The role and the place of social impact assessment in the project life cycle
Social lmpact Assessment is a relatively new field of study in South Africa and abroad. It is dynamic and constantly changes as it develops. Current literature indicates that there is a need for SIA to be done through all phases of the project life cycle. The assumption made in this study is that this is not happening in practice. This study investigated the current practices in South Africa. Six case studies were analysed. The results confirmed the assumptions. The case studies were measured against the principles of Social lmpact Assessment, lntegrated Environmental Management and Social Development. The main recommendations are that Social lmpact Assessments should be conducted throughout the Project Life Cycle and be initiated as early in the planning phase as possible. It is recommended that Social lmpact Practitioners should be exposed to the Social Development approach as these two philosophies could enhance each other. Social Impact Assessment forms part of the Integrated Environmental Management tools, and shouldn't be treated as a snapshot assessment, but as a process. Only when treated as a process, it can truly contribute to sustainable development.