n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - "Local environmental governance" and the role of local government in realising Section 24 of the South African Constitution

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1016-4359
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2193



In South Africa, local government has been transformed in many respects since 1994. A total number of 283 municipalities now make up the local government sphere which is independent albeit inter-related in the bigger governmental structure. Local government's constitutional mandate centres mainly on the idea of "developmental local government". It is argued that as part of its developmental mandate local government is co-responsible for the realisation of the constitutional environmental right. Environmental governance is regarded as one of the mechanisms available to government by means of which to achieve this. It follows that local environmental governance should be one of the mechanisms available to local authorities in doing the same, albeit specifically at the local level. This article defines local environmental governance within the broader local government and local governance context. It is argued that in order for local environmental governance to contribute meaningfully to the realisation of the constitutional environmental right, it should be aligned with at least eight different and more concrete elements of the notion "to realise" or "to fulfil". This article concludes with a brief overview of how the "politics of pollution" and party politics may influence the objectives of local environmental governance.

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