Quality and effectiveness of spatial planning related strategic environmental assessment (SEA) within the South African context: A case study

  • Francois Retief
Keywords: spatial planning, strategic environmental assessment, South Africa


Internationally planners have been at the forefront of debate on environmental assessment in general and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) in particular. Very limited empirical research has been conducted to evaluate the performance of SEA, especially within the South African context. As a first step towards addressing the gap in knowledge, this article provides the results of a performance evaluation on the ‘input quality’ and ‘output effectiveness’ of a specific high profile SEA case study namely, the SEA for the North West Provincial Spatial Development Framework. The results show that the SEA achieved a particularly poor input quality performance and was generally ineffective in influencing decisions. It is proposed that to take the debate forward follow-up research on a larger number of case studies be conducted to allow for the identification of patterns in performance and ultimately emergence of best practice guidelines.


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