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The aim of this report is to summarise the main events at the meeting and identify the key role players. This report is not a verbatim transcript of proceedings.
PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WATER AND FORESTRY
15 May 2002
REPORT ON THE STUDY TOUR TO KWAZULU-NATAL; REPORT ON THE FORESTRY INDABA IN KNYSNA, WESTERN CAPE.
Chairperson: Mr J F Van Wyk (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry on Study Tour to Kwazulu-Natal;
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry on the Forestry Indaba in Knysna, Western Cape.
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The Committee, chaired by JF Van Wyk (ANC) filling in for Ms. Sonjica (ANC), discussed the report on the workshop on forestry that took place in Knysna, as well as the report on the KwaZulu Natal report. After the discussion, the committee adopted both reports.
The purpose of the workshop in Knysna was to develop and strengthen the synergy between Parliament and stakeholders involved in forestry management and transformation. The Members of the Committee aimed at getting a more profound insight into the latest developments as well as future plans with regard to forestry management and restructuring.
The Committee observations and recommendations were as follows.
1. Recommended that the department ensure that community leaders and MP's should be actively involved from the beginning of the process.
2. The committee welcomed the audit of all indigenous forests.
3. The department should make use of small forests of historical significance as tourist destinations.
4. A working relationship with the National Advisor Council be welcomed, as well as with NGO's, labour unions, and communities.
5. DWAF and the business sector should try to identify young gifted rural students and offer them bursaries to help them to study forestry at tertiary institutions.
6. The Dept of Labour should urgently attend to the issues of poor working conditions, racism, and brutal treatment of workers, which were prevalent in the industry.
7. The challenge at hand was to address the legacy of the past imbalances and to take the country forward.
The objectives of the study tour to KwaZulu-Natal were to attend the launch of the uThukela Water partnership, to monitor the progress regarding the provision of free basic water supply, to monitor progress on sanitation and areas affected by cholera, and to interact with different stakeholders who are involved in the provision of water and sanitation services. The following observations and recommendations were made:
1. The issue of equitable share allocations for district municipalities needed to be addressed, as they did not yet have equitable share and were currently only dependent on levies, which was insufficient. They were therefore not in a position to supply free basic services to the poor.
2. The programme of transfer of rural water schemes to municipalities must be sped up, and the department must ensure that local government is capacitated to provide water services that were effective, efficient and affordable, before such transfers took place.
3. The emergency intervention to address the problem of cholera in KwaZulu-Natal demonstrated that a concerted effort by different departments and role-players, including the community, ensured its success. It also showed that emergency interventions needed not to be short-term measures, but could be sustainable.
4. Such cooperation should be maintained beyond the emergency phase, to accelerate the delivery of sanitation.
Forestry Indaba in Knysna:
Prof. H. Ngubane (IFP) asked about worker conditions in the forestry industry.
Mr JF Van Wyk (ANC) said that the issue should be discussed with the department of labour.
Mr K. Ditshetelo (ACDP) asked for specific information on salaries, and the difference between temporary and permanent wages. He also applauded the task team on work well done.
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