Water and Environmental Affairs: Minister's Budget Vote Speech


02 May 2012

Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Miss Edna Molewa, gave her Budget Speech on the 2 May 2012


Good morning ladies and gentlemen

It's a good feeling to see you again. We had memorable times and difficult ones in our interactions in our previous financial year. We appreciate your interest in environmental issues and keeping us on our toes to ensure we implement everything we pledge. We perceive the media's role of oversight as an extension of parliament and that makes you critical stakeholders for service delivery. We are meeting today to begin another long journey for our future together.

One of the achievements for the past financial year was the hosting and participating in the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 7th Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, in Durban. It is now an open secret that the final outcome was historic and precedent setting.

The agreement reached in Durban not only significantly advances the global effort needed now to address the global climate change crisis; but also sets a new long-term pathway for the development of a fair, ambitious and legally binding future multi-lateral and rules-based global climate change system which can balance climate and development imperatives.

Following the approval of our Climate Change Response Policy, our priority for this year is to co-ordinate a process to define South Africa’s desired emission reduction outcomes, based on an in-depth assessment of mitigation potential in key sectors, as well as an analysis of the mitigation contributions that each sector can make to the national and global effort.

We will also initiate a process to develop long term adaptation scenarios, to evaluate how changes in the climate may affect key climate - sensitive sectors, such as water, agriculture, forestry and biodiversity in South Africa, and identify adaptation strategies to prevent the undesirable consequences of climate change, and thereby increase South Africa’s resilience to climate change.

Sustainable development and the road to Rio

Our country will participate in the upcoming Rio+20 conference to deliberate on and take decisions on using natural resources in a sustainable manner that will ensure we reshape the sustainable development architecture to better respond to this challenge and the emerging multiple financial and economic crises which are becoming increasingly urgent.

Our Rio stance is anchored on strategic objective of ensuring that sustainable development remains central in our planning and execution and this was further enhanced last year, with the approval by Cabinet last year of the National Strategy on Sustainable Development, the NSSD. The NSSD sets out the country’s sustainable development priorities and actions over the next five years and puts us on a solid policy platform. Whilst Rio plus 20 will review implementation of sustainable development over the past 20 years, it will also be used as a platform to address emerging challenges in implementing sustainable development such as green economy over the next 20 years.

The Green Economy and Jobs

The South African government has identified the green economy as one of the key elements in the new growth path as well as in the industrial policy action plan. It is incumbent upon us to debunk the myth that environment management hinders development, by positioning the sector as a major contributor to job creation and the fight against poverty.

The transformation of our industries towards the building of a green economy has many facets. It is, in the main, about creating new labour absorbing industries that also mitigate impacts on the environment. This green economy offers substantial opportunities for job creation and development in the environmental goods and services sector, particularly in biodiversity, waste and natural resource management services. Through the South African National Biodiversity Institute – SANBI- we will manage the process of placing a maximum of 800 unemployed school leavers and graduates mostly from rural areas in biodiversity jobs for an incubation period of two and a half years. SANBI’s application to the jobs fund titled Catalysing Access to Employment and Job Creation in Ecosystem Management was approved by the Development Bank of Southern Africa to the tune of 300 million Rands.

Last year we committed to implementing an environment sector Green Economy implementation plan through a local and international partnership with green investments, supported by domestic funding from the National Treasury’s Green Fund, as well as international funding through bilateral cooperation programmes and multilateral facilities such as the World Bank Clean Technology Fund and the newly established Green Climate Fund.

It is envisaged that we will utilise this funding in a catalytic manner so as to attract new and additional investment, stimulate job creation and lay the foundations for South Africa’s transition to a low carbon job resource efficient growth path.

I am happy to announce that the National Treasury has made available 800 million Rands for the Green Fund over the next two financial years, which represents a critical resource mechanism to achieve a just transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and job creating green economy growth path in South Africa as envisaged by the new growth path, climate change and National Sustainable Development policies.

The primary objective of the Green Fund is to provide catalytic finance for high quality, high impact green economy projects and mainstreaming activities which would not have been implemented without fiscal support.

Our various environmental programmes linked to the Expanded Public Works Programmes are rightfully well known for their ability to give the resources and dignity of work to previously unemployed people.

The CSIR has calculated that the value of the water saved through the clearing of invasive alien plants, which is the focus of our Working for Water programme – is put at 400 billion Rands. 

Another example relates to the Working on Fire programme.  Forestry South Africa calculated that the damage to the Forestry Industry through major fires in August, 2008, was worth about 3.6 billion Rands - but that this could have doubled had it not been for the Working on Fire partnership.

Last year we created 26 700 new work opportunities amounting to 11 676 full time equivalent jobs and 26 891 accredited training person days.
We welcome additional funding of 1.1 billion Rands for the Working for Water and Working on Fire programmes of the Department over the MTEF.  This will bring the total budget for the Environmental Programmes to 7.7 billion Rands over the MTEF, and will provide 205 877 work opportunities and 102 603 full-time equivalent jobs over this three-year period.

In this financial year, we aim to create 62 860 work opportunities, 31 277 full-time equivalent jobs, and 600 youth benefiting from the National Youth Service in addition to 40% of the work being done by youth.

We also aim to ensure that 55% of beneficiaries from our programmes are women, and 2% are for people with disabilities.
Environmental Impact Assessments

Supported by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), we have developed ground-breaking information tools to help streamline development, whilst safeguarding natural resources on which our society depends.

Towards the third quarter of this year, Minister Shabangu and I will co-launch the National Mining and Biodiversity Guideline in partnership with industry.

This guideline provides the mining sector with a practical, user-friendly tool for integrating biodiversity considerations into the planning processes and managing biodiversity during the operational phases of a mine, from exploration through to closure.

In pursuit of South Africa's developmental pathway, a shared vision and common goal of sustainability has emerged as a strong driver of industry values and societal behaviour.

South Africa’s mineral endowment implies that mining and the environment will continue to interact and would need to walk this path together to achieve prosperity in a sustainable environment – it is therefore in the spirit of cooperation that these guidelines have been developed such that South Africa’s incredible biodiversity and life supporting ecological processes are not compromised and neither is OUR ability to derive sustainable growth and development from its incredible mineral wealth.

We are looking at an integrated authorisation process together with the Department of Water Affairs that will cover water use licenses and Environmental Impact Assessment authorisations and waste licenses with a view to later integrating further permits to streamline the regulatory processes.
Management of Biodiversity

As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the management of our biodiversity, we will launch the National Biodiversity Assessment Report later this month as part of the International Biodiversity Day.

This is a comprehensive technical assessment report of the state of South Africa’s biodiversity and ecosystems, across terrestrial, freshwater, estuarine and marine environments.

This comes as South Africa prepares to participate in the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 11) in India.

The progress in current key activities that will be reported to CBD COP 11 are among others the development of national biodiversity targets, with a view to contributing to collective global efforts to reach the global targets as well as the updating and revising national biodiversity strategies and action plans. We are replacing the old SA Agulhas 1 with a new state of the art technologically advanced polar research and supply vessel – the SA Agulhas II.

I am happy to announce that we will take delivery of this vessel, dedicated to a South African heroine Mama Miriam Makeba, tomorrow.

Like Mama Makeba, this new vessel will face a harsh environment as it makes its way through turbulent waters, while opening up new opportunities for applied research into understanding the driving forces of climate change, especially the role of the southern ocean in this regard.

Our ocean management is guided by our quest to create an understanding of how our oceans function as complex ecosystems. To this end, we will table our Ocean Management Policy Green Paper this year.
Rhino poaching

The ongoing poaching of our rhino population is a source for great concern to government and the various stakeholders. It requires of us all as a collective to take drastic measures to help combat it.
I would like to assure you that the department, our provinces and its public entities such as SANParks view this illegal killing of our national treasure in a very serious light and will continue to prioritise our fight against this crime jointly with our security cluster Ministers and their departments. We will continue to implement the various initiatives highlighted since last year with additional ones we announced a few weeks ago, while continuing to put in place added measures to address this matter.

The on-going scourge underscores the importance of SADC collaboration on the development of Transfrontier Conservation Areas. The solution is not managing through fences, but to continue the southern African initiative of cross-boundary conservation partnerships.

We are cooperating with perceived transit or consumer countries in the People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.  This year I will be engaged in an extensive process to prepare for the 16th meeting of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of wild fauna and flora that takes place in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thank you



Water and Environmental Affairs: Deputy Minister’s Budget Vote Speech

Honourable Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces(NCOP);
Honourable Minister Molewa, MP
Honourable Chairperson of the Select Committee
Honourable Members of the Select Committee
Distinguished Chairpersons and Chief Executives of Public Entities
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen


Firstly I would like to remind all South Africans that during the month of June we are celebrating both the Environment and Youth. Our Environment theme is “Green Economy: Does it include You?”.

The water and environment sectors are faced with several challenges such as  environmental degradation, climate change, poor waste management, rhino poaching, communities without access to water, poor water quality, pollution of our rivers, unaccounted for water through water leaks,  and climate change amongst others, our programmes and projects are responding to those challenges.  I will give a snapshot of some of the programmes I referred to above.


We are one government thus our collaboration with COGTA, other government departments, water sector partners and private sector. So far we visited some of the 23 priority municipalities and had several consultation meetings with MEC’s of Local Government, Executive Mayors and traditional leaders. These meetings are aimed at presenting the situation assessment report for concurrence, getting a better understanding of the water and environment challenges and development of programme of action.

Working together yielded good results:  Honourable members let me outline our achievements:

·       Through collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, Amathole and OR Tambo District Municipalities we launched the Accelerating Sustainable Water Services Delivery project which provided water to approximately 9 000 people in Mbelu village.

·       Chief Takalani from Mukula village in Limpopo and Chieftainess Mgwebi from Mhlahlane village in Eastern Cape have set a good example of working together to address service delivery issues.  They wrote letters to  us about the water situation in their communities and guided us in   finding solutions. We are proud to announce that the people of Mukula and Mhlahlane are now drinking water as part of our short term intervention whilst we are finalising the long term plan which will be completed before end of this year.

·       Through collaboration with KZN provincial government and Umhlathuze Water Board and Umkhanyakude Municipality we provided short term interventions which brought water to communities.

·       Most municipalities committed to initiate water conservation programmes to reduce water leaks

These consultation meetings with municipalities created enabled environment for integration of environment into the business of municipalities. 


Active participation of women in water and environment resources management is very crucial as women are the custodians since year memorial, thus our commitment to have dedicated programmes for women.

Through adopt a river project aimed at improving the ecosystems of our rivers we have created one thousand and eight (1008) jobs for women and trained them on basic accredited environmental management course. This year we will also identify ninety young women who will be trained on basic water quality testing and we will create enabling environment for them to study further. They will tell a story which says I started as a river cleaner and now I am a scientist.

Women in Water Awards have encouraged women to showcase water related projects whereby the national winners are eligible for cash prizes which are used for further development of such projects. Moving forward we will mobilise private sector and other government departments to come on board and support us in realising our vision of developing these women to be SMME’s and Co-operatives. We will intensify this programme by ensuring participation by all provinces and municipalities.

Working for Water Programme have created thirteen thousand five hundred and forty one (13,541) jobs for women and provided accredited training and amongst them some have been developed to be contractors.

Women in Environment conference gave women an opportunity to make inputs towards policy development, exhibited their projects and established a national steering committee composed of provincial representatives. This committee is expected to develop a programme of action for further development of these projects.

We are also intensifying our careers outreach programme to schools mobilising our girl children to choose careers in water and environment sectors as a way of addressing the representativity in these two sectors. The sectors are still male dominated.


Through Environmental programmes created 400 jobs. We will provide support to young people to establish and register a company to provide environmental goods and services.

War on Leaks project continues to reduce unaccounted for water while creating employment and skills development for young people. In Mogale City Municipality, Gauteng Province forty (40) young people were trained on how to fix leaking water taps and toilets, logging, control valve operation and maintenance. This project reached two hundred households and twenty one schools. We are planning to extend this project to Limpopo, North West and Eastern Cape provinces targeting three hundred young people this year.

Our learning academy awarded 494 bursaries over the past 5 years and 82 graduate trainees were appointed in the department

Sebenza Nathi project is a partnership with Rand Water we have trained seventeen unemployed graduates as technicians and they have been placed in Lesedi, Merafong, Emfuleni, Midvaal and Randfontein municipalities in Gauteng. We will extend this project to other provinces this year.


Education and Awareness

The need for vigorous public awareness and education about the importance of water conservation and environmental protection cannot be overemphasized.    

Our school based water and environmental education programme implemented in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education have achieved the following: 

·         Water and environment has been incorporated into the Curriculum Assessment and Policy Statement (CAPS). Through 2020 Vision Programme we reached 1000 schools through South African Youth Water Prize and Baswa Le Meetse Projects. This year we will implement Eco Schools project in seventeen schools (17) which will be a three year programme, it is anticipated that these schools will be model schools in terms of natural resource management.

·         The national winners of South African Youth Water Prize project will participate in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize held in Sweden annually. Through our collaboration with Water research Commission and Department of Science and Technology we will patent and further develop the inventions developed by young people and ensure piloting and implementation.  We have also awarded bursaries to learners who were the national winners of this project to study for water related careers.

·         In partnership with MTN we have provided seven hundred (700) computers to the national winners of the Baswa Le Meetse project

Annually during June Month, we host National Youth Water Summit whereby learners participating in the 2020 Vision programme showcase their water and environment projects, go for excursions to get a better understanding of water resource management, participate in national competitions and get national awards.

This year’s summit will be attended by youth led by Ministers from SADC countries plus four countries outside SADC hence it will be called Africa Youth Water Summit. These delegates will present youth programmes implemented from their respective countries and also develop draft Africa youth water strategy to be presented to AMCOW technical committee for approval and implementation.


Water and Environment resources are our Treasure, Sources of Life, Catalyst to Economic Development Let us conserve them. Let us declare War on Leaks for Water Conservation.

I thank you



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