Governments have moral and legal obligations to intervene in society in order to
direct, regulate, facilitate and act as catalyst for economic prosperity, social justice
and ecological sustainability. The nature and scale of such interventions depend
on various factors, which include the ideological reasoning of policy makers, the
availability of natural resources, demographical and geographical realities, as well
as trajectories for economic growth. On a global scale governments have to address
serious challenges such as climate change, ecological dysfunction, and the depletion
of natural resources. The global community is living far beyond its ecological means.
It is expected that governments muster coherent policy responses to the highly
complex environmental problems that society is facing currently.
The aim of this article is to outline governments’ interventions in sustainable
development by focusing on a particular case, namely the South African Government.
This government sets itself the target to become a developmental state according to
the strategic goals of its National Development Plan. This context will be explored
by focusing on specific social, economic and environmental interventions the South
African Government has effected to facilitate sustainable development.