO 14000 series. Additionally, the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) was launched recently. This body will accredit certification bodies and environmental certification will become an area of activity in the near future. These SANAS accredited products and services will be recognised throughout the world.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is currently holding discussions with other National Departments and Provincial Governments to encourage the adoption of the ISO 14000 series. The 2.5 year capacity building project with DANCED will ensure that all environmental management systems are studied and assistance is given to facilitate the use of an environmental management plan for Provincial and Local Governments. The government will take every opportunity to encourage the adoption of ISO 14000 in relevant sectors.

It should also be mentioned that after evaluating EIAs in terms of the Land Development Objectives (LDOs) as specified in the Development Facilitation Act, provincial and local governments require in the conditions to the approval of such development applications, that an Environmental Management System should be incorporated which will promote the consideration of best technology, practice and alternatives into business plans.

List and describe programs or work under way to facilitate the transfer of ESTs to small and medium sized enterprises. Please note efforts to facilitate access to financial resources and other transfer strategies.



Environmental and sustainable development research is multi disciplinary in character and is being carried out across traditional disciplines.

The proposed science curriculum lays emphasis on science for citizens and orientation towards using science to solve problems in life. "Science for all" is an inclusive and accessible programme embracing principles of gender and racial equity. This is designed to cater to the ten-year compulsory phase education. With this kind of approach, one can be sure of support for scientific knowledge and skills in the prudent management of the environment.

In South Africa there is a lack of appropriate data at the city level. The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) office has set up the National Information Project (NIP) to address this problem. A housing and urbanisation information system (HUIS) is also being set up where information will be collected and accessed by role players at the local, provincial and national levels. This will require regular updating of the data so that comparisons can be made and projects can be more scientifically reviewed. This will lead to a strengthening of the scientific base, an enhancement of scientific understanding, the improvement of long-term scientific assessment and the building up of scientific capacities and capabilities.

The Central Statistical Services (CSS) which is the main statutory collector of information in South Africa is expanding in a response to a greater need for information.

There is a severe lack of scientific expertise in the Provincial Governments. Research is required in the fields of pollution management, in particular air and soil; soil and water remediation; cleaner technology and best practice; mining rehabilitation; radioactive waste recovery, disposal and handling; sustainability indices; energy recovery.


The South African National Defence Force has initiated long term monitoring programmes on some of its properties to monitor the environmental impacts of its training activities.

The Gauteng Provincial Government makes provision for the establishment and maintenance of a scientific component tasked with generating scientifically founded information to assist in decision making issues relating to environmental sustainability. They also make provision for scientific surveys aimed at drawing up inventories of the Province's natural resources and caters for the standardisation of reserve biomonitoring programmes. The Gauteng Province is in the process of developing a State of the Environment Report which will give a description and quantification of the most critical environmental issues in Gauteng, including strategic environmental planning (policy formulation and legislation), and environmental indicators.

Number of scientists, engineers and technicians engaged in research and experimental development 120 931* 1990
Total expenditure for research and experimental development (US$eq.) $1009 million # 1991
Other data

* SA Science and Technology Indicators, FRD 1993.

# Resources for Research and Development 1993/94. Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. Published 1996.


STATUS REPORT: Currently, Environmental Education features as a subject and as a topic in various subjects in the school curriculum in South Africa. In the curriculum of the Junior Primary Phase, Environmental Education is listed as a separate subject in which the environment is addressed in an integrated way in terms of three perspectives, namely that of General Science, Geography and History. In the other three school phases, there is not a subject Environmental Education, but subjects such as Biology and Geography devote specific sections to the topic and related issues. There is now wide support for the incorporation of Environmental Education into the emerging South African curriculum and it is specifically mentioned in the White Paper on Education and Training (1995). It features also in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) as a matter of priority. To incorporate Environmental Education in a future school curriculum and to develop relevant syllabuses, it is important that various curriculum models for Environmental Education be considered and tested. Apart from international initiatives, locally developed models and initiatives should also be looked at. A national research project is envisaged in this regard.

With regard to teacher education, the attention of the Committee on Teacher Education Policy (COTEP) was drawn to the need for environmental awareness in the curriculum by an influential group of academics and professional educators. COTEP acted on their advice and care was taken to ensure that environmental awareness was built into the proposed norms and standards for teacher education.

As South Africa needs uniform standards for the provision of quality of education and training, a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) for providing access to lifelong learning by means of nationally recognized levels will be established. The NQF will introduce an outcome-based approach to learning. Levels will be described in terms of generic outcomes which will underpin all education and training. Specific outcomes will be formulated for fields and contexts. Environmental Education can be such a context.

On 30 July 1996, the Department of Education launched a new national curriculum development process for pre-higher education with a view to have the first learning programmes ready for implementation in schools in 1998. The new curriculum framework as approved by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) comprises eight areas of learning. Although Environmental Education cuts across the whole curriculum, there has to be a nodal point from where it can be coordinated. In view of this it would be advisable to submit a nomination for only one area of learning where a suitable subcommittee could be identified. The possibility of instituting a separate subcommittee for the coordination of the infusion of Environmental Education in suitable carrier subjects could also be considered.

The Environmental Education divisions of the Provincial Environmental Departments are responsible for non-formal and informal environmental education. The goal is to introduce the concept of sustainable development and utilization of natural resources and ultimately to achieve a better environment and quality of life.

a) Reorientation of education towards sustainable development. Environmental education has been included in the White Paper on Education and Training as one of the principles of education (EEPI process). The Environmental Education Curriculum Initiative (EECI) strives to incorporate environmental education in all curricula before 1998. Postgraduate certificates in environmental education are being introduced in universities and colleges for teachers and non-formal educators.

b) Increasing public awareness: The Government has established a national database on environmental education. Environmental awareness campaigns, workshops and environmental competitions are organized annually for all sectors of the community.

c) Promoting training: The Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) programme and the new outcomes based approach which views education as a continuous lifelong process should be mentioned here. The Environmental Education section of the Department of Education also focuses strongly on education of its own personnel working in the field. Workshops are also arranged for teachers and groups from all sectors of the community.

ROLE OF MAJOR GROUPS: The Environmental Education Association of South Africa (EEASA) is an umbrella body representing most organisations in the environmental education and development fields. It organises annual conferences where people from various organisations can network. EEASA is involved in EEPI and EECI. The Free State Province has an environmental education section that cooperates with the Wildlife Society of South Africa, one of the major role players in environmental education in South Africa. There is also a private sector initiative underway to educate business sectors and workers on environmental matters. This project is still in its formative stage. A number of private initiatives are also funded by business groupings.

FINANCING AND COST EVALUATION OF THE LABOUR ACTIVITIES: Funding is limited and difficult to obtain. Every organisation in this field faces budget cuts every year, while the financial burden grows due to inflation on the one hand and the rapidly growing population on the other hand. The state is responsible for most labour activity costs. Sponsorships are received for activities such as workshops, courses, competitions etc. from NGOs and private companies.

Adult literacy rate (%) Male



Adult literacy rate (%) Female
% of primary school children reaching grade 5 (1986-97)
Mean number of years of schooling
% of GNP spent on education
Females per 100 males in secondary school
Women per 100 men in the labour force
Other data


National capacity building is also covered under sectoral chapters.

Donors: You may wish to describe here how Agenda 21 has influenced your ODA policies in this area.

Developing countries: You may wish to describe any new national mechanisms for capacity building - and any changes in technical cooperation.

STATUS REPORT ON NATIONAL ENDOGENOUS CAPACITY BUILDING: In South Africa, many of the problems of human settlements arise from a combination of inadequate and inappropriate planning as well as the failure to implement appropriate plans already in existence. The challenge however, is not only how to direct urban growth but also how to mobilize human, financial and technical resources and to ensure that social, economic and environmental needs are adequately addressed. Assistance in the forms of skills, knowledge and technical know-how should come from the United Nations, the national Government, municipalities, NGOs, universities, research centres and business and other private organisations. Local role players will need to take advantage of training and capacity building programmes in order to maximise their communities' opportunities for development. Effective capacity building requires the interaction of experience-by-doing, access to resources, facilitation, mediation and training. For this to happen the services of the previously mentioned role players, with funding from donors, and the National Development Agency will be required.

The concept of "Best Practice", whereby actions are identified which could serve as useful models from which others could learn, could be a useful tool for national capacity building. More than this, "Best Practice" identifies initiatives or projects which have resulted in tangible and measurable improvements in the quality of life and living conditions of people in a sustainable way. The setting up of a Best Practice Resource Centre is currently being addressed.

In terms of the Environmental Conservation Act (Act No 73 of 1989), a Committee for Environmental Coordination (CEC) was established where all government departments and provincial departments involved with the environment, are represented. In order to coordinate the implementation of Agenda 21, a CEC Subcommittee on Sustainable Development was established in 1996. Following the first meeting of the CEC Subcommittee on Sustainable Development in August 1996, a workshop involving a wide spectrum of role players is envisaged for early 1997. The aim of this workshop will be to start the process to develop a strategy for the implementation of Agenda 21 in South Africa. The UNDP has been approached to be a partner in this process.

The Western Cape Province enjoys collaboration with other developing countries in Environmental Education programmes through partnership with organisations that are based in universities, technikons, and businesses. These include the Environmental Capacity Enhancement Programme (ECEP), the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA), the Two Oceans Aquarium, NGOs and CBOs. As a result of this partnership, skills knowledge and technical knowhow come from a multi-disciplinary source.

A very large capacity building project to address environmental needs has been launched in the Provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga. This is funded by DANCED and entails the training of provincial environment officials through formal training processes, study tours and on-the-job training. The project will take approximately 2.5 years to complete and will result in significant knowledge transfer to other Government Departments and the private sector. Training will cover the areas of Environmental Management Systems, Environmental Law, Environmental Impact Assessments, Economic Instruments, Cleaner Technology, Environmental Monitoring, State of the Environment Reporting, Environmental Risk Assessment etc.


Ch. 38: Brief summary of any particular UN System response affecting this country/state:

South Africa has participated in the Commission on Sustainable Development meetings as an observer, since 1995.

Delegates to the 1996 CSD meeting had discussions with the UNDP in New York and in South Africa to start a process to develop a national strategy for the implementation of Agenda 21 in South Africa.


Ch. 39: International Legal Instruments are covered under the relevant sectoral chapters. This is a listing of major agreements/conventions (not already covered) entered into and relevant to Agenda 21:

Provision is made in the Constitution of South Africa that international agreements, customary international law and international law are binding on the Republic of South Africa, unless it is inconsistent with the Constitution or an Act of Parliament.


This chapter is also covered under sectoral and other chapters of this profile. The matrix below gives an overview of how national authorities rate the available information for decision making.

Rating of available data and information suitable for decision-making

Agenda 21 Chapters
Some good
data but
many gaps
2. International cooperation and trade X
3. Combating poverty X
4. Changing consumption patterns X
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability X
6. Human health X
7. Human settlements X
8. Integrating E & D in decision-making X
9. Protection of the atmosphere X
10. Integrated planning and management of land resources X
11. Combating deforestation X
12. Combating desertification and drought X
13. Sustainable mountain development X
14. Sustainable agriculture and rural development X
15. Conservation of biological diversity X
16. Biotechnology X
17. Oceans, seas, coastal areas and their living resources X
18. Freshwater resources X
19. Toxic chemicals X
20. Hazardous wastes X
21. Solid wastes X
22. Radioactive wastes X
24. Women in sustainable development X
25. Children and youth X
26. Indigenous people X
27. Non-governmental organizations X
28. Local authorities X
29. Workers and trade unions X
30. Business and industry X
31. Scientific and technological community X
32. Farmers X
33. Financial resources and mechanisms X
34. Technology, cooperation and capacity-building X
35. Science for sustainable development X
36. Education, public awareness and training X
37. International cooperation for capacity-building X
38. International institutional arrangements X
39. International legal instruments X
40. Information for decision-making X

Additional Comments

By bridging the data gap between communities and decision-making structures, the country can ensure that decisions made are based on sound principles. This is best achieved by providing resources as well as the infrastructure that makes dissemination, access, and sharing information easy. There is a present need for education and training in order to improve the use of technology and skills needed to handle and to manage information.

Generally speaking the availability of data for decision-making is good with gaps in certain areas. There is a rapid expansion of data availability from local to regional level, but managing and coordination of electronic (digital) data on these levels need a well-structured network to propagate/market the data and to enhance accessibility. It is generally accepted that accurate, current information on land-cover, land-use and the state of the environment are critical components for environmental planning and management.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing data are used more extensively as environmental decision-making tools. One example is the use off GIS to identify suitable land for affordable (lowcost) housing in the Cape metropolitan Area. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) are jointly implementing the production of a single standardised land-cover database for all of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. The land-cover data is being mapped from 1:250 000 scale georectified space maps, based on seasonally standardised LANDSAT Thematic Mapper satellite imagery. The land-cover data will be digitised and supplied in various vector formats suitable for GIS applications. Various other national GIS based decision support systems have been developed, including a National Nature Conservation Information System (NNCIS) and an Environmental Potential Atlas (ENPAT) for the major metropolitan areas.

In an effort to operationalise activities and increase African participation, the Secretariat for the Program on Environment Information Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa has relocated to the CSIR in Pretoria, South Africa. The ninth Advisory Committee meeting of the programme was held at Cape Town from 29 January to 2 February 1996.

During 1989, the need for a National Land Information System was identified. One of the functions of the National land Information System would be to act as an exchange mechanism between suppliers and users of data. For this purpose, a comprehensive meta database is being developed.

South Africa has agreed to test the proposed list of Indicators for Sustainable Development prepared by the Division for Sustainable Development for the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD). A twinning arrangement with Finland in this regard is currently being negotiated. In an effort to promote Local Agenda 21, a sustainability community indicators project, which will incorporate direct citizen involvement in the selection of indicators, will be launched towards the end of 1996. The development of indicators for estuarine health, sponsored by the environmental ministry and carried out by research institutes, is proceeding well and several interim reports have been produced. The information generated by the above initiatives will provide important inputs into the National State of the Environment Report which will be compiled under guidance of the subcommittee for Sustainable Development.

The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) Office has put out to tender the National Information Project which will aim to ensure that information from all government sources can be integrated for planning, performance monitoring, bench marking etc. One initiative within the National Information Project is going to be the establishment of an information system to assist with decision support and monitoring progress with regard to housing and urbanisation, largely through a set of indicators.

The October Household Survey, run by the Central Statistical Services (CSS), has been instituted to collect statistics relevant to the Human Development Index of the United Nations to measure poverty, per capita income, life expectancy and general quality of life. The national census of 1996 will provide the base-line data for the October Household Surveys after the census, since it is the first time that information for the whole of South Africa will be collected. The RDP has also initiated a project to monitor the Special Presidential Projects, other RDP programmes and to develop Key Performance Indicators. The Presidential Projects are being monitored through reporting schedules for monthly and quarterly reporting.

The Minister of Health established the National Health Information System Committee late in 1994. The committee was tasked to develop a National Health Information System for South Africa (NHIS/SA). The First National Conference was held in November 1994, which was the culmination of provincial workshops and the preparatory work for the consolidation of a set of indicators for the document: Health Goals Objectives and Indicators Year 2000. Three broad objectives were set for the new NHIS/SA: a) Ensure availability of information for the management of health services which includes efficiency, cost, volume and coverage; b) Measure health status of South African Population; and c) Monitor the RDP priorities and measure the progress of implementation of RDP priorities.

Latest 1995
Number of telephones in use per 100 inhabitants n/a n/a 9,45
Other data

Circulation of newspapers:

1990 1 329 000 1991 1 298 000 1992 1 311 000 1993 1 294 000

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1 November 1997