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Environmental assessments for the greening of public infrastructure in South Africa

Patel S., Giordano T.. 2014. Development Southern Africa, 31 (5) : p. 721-743.

DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2014.937856

South Africa has announced another massive investment plan in infrastructure, amounting to R3.2 billion. This plan takes the guise of a National Infrastructure Plan made up of more than 150 projects clustered into 18 strategic infrastructure projects. Most of these projects consist of long-lived social and economic infrastructures planned to deliver services for many decades. Meanwhile, South Africa is reaching its environmental boundaries and faces a crucial need to reduce the environmental impacts of its development path. Owing to the lump-sum investment the projects represent and the lock-in effects they induce once projects are built, long-lived infrastructure projects have to be part and parcel of the country's decoupling strategy to sustain service delivery over the long term, and thereby support economic growth and service access. This paper seeks to highlight the role that environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments could play in supporting the greening of public infrastructure as a decoupling means for South Africa.

Mots-clés : infrastructure; développement économique; impact sur l'environnement; Évaluation de l'impact; politique de l'environnement; politique de développement; ressource naturelle; Écologie; afrique du sud

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