Comparison between South African, Namibian and Swaziland's EIA legislation
An EIA is one of the available environmental management tools, which seems to have become entrenched as the cornerstone of effective environmental management. It can be regarded as a tool to facilitate sound, integrated decision-making in which environmental considerations are explicitly and systematically taken into account in the planning and development process. EIAs have been practised extensively in South Africa for the last three decades. The impetus for this practice did not originally came about from legislation. Environmental assessment legislative provisions were later contained in both the Environment Conservation Act 73 of 1989 and the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998, as well as in some sectoral legislation (such as National Water Act 36 of 1998 and the Minerals Act 50 of 1991). South Africa is in the process of finalising its EIA legislation under NEMA and is currently in the process of redrafting its EIA regulations. In this dissertation, fourteen distinct EIA evaluation criteria are discussed as set forth by Wood, supplemented by other writers, regarding the essential elements for an effective EM. These criteria form the main framework against which the comparative study of South African, Namibian and Swaziland's EIA legislation are discussed. Swaziland recently adopted the new Environmental Management Act 5 of 2002 and Namibia also adopted the Environmental Management Act 101 of 1998. The comparative analysis of the three countries' legislation offers numerous potential opportunities for improving the current South African EIA legislation. As fellow SADC countries, these countries can learn from one another. It is also important during the redrafting process to attempt the alignment of principles between these neighbouring countries as they share natural resources and many private companies undertake projects that exceed the countries' national boundaries. Consideration is also briefly given to transborder regulations concerning EIAs. Furthermore the different EIA amendment proposals from some of the participating parties as well as the National Environmental Management Second Amendment Bill of 2003 are discussed. Although many of the problems are addressed in the National Environmental Management Second Amendment Bill of 2003 there is still potential gaps and shortcomings which must be considered in the redrafting of the EIA regulations.
- Law