South Africa


The current extent of South Africa’s Exclusive Economic Zone is approximately 1,553,000 km². Its ocean territory can be divided into three broad biogeographic regions (excluding the Prince Edward Island Group): the cool temperate West Coast; the warm temperate South-East Coast; and the subtropical East Coast.

South Africa began marine spatial planning in 2015. A “National Framework for Marine Spatial Planning” has been drafted in August 2016 for public comment. A national bill has been drafted that would authorise MSP, approved by Cabinet in 2017, and sent to Parliament.

The national framework provides high-level direction for undertaking MSP in the context of existing South African legislation and policies as well as existing planning regimes. It describes the process for the preparation of marine area plans and their implementation, to ensure consistency in MSP across the South African ocean territory. The framework would facilitate the development, implementation, monitoring and revision of marine area plans. The MSP system will enable the sustainable development of South Africa’s ocean territory.

MSP is intended to provide the following benefits for the South Africa:

  • Facilitate the unlocking of the ocean economy and sustainable ocean economic development;
  • Enhance the achievement of societal benefits and strengthen the level of society’s interaction with the ocean;
  • Promote a healthy marine environment and the sustainable use of marine resources; and
  • Contribute to good ocean governance.

The Cabinet of South Africa has designated the Department of Environmental Affairs as the lead department for MSP in South Africa. The Department of Environmental Affairs will collaborate with all relevant national authorities that have a mandate relating to marine planning and management through a governmental working group that will develop MSP and steer and oversee the MSP process. This includes having lead responsibility for the preparation of the national framework and for marine area plans.

The marine area plans will be prepared sequentially; a period of two to three years is anticipated to prepare the first of four plans covering sub-areas of the EEZ. Planning for the four regions covering entire EEZ is to be completed by 2021

The MSP programme is part of a larger programme, the Marine Spatial Management and Governance Programme (MARISMA), that covers the Benguela Current region and seeks to establish sustainable ocean use. The lead agency for the MARISMA programme is the Benguela Current Commission located in Namibia. Funding (€8.9 million for Angola, Namibia, and South Africa over six years, 2015-2020) is from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).

Updates will be posted on this website as MSP activities in South Africa develop.

Last updated: August 2018
Disclaimer: The illustrative map of this national profile does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.
Start typing to see posts you are looking for.
  • * indicates required

    MSPglobal will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.

    Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

    You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us or by contacting us at

    We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

    We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.