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Media Advisory: SAHRC Northern Cape Provincial Office to Conduct Stakeholder Engagements on the Right to a Safe, Clean and Healthy Environment

14 November 2022

Attention: Editors and Reporters

South Africa is one of the 156 States that recognises the right to a clean, safe, and healthy environment as envisaged in section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the Constitution). A safe, clean, and healthy environment is integral to the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, water, and sanitation.  Without a healthy environment, we are unable to fulfil our aspirations or even live at a level commensurate with minimum standards of human dignity.  

Section 24 establishes the right to environment in order to ensure the health and well-being of present and future generations. At its core, the right to environment aims to grant this benefit to everyone in South Africa, not just to the few. Although, translating this vision of the benefit of environmental health into reality has become increasingly complicated, ensuring that there are no violations of this right is as urgent as any violation of other rights in the Bill of Rights.

Section 24 of the Constitution also places a duty on all spheres of government to take reasonable steps, including making laws, to prevent pollution (air, water, and soil), promote conservation and ensure sustainability. In this regard, there has been a significant improvement in terms of law, strategies and guidelines that have been implemented by the government to fulfil the right to a safe, clean, and healthy environment. Progress has also been made, through the courts and other avenues, towards realising the procedural aspects of the right to environment (access to information, participation in decision-making processes, redress, and remedy).

Despite what is highlighted above, the Commission regularly observe instances where local communities are exposed to environmental harm due to the failure of municipal services (sewage spill and/or non-collection of refuse) or the environmentally harmful actions of other community members or local industries (littering, illegal dumping of household refuse, used products, etc in residential areas and at non-designated dumping sites). This trend is on the rise and is increasingly becoming a problem, because it hinders the objectives of keeping the environment safe, clean, and healthy.

Against this background, the Northern Cape Provincial Office will be conducting a Stakeholder Engagement on the Right to a Clean, Safe, Healthy and Sustainable Environment.

The stakeholder engagement is scheduled to take place as follows:

Date    : Tuesday, 15 November 2022
Time   : 10:00 AM – 13:00 PM
Venue : Windows Teams Meeting
The purpose of the stakeholder engagement is:

•    to reflect on the state of the environment in the Northern Cape Province;
•    to determine the extent to which the Northern Cape Province is making in the realisation of a safe, clean, and healthy environment.
•    to interrogate the effectiveness of administering and enforcing environmental laws and where applicable by-laws.
•    to decide on the way forward on how to involve community members and community structures in the decision making, planning, implementation, management, and monitoring of environmental programmes.

The scheduled Stakeholder Engagements will be conducted in conjunction with the following

1.    Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform;
2.    District and Local Municipalities in the Northern Cape Province.


Prepared by the Northern Cape Provincial Office of the South African Human Rights Commission.

For further information contact Mr. Anthony Wyngaard, Acting Provincial Manager, at Tel: 054 332 3993 / Cell: 074 134 6972; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Buyisile July, Advocacy and Research Consultant at Tel: 054 332 3993 / Cell: 072 949 7578 ; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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