Environmental impact assessment legislation in Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa
Rantlo, Tiisetso John
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Due to the global endeavour to conserve the environment and to ensure that development is undertaken in a sustainable manner, mechanisms have been developed across the world to protect the environment during the process of development. As a result, there are projects that require authorisation from the relevant environmental authorities before their commencement due to their likelihood of having significant impact on the environment. For this reason, it is necessary to determine the possible impacts that the proposed activity may have on the environment. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) has been considered as one of the tools that are employed to aid the decision-makers of environmental authorisation applications. EIA is a process of evaluating the potential impacts of the proposed project on the environment. The process is not only aimed at identifying the significant impacts but also ensuring that the said impacts are mitigated and the alternatives considered. The aim of this dissertation is to determine the lessons that Lesotho can learn from Swaziland and South Africa with regard to EIA legislation. In order to achieve this aim, the paper critically discusses the EIA legislation of Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. It further highlights the weaknesses in Lesotho’s legislation and the lessons that Lesotho can learn from its two sister countries. South Africa is more developed than Lesotho and Swaziland and it has a long history of EIAs. South Africa has experienced vigorous evolution of its EIA legislation. On the other hand, Swaziland is a small and less developed country like Lesotho, but with a better EIA legislation. This dissertation discusses the historical background of EIA legislation, different definitions ascribed to this concept, EIA principles and the generally accepted steps followed in undertaking an EIA. The dissertation then compares the EIA legislation of the three countries against the generally distilled accepted EIA steps.
- Law