Environmental Affairs and Tourism : Minister's Budget Speech
20 May 2008
BUDGET VOTE SPEECH BY MARTHINUS VAN SCHALKWYK, MINISTER OF
ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY,
20 MAY 2008
GROWING THE ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM SECTORS
Although we occupy only 2% of the Earth’s land surface, we are home to
more than 7% of the world’s vascular plants. Nearly 60 newly
discovered species are added every year.
If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then the value
of a visit to our country holds millions of visitors speechless. This
is the wonder that greets the millions of tourists who travel to our
shores to experience our country, our cultures and our people.
TOURISM GROWTH AND BENEFITS
The real value of tourism goes well beyond concepts like revenue,
turnover, and occupancy rates. The greatest value of tourism lies in its
power to bring people together, to help conserve the environment and to
The growth in our tourism industry is well documented. In 1994, fewer
than 600 000 tourists visited
over 9 million foreign arrivals, which represented an increase of 8.3%
over the previous year. This by far outstrips global growth, which
between 2006 and 2007 was just over 6%.
We look forward to an even better 2008, and with the exciting global
projects being rolled out by SA Tourism in the new fiscal year, I am
more confident than ever that
million foreign visitors by 2010.
To help us spread the benefits of tourism more widely, the
reinvigorated Tourism Enterprise Partnership will further boost the
development of sustainable enterprises, job creation and transformation.
By the end of 2007, 4 166 SMME’s have already been empowered through
the establishment of business linkages, as well as training in the
development of business and marketing plans. The value of linkages
created for SMME`s amounted to R 3,4bn by the end of last year.
DEAT is also working with MATCH, the official accommodation partner for
the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa
(TGCSA) to assist SMME accommodation establishments and more
specifically establishments from previously disadvantaged communities to
be graded and registered as official accommodation suppliers for the
2010 FIFA World Cup. This will provide a vital springboard to these
Looking beyond SMME development, job creation and empowerment, we will
also ensure that a successful World Cup leaves a “green” legacy.
ENSURING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Climate Change - LTMS
Madam Speaker, climate change and its impacts has become one of the
biggest global challenges that we, our children and our grandchildren
will face. We understand that it would not be economically,
environmentally or politically sustainable for
to grow along a business-as-usual path, in other words without a carbon
relatively small amount to the global greenhouse gas emissions that are
the cause of climate change, we are far from blameless. Emissions from
our coal-based electricity production are substantial. We have used the
privilege of cheap electricity not responsibly. We have become one of
the most energy-inefficient countries in the world and we are
largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
If our country and the rest of the world had to do nothing, it would be
disastrous, most significantly for us in
lead to temperature increases that can be regarded as “dangerous”.
However, we also know that even if we could stop all of our emissions
tomorrow, we would still have to bear the impacts of climate change –
the droughts, the floods, the sea-l
evel rise, the dramatic plant and
animal extinctions, the extreme weather events and the spreading of
disease vectors. So adaptation must be a central part of our response.
Climate change is a global problem that will only be addressed through
committed and active global interventions.
Thus, in response to scientific realities, we are faced with two
● one: we could simply continue on a business as usual path and
hope that every other country does not follow the same route;
● or two: we can actively encourage “business unusual” and
trust that our actions, taken together with the actions of other
responsible nations, will provide the necessary leverage to ensure
committed and active global interventions to address the challenge of
The choice seems obvious. Yet, it would be hugely irresponsible for us
to implement an ill-informed strategy that could have dire consequences
for our people and economy, especially in respect to climate change
mitigation – the reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions.
To ensure well-informed responses, Cabinet mandated a national process
of building climate change mitigation scenarios informed by the best
available research and information. In 2005, stakeholders from
government, business and civil society agreed at the National Climate
Change Conference to embark on this process, seeking to protect the
climate while meeting the development challenges of poverty alleviation
and job creation.
This process is now known as the Long-Term Mitigation Scenario (LTMS)
process. By late 2007, after more than a year of intense research and
modeling, the initial technical work of the LTMS was signed off by the
The product of this work has been discussed at the highest levels of
government and industry and with every sector of society and it is clear
● One: if we continue a business as usual approach we will
effectively quadruple our greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and, in the
process, become an international pariah.
● Two: substantially reducing our emissions is possible, even
highly desirable in some cases, but it will not be easy. Most immediate
interventions are affordable.
● Three: all of our actions and interventions to reduce our
electricity demand are fully aligned with many of the described LTMS
interventions and have a positive impact on our carbon footprint.
I am therefore proud today to announce the details of the
Cabinet-mandated Long Term Mitigation Scenario (LTMS) study which will
set the pathway for our long-term climate policy and will eventually
inform a legislative, regulatory and fiscal package that will give
effect to our policy at a mandatory level. Cabinet has noted these
findings and have mandated DEAT to bring implementation plans back to
Cabinet during the 3rd quarter of 2008, as a first step towards fast
tracking the process of translating our strategic options into policy
It is clear from the study that partial solutions to the climate
challenge are pointless. Ad hoc interventions will not close the gap
between where we are heading and where science requires us to be. Nor
will they be efficient. We need to be ambitious and demonstrate
What we need is a consolidated approach to a low-carbon economy. In
aiming for the “Required by science” option our emissions need to
peak, plateau and decline sooner rather than later – otherwise it will
become more painful & expensive.
The LTMS lays a firm basis for a progressive National Policy on Climate
Change. It will culminate in a National Climate Summit and Science
Conference early in 2009. During this
policy process that will translate the LTMS into fiscal, regulatory and
legislative packages as well as sectoral implementation plans. The
labour, NGO’s and others.
Environmental Impact Ma
Speaker, I would now like to turn to environmental impact management.
The NEMA Amendment Bill was introduced in Parliament in July 2007. The
process is well underway to bring the environmental management of mining
into the NEMA legislative system. Enactment of the Bill will likely take
place by August 2008, which will immediately be followed by the
promulgation of the amended EIA Regulations. This will introduce a new
era of implementation under a more efficient and effective system.
Already, due to our decisive interventions, and financial support to
provinces, the pre-2006 backlog from the EIA system has been reduced by
80%. 95% of all EIA applications submitted to DEAT in terms of the 2006
Regulations have been processed within specified time frames. All this
was achieved without compromising the integrity of the system.
Although great strides have been made in improving the EIA system,
implementation capacity at provincial level remains of concern as at
least 98% of EIA applications are processed at provincial level. I
continuously receive reports from provincial departments indicating high
levels of staff turn-over and lack of financial resources to develop the
decision-support tools required to improve their EIA efficiency and
effectiveness. It is for this reason that the bulk of the operational
budget of the EIM section is dedicated to providing financial support in
the development of Environmental Management Frameworks and other
decision support tools.
Together with the Departments of Public
and the Presidency, we have also developed a strategy and guideline for
EIAs associated with strategically important developments. This work
will soon culminate in a formal agreement and a guideline on EIAs
associated with projects emanating from the Electricity Response Plan
An EIA efficiency and effectiveness review has also commenced and the
audit of the EIA administrative capacity as well as a needs analysis is
nearing completion. The findings of these projects will be discussed at
a national conference – 10 years of environmental impact management -
planned for October 2008.
GROWING OUR CONSERVATION ESTATE
Speaker, in my introduction I mentioned our countries proud and rich
biodiversity. Approximately 5.9% of
is currently under formal conservation through the system of national
and provincial protected areas. The National Spatial Biodiversity
Assessment (NSBA) confirmed that our current protected area network does
not conserve a representative enough sample of
biodiversity. Due to historical reasons, formal protected areas were
often established with limited consideration to biodiversity and the
maintenance of ecological processes. A large proportion of biological
diversity and critical ecosystem processes are therefore found outside
of terrestrial and marine protected areas.
This situation has lead to the development of a National Protected
Areas Expansion Strategy (NPAES). This strategy sets out a framework for
the expansion of the protected areas network in
that a more representative sample of biological diversity may be
conserved and managed. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to
which we are a signatory, requires that 10% of the terrestrial and 20%
of marine biodiversity be conserved by 2010.
Expansion of the national protected area system must take place
concurrently with an effort to enhance the management and effectiveness
of both the existing protected areas and new areas. It must address the
challenges posed by climate change.
DEAT and SANParks have just completed the second year of implementation
on the Infrastructure Development Programme for which a total amount of
R 541 million was made available over a four year period. Implementation
of the projects have started in earnest.
The programme to date has employed 1,357 people. Some 50 SMME’s were
empowered and transformation in th
e construction industry is actively
supported. There are many examples of completed and running projects
under this programme. To name some highlights:
● 145 tourism accommodation units were upgraded and many new
accommodation units constructed in various national parks
● 89 upgraded and new staff accommodation units were put in place
in various national parks
● Construction work has also started on important initiatives that
include the following:
o a new Transfrontier Park Entrance Gate at Twee Rivieren in the
o Conference centres in Mopani and Skukuza Rest Camps in the
o a world class Interpretive Centre in
that will celebrate the rich heritage of this world heritage site.
MARINE AND COASTAL MANAGEMENT
Members of Parliament are well aware that we have completed the
allocation of long-term commercial fishing rights of 8 to 15 years in 20
fishing sectors. Out of more than 8 000 applicants for fishing rights,
2480 were granted long term fishing rights, while 59% of these were BEE
compliant. A performance review process of the commercial fishery rights
allocation is currently underway and draft policies on the transfer of
commercial fishing rights and allocation of large pelagics have been
published. To complete the allocation process, the department is working
on a revised Policy on Subsistence/Small Scale fisheries. This sector of
the fisheries has not received the attention it deserves, as we have in
the past not had a dispensation for small scale fishers. I want to
pledge our Departments commitment to elevate this sector as part of our
Speaker, global fish stocks show evidence of decline from a combination
of unsustainable fishing pressures, habitat degradation and possibly
climate change. This has collectively resulted in 25% of world fish
stocks being under serious threat of depletion. Therefore, the biggest
challenge in the fishing industry remains to balance declining marine
living resources with the high demand for access to these resources.
Simultaneously we also have to deal with poaching. This leads to very
difficult decisions that need to be taken to keep this industry on a
sustainable path. To suspend fishing in a fishery like the wild abalone
sector was a very difficult decision to take as we are aware that such
decisions have an impact on the livelihoods of many people and families.
Unfortunately more difficult decisions lie ahead in the fishing
industry. These decisions must be informed by the consideration that we
have a responsibility to ensure that future generations will be able to
know and enjoy these resources.
Our department, with the assistance and cooperation of other key
national and provincial departments, is working towards increasing
marine aquaculture production by 2010. Marine aquaculture represents
one of the few opportunities for economic growth and job creation with
the fisheries sector.
In conclusion, Madame Speaker, I would like to thank the previous DG,
Pam Yako, the current leadership in the Department, each and every DEAT
staff member, as well as the CEOs and boards of our statutory bodies for
their tireless work in our sector.
I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Deputy Minister
Rejoice Mabudafhasi for her hard work and support this year, as well as
to Honourable Langa Zita, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, and to
every member of the committee for their committed work.
Thank you to our numerous partners, both beyond and within our borders,
including industry, non-governmental organisations and communities for
working with us to achieve collectively what none of us could have
Speaker, growing our environment and tourism sectors are important –
especially in a country like ours where so many challenges and
opportunities exist. We have a joint responsibility to grow these
sectors. This is the understanding that will underpin our efforts in 2008.
I thank you
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