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Title: For the benefit of current and future generations : prospects for intergenerational equity in South Africa
Author: Littleford, Sarah-Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 851X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines a crisis of governance in the Republic of South Africa (RSA), a crisis which threatens Constitutionally guaranteed intergenerational rights to water, meaning these rights are unlikely to be upheld. RSA's post-1994 Constitution incorporated a number of historically unparalleled human rights, based on fundamental principles of human dignity and equality. This includes the right to water resources for current and future generations - making RSA one of a few countries to enshrine intergenerational rights in law. Under law, Government acts as fiduciary trustee with duties to protect the water resources for current and future generations of citizens. The thesis asserts that influences of Emmanuel Kant, John Rawls and Edith Brown Weiss are reflected in the Constitution and subsequent laws. However, historical and on-going impacts from extractive industries in the province of Gauteng are negatively impacting upon intergenerational water rights. Acid mine drainage is an acidic wastewater produced as a by-product of mineral extraction - particularly gold. It is polluting ground- and surface-waters across the province. A lack of effective government response to this issue has meant that AMD is acting as a catalyst accelerating the country's already problematic governance processes to a crisis level. As it has no long-term management plan, the government is neglecting its intergenerational responsibilities and abrogating Constitutional purpose. This situation is exacerbated by multiple, often conflicting, understandings in different sectors of society of the significance of intergenerational equity, further reinforcing the governance crisis. Due to lack of government response, non-State agents, specifically the mining and financial sectors, are becoming increasingly involved in political decision-making and governance. This has positive short-term effects in ensuring that the rights of communities that were previously affected by water shortages and pollution are upheld. Yet there are potential serious long-term repercussions for democracy in RSA as a result: non-State actors are not best equipped to determine outcomes of governance, and this may result in procedures of deliberative democracy being contravened. Robert Dahl's theories inform this thesis's understanding of deliberative democracy. Consequently, although RSA's Constitution guarantees intergenerational equity in theory, it is hard to achieve in practice. This is due to the governance crisis that has been precipitated by acid mine drainage, so that intergenerational rights to water are an unlikely long-term outcome for this developing nation.
Supervisor: Clark, Gordon L. Sponsor: Rhodes Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social responsibility of business--South Africa--Case studies ; Corporate governance--South Africa ; Mineral industries--South Africa ; Water--Pollution--Law and legislation--South Africa ; Water-supply--Government policy--South Africa ; South Africa--Environmental conditions