The Implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations in the Construction of Low Cost Houses in Newcastle, South Africa

  •  Shadung Moja    
  •  Simphiwe Mnguni    


An increase in global population is coupled with intensive growth in residential development. This has resulted to development in land that is unsuitable for occupancy generating negative consequences to the surrounding communities in the long run. In line with the above the study intended to determine if the implementation of EIA regulations in the construction of Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses, which are in close proximity to the wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) was adequately followed in Newcastle. It is essential that an EIA is carried out to determine significant impacts early in the project cycle so that recommendations can be built into the design without causing major negative impacts in the future. The study was to identify possible health effects which are attributed to the proximity of the WWTP to the residential area. This study involved participants who resided in close proximity to the site, those who are located five kilometers away, the healthcare givers and the municipality officials. About 68.0% of the respondents believe that the WWTP has negative effects on their lives while 36.0% said the WWTP has negative effects on the environment. The outcome of this study revealed that EIA regulations were not adequately implemented and that this residential site was unsuitable for the construction of RDP houses. The study further reveals that public participation is not highly considered yet high participation from the public leads to a comprehensive and better decision making. It also safeguards against bad or politically motivated decisions. The dominant civic organization has also been weakened when influential leaders were co-opted into the leadership structure of the local authority since they were in alliance with the ruling party. The need and pressure to meet election promises could have also blindsided the new political elites, which led them to ignore their own regulations. It’s crucial that developers look at the KwaMathukuza case study to see how poor EIA practice can affect economic, social, morbidity and mortality risks, cumulative and intergenerational effects, and broader determinants of health which could have been avoided.

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