In South Africa, the term co-operative government is increasingly used in the context of environmental management whilst public participation is enshrined in the South African legal framework. Within the context of co-operative environmental management, concepts such as intergovernmental relations, partnerships, collaboration and co-management are brought into consideration; thus emphasising the importance of working together and soliciting public input to manage the environment in a sustainable manner. The article argues that the notion of managing the environment on the basis of
co-operative government principles and active stakeholder participation is currently a topical issue among the South African policy and development fraternity. In addition, various role-players argue that to promote sustainability, a multi-dimensional approach may be applicable as far as environmental management is concerned. In South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, the fragmentation of public sector
entities dealing with different elements of the environment, result in some measure of disjointed application of environmental policies and legislation. The article further contends that proper interaction and co-ordination among government departments in the management of the environment is crucial if individuals and institutions wish to honour the principles of co-operative government and intergovernmental
relations as outlined in Chapter 3 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,
1996 and concomitant legislation. The article examines and clarifies terminologies associated with co-operative environmental management as well as to provide an overview on the legal
mechanisms for co-operative environmental management. It will circumvent and will further reiterate that the relevance of a multi- dimensional model for co-operative environmental management in South Africa is paramount to sustainable co-operative government in an era of new leadership and policy innovations.