WIT Press

Relevance Of National And Local Government Policy To Sustainable Community Natural Resource Management In South Africa


Free (open access)





Page Range

317 - 328




712 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


C. Musvoto, K. Nortje, M. Murambadoro & S. Dube


Development in South Africa is guided by the principle of sustainability, and this is underpinned by integration, which is the consideration of social, economic and environmental factors in decision making. Policies are in place at national and local government level to ensure integration. A key integration instrument at municipality level (the lowest unit of local government) is the Integrated Development Plan (IDP), a strategic planning tool meant to guide all planning and management in a municipality. At national level, the National Environmental Management Act, in particular its philosophy of Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) is supposed to provide guidance on sustainable development. In municipalities, communal natural resource management decisions are made at community level. There are no instruments to guide this decision making to ensure integration. This study analysed natural resource management decision making at community level, focussing on agricultural land use. The objectives were (i) to assess whether agricultural land use decision making incorporated integration principles and (ii) to assess applicability of the IDP and IEM as instruments for incorporating integration into community level decision making. Information was collected through a review of national and local government policies and interviews at municipal and community levels. Decision making was found to be focused on addressing social and economic needs with little consideration for the environment. The IDP had no relevance to community level decision making while the principles of IEM could be applied to incorporate integration into decision making. Keywords: agricultural land use, decision-making, integration, sustainable, natural resources; communal.


agricultural land use, decision-making, integration, sustainable, natural resources; communal.