Stakeholder Engagement

Public participation is a statutory requirement in most, if not all, recently promulgated environmental legislation. In South Africa, the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No 107 of 1998) (NEMA), forms the basis of stakeholder consultation. In addition, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act No 28 of 2002) (MPRDA) and National Water Act (Act No 36 of 1998) places the responsibility on developers to ensure that stakeholders are involved in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process or Water Use License Application (WULA) process, as it may be, for any new development.

The participation of all Interested and Affected Parties (I&APs) in environmental governance must be promoted, and all people must have the opportunity to develop the understanding, skills and capacity necessary for achieving equitable and effective participation. Furthermore, participation by vulnerable and disadvantaged persons must be ensured. The purpose of public participation is to ensure that I&APs are provided with the opportunity to raise issues and concerns. GCS ensures that these are adequately addressed in the EIA process by conforming to the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Performance Standards for Stakeholder Engagement. The IFC views stakeholder engagement as the basis for building strong, constructive and responsive relationships essential for the successful management of impacts.

GCS has the necessary skills and experience to conduct public participation and community consultation processes. We understand the need to develop processes which are specific to the needs of the communities, ensure attention to detail and always conduct consultation in a professional manner. By adhering to international best practice guidelines, such as the IFC Performance Standards, similar processes are undertaken for countries across the African continent and our team has the necessary knowledge and expertise to adapt to the local legislative requirements.

Social and Economic Impact Assessment

In terms of NEMA and the MPRDA an EIA must determine the nature, extent, duration, probability and significance of the potential environmental, social and cultural impacts of proposed developments. Social and Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) is normally undertaken as part of the EIA process and the public participation process can assist hugely with data collection and analysis. SEIA attempts to predict the probable impact of a development on the day-to-day lives and activities of individuals and communities as well as the way they interact with one another. A number of African countries already included in their environmental legislation the requirement to combine the EIA process with a Social Impact Assessment (SIA), i.e. SEIA. Combining the biophysical and social components of impact assessment places GCS in a strategic position to apply its wide variety of in-house skills in a holistic way.

Social and Labour Plans

Social and Labour Plans (SLPs) are also a pre-requisite for the granting of mining or production rights in order to ensure the effective transformation in the mining and production industries. The SLP requires the applicant to report on a variety of elements, which include training, skills development and the economic development of the area in which they operate. In this regard, GCS is also able to assist our clients in identifying possible Local Economic Development (LED) Projects as well as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Projects. By combining our wide variety of skills, GCS is able to communicate effectively with the local authorities and communities to identify and facilitate the development of such projects.

In addition, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) requires the holder of a mining right to submit an annual report on the compliance with the SLP. GCS can compile, audit and monitor SLPs to ensure that compliance with the MPRDA is achieved. A variety of other social products are offered, including among others:

  • Stakeholder engagement and public participation;
  • Facilitation of stakeholder and community interaction;
  • Communication strategies;
  • Feasibility studies;
  • Social risk assessment;
  • Socio-economic impact assessment;
  • Baseline social surveys;
  • Opinion polls;
  • Community newsletters;
  • Training; and
  • Social Audits (SIA and SLP).

GCS has established its own Social Unit under the umbrella of its Environmental Unit, with a team of experienced Social Scientists who have extensive experience in undertaking Social Assessments of any scale and nature. It is our objective to advise our clients on issues relating to the social environment and assist them in adhering to the principles of international best practice. The Social Unit is in the unique position to guide our clients to achieve the best suitable solutions, whether these services are performed as part of environmental legislated processes, or conducted as independent projects. We approach each assignment on its individual merits and deliver a service that adds value to both internal and external decision-makers, while offering an objective perspective to stakeholders at all levels.


2013Tendele (Pty) LtdSomkhele I&AP bi-annual update meetingSomkhele
2013Witkop (Pty) LtdWitkop Social Impact AssessmentFree State
2013Ezendalo Legal Solutions ccFacilitation of the Drift Supersand Public Participation MeetingDrift Supersand
2013Iluka Resources LimitedAngola Mineral Sands Environmental & Social
Review – Phase II
Africa Operations
2012GCS Water and Environment (Pty) LtdWater Treatment PPPJohannesburg
2012GCS Water and Environment (Pty) LtdSocial Impact AssessmentEskom Rustenburg
2012ShellSocio-Economic Impact Assessment – MidrandMidrand
2012Durban (Tendela Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd)SIA for Somkhele Mine ExpansionTendele Coal Mining
2012Iluka Resources LimitedAngola Mineral Sands – Environmental and Social
Angola (North and South of Luanda)
2012Scorpion Mineral Processing (Pty) LtdArea 6 Bengo Steel Works – Social Site Selection
Bengo Iron and Steelworks
2012GCS Environmental UnitJacomynspan SIAJacomynspan
2011GCS Water and Environment (Pty) LtdTwo Rivers Platinum SIA - TweefonteinOpencast
2011GCS Water and Environment (Pty) LtdExxaro Leeuwpan SIALeeuwpan Coal


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