The Effectiveness of Plea and Sentence Agreements in Environmental Enforcement in South Africa

Keywords: plea and sentence agreement, South Africa, environmental compliance, criminal sanctions, environmental penalties, Environmental law, compliance and enforcement


A recent development in South African environmental law is the use of plea and sentencing agreements. The main objective of environmental law is to promote the sustainable use of natural resources while preventing pollution and ecological degradation. Grand environmental due diligence processes could achieve sustainable development; the use of criminal sanctions with sentencing agreements could be more effective. This paper answers the question whether the plea and sentencing agreements in reality achieve the objectives of environmental regulation? This study analyses this recent development by looking at selected recent cases in South Africa. The study found that plea and sentence agreements are potentially effective, subject to the effective monitoring of compliance and enforcement against non-compliance with the undertakings made by the accused person. Without institutional strengthening and effective monitoring, the plea and sentence agreement procedure remains ineffective.



Author Biography

Tumai Murombo, University of the Witwatersrand

Professor of Law

Faculty of Law


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