According to the rights enshrined in South Africa's Constitution, everyone has the right:

To an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and

To have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that:

  • prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
  • promote conservation; and
  • secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

The Environmental Policy directorate undertakes research to develop, communicate and promulgate environmental policy, legislation, norms, standards and strategies within the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002, Act 28 of 2002.

The Mineral Regulation Branch and its regional offices ensure the execution of the provisions of the MPRDA, through processing applications, issuing or granting rights and permits, approving environmental management programmes (EMPs), monitoring performance, undertaking corrective actions and issuing closure.

The directorate is also responsible for reporting on the performance of the "environmental right" in terms of South Africa's Constitution to the South African Human Rights Commission on an annual basis. This function also includes the strengthening of enforcement through co-operation with other government departments, memorandums of understanding, structures and so on.



The DMR has a number of obligations, both nationally and internationally. These include:

  • Developing policy options, strategies and programmes for the implementation of international agreements, conventions and partnerships - such as sustainable development (in line with the World Summit on Sustainable Development or WSSD), waste management and biodiversity.
  • NEPAD and the African Mining Partnership. The DMR, in conjunction with Egypt, Congo and Zimbabwe, are responsible for the development of Project 3.2: Sustainable Development.
  • Global Mining Dialogue, which is a type 2 Partnership in terms of the outcomes of WSSD.
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