Environmental concern in South Africa : an analysis of elite and public attitudes and their implications for public policy

Zeelie, Hein (2003-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa, like so many other developing countries, is confronted with a very complex situation: although large-scale environmental degradation is threatening the future of the country, environmental matters are not regarded as of sufficient importance amongst the general population for them to contribute to environmental improvements. Most of the country's populations, many argue, are simply too poor and too focused on fulfilling short-term survival needs to give priority to the environment. Employing the 2001 World Values Survey, this study analyzes the attitudes of the general public of South Africa towards environmental matters. These attitudes are contrasted with those of the elites, who have a disproportionate influence over policy-making, by looking at the 2000 South African National Leadership Opinion Survey. This study finds that, as hypothesized, the general population of the country is quite unwilling (or unable) to contribute materially or financially to environmental improvements, especially in relation to the elites. In the final part of the study, these findings are employed in the development of a set of guidelines that policy-makers can use to increase the probability of developing successful and effective environmental policies. These guidelines take into account the nature and dimensions of popular attitudes, and consider ways in which environmental policies can foster the support of a public that is confronted with so many other serious issues.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika, soos soveel ander ontwikkelende lande, is gekonfronteer met 'n baie komplekse situasie: alhoewel grootskaalse degradasie van die omgewing die toekoms van die land bedreig, sien die algemene publiek nie omgewingskwessies as belangrik genoeg om 'n bydrae te lewer nie. Die argument is dat te veel van die land se bevolking net te arm of te gefokus is op die bevrediging van kort-termyn oorlewingsbehoeftes om prioriteit te gee aan omgewingskwessies. Deur gebruik te maak van die 2001 Wêreld Waardestudie, analiseer hierdie studie die houdings van die Suid-Afrikaanse publiek teenoor omgewingskwessies. Hierdie houdings word gekontrasteer met die van die elites, wat 'n disproporsionele invloed het oor die beleidsmakingsproses, deur gebruik te maak van die 2000 Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Leierskap Opinie Studie. Die studie vind dat, soos gehipotiseer, die publiek onwillig (of net nie in staat) is om bydrae te lewer tot die oplossing van omgewingskwessies, veral in vergelyking met die elites. In die finale afdeling van hierdie studie word die bevindinge gebruik om 'n stel riglyne te ontwikkel wat deur beleidmakers gebruik kan word om die waarskynlikheid van suksesvolle en effektiewe omgewingsbeleid te verbeter. Hierdie riglyne neem in ag die natuur en dimensies van publieke houdings, en bring na vore maniere waardeur omgewingsbeleide die ondersteuning van 'n publiek, wat gekonfronteer word met soveel ander ernstige kwessies, kan opbou.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53413
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