Culture in the pursuit of sustainable development in South Africa : a legal approach
Over time, it has become evident that development that is measured by economic indices alone without consideration of other dimensions of development is ineffective and unsustainable. Concerns as to the continuous exploitation of environmental resources for purposes of industrial development and other projects began to emerge. In addition to this is the concern that decision-makers often ignore the human development indices in development plans and strategies such that the social and cultural impact of development are side-lined. Subsequently, these concerns led to the search for sustainable means of development that recognised these concerns. The concept of sustainable development emerged as an international development agenda. The concept was primarily borne out of environmental concerns but it has since progressed to be understood that other interests that affect people should be considered in sustainable development thinking such as social, economic and cultural interests. In contemporary times, the concept has seen debates in scholarly literature and international actors for the inclusion of culture into the sustainable development equation. The argument for the inclusion of culture in development plans and strategies has also received international recognition with the adoption of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which recognised culture in the international developmental agenda. In understanding how culture’s inclusion in sustainable development thinking will apply in the South African context, this thesis considers the concept of sustainable development from the perspective of law. The concept of sustainable development is constitutionally recognised. However, the law-makers framed it in purely ecological terms. The implication is that the concept of sustainable development has developed domestically as mainly an environmental concept. Scholarly literature argues that the well-being of the people is a legitimate factor to be considered in the pursuit of sustainable development. Well-being is used here in the general sense and by way of analogy to emphasise the needs of the people as inextricably linked to culture. This thesis accepts that the notion of culture is fluid and not susceptible to one meaning. Therefore, this thesis introduces a novel typology that may guide decision-makers in approaching cultural interests to be included in the sustainable development equation. South Africa, being a culturally diverse society with constitutionally guaranteed cultural rights, offers a basis for the interrogation of the susceptibility, or not, of including culture in the pursuit of sustainable development. This thesis primarily questions the extent to and manner in which existing national law, policy and institutional government arrangements facilitate the inclusion of cultural interests in the country’s pursuit of sustainable development. Consequently, this thesis commences with an exposition of relevant theoretical concepts namely: culture and sustainable development. The link and interdependence of both concepts are explored to establish the normative foundation for the rest of the thesis. Subsequently, an analysis of relevant national laws and policies that accommodate the inclusion of culture in development-related decisions is carried out. The relevant governance arrangements within government structures which might assist with the implementation of the legislative and policy frameworks identified is queried. Also, the judiciary’s contribution and approach to the recognition of cultural interests in adjudicating over case law is analysed. This thesis concludes on the premise that cultural interests must and can together with the environmental, economic and social interests contribute to the global and domestic idea of sustainable development. This thesis further makes recommendations on how the typology for the consideration of cultural interests adopted might guide and ease the inclusion of culture into decisions and planning relevant for sustainable development in South Africa.
- Law 
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Die Konstitusionele Hof se kultuurdiversiteitsopdrag aan die onderwys: Aanloklike bestemming anderkant n ongekaarte mynveld Beckmann, Johannes Lodewyk (Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, 2017)Culture and education are inextricably linked and education is one of the spheres in which an individual person or a collective may practise their closely-related rights to culture and freedom of expression. Different role ...
Du Plessis, Anél; Rautenbach, Christa (North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), Faculty of Law, 2010)This article introduces some legal perspectives on the role of culture in sustainable development. The authors agree that sustainable development has been designed as an environmental concept but that room exists for the ...
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