Laws made by national, provincial and local governments add to the rights and responsibilities that are part of the Constitution and the common law. These laws, also called legislation, must comply with the Constitution but they can amend (change) the common law.
Environmental laws made by the government set out the rights and responsibilities of people relating to three over-arching areas, namely: land-use management; pollution control and waste management control; and natural resources. Environmental laws therefore regulate various activities, including who can build, what can be built, and where can they build; who can fish or mine, cut trees and shoot animals, as well as where and when this can happen.
These laws contain a number of rules. Anyone who fails to comply with these rules could be punished through imprisonment and/or a fine.
There are two broad types of laws. Firstly, there are framework laws which regulate all environmental concerns and should be taken into account when dealing with any environmental issue. Secondly, there are sectoral laws which deal with things like land-use management; pollution control and waste management, or nature conservation. So, for example, if you are dealing with a waste site which is polluting the water in the area of your community, you will need to consider both framework laws and the sectoral laws that are relevant to land and water pollution.