Waste Management Policy Implementation in South Africa: An Emerging Stakeholder Participation Paradox
The need to eliminate plastic shopping bags from South Africa’s environment has resulted in the formation and implementation of the Plastic Carrier Bags and Plastics Flat Bags Regulations (hereafter referred to as the Plastic Bags Regulations).The new law requires manufacturers to produce thicker, reusable and recyclable plastic shopping bags sold at purchase points.However, some major retailers have refused to charge customers for the new bags claiming that they were not party to the policy process. Consumer organisations have called for boycotts and urged shoppers to support retailers that continue issuing ‘free’ bags. Drawing theoretical insights from actor network theory (ANT) and other actor oriented and practice-based policy frameworks, this small-scale study established that the failure to consider key actors and actants in the policy implementation process, and the role of powerful actor networks in the process have adversly affected the policy implementation process. Given that South Africa placed emphasis on consultative national environmental policy process approaches, the unfolding events and emerging policy process models show an emerging stakeholder participation paradox in implementing policies on waste management in South Africa.
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