Prof Anél du Plessis

Professor & SU Leerstoel in Stedelike Reg en Volhoubaarheidsregering | Professor & SU Chair in Urban Law and Sustainability Governance





Prof Anél du Plessis joined the Faculty of Law at the University of Stellenbosch from 1 July 2023, tasked with establishing a new Chair in Urban Law and Sustainability Governance.

She is an established researcher in the intersecting area of law, urban development, cities, human rights and environmental sustainability and served as the first incumbent of the NRF SARChI Chair in Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability (CLES) at the North-West University (2018-2023). In 2022, this Chair was awarded the NWU Institutional Community Engagement Award for “Engaged Research”. To date, Prof du Plessis successfully supervised and co-supervised more than 50 postgraduate students and post-doctoral fellows, including the NWU’s youngest ever PhD student in law (2021).

She is an alumna of the scholarship programmes of the DAAD, Fulbright, Max Planck Association and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She was part of the first cohort of selected members of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). She served as member of the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Association of South Africa (ELA) from 2006-2021 and serves on the Teaching Committee of the international IUCN Academy of Environmental Law since 2017. She is an appointed member of the NRF Rating and Specialist Committee for Law from 2022-2024.

Over the years, Prof du Plessis has developed and lectured a number of law modules, including climate change law and governance, local government law, environmental law, legal research methodology, administrative law, international transport law, and legal pluralism. She received two NASPERS Rapport prizes (2010 and 2011) and an international IUCN Academy of Environmental Law award for teaching excellence (2013).

She served as assistant editor of the Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal for ten years, and she has since established a special series in the journal devoted to urban law and governance. Since 2022 she is a Co-Rapporteur of the International Law Association’s Study Group on the Role of Cities in International Law.

Fields of specialisation

Urban Law, Environmental Law, Climate Change Law and Governance, Environmental Rights, Local Government Law

Modules taught

LLB: Environmental Law; LLM:  Sustainable Development Law



  • Aust HP and Du Plessis AA (eds) The Globalisation of Urban Governance (Routledge, 2019).
  • Du Plessis AA (ed) Environmental Law and Local Government in South Africa 2nd edition (Juta, 2021).
  • Kennedy A, Du Plessis AA et al (eds) Teaching and Learning in Environmental Law: Pedagogy, Methodology and Best Practice (Edward Elgar, 2021).
  • Zengerling C, ON Fuo, Du Plessis AA et al (eds) Research Handbook on Cities, Climate Change Law and Accountability (Edward Elgar) (forthcoming 2024).

Chapters in Books/Hoofstukke in Boeke

  • Du Plessis AA “Some of the Changing Features of Urban Governance as Cities respond to Global Climate Change” in Nijman J and Aust HP (eds) Research Handbook on International Law and Cities (Edward Elgar, 2021) 93-115
  • Van der Berg A and Du Plessis AA “Shared mobility towards climate resilient adaptation in the City of Johannesburg” in Van der Berg A and Verschuuren JM (eds) Urban Climate Resilience (Edward Elgar, 2022) 326-358.
  • Du Plessis, AA “SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” in Ebbesson, J and Hay, E (eds) The Cambridge Handbook on the Sustainable Development Goals and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2022) 281-303.
  • Roos V, Du Plessis AA and Hoffman, J “Municipal Service Delivery to Older Persons: Understanding the Contexts and Gaps Towards ICT Interventions” in Roos V and Hoffman J (eds) ICT Innovation and Impact for All Ages (Springer, 2022) 29-54.
  • Du Plessis AA and Moyo C “The Role of Cities in the Low-Carbon Transition” in Bellatuono, G, Godden, L et al (eds) De Gruyter Handbook of Energy Law in the Low Carbon Transition (De Gruyter, 2023) 557-576.
  • De Visser J and Du Plessis AA “Federalism in South Africa and local climate governance” in Jodoin S, Chebenova D and Gonzalez, P (eds) Federalism and Climate Change (Cambridge University Press, 2023) 241-262.
  • Du Plessis AA “Non-doctrinal research, urban sustainability and SDG 11” in Martin P et al (eds) Non-doctrinal Research in Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2023) (forthcoming).

Journal articles/Joernaalartikels 

  • Dube F and Du Plessis AA 2021 “Unlawful Occupiers, Eviction and the National State of Disaster: Considering South Africa’s Emergency Legislation and Jurisprudence During COVID-19” Journal of African Law 333-346.
  • Wright J, Dube F and Du Plessis AA 2022 “Judicial enforcement of mandatory provincial interventions in municipalities in South Africa” Verfassung und Recht in Übersee 105-125.
  • Du Plessis AA 2022 “When the Legal Pathways for Sound Financial Management and Spatial Justice Collide: the Case of South African Cities” South African Law Journal 650-677.
  • Du Plessis AA 2022 “Globalisation of Urban Governance” Harvard Design Magazine: 50:Today’s Global 164-169.
  • Diedericks M, Dube F and Du Plessis AA 2023 “Involving South Africa’s Chapter 9 institutions in environmental rights protection: SAHRC v Msunduzi Municipality 2021 3 AII SA 939 (KZP)” South African Journal on Human Rights (forthcoming).
  • Du Plessis AA, Steyn N and Rantlo J 2023 “City-level Law and Action for Climate Resilient Development in Southern Africa” Transnational Environmental Law (forthcoming).

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