The implementation and enforcement of the legal environmental health mandate in South Africa
Erasmus, Lourens Johannes
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The environment is a vital determinant of the human condition. In South Africa many people's health, well-being, and quality of life suffer from environmental health hazards. Over the last two decades government adopted numerous laws, regulations, and policies that completely altered the legal landscape insofar environmental health is concerned. In so doing government among others transformed the public health system and established a new environmental management system. Yet these developments do not seem to have had the desired effect - many environmental conditions are still in a dire state, and some are even declining. This study therefore investigates and determines the implementation and enforcement of the legal environmental health mandate in South Africa. Towards this end the researcher develops practical definitions of environmental health and environmental health governance, records the influences that international legal instruments have on the governance of environmental health in South Africa, tracks the historical roots of and identifies the legal environmental health mandate that gives rise to environmental health governance in its current form, and evaluates the functions and powers of the personnel involved in the delivery of environmental health services. The objective of this study is achieved by reviewing legal materials such as legislation, case law, textbooks, reports, and other academic works. Since the governance of environmental health cannot be divorced from its multidisciplinary character, other non-legal materials are also reviewed where appropriate. The study reveals that the practice of environmental health is not co-ordinated, that the functions and powers of governmental bodies and personnel overlap in some instances, that role-clarification is not always clear or appropriate, that the provisions of some laws conflict with one another, that bureaucratic obstacles can hamper personnel from performing their functions by depriving them of essential governance tools, and that governmental bodies have to police themselves in some instances.
- Law 
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