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South Africa
  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1993
  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Article 29 of South Africa’s Constitution of 19931 states that : “Every person shall have the right to an environment which is not detrimental to his or her health or well-being”.

The current Constitution of South Africa2 refers to environmental protection in Chapter 2, Bill of Rights, section 24 :
“Everyone has the right
a. to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
b. to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that
i. prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
ii. promote conservation; and
iii. secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.”

The Environment Conservation Act of 1989 provides for the effective protection and controlled utilization of South Africa’s natural environment. Part VI lists general regulatory powers and regulations pertaining to waste management, noise, and environmental impact reports.

The National Environment Management Act (NEMA) of 1998 refers to Agenda 21 and establishes the principles for decision-making on environmental matters as well as the institutions for the promotion of cooperative environmental management and governance.

The Department of Environmental Affairs publishes annual reports on the state of the environment and has developed a set of maps and indicators for climate, biodiversity, inland water, land, and ozone, among other areas.

All South African governmental documents related to the environment can be found here. Environmental legislation pertaining to resource management can be found here.

Further information on South African environmental legislation can be accessed through the official website of the Department for Environmental Affairs.




1. The Constitution of 1993 is available on the official government's website
2. The current Constitution is available on the official government's website