The development of the NWMS is an important milestone in the process of implementing the Waste Act, and in establishing an integrated approach to waste management across government and society more broadly. As stated in Section 1, South Africa faces particular challenges in relation to waste management that require a coordinated effort by government and stakeholders. Addressing these challenges will not be easy, given the capacity and resource constraints we face as a developing country with large income inequalities and competing development priorities. Nevertheless, the implementation of the waste management hierarchy and achievement of the objectives outlined in this strategy is integral to achieving a sustainable future and a better life for all South Africans.

The NWMS provides the framework within which the actions of different stakeholders are located. This strategy is addressed to stakeholders in all spheres of government, industry, labour unions, community based and non-governmental organisations, and the public at large. It sets out the different roles and responsibilities that need to be taken up by each stakeholder and level of government.

The NWMS is a living document, which needs to be regularly updated and revised to keep it relevant. The Waste Act requires that the NWMS be reviewed and updated at least every five years.

The process of producing this NWMS involved extensive consultation with a variety of stakeholders. Many people have given very generously of their time and experience in making inputs to this document. Government wishes to thank all the stakeholders for the contribution they have made to the compilation of this NWMS, and for their commitment to implementing its provisions.