Department of Environmental Affairs 2011 Strategic Plan continued

Water and Sanitation

12 April 2011
Chairperson: Mr J De Lange (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Environmental Affairs continued presenting the programmes from their Strategic Plan. The meeting started earlier than planned to complete the questions on the Climate Change Programme. The Department then presented its Environmental Quality and Protection programme. It focused on its strategic objectives and targets, particularly legal compliance and enforcement of environmental breaches. The Committee asked about the Chameleons, their other responsibilities and their shortcomings, where they were doing compliance and where they were not, branding, the number of Environmental Management Inspectors South Africa needed, what they were doing to get convictions, their limitations, their legal costs, municipalities and provinces having their own Environmental Management Inspectorates, recycling centres, their relationship with the local government, length of court cases, training and equipping of inspectors, the deployed officials and their jurisdiction, their relationship with civil society, the Environmental Compliance Report, skilled enforcement and cooperation across the departments.

It was then the turn of the Natural Resource Management programmes. They presented their work in a well prepared presentation. It focused on the work that they did for the environment in clearing invasive species, fighting fires and rehabilitating water and landscapes. It also focused on the work it did for local communities and the opportunities for jobs and social capital it offered. The Committee members the raised their questions, they included their budget, a breakdown on their race membership numbers, the possibility to scale up their work, prevention of shack fires, expanding into other programmes and awareness campaigns. The questions were addressed to the best of the Departments ability.

The Committee then moved on to the Presentation on Biodiversity and Conservation. It focused on the conservation of endangered species and the threats they faced from human encroachment and poaching. The main issue that was raised became that of rhino poaching and the international illegal trade that surrounded it. There were also points made about the sustainable use of the environment and the economic and social benefits it could create and more importantly the jobs that could spring out from that. There relations with neighbours in regard to parks and larger animal populations were also mentioned in the presentation. The Committee then raised its concerns and questions to the Department, they were among others wildlife crime unite, the demand side of the rhino poaching, regulated trade in rhino horn, Transfrontier Conservation Areas, damage causing animals and declaring wetlands limits. The Department engaged with these issues as well.

The next presentation from the Department was the Oceans and Coasts. This dealt with environmental issues of the coastal and ocean regions of South Africa. This included conserving the biodiversity and coastal landscape, as well as sustainably using and caring for the resources of the deep. It also covered the dangers of the fierce coastal whether systems and early warning measures put in place to safeguard the coast. The presentation also covered the South African Antarctic mission as well as its South Seas territories, the research done there and the international obligation they had to live up to. The questions the members raised to this presentation included the following topic the Antarctica Treaty, grey areas between their Department and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (DAFF), the security of their mandate, any outstanding issues under the Marine Living Resources Act, whale watching and shark cage diving licenses, the early warning systems for tsunamis, monitoring of the oceans and meeting with maritime neighbours. The Department yet again addressed the questions with the information they had at hand.

The Last Presentation from the Department was the programme of International Relations. It focused mainly on the bilateral and multilateral agreements and relationships South Africa had or sought in order to better deal with environmental issues. This included such things as local cooperation for increased development of environmental issues as well as the deepening of relations through supranational organs such as SADC and the AU. It also branched into larger international fields such as North-South agreements and South-South agreements. Finally it gave a very extensive list of its own glorious achievements within the field. The Members were finally given the chance to ask some questions, the one that was raised was on the status of Egypt in the Presentation. The Department answered this.

The Committee then broke-up to be able to go through the draft report for the Water Affairs budget before they would reconvene. After some hours the Committee reassembled and went through the report making some corrections. The report was then adopted and the meeting was adjoined.

Meeting report

The meeting started 30 minutes earlier than stated, continuing were it had left off the day before [which PMG missed]. The Chairperson questioned Deputy Director General of Climate Change Negotiation, Mr Alf Wills, on his presentation.

Mr Wills said they did have budget estimates from other branches of government, for example the SAPS. Those estimates or applications for budget were not included in the DEA original budget because they were operating under the assumption that those organs of state would cover their own costs. So he said, as they handed over these arrangements to the Department of International Relations he predicted that the negotiations with other organs of state would be key in their negotiations to control the size of the budget and from where the budget comes. He said it might have been a pity that he did not intervene with all this information yesterday because the journalists would have had a fit.

The Chairperson commented that he need not have worried; the journalists would have gotten it all wrong.

Mr Wills said that some of these details could perhaps be fitted into the Committee’s statement.

The Chairperson said that he would set Monday 25 April as the deadline for the report the Committee would draft on the preparedness for the 17th Convention on Climate Change (COP 17), where one of the main items had to be the need for a meeting between the two Departments, and also hopefully Treasury and Durban metro. But Mr Wills should also include all of the other things he had reported on. 

Department of Environmental Affairs Presentation on Environmental Quality and Protection
Mr Ishaam Abader, Deputy Director General: Environmental Quality and Protection from the Department of Environmental Affairs, focused on the composition of the branch, the strategic goal to which they contributed and the objectives and targets of 2011/2012. Details included:

Branch Composition: Regulatory Services, Pollution and Waste Management, Environmental Impact Management, Air Quality Management.

Strategic Objectives and Targets for 2011/12 1: Improved compliance with environmental legislation, 2: Less waste that was better managed, 3: Potential negative impacts of all significant developments prevented or managed and 4: Cleaner and healthy air. (See document for details on these targets).

Discussion
The Chairperson said that he did not understand all these acronyms and everything that had been said. What he wanted to know was if this branch was the compliance unit.

DDG Abader said that that was one of their functions.

The Chairperson wanted to know if the Chameleons were under them.

DDG Abader said that was correct. As of 1 April, he had become the head Chameleon.

The Chairperson asked if it was correct that he had other responsibilities as well. Was it correct that he was also in charge of quality. What he had shown the Committee were targets, but could he try to give them a picture of what they did. It seemed to him that there was a lot of legislation and frameworks that needed to be drafted – that the branch was responsible for. And there seemed to be a lot of shortcomings in terms of things that were not in place. He would like a picture of that part of their work.

DDG Abader replied they worked with both enforcement and compliance. Enforcement was where they actually went out and arrested people so there was quite a bit happening there. In terms of environmental quality and protection, there was the pollution and waste side which dealt with use and reduction as well as recycling of waste. In terms of protection of the environment, they had environmental impact assessment management which were the EIAs and assessment of developments and that sort of situation. Another aspect was air quality management. Some of these had been addressed in the Director General’s presentation. He assumed that it was the acronym, SAAQIS, the chairperson had found confusing.

The Chairperson said it was all of the acronyms, SAAQIS, NEMBA, NEMPAA, WHCA and so forth. The problem was that a lay person would only be given the targets in this presentation without really understanding what happened. It seemed to him what they had first of all was compliance, then secondly a whole lot of frameworks, standards and regulations that had not been drafted that they wanted to draft. If the frameworks were not there and not drafted then clearly people were not complying with them.

DDG Abader answered that they did try to improve compliance and enforcement; they had set themselves a target of resolving 75% of complaints, although they hoped for 100% follow up there were a number of issues that would hinder them. That could be were some people just logged complaints for the sake of complaining at which point they would not follow up.

The Chairperson asked in what areas of compliance were there standards and regulation and which areas were there not. Were some of these areas not properly regulated, and that was why there was no compliance.

DDG Abader said that was not the case. What they were doing was following up on, for example, in Environmental Impact Management (EIM). If an authorisation was issued, there was usually a set of conditions that went with it. So for example if someone decided to put up a development, there would be issues of compliance related to water. They would go out and make sure that rules were met. There were different types of compliance. They would go out and make sure that industries, such as the steel industry, were complaint with waste or air quality or environmental quality. So it was not that there were no environmental regulation mechanisms. They also did authorisation for bigger developments, the ones that had national or cross border implications, that kind of thing. They issued EIAs and did the compliance and monitoring of these EIAs.

The Chairperson asked if they only covered these areas. Did poaching fall under this branch, for example?

DDG Abader answered that poaching fell under Biodiversity.

The Chairperson asked if what they then did was air quality, waste and EIAs, was that correct?

DDG Abader replied that the compliance issues in the Department primarily focused on these branches. Essentially the idea was to have all the compliance people for all the branches increased in their capacity and multi skilled.

Mr G Morgan (DA) said there ought to be more branding. They should project themselves more in South Africa. He would like to know if that was something they were concerned about. He also hoped that they could be better at making it known that Environmental
Management Inspectors (EMIs) existed in all spheres of government. Were they working on where they, as a country, should be going? How many EMIs should they have? Finally, what would they like to be doing to get convictions for the next few years, and could they give a comment on where the limitations were and if they paid for the legal matters themselves.

DDG Abader replied it was a valid point that they needed to become better at awareness and branding. With relation to how many EMIs they should have, that was a very difficult question.

The Chairperson asked if the municipalities and provinces had their own EMIs.

DDG Abader answered no. All of the three-hundred-something EMIs were dispersed across the country; they had all been trained by the branch but operated under local municipalities.

The Chairperson said he needed a report on that.

DDG Abader said that it was a difficult question to answer how many EMIs there ideally should be. If their compliance methods were working properly, they should as time progressed actually see the numbers of EMIs decreasing. If prosecution and compliance worked, then transgressions should also decrease. So it might sound counterproductive, but to measure if it worked, one had to decrease the number of enforcement actions. There had been a number of high profile convictions; they would be producing a list of them. He hoped that the Committee understood that the criminal prosecution did not rest with them. That strictly speaking sat with the Department of Justice. So once a crime had been committed within their jurisdiction area, DEA would prepare a docket due to the prosecutor not understanding all the legislation and having difficulties drafting charges. So from that perspective they had done a lot, they had capacitated magistrates and even had a bench book for magistrates on environmental legislation. DEA would make them aware of what its legislation said, what the regulations said and what the transgressions were. They had even provided prosecutors with environmental legislation training and training on how to prosecute these cases. In providing dockets they worked closely with the South African Police Service (SAPS) so when a case was taken to court, there was very little likelihood of their not succeeding. They had addressed all the stakeholders and role-players and made then aware of this sphere of law which was after all very specialised. All of this had been done to make sure they got a successful prosecution. In relation to the budgetary constraints, there were constraints, but in terms of criminal prosecution it was a Department of Justice matter. Once the docket had been handed over and the matter went to court, it was out of their hands and they could not fast track the process. 

Mr J Skosana commented that his question in the previous meeting had not been answered. He brought it up again because the presentation looked at issues happening on the ground, in provinces and in local government. All efforts to train officials were in vain if they did not have anyone to monitor them. He would also like to know how many recycling centres they had in any given province. They needed structures on the ground to deal with these matters. They needed plans to deal with local issues on the ground, not just these targets in the presentation.

DDG Abader replied he was sure they could give an indication of how many recycling centres there were, but he did not have that figure at hand.

The Chairperson asked if these recycling centres were privately run.

DDG Abader replied he was not sure. They were municipality-run as far as he understood. As far as interaction with provinces and local government they had a number of collaborative projects. They had working groups were they got together on a national, provincial and local level to discuss specific areas related to their work portfolio. That was the leg work as it were. From there it went on to the ministerial technical groups and eventually it would go up into the system and be approved for implementation.

The Chairperson said they would like an overview of these working groups to better understand the process.

DDG Abader continued and said that he had mentioned issues around mining as well. Essentially there was a piece of legislation there, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), which dealt with mining activities. There was a whole process around it and how people got to know about it or not know about it. If there was, for example, a mining application, there would be certain people that had to be notified, certain interested parties had to be contacted as well as other departments. But there were instances were municipalities did not get notified.

The Chairperson said that he could not understand why they did not increase their relationship with local government, why they did not focus the capacity on them. They ought to meet regularly with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and local government. This was where most of the environmental transgressions happened and they should use the municipalities as their eyes and ears on the ground. It was an issue they would need to come back to and deal with in much greater detail.

Director General Ms Nosipho Ngcabe apologised for coming in late. She said they had a Memorandum of Understanding with SALGA and they were working on capacity building and capacity transfer with them.

Ms C Zikalala (IFP) agreed that the municipalities had to be the eyes and ears on the ground.

Ms D Tsotetsi (ANC) asked how long it took complete a case. Further how long did the training of inspectors actually take before they were completely ready. She would also like some detail on who were the local authorities so they could do oversight in their constituencies.

DDG Abader replied that completing a case was something he could not comment on as this was the domain of the Department of Justice. From their side they could fairly quickly prepare a case docket since they knew their stuff.

Ms J Manganye (ANC) asked how well equipped were the officials they trained. She asked where they had deployed officials. Were they deployed in the rural areas as that was where most mishaps happened? So giving any indication was difficult.

DG Ngcabe replied that they had already trained a cohort of environmental inspectors for municipalities; the delay had been more around designation. They were however working to streamline the process to make deployment easier, and they were doing this alongside the Minister and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC). They were working to ensure that environmental inspectors at a local government level were given status to enforce the legislation. As for the training itself, they had contracted three universities. The initial institution had been the University of Pretoria where they had been working with the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) in terms of getting that training accredited, and they did have a three month course and duration was defined depending on the level of the inspector being trained. Naturally, advanced training would end up taking more time. The institutions did require compliance to policy issues so that they delivered the standard the Department wanted, and that could be problematic when they decided upon training institutions for their officials.

The Chairperson said that he had believed that there was a compliance unite that dealt with all issues, but he understood now that this was only in his head. If they were the environmental policeman, and they only dealt with certain issues, who then dealt with issues that fell outside their jurisdiction? Who dealt with say mining, who dealt with a municipality building in a wetland? So were there different units in the department that had different areas of compliance issues, why was there not just one compliance unit? He also wanted to know if they had given the Committee some sort of paper or overview of all the major cases they had dealt with over the two last years. Was there somewhere he could look at the result of their work on achieving compliance?

DG Ngcabe said there was a legal compliance framework, and this framework did facilitate other areas where they could make amendments to other pieces of legislation. This was part of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) suite of legislation; it was called specific environmental legislation. The Water Act in this area of enforcement was amended, linked and recognised in terms of the NEMA enforcement provisions. So in terms of water or the “blue” side there was already a legal provision that made that possible. However, there was resistance in Water Affairs towards that change and little movement was seen towards an implantation of these provisions by them. This was because they had technical legal advice that told them not to work with the NEMA provisions. She believed that Parliament, who had effected these amendments, could be helpful in making Water Affairs implement the provisions. There was political will, she claimed. This had been presented to the Minister and she had spoken on how to best align the two Departments. But this work, though it was underway, did not go as fast as they had hoped, as there were egos that had to massaged along the way.

She then said that they did have a concept around centralisation of enforcement in the Department; however they were still in the process of implementation, such as training and working on the bench book for prosecutors, and though much of this had been done, there was still a lot of things left that needed doing. There were still distinct differences in expertise linked to specific areas such as biodiversity. So therefore they still had a structure that spoke to both centralisation, but also a limited decentralisation capacity. They had passed this on to the Technical Assistance Unit (TAU) so they could help them with developing this institutional arrangement. They had done it with provinces, and they thought they could do it with Environment and with Minerals. She added that as had been pointed out, they had limited influence over Minerals until the amendments were made. 

Dr S Kalyan (DA) added that they were as a country, falling far short when it came to environment. On issues of land degradation, their response was inadequate. Not only were they falling short of the 2010 goal, she did not believe they would ever reach that particular goal. They should have some relationship with civil society and develop a link with them and she would like to know more about that.

DG Ngcabe said they would present to the Committee in the near future on how they were meeting the Millennium Development Goals as a country and where they were still not making good progress and what their concerns were.

Mr Skosana said they had to deal with matters of local pollution and assist the municipalities in doing so. He would also like to see all the cases that went to the Department of Justice, followed up properly, even when they were out of the Environment Department’s hands.

The Chairperson suggested the Department should look at all its compliance issues and come back and report on them to the Committee.

Ms Manganye wanted to ask, if the EIAs were supposed to act at local government level, where they were, because they were not present in the constituency from where she came.

The Chairperson said that Members of Parliament had a unique possibility to get the attention of the DG and the Department and should in some ways also act as the eyes and ears and get the Department to follow up on cases they heard of or saw.

Mr Morgan agreed that MPs had to raise issues. All the issues he had raised had got a response, though he hoped that was not just because he was an MP. He did want it mentioned that they did appreciate what the Department did do, coming from a constituency in West Durban that bore a heavy burden from the apartheid era and was very polluting. He would like to know when their next Environmental Compliance Report would be published. He mentioned this because it included a vast detail of what had been raised here today and he thought that everyone in the Committee should have it. He lamented that their Portfolio Committee had no power over the mines and their compliance. The MPRDA was a section under the Department of Mines, a department that had only 40 environmental inspectors for thousands and thousands of mines and applications.

Mr Morgan went on to say that the Department of Environmental Affairs had a completely different philosophical approach to their compliance enforcement. They were open and told the public where they were enforcing, what issues needed attention and who had transgressed. While the Department of Mines kept everything closed, they would not tell anyone about their compliance work. They said this was to protect share prices. That was fair enough, but he wanted it to affect share prices. If a mine was naughty it should have some points shaved off on the JSE or the London Stock Exchange. Mining issues were very big, because so many of the environmental and water problems were due to the mining sector. Finally, the issue he always raised and would keep raising was that of skilled enforcement. He wanted the EMIs to be as skilled as possible, they should in fact be trained to be multi-skilled enforcers and he asked if this was happening with all of the EMIs - both theirs and Water’s. He would like to see some synergy in the training so that they knew the water legislation and the ‘Blue Scorpions’ and the ‘Green Scorpions’ were accredited by the same institutions. He got a feeling that had not quite happened yet, though he did not blame the DG, they were the better department when it came to enforcement. He would like to see the enforcement organs cross-cooperate across the Departments.

DG Ngcabe said that the Compliance Report had been completed, though she was uncertain if it had been published yet. They would confirm this and send it to Members of Parliament. Even if it was not published yet they would have the mechanism to send it to the Committee members.

Ms Zikalala tried to raise issues of dam construction since they had this unique access to the Department and the DG.

The Chairperson interrupted and said that was the other Department’s area. What he meant about access was that they should put any constituency complaint in writing and give it to himself and the DG and he would make sure they followed it up. The committee meeting might not be the best place to raise those kinds of issues as the DG might not remember all the details.

Ms Zikalala thanked the Chairperson for the advice and said she would do that.

Director General Ms Nosipho Ngcabe said that as for their work with inter-governmental arrangements, they could briefed them on this when they presented their full work on compliance including what had been achieved with provinces and local authorities. As for Land Use, their tools were supposed to fit within the legislative framework of the Land Use Management Bill, which had not yet been passed by Parliament. There was a process that had been started to revise that Bill and they were participating in it, and hopefully that would also help them in the long run in terms of how they best minimised the degradation of land. There were programmes that they followed which tried to halt any further degradation. They also had to think strategically around how decisions were made for actual land practices, that would minimise impact on the environment. This was all an ongoing process. Finally, they did have budget concerns in terms of compliance and enforcement, hence they had been working within the budgetary provisions they had. Treasury had given them more money, but that was to use on rhino poaching, which would provide the green side some money, but still on brown enforcement they did not have the funds to keep up with the needs of the country. In terms of the EMIs, larger numbers of them were still focusing on the green areas, whereas brown areas remained with limited capacity due to financial resources.

The Chairperson asked the DG to put together a full report for Committee on all compliance issues that had been raised so they could have an overview of what they were doing. He would even like a separate discussion on compliance.

Department of Environmental Affairs presentation on Natural Resource Management
Dr Guy Preston spoke about the numerous programmes within his Natural Resource Management sector, which itself was programme within the Expanded Public Works Programme. They all sought to address opportunities for the unemployed especially women, the disabled and the youth all whom they targeted. There was a strong emphasis on social development and challenges that faced people in poor communities. 

The Natural Resources Management Programmes were: Working for Forests, Working for Wetlands, Working for Energy, Working for Water, Working on Fire, KZN Invasive Alien Species Programme, Working for Land/Land Care, Value-Added Industries.

▪ The Working for Water Programme was providing work for almost 30,000 previously unemployed people, in all nine provinces.

▪ Value-Added Industries included c
learing invasive plants and using the wood to make products to help the poor.

▪ The Working for Land Programme, potentially the biggest of the Natural Resource Management programmes, restored the ecological integrity of land and water, and their productive potential.

▪ The Working for Energy Programme was the newest initiative and included turning invasive biomass into energy; waste to energy, as well as labour-intensive energy and water demand-side management.

▪ The Working for Wetlands Programme had teams rehabilitating wetlands, and addressed flooding, water quality, disease management and water quantity – and thus bio-diversity.

▪ The Working on Fire programme was an important auxiliary capacity for search-and-rescue work, and other disaster management needs

The Budget for Working for Water and Fire 2010/11 – 2011/12

Dr Preston pointed out that if one looked at
returns on investment, the CSIR had estimated that the work of just the Working for Water programme, when measuring only four outcomes of its work, had saved the country over R45 billion. As a flagship programme for job creation, it was argued that these jobs were not costing us money – rather they were earning money for the country! (For details on this presentation, see the document).              

Discussion
The Chairperson commented that it was an excellent presentation and a good use of money. Referring to the photo of the firefighters, he said he was very impressed as in South Africa one did not often see discipline, they were not a very disciplined nation. So to see a lot of people sitting in rows all wearing the same shirts was very heart-warming. A very un-South African sight.

Ms Tsotetsi also commended the presentation. She asked if the racial breakdown numbers mentioned included Indians and Colureds. She asked if their programmes trained people in informal settlements.

Dr Preston said that the racial breakdown did include Coloured and Indians in the figures. What they did find was that in all the programmes there was still the legacy of the Group Areas Act, and when transport came into the equation, as it had to, it had implications for people’s sensitivities, and that had been one of the difficulties they had in the integration. But it was something they were very conscious of and worked hard on. They worked under the local authorities wherever they worked, and they were very strong in their belief that there had to be an integrated approach. In the end there could only be one person in charge of a fire, and that was the local government fire chief. They were also able to move their resources around to correspond to the different fire seasons in the country and by that way to be efficient and save money. They did indeed train locally, it was a structural fire fighting system, and he hoped the Committee members would come out and speak to the workers themselves to get a good view of what they did.

Mr L Greyling (ID) was very impressed and considered this one of their best Public Works programmes. He asked if it was a possibility to scale this up even bigger, if they were given three times more money. Would they be able to deploy even more teams? Perhaps this was something they should be considering going forward. Though he knew this was also the purview of the Department of Energy he would like to know if they also looked at how to pre-emptively prevent shack fires from occurring in the first place.

The Chairperson asked if the staff numbers were included in the figures they had been presented with originally. He would also like to know if this programme could be used to employ people to go into municipalities and identify compliance issues. Could the Public Works be expanded into other programmes such as compliance.

Dr Preston said they had also done interventions and preventative measures to deal with shack fires, and he had written to then President Mandela about it believing they had gotten it right when in fact they had not. Fire safety was a very complex thing, but it was in principle the responsibility of the fire chiefs of the areas. As for the scaling up, they had been given an opportunity to do that. Treasury had been a very strong supporter of the programme, and they did think they could very easily at this moment double the programme and maintain the standards they had. They were concerned with standards. Though he was specifically talking about working on issues of fire, the spectrums of the programmes could be increased. Some of them were, at this point, working on a quite low level and should be increased far more than just doubling. A lot of the preventative work was done in the rural areas, and they were very much involved with fire corridors and preventative burns. On the preventative side there was a lot of work done but Dr Preston said he knew they could still do better in terms of the resources they had.

The Chairperson asked if they had put in a budget to expand.

Dr Preston answered they had. The jobs fund was coming up through the DG and in partnership with the Department of Economic Development. They had put in 12 different initiatives just from this stable, and there were more from the departments as well. When it came to staff numbers, the vast numbers of these were beneficiaries, he had papers in his office on how to set it up as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Perhaps he could report back on that.  

Ms P Bhengu (ANC) asked if there were any awareness campaigns in partnership with the municipalities as well as the people who were living there in shacks.

Dr Preston replied there was a very strong focus on awareness in this programme, and he believed it to be quite successful. There was a very big international conference on wild fires taking place in May, though due to the local election he did not expect too many of the members would be there.

The Chairperson said he would much more prefer to be there than working on the election.

DG Ngcabe said that on the issue of scaling up on environment and management inspectors there was still a number of things they were trying to put in place. One of the these was bylaws that made things such as dumping illegal and made it possible to punish people for doing it.

The Chairperson said that what he had in mind with scaling up had been more people who informally would look for culprits and then report their finding instead of being themselves outright enforcers. He was thinking of quite low level doing the kinds of thing raised by members in the Committee.

DG Ngcabe said that she believed this could be integrated into the programmes that Dr Preston had mentioned, like Working for Safety.

The Chairperson agreed and thanked them.  

Department of Environmental Affairs Presentation on Biodiversity and Conservation
Deputy Director General of Biodiversity and Conservation Mr Fundisile Mketeni laid out in detail the plans for the upcoming year, this was succinctly presented by means of a Strategy Map. The focus was the conservation of biodiversity, especially the highly critical and visible issues such as rhino poaching and viable land use. The socio-economic benefits and employment creation from healthy environments were noted. In more depth the presentation included:

Purpose of The Programme: Promote Conservation and Sustainable use of natural resources to contribute to economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Goal 1: Environmental assets conserved, valued, sustainably used, protected and enhanced.

Strategic Objectives and Targets for 2011/12:
1. Biodiversity conserved, protected and threats mitigated
A .5% increase in land under conservation. Four provinces with established programmes. 5 000 ha of private land proclaimed per province, with contracts and management plans, according to National Environmental Management Protected Areas Act (NEMPAA). Threatened or Protected Species (ToPS)  regulations amended and published, Norms and standards for the management of damage causing animals finalised, first draft norms and standards for the translocation of large herbivores developed and first draft discussion document for regulation of the hunting industry developed.

Non-Detriment Findings (NDFs) and quotas made by Scientific Authority published (at least 5 NDFs per annum), 85% ToPS and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) permit applications processed within prescribed timeframe, Draft Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for Black Rhino; encephelartos latifrons and pelargonium sidoide finalised, Draft BMP for African Penguin consulted and published for public comments, Management plans finalised for Blesbokspruit, Ntsikeni, Makuleke, Verlorenvlei, Orange River Mouth, Management plans for five more wetlands of international importance initiated, 100 Wetlands rehabilitated.

Process for approval and publication of Minimum requirements for biodiversity in land use planning and Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) initiated, Process for approval and publication of Mining and Biodiversity-Good Practice Guidelines for South Africa initiated, GIS based spatial land use planning tool developed: Phase 1, 100% of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) applications assessed for environmental compliance.

Five tools developed and implemented to address threats.
Alien Invasive Species (AIS) regulations published and implemented, Risk assessment framework for AIS and guideline for evaluation developed,1st draft guidelines for Monitoring and Control Plans developed, Initiate the development of the National Strategy for AIS, Species management and eradication programmes developed, Vulnerability assessments completed for all biomes, 800 hectares of Land rehabilitated.

Research Programmes: New species research programme initiated, Biosafety research programme implemented, Institutionalise the coordination of Desertification, Land degradation and Drought (DLDD) research.

2: Biological resources sustainably utilised and regulated.
Sustainable natural resource based project: Facilitate operationalisation of Aweleni Ecotourism Lodge, Biodiversity Access and Benefit Sharing - 40%, Threatened or Protected Species - 60%, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species –‘65%.

3: Improved Compliance with Environmental legislation
Biodiversity Compliance, Biodiversity Enforcement, Awareness raising strategic plan developed. (See document for detail).

Goal 2: Enhanced socio-economic benefits and employment creation for the present and future generations from a healthy environment.

4: Fair access and equitable sharing of benefits from biological resources promoted.

5: Enhanced international governance, instruments and agreements supportive of South Africa’s environmental and sustainable development priorities. (See document for detail).

Discussion
The Chairperson commended the Department’s people for their enthusiasm for their work.

Mr Morgan asked them to expand on the wildlife crime rapid reaction unit. He said they should know more about it as it had featured prominently in the Minister’s speech last year. He had been told that security had been deployed in Kruger National Park, and they would see if that would help. He would also like to see the Department engaging in action against the demand side of the rhino poaching, perhaps engaging in some form of myth-busting programme, especially orientated towards the Far East. He would have liked to see the Minister conducting diplomacy with some of these high demand countries and perhaps leaning a little on them. He knew it was a difficult area as there were at least two embassies in South Africa, the Vietnamese and the Chinese, that had poachers on their staff, yet they had diplomatic immunity so they could not be touched. He also wanted the topic of regulated trade in rhino horn studied and debated. He personally was against it but it should be spoken about. They did simply not know enough about it. On the matter of Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas (TFCA), regional cooperation and friendship was good and all of that, but he did not believe the issues were advancing. This was not due to South Africa not doing enough, he felt they were fully committed, but their neighbour Mozambique was not playing ball. They had to face reality that the other side of the border was not a park. They did not pull their weight and in reality they were a detriment to the Kruger Park and something should be done. Now he was not thinking of fencing off or anything like that, as that was associated with a different part of their past, but they needed to protect their biodiversity. He would like their input on the matter. On damage causing animals, he wanted to see farming communities deal with this with more alternative methods. Farmers had to be forward thinking and not just look to the state for solutions. He would like DEA’s comments on that as well. Then on wetlands he would like to know if they had any plans for declaring them off limits, especially in protecting them from mining. He would also like to put some attention on the poor state of much of the country’s wetlands.

Deputy Director General of Biodiversity and Conservation Mr Fundisile Mketeni said that the wildlife crime unit had been established last year because they had seen a fragmentation in the system as provinces were using their own approaches to deal with crime scenes, reports, follow-ups and so forth. They had started by establishing a unit just to deal with the coordination. What they had needed was a proper, coordinated structure to deal with these issues. They had met with South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and agreed with them on deployment. Though their role was to protect the borders, they would also function as a deterrent for poachers. When they wanted the SANDF to do some of their work for them, they would put forward funds for that. They also wanted to strengthen their own programmes on other levels as Mr Morgan had spoken about. On the demand side, they had looked at this and found out that the syndicates operated on five levels. On the lower levels they would pay money to a sharpshooter who would go into the park and shoot the animal, this would be someone from the nearby communities. The next level would be the transporter; he would transport the horns between the park and the main hub, which was Johannesburg. Then there was the exporter, who would export the horns. The last two levels were provincial and international. The Deputy Minister had gone on a visit to Vietnam last year and signed a Memorandum of Understanding, but they needed to work also with other countries, the destination countries. These were the areas they needed to strengthen. They were making inroads on the other levels, but that level was one that needed to be substantially strengthened. However, they were not without allies. Interpol had prioritised the issue of rhino poaching. But of course it was not just rhinos; tomorrow it would be something else. They had also commissioned a study on the market and uses of the horn; all they had for now was speculations. People were talking about all the things the horn could do to a human being.

DDG Mketeni said they would also be studying dehorning. They knew that Swaziland dehorned their rhino population, but the poaching continued unabated. They knew that a poacher who would come across a hornless rhino would kill it so he would not come across it again. They knew it would not work but the private sector was pushing for it so they would look at what it did to the social structure and behaviour of the rhino population.

On TFCAs, he said they had done many things and tried many solutions, they even went as far as developing an investment plan with 52 projects. It was going well, close to R250 million was invested and the project was led by South Africa. They knew as long as there was poverty across the border, their problems would become South Africa’s problems. He took note of the concerns, but they needed to harmonise policies, to work with them on joint research programmes and joint law enforcement programmes. If they left others to their own devices, they would face more problems within their own boundaries. They needed to keep talking to them on these issues.

On damage causing animals, there were things that had been done; usually that had been fencing of property and leaving farmers to kill intruding animal. Now though they had done two research assessment studies. They also needed to do a socio-economic assessment to find out how the predation was affecting food security. Though at the same time they needed to do a study of the ecology of the species to determine things like how it interacted with other species. At the moment though they should also maintain the fencing. On wetlands, they had noted the comments and were considering declaring them as protected environments, but they had to look at it in more detail to see whether it warranted becoming a no-go zone or a limited development zone.  

Department of Environmental Affairs Presentation on Oceans and Coasts.
Deputy Director General of Oceans and Coasts, Mr Monde Maykiso, gave a presentation emphasising the importance of conservation of the ocean landscape and the biodiversity of it. The purpose of the programme was to get stakeholders informed, supported and regulated to act responsibly, to conserve the oceans and coastal environments and to own up to the country’s global obligations. He also spoke about the South African Antarctic Programme and what was being done there. The presentation included the following points:

Strategic Objectives.
▪ Contribute to effective protection, management and conservation of the ocean and coastal environment, utilising science-based evidence.
▪ Contribute to stakeholder recognition of the value of the ocean and coastal environment and their role in its protection.

Themes informing Oceans and Coasts work and Areas of Operation as per Strategic Plan:
▪ Biodiversity Conservation: Estuaries, Inshore and Offshore Marine Protected Areas and Species Protection (Sharks, Whales, Dolphins, Seabirds & Turtles).
▪ Pollution Management: National Programme of Action on Land-based Sources of Pollution (NPOA) and Oil Pollution Management.
▪ Spatial Planning / National Coastal Management Programme:
Zonation of coastal areas for highly sensitive / biologically significant areas and set back lines to protect property and life.
▪ Understanding of risks and vulnerabilities to people, property and natural environment: Storm Surges (Coastal Flooding) and Soil erosion, Monitoring of Oceans Parameters (Currents, Waves, Temperature) and Early Warning Systems.
▪ Antarctica Programme focus areas:
Logistics (Marion, Gough, South African National Antarctic Expeditions or SANAE), Research, Environmental Management and the Antarctic Treaty System.
▪ Ocean Management: Fragmented ocean related policies, Integrated national ocean conservation policy, Green Paper, White Paper and Legislation.

Discussion
Ms Manganye asked if all the signatories were still abiding by the treaty or had some ignored it.

Mr Maykiso replied that what he had seen pointed to general compliance to the treaty. There was however some risks that were beginning to appear. One of the risks, which they had still not developed a policy for in this country was the increase in tourism to the Antarctica. It would be hotly debated in the next Antarctica treaty meeting held in Argentina in June. There were also some countries that had shown interest in mining in the Antarctica. This also seemed to be an issue that would need to be addressed in the future.

Mr Morgan asked if all the grey areas between their Department and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (DAFF) had been concluded and cleaned up following the division by Presidential proclamation. Did they feel that their mandate was secure? He also asked if there were any outstanding issues under the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) that required amendment, and if so how would they proceed with those matters. Was the science of fisheries being done by the Department of Agriculture? Finally he would like to know what was happening with the whale watching and shark cage diving licences, why was it taking so long? He asked them please not to answer that “the minister was applying her mind”.

DDG Maykiso said that they were operating within the basis of the existing proclamation. However he would go so far as to say that there were areas of the division that were difficult. One example would, for example, be protection of sharks. They were working through their memorandum of understanding with the DAFF to iron out any legislative difficulties. It was also true that DAFF was thinking about reviewing its legislation which would mean they would review the MLRA legislation as well. And if that happened, it could affect some of the cross-department legislative difficulties. They were currently discussing in the Department how they could continue to move forward when the legislation was how it was. When it came to research on fisheries - that was now conducted by DAFF, though they usually contacted the Department of Environmental Affairs to report any anomalies and it was hoped they would continue doing so. As for the whale watching and shark cage diving licences, the Minister was applying her mind. What he could say was that the process was taking longer than expected because of some investigations that had been conducted.

Ms Tsotetsi asked how early the South African early warning systems for tsunamis were, and she wondered what role the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) could play in this system.

Dr S Huang (ANC) also asked for detail on the early warning system against tsunamis.

DDG Maykiso said they would have liked to have a very accurate early warning system, and in South Africa, Marion Island could function as an early warning station. How early that would be he would have to find out and get back to them. Further, in South Africa they had not had ocean data included when the South African Weather Service reported its warnings, but now they were working very closely with them so that they could incorporate ocean data in their own forecasting. But at the moment they had not taken it into great consideration.

Mr Skosana asked how they monitored the oceans and how often they met with other countries that shared maritime borders with them.

DDG Maykiso replied that they worked quite closely and would like to work closer with the the South African Maritime Safety Organisation (SAMSO), and they were also using aircraft to monitor events happening in the Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ). That was especially geared towards looking for illegal oil dumps in the EEZ. They had interacted with the Navy previously, but had not done so lately.

Department of Environmental Affairs Presentation on International Relations
Acting
Deputy Director-General: International Relations and Cooperation went into how the Department acted within the Environment Portfolio and how it fitted into the broader strategic international engagement. He detailed how they had become more active within the bilateral and multilateral fields. The presentation included:

Background
Strengthen or develop diplomatic political ties, Explore ways of promoting partnership and cooperation for mutual gain, Promoting South Africa’s global agenda within the multilateral arena. DEA was involved in over 40 bilateral and 28 multilateral engagements with multilateral environmental agreements and institutions.

Strategic Objective
Enhanced international governance, instruments and agreements supportive of SA environmental and sustainable development priorities.

Key
International Priorities:
1. Pursuing African advancement and enhanced cooperation
▪ Facilitate the strengthening of the Africa Union (AU) the relevant Commissions and sectoral Ministerial committees,
Facilitate the implementation of relevant regional programs and development of regional Multi-lateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) positions.
2.
Improving regional integration in Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Facilitate the strengthening of the SADC the relevant Commissions and sectoral Ministerial committees, Facilitate the implementation of relevant regional programs and development of regional Multi-lateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) positions.
3.
Building and enhancing strategic relations.
Facilitate and coordinate the implementation of existing bilateral agreements and cooperation,
Developing and strengthening relations with strategic partners
Facilitate and coordinate bilateral donor resource mobilisation.
4. Participation in a global system of governance.
Reform of the current governance structures and development of new governance structures
Mobilisation of financial and technical resources
Strategic positioning of South Africa within the global governance system.

Achievements in 2010/2011
Among them they mentioned,
18TH Session on the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), High-level Panel on Climate Finance – High-level Advisory Group Report on Climate Finance Report, “Green Climate Fund” – (SA a member of the Transitional Committee), Africa Institute to serve as the Basel Convention Regional Centre for English-speaking African countries - endorsed to support the Stockholm Convention, SA hosted and co-chaired the UNEP meeting on the Financing options of the Chemicals and Waste Agenda – Produced “The Pretoria Road Map”, Global Environment Facility (GEF) 5th Replenishment (US$ 4.2 Billion), Championed the reforming the GEF Resource Allocation Framework (RAF) and Facilitated the signing of key bilateral agreements – China.

Budget 2011/2012 (For full details see document).

Discussion
The Chairperson said that he imagined if one wanted to be taken serious on the international arena on environmental issues you first had to put your own house in order in the sense of adopting policy and giving leadership.

Ms Tsotetsi asked why Egypt was marked with question marks on the presentation.

The Chairperson said it was because they did not know who they were talking to, the new or old government.

DDG
Fakir replied that Egypt had internationally been identified as a key partner in these affairs, but that had been before the ‘events’ that were taking place now. They still needed to maintain the relationship with Egypt as it was the key coordinator on Climate Change and finance in Africa.

The Chairperson said that all the reasons he had given suggested to him that the question marks should not be there.

DG Ngcabe concluded that that was all the programmes covered in their strategic plan.

The Chairperson said that he felt they had engaged but maybe they had not done justice to all of them. He had to be honest and admit he still did not fully understand what all of the programmes did. However, he would like to see the budget unpacked so they could become empowered to see were the money actually went. He would also like them to unpack where they were going backwards on environment. They would like a report by 25 April on the preparations they had made on drafting the budget plans. On the report itself it should be a very simple report on the Department, just information on what had been said, not too much detail, keep it simple. The meeting to pass that report would be held on next Tuesday 19 April. On the whole, the Committee seemed to be satisfied.

The Chairperson thanked the Department members and the Director General.

The Chairperson said he would hand out to members the draft Committee Report on the Water Affairs budget so they could read through it. They could come together later in the day and pass the report after checking it for textual errors.

Afternoon session

Committee Report on the Water Affairs budget
The Committee made a few amendments to the Report and it was then passed
unanimously.

The Chairperson then reminded them that he would not be there on 19 April. They would have a look at the draft report from the Department of Environment and other outstanding reports and minutes from the reign of the previous Chairperson. The Mexico Delegation report was 99.99% complete; he would take out some things from it and send it to chairs of the other Committees that had come along. But before that he would send it to the members. Finally they had the
programme for next term, he had not looked at it but they knew what issues had been raised.

Mr Skosana reminded them of their oversight tours.

The Chairperson said they would decide upon their most important areas of oversight once they knew when they would be allowed to travel. He then thanked the members for their work and adjourned the meeting.

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