other hand, some waste recycling has been organised in urban areas with good results. Enforcement of environmental legislation is suffering from the lack of competent staff in provincial and local administration.
The government of South Africa has recently reformed its environmental and municipal legislation to meet international agreements concerning sustainable development. The enforcement of the revised legislation has only started and it will take some time before environmental and sustainable development concerns are well integrated in the decision making and administration of the country. It is considered here as the right momentum to put effort on the creation of functioning administration structures and practises with strong environmental and sustainability emphasis.
The North West province is one of the poorest provinces in South Africa, characterised with extremely high income inequality. Rural poverty and rural-urban income differences aggravate the social problems which often break up in the form of violence, crime and e.g. extremely high rates (30-40% among many population groups) of HIV infection. Urban poor and migrant labour of the mines are frequently lacking safe and healthy accommodation. Non-existing service infrastructure in the informal housing areas and poor environmental production standards among medium and small scale industries are causing serious environmental pollution which is a major health hazard in many densely populated areas in the province.
Poverty reduction through economic development and social programs is the first priority of the province. Necessary economic development will further aggravate the environmental pollution and degrade the status of the environment. Adequate environmental standards, respective licensing and permit systems (including Environmental Impact Assessments of economic development projects), adequate compliance monitoring and control are crucial requirements to improve the status of affairs. National policy and legal framework is basically adequate and in place, although fragmented and difficult to apply/enforce at local level. The provincial and lover level capacity to implement the legislation is still inadequate. Roles and responsibilities are not always adequately clear, causing often long delays in decision-making.
The provincial government is to coordinate and support the actual implementation of developmental activities at municipal levels. The provincial government has demonstrated strong interest in integrating sustainability and environmental concerns in the provincial and local level decision making systems. However, the provincial departments responsible for such issues are lacking technical capacity.
The district municipalities have the responsibility to coordinate and support weaker local municipalities in their development efforts. The district and local municipalities are undergoing a major restructuring as a result of merging earlier districts and local municipalities. The purpose of the merging is to increase the capacity of local governments by creating larger and more resourceful entities, and to balance developmental disparities among historically advantaged and disadvantaged communities. However, even the resultant new district and local municipalities lack, in many cases, entirely the technical capacity to address environmental concerns in the development processes in their area.
Stakeholders and Beneficiaries
The beneficiaries of the project include the population of the North West province with special reference to the poor in the selected pilot districts and local municipalities. The project is to improve the environmental sustainability of development processes in the province, and thereby the quality of life of the population.
The main stakeholder of the project is the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment which is the responsible provincial authority for environmental matters. Similarly, the respective district and local municipal staff (the respective Councillors, Executive Mayors, Municipal Managers and respective staff under them) are key stakeholders for district and local municipal level activities, especially in the selected pilot districts and local municipalities.
The project will work also in close cooperation with all other relevant provincial and lower level administrative departments with special reference to the provincial Department of Local Government and Housing as well as the Office of the Premier.
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