IS SOUTH AFRICA*S CURRENT FORM OF DEVELOPMENT COMPATIBLE WITH SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?
South Africa is currently following the North American model of
capitalistic development. This form of development encourages the
ownership of private transport (e.g. automobiles) and also the mentality
of owning large, over-consuming vehicles. The following resulting
environmental impacts are evident:
Large-scale air pollution due to exhaust emissions
Over-population of vehicles, which result in excessive road and
parking development to the detriment of natural areas.
Exploitation of resources as well as pollution with regard to the
over-production of cars.
The most comprehensive solution to these problems is the development of
an efficient public transport system (E.g. Railway, bus) that can
service the needs of the masses.
Another issue that is in complete contradiction with sustainable
development is the private ownership of property. According to this
system, an elite group of people (usually foreigners) own most of the
land. This entitles the majority of the country to an insulting
proportion of land (townships, squatter camps) that undergoes
irreparable environmental degradation within a matter of years.
Furthermore degradation extends to environments such as the ocean that
is affected by huge quantities of untreated sewerage. This problem and
the multitude that stem from it can only be solved efficiently by the
abolition of private property.
Hence it is clear that South Africa is currently on an unsustainable
course of development.
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17