Environmental Affairs

National Department Budget for 2018-19

Vote purpose

Lead South Africa’s environmental sector to achieve sustainable development towards a better quality of life for all.


The Department of Environmental Affairs is mandated to give effect to the right of citizens to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing, and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations. To this end, the department provides leadership in environmental management, conservation and protection towards sustainability for the benefit of South Africans and the global community.

This mandate is derived from the following legislation:

  • the National Environmental Management Act (1998), which provides for specific legislation on biodiversity and heritage resources; oceans and coasts; climate change and air quality management; and waste and chemicals management
  • the National Environmental Management Amendment Act (2004), which streamlines the process of regulating and administering the environmental impact assessment process
  • the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Amendment Act (2009), which provides for the assignment of national parks, special parks and heritage sites to South Africa in terms of the World Heritage Convention Act (1999)
  • the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (2004), which significantly reforms South Africa’s laws regulating biodiversity
  • the National Environmental Management: Air Quality and Atmospheric Act (2004), which reforms the law regulating air quality in order to protect the environment by providing reasonable measures for preventing pollution and ecological degradation, and securing ecologically sustainable development; and provides for national norms and standards regulating the monitoring of air quality
  • the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (2008), which reforms the law regulating waste management in order to protect health and the environment by providing reasonable measures for the prevention of pollution
  • the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act (2008), which promotes the conservation of the coastal environment and ensures sustainable development practices and the use of natural resources.
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