Department of Environmental Affairs on the Waste Economy, Job Creation, Cooperatives and Multilateral Environmental Agreements, with Minister in attendance

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

02 June 2015
Chairperson: Mr J Mthembu (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by the Department of Environmental Affairs on the waste economy, job creation, cooperatives and Multilateral Environmental Agreements on chemicals and waste that South Africa was party to. The presentation began with an introduction and background to waste management legislation, goals of the National Waste Management Strategy as well its background and introduction.

The Department reported on the challenges of waste management highlighting a growing population and economy, which meant increased volumes of waste generated, increased complexity of waste streams, lack of reliable waste data, lack of recycling infrastructure, growing pressure on outdated waste management infrastructure, under-pricing of waste services while waste disposal was still the most common waste management option were about 88% of SA’s waste was disposed compared to other countries where waste was recovered and recycled. SA was also lagging behind fellow BRICS countries.

In terms of proposed solutions to these challenges, the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) included facilitating waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and recovery, and extended producer responsibility. Industry Waste Management Plans as envisaged in the NWMS of 2012 included contribution to the socio-economic imperatives. Industry waste management plans (IndWMPs) thus have the following key attributes:

  • Alignment with the Waste Hierarchy.
  • Awareness and capacity building.
  • Funding that enabled the development and implementation of all the necessary systems and required infrastructure. These funds were then used to implement the IndWMPs and Waste Bureau.
  • Empowerment of previously disadvantaged individuals.
  • Data and information management. (White River Resolutions).
  • Research and development
  • Implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements on Chemicals and Waste that SA was Party to.

South Africa was party to was the Stockholm Convention (SC) on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The SC was a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from highly dangerous, long-lasting, long range chemicals by restricting and ultimately eliminating their production, use, trade, release and storage. The country was also a signatory to the Rotterdam Convention (RC) on Prior Informed Constant Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. The RC was adopted in 1998 to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals.

The presentation also discussed the pricing strategy for waste management, industry waste management plans, job creation and Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and Cooperatives for waste tyres and the numbers per province. A background of the waste management bureau was provided in terms of its functions and progress, background on asbestos remediation and its progress before concluding with challenges on waste management.

The Committee then engaged the Department on addressing waste management in municipalities, radical movement to convert waste to energy as was done in other countries especially given SA’s current energy challenges, national government having a say in local waste management, specific numbers on the impact of job creation and second-hand cars coming into SA from neighbouring countries, and going into these countries, given concerns around the effects of pollution. Other questions were raised around the dumping of clothing, management of landfill sites between national government and municipalities, awareness creation and public education, asbestos rehabilitation, disparate performance of provinces in terms of waste tyre SMMEs/Cooperatives, SA lagging behind BRICS countries in terms of recycling infrastructure and plans to meet the urgent need to reduce, reuse and recycle waste in order to protect the environment. 

Meeting report

Chairperson’s Opening Comments

The Chairperson explained that the Committee would be going through all programmes of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) especially to look at what new areas were being covered or were intended to be covered. Today the focus would be on chemical and waste management to know how wealth was being created out of waste and how to ensure there was no waste all over the place. Yesterday he was in Port Elizabeth and found the city to be full of waste and dirt. It was also important to know how the Department was faring in outlawing all illegal landfills.

Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, Director-General, DEA, highlighted that waste and pollution management was a concurrent function between national government, provinces and municipalities.

The Chairperson congratulated Mr Obed Baloyi, DEA Chief Director: Chemicals Management, for finishing the Comrades Marathon on Sunday. He noted there were other things which got dumped that were seen all around the country like old clothing. The other problem was second hand cars which sometimes were just making their way through SA while proceeding to other African countries. These cars caused pollution in these other countries.

Ms Ngcaba said these matters could be addressed in terms of the Department’s approach to and management of different waste streams according to strategies.

The Chairperson was just flagging these issues so that the Committee did not forget to respond to them.

Chemicals and Waste Management Branch: Presentation on Waste Economy, Job Creation, Cooperatives and Multilateral Environmental Agreements on Chemicals and Waste that SA is party to 

Mr Mark Gordon, DDG: Chemicals and Waste Management, DEA, began explained the background and introduction to the legislation governing waste management noting that in 1999 the first generation National Waste Management Strategy was developed.  While this was a good initiative, without supporting legislation it was not considered binding by many. In 2000 the Integrated Pollution and Waste Management Policy was developed. This policy set the objectives for the country in relation to pollution control and not for waste management only.  In 2001, a Conference on Waste was held in Polokwane which recognised waste management as a priority for all of SA. There was an urgent need to reduce, reuse and recycle waste in order to protect the environment. We reaffirmed commitment to the objectives of the White Paper on Integrated Pollution and Waste Management (IP&WM), A Policy on Pollution Prevention, Waste Minimisation, Impact Management and Remediation and the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS).

The NWMS had a number of goals including:

1. promoting waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste

2. ensure the effective and efficient delivery of waste services

3. grow the contribution of the waste sector to the green economy

4. ensure that people were aware of the impact of waste on their health, wellbeing and the environment

5. achieve integrated waste management planning

6. ensure sound budgeting and financial management for waste services

7. provide measures to remediate contaminated land

8. establish effective compliance with and enforcement of the Waste Act

Prior promulgation of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act in 2008 (The Waste Act), no common vision existed for waste management in SA. In 2010 a National Policy for the Provision of Basic Refuse Removal Services to the Indigents was developed as a strong government commitment to offering waste services. A second version of the National Waste Management Strategy came in 2012. The 2014, National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act brought about the new developments such as the National Pricing Strategy for Waste, the new approach to Industry Waste Management Plans (IndWMP)s, and the Waste Bureau to contribute to waste economy through recycling.  

Mr Gordon outlined the tools which had been used to contribute to the waste and recycling economy:

  • Waste tyre regulations
  • Norms and standards for waste collection
  • Norms and standards for waste disposal
  • Waste classification regulations (to classify toxicity and how best to dispose of them)
  • Waste information regulations
  • Plastic bag regulations
  • Solid Waste Tariff Setting Guidelines for Local Authorities
  • Organic waste composting standards
  • And various other guidelines (on the chemicals side)

In terms of the pricing strategy for waste management, the draft strategy was developed and a major stakeholder consultation process was conducted. The Draft Strategy was approved by the Minister for publication in the Gazette for a 60 day commenting period. It was published in February 2015. The Department was currently finalising the comments and responses database for the comments received as part of finalising the strategy for Minister’s approval and implementation. The extended producer responsibility schemes were then explained as to which schemes were government managed and which was industry managed.

With the industry waste management plans, an Industry Waste Management Plan (IndWMP) for any particular waste stream should ensure the holistic management of that waste stream from the points of generation, collection and transportation, storage as well as processing.  All supporting programmes such as awareness, capacity building and research should also be included. The emphasis of the plans were on sound waste management (waste hierarchy), empowerment of previously disadvantaged individuals, job creation and Small Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMME) development and information management. In terms of job creation, paper and packaging IndWMP, could create 1000 job opportunities per month, e-waste IndWMP, about 3000 per month and lighting IndWMP, about 100 per month. The number of SMMEs-cooperatives for waste tyres were province were also provided- Gauteng alone had 91 and in total, there were 181 country-wide. The number of SMME/Cooperatives in an area was influenced by the following:

  • Quantities of waste tyres available
  • Availability of treatment facilities
  • Level of roll out of the plan (collection level)

Mr Gordon then moved on to discuss the bureau noting that the NEM: Waste Amendment Act established the Waste Management Bureau. Sub-section 1 of the NEMWAA called for an implementation Bureau dealing with waste management to be known as the ‘‘Waste Management Bureau’’, established within the Department. In summary, the functions of the Bureau included but were not limited to the following;

  • Providing specialist waste management services,
  • Collecting the waste revenue from the various waste streams,
  • Disbursement of incentives and funds derived from waste management charges,
  • Identify and promote best practices in the minimisation, re-use, recycling or recovery of waste, and
  • To progressively build capacity of the Bureau to support municipalities in the Development and implementation of integrated waste management plans and capacity building programmes.

A policy for the waste management bureau had been developed. The relevant National Pricing Strategy for the Waste Management in SA had been developed and published for public comments. The comment period closed on 2 April 2015, after which the Pricing Strategy was currently being finalised for publishing for implementation. The Department had provided data on the prioritised waste streams to National Treasury for the Minister of Finance to determine a policy statement for collection of a levy related to the prioritised waste stream. Subsequent to a lot of data submitted to the National Treasury, a Policy Statement was made by the Minister of Finance in his budget speech where he announced the tyre levy from the waste streams for which data was submitted to National Treasury. It was anticipated that similar announcements will be made on the other waste streams.

After highlighting the dangers of asbestos, the presentation went on to discuss asbestos remediation stating that Cabinet tasked DEA in 2004 to undertake a study to assess the extent of secondary asbestos contamination in SA The study was completed in 2006 and showed that there were different levels of contamination in four provinces (Northern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West). In 2006 DEA took the study further by developing a remediation plan and costing model for contaminated areas. The 2008 study included the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) to assess the exposure of asbestos to relevant communities. DEA further investigated remediation options as well as financial implications. Three remediation routes existed:

1. No Action Alternative:  In this regard all the contaminated areas will be left the way they are (non-remediated)

2. Permanent relocation: In this regard minimal or no remediation will be applicable, but will be case specific. This can be regarded as the most reliable and permanent solution to the problem.  However, this was dependent on whether the communities were willing to relocate and the extent of contamination

3. Temporary relocation (in-situ remediation): In this regard there will be a need for temporary relocation of the community while remediation was being carried out (estimated 10 years.)

It was important to remember the selection of the remediation option was based on cognizance of asbestos hazards to people, hence appropriate measures will be taken during remediation.  Priorities for the coming three years were outlined in Limpopo and the Northern Cape in collaboration with the Department of Human Settlements, Mineral Resources, Transport and Basic Education.

Mr Gordon moved on to look at the challenges of waste management highlighting a growing population and economy, which meant increased volumes of waste generated, increased complexity of waste streams. lack of reliable waste data, lack of recycling infrastructure, growing pressure on outdated waste management infrastructure, under-pricing of waste services while waste disposal was still the most common waste management option were about 88% of SA’s waste was disposed compared to other countries where waste was recovered and recycled. SA was also lagging behind fellow BRICS countries. Statistics on waste service provision was then provided.   

In terms of proposed solutions to these challenges, the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) included facilitating waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and recovery, and extended producer responsibility. Industry Waste Management Plans as envisaged in the NWMS of 2012 included contribution to the socio-economic imperatives. Industry waste management plans (IndWMPs) thus have the following key attributes:

  • Alignment with the Waste Hierarchy.
  • Awareness and capacity building.
  • Funding that enabled the development and implementation of all the necessary systems and required infrastructure. These funds were then used to implement the IndWMPs and Waste Bureau.
  • Empowerment of previously disadvantaged individuals.
  • Data and information management. (White River Resolutions).
  • Research and development
  • Implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements on Chemicals and Waste that SA was Party to.

Mr Obed Baloyi, Chief Director: Chemicals Management, DEA, then discussed the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) on chemicals and waste that SA was party to and requested that the Committee approve the ratification by SA of the Ban Amendment. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) had been focusing on coordinating scientific research and collective action globally to mitigate the possible negative impacts of chemicals and waste. MEAs played a critical role in the overall framework of environmental laws and conventions. They complemented and enhanced national legislation and bilateral or regional agreements and vice versa. MEAs formed the overarching international legal basis for global efforts to address possible harm to the environment and human health. Since 1994, SA had become a party to various MEAs. DEA was the Focal Point for the Chemicals and Waste MEAs in SA.  

The first MEA SA was party to was the Stockholm Convention (SC) on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The SC was a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from highly dangerous, long-lasting, long range chemicals by restricting and ultimately eliminating their production, use, trade, release and storage. It immediately banned all production and use of some POPs and allowed the registration of exemptions of some POPs to narrowly prescribed purposes. POPs remained intact in the environment for long periods and gradually accumulated in the fatty tissue of living organisms and can cause cancer and birth defects. POPs may also disrupt immune and reproductive systems and even diminish intelligence. POPs chemicals can be found in pesticides, paint additives, heat exchange fluids, transformers, sealants and plastics. In terms of implementation, SC banned the production of PCBs but gave countries until 2025 to take action to phase out the use of equipment containing PCBs. The recovered PCBs must be treated and eliminated by 2028. SA was developing an inventory in order to plan for the phase out of PCB containing equipment for different industries and companies – regulations were promulgated last year. SA applied for exemption to continue using DDT for controlling disease vectors such as malarial mosquitoes. SA developed a National Implementation Plan (NIP) in 2012 to implement the SC in SA for the first 12 POPs - updating of the NIP was being done to include the additional POPs. An inventory of 10 newly listed POPs was developed. SA became Party on 4 September 2002.

Mr Baloyi said the next MEA was the Rotterdam Convention (RC) on Prior Informed Constant Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. The RC was adopted in 1998 to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals. It facilitated information exchange about their characteristics, potential dangers, safe handling and use among countries and operated through the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure. SA became a Party to the RC on the 04 September 2002. In terms of implementation, SA, in 2009, developed a National Action Plan (NAP) to implement the RC while DEA was the Designated National Authority (DNA) and monitored the import of listed hazardous chemicals. SA applied the notification and a control system as set out in the RC. Pursuant to International Trade Administration Act (ITAC) No. 71 of 2003, a permit was required to be issued by the ITAC before any chemical identified in Annex. III of the Convention can be imported or exported.  A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ITAC and DEA detailed the coordination and consultation procedures with regard to import and export of chemicals in Annex III. ITAC received a request for an import or export permit, it consulted with the DEA, and then DEA recommended to ITAC whether the request should be accepted or rejected based on the provisions of the RC and SA Law to ascertain whether the chemical in question was still allowed to be used in SA.

There was also the Minamata Convention on Mercury where the objective of this Convention was to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. High levels of mercury in pregnant women can negatively affect foetal neurological development, and it had been linked to lowered fertility, brain and nerve damage, motor-neuron disease and heart disease.  The text of the Minamata Convention was finalised and agreed to at the fifth session of the INC in Switzerland during January 2013. The Minamata Convention was adopted and opened for signature at the Diplomatic Conference for the Minamata Convention on Mercury, in October 2013 in Minamata, Japan.

The Basel Convention (BC) on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous and Other Waste was an international treaty that regulated the transboundary movement of hazardous and other wastes. It applied the “Prior Informed Consent” procedure, meaning that shipments made without consent were illegal, unless there was a special agreement. The BC stated that hazardous wastes should be treated and disposed of as close to where they were produced as possible. The Convention obligef its Parties to ensure that hazardous and other wastes were managed and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner (ESM). The BC was developed in response to the dumping of hazardous waste by the developed countries to developing countries.

Mr Gordon added that these second-hand goods were not regarded as waste. DEA was not picking up clothing as a major problem on the landfill sites. America dumped 10.5 million tonnes of waste clothing to landfill sites every year – this was not the case in SA. In Africa, old clothes were reused and recycled being made into other types of goods. This was seen as second-hand goods and not wastes so it was not managed as a waste. Import and export regulations had been developed which were being finalised this year to tighten the aspect of dealing with second-hand goods. Some goods were coming in illegally which was why the enforcement unit was set up while others were coming in as legal second-hand goods for reuse and recycling.

Discussion
Mr T Hadebe (DA) noted the matter of disposal nappies and women’s sanitary items came up sharply during the Committee’s provincial hearings on waste – what was the Department doing to address the issue of waste management in local municipalities. He was concerned that there was no radical movement to convert waste to energy like was happening in other countries, for example in Sweden they were even importing garbage to make energy. This was even more so given SA’s current energy crisis.

Mr Gordon said the Minister spoke to waste to energy in her budget speech and it was prioritised.  A lot of electricity could be produced from waste as was happening in SA already – for more than 15 years energy was produced from landfill gas in Durban. However with actual waste, paper, packaging, organic waste etc, electricity could be produced and there were projects on this in various stages of commissioning. There were also projects were electricity was produced from cow dung, bamboo, sewerage etc. The biggest issue was the single buyer model where at the moment no one was allowed to buy electricity that was generated except Eskom. The issue was with distribution and if the municipalities were able to use the electricity for themselves. For someone putting in a plant, the financial feasibility based on off-take (power purchase) agreements, was low for the amount of capital one needed to put into the plant. Submissions were made to the Minister of Energy because she was empowered to make a special dispensation to stipulate a time and tariff for which these things could be done. DEA pioneered a solar plant for COP17 which was still producing electricity to EThekwini under a special dispensation – this dispensation was needed for things to really go forward. Mining companies could still generate for own use and this was happening. Things had just started to get off the ground after feasibility studies, securing waste, looking at financing – DEA estimated that in a year, in SA, enough electricity could be produced from waste to power the City of Cape Town, for example.

Ms Mamosa Africa, Director: General Waste, DEA, admitted that disposable nappies and sanitary items were a big problem. In implementing the norms and standards, the DEA had visited some of the municipalities especially in the rural areas where it was found that disposal nappies were one of the biggest challenges. In response to this, municipalities were engaged in the provincial waste forums to ensure they understood what the service levels were. The perception was that waste management once a week was too much effort, took too much time or too far to go so now the Department was alerting people to other options to use like central collection points in areas were collection could not take place weekly. Disposable nappies were found in rivers and in the dustbins of nearby shopping centres. The two dimensions of waste management of nappies were there disposal and then the nature of the nappy itself – it had a lot of plastics and chemicals that absorbed a lot of liquid and this was a problem in the landfill sites. DEA was working on a study looking at how best to dispose of nappies with industry and manufacturers to look at environmentally satisfactory options to follow.  There was not a lot of industry and manufactures which agreed to the meeting but DEA was following up to ensure there was sufficient numbers of participation before engagement.

Ms J Steenkamp (DA) asked if national government could still get involved in provincial waste management even though the function was a concurrent one or did it mean national government did not have a say in local waste management at all? She asked this for clarity. She was curious if there were numbers on the specific impact on job creation if plastic bags were completely phased out – was this a possibility for SA? When was it envisaged that PCB’s would be completely phased out or when the Department wanted it to be phased out?

Mr Gordon responded that national government could take action and the Department’s inspectorate and Green Scorpions cut across all spheres of government. If a local government failed, for instance, in an aspect of waste management, DEA could intervene nationally and this was done over the years in terms of support, guidelines, mechanisms etc. Local government also had its own by-laws and ordinances in terms of compliance, for example, with the burning of waste.

Mr Baloyi added that the Stockholm Convention said PCBs should be phased out by 2025 and the Minister had promulgated regulations related to this last year for PCB holders to submit their phase-out plans by 2023.

Ms Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, said the Constitution outlined responsibilities for each sphere of government. While section 158 said provinces should be capacitated and section 139 under which national could take over some of the functions of provinces which also had to be authorised by the NCOP and National Assembly so national government could not just arrive because there were democratic checks and balances in place for governance. The emphasis was more on national supporting provinces and to set standards for everyone to meet.

Ms J Maluleke (ANC) sought clarity on the relationship between the Department and municipalities when it came to landfill sites. She questioned where waste was going if a site was closed down. She noted fake clothes and make-up taken to landfill sites were often sold on the streets, for example, in Pretoria – this made her question the management of the landfill sites.

Mr Gordon answered that if there was not an adequate alternative site identified for waste to be dumped, the Department would not close the site. There were examples where the Department worked with provinces and local government to find legal sites before the illegal site was closed – if this was not done, a bigger environmental problem would be created.

Mr S Makhubele (ANC) was impressed with the progress made in certain projects and pieces of legislation and felt that government should be commended but there still needed to be fast movement in closing the gaps.  On the waste management strategy, he questioned goal four which revolved around public awareness and education around the implications of waste. He felt work should be concentrated here because he did not think the general public was aware, for example, on the dangers of asbestos. He felt not even other Members of Parliament were aware of environmental matters so the Department needed to ensure it did more to ensure the public had awareness of environmental matters so this was an important goal. Reference was made to challenges including the lack of adequate funds to implement the necessary systems and infrastructure – this was a major issue given how fast there were developments in this programme. He questioned the performance of the provinces in terms of waste tyre SMMEs/Cooperatives and why some provinces had significantly less than others. He thought the provinces could be doing a lot more and to empower the previously disadvantaged and job creation.  

Mr Gordon agreed but the question was how much awareness was enough awareness – awareness was done for a long time and would continue to be done as different aspects of waste began to evolve. There was a unit to really look at awareness capacity building and drafting of guidelines when it came to different days, like Ozone Day, so the Department really went far with awareness. It could become costly so the Department was concentrated on whether the message could really be engrained in society and this was at the schools. The DEA had developed curricula for teachers to teach environmental awareness in primary and secondary school. For the first time ever there was now an undergraduate degree in Waste Management from the Universities of North West and KZN. KZN would also for the first time be offering a postgraduate engineering degree in Waste Management. The DEA would however speed up the process of creating more capacity for awareness at all levels especially around the dangers and health hazards. With chemicals, there were many outreach programmes on PCBs, lead, paraffin safety and other chemicals where there was engagement at community level to teach people of the dangers of these chemicals. With the challenges and lack of funding and recycling infrastructure, this was one of the outcomes discussed at the Waste Summit and the conclusion was that with the lack of funding, provinces and local government did get money but sometimes it was used for other priorities like disaster management – the funding was not prioritised the way it should be. At the same time, the correct tariff needed to be set for the collection of waste. This was important for the tariff to be cost-reflective. DEA did not want to fix what was necessarily not broken – certain projects were going well but sometimes the Department needed to intervene on issues of transformation and empowering the disadvantaged etc. The emphasis now was on sorting out the Bureau and three big industry plans on the government side of the schemes. No jobs would be lost but they would be maintained. The numbers referred for the provinces was just over one year of the implementation of the REDISA tyre plan – it was picking up but depended on where most of the cars and fitment centres were which were in the big urban areas. He heard the concerns and said there was reach out into the other areas and some directives were given to REDISA to move into some of the rural areas to create jobs there too. The projections might be on the conservative side but on a three year plans, 10 000 jobs were envisioned on the REDISA plan alone. This would be up scaled and radicalised to improve on the numbers. With packaging and waste, it was 12 000 jobs were annual and e-waste, 36 000 jobs per annum – he could assure Members these were much more than other industry sectors so while the numbers might be conservative, the Department wanted to be realistic as to what could be achieved and what the Department could deliver on.

Ms H Kekana (ANC) noted that one of the challenges was a lack of recycling infrastructure while the BRICS countries were advanced in terms of the infrastructure used for recycling – did the Department have any plans to copy from these countries in terms of best practice?

Mr Gordon explained SA's tyre plan was modelled on what was happening in Brazil and the way that country had transformed its favelas (slums) so the concept was to get more jobs in those types of communities. India recycled electronic waste but under very unsafe conditions with dangerous chemicals and hazardous gases being used by kids. The DEA visited and saw what was happening but wanted to improve on it.   

Ms H Nyambi (ANC) asked how the Department planned to achieve the urgent need to reduce, reuse and recycle waste in order to protect the environment.

Ms Ngcaba said this was an area for more work for the sector and Department to create awareness around separation at source because households could contribute to the amount of waste going to landfills by actively separating waste for recycling while there was the challenge of available facilities. 

The Chairperson thought it might be helpful for Members to look at other supplementary documents, for example, the White River Resolutions. Not allowing second-hand cars in SA was a political decision because of the cost of pollution to the wellbeing of our people. However, our ports could be used for our neighbouring countries which meant they would suffer from pollution caused by the old and terrible cars used many times. Why was this allowed because it went against the grain of what SA was saying? If such cars were not allowed in our country, why were our ports facilities for the cars to travel into neighbouring countries? There was still a lot to be done with recycling as it had just started. He was concerned the split between industry managed and government managed schemes would undo what was done especially with job creation and created industrialists. It was important the money did not go to private individuals.

Ms Ngcaba replied that the law worked in such a way that it was not possible to make these industrialists worse off than the existing enterprises would continue and even have an advantage over the others because the waste plan was already costed. The Waste Bureau would also be able to provide for financing from the fiscus and money received from SARS – this was how it was understood the system would work from discussions with Treasury. Funding streams would support these initiatives or there could be other initiatives but this was what was envisaged. With the movement of goods, the problem was two pronged, for example, in Zimbabwe, asbestos products were still produced and these products came through SA ports to other destinations. For the movement of goods, the law was not administered by the Department.

Minister Molewa added that there were other tools that allowed for the movement of banned or waste goods into SA. The whole trade and tariff structure of the country would look at used goods and what was allowed or disallowed into the country – this instrument was with the Department of Trade and Industry. While on a course in the US, she was given a lot of computers to be used in schools in SA, but this equipment was not allowed into SA as much as she had pleaded. Used computers could not be brought into SA.  Some chemicals, waste and used goods were banned from coming into SA. Movement of goods in and out of the country was a very pertinent issue and also had elements of sovereignty of nations – certain countries were party to conventions and SA could only advise and guide. SA had been given a mandate by Cabinet to advise fellow African states on matters of waste management in terms of helping one another to be capacitated in dealing with these matters but it was a process. We could sit back while others were dying because of many waste products. In terms of producer responsibility, these initiatives must be welcomed to recover used goods. It was important to ensure there was no reduction on employment caused by the market-related tools but the Department would not let this happen. Industry schemes would have to submit their plans and illustrate their intentions and DEA would be looking at this very seriously through a microscope.  With education and awareness, there was a project called Fundisa for Change in the Department which had printed books and literature for educators and awards for the cleanest municipalities – last year it was won by Phalaborwa. Port Elizabeth used to win every year but something had happened - sometimes it was not just education but something that went wrong. With the provincial performance of the tyre plans, the programme had been running practically for one and a half years so it was still growing and participation in other provinces would be improved. Sometimes the tyres were used for lightening conductors.   

Mr Makhubele thought there was a lot of potential in tyre recycling. To say something was criminal and was banned should mean it should be illegal for the item/substance to be in transit in the country. It was wrong to be in possession of the item/substance no matter where it was going to as was similar with drug trafficking. It was best to canvas the positions of SA to the entire region so that everyone said no and there was no confusion. Ports could not be monopolised especially if inland countries wanted to make use of them. This was a difficult area to manage but it needed to be worked on.  If something was banned, there should be consistency on its disallowing. 

Mr Hadebe was interested to hear of the asbestos remediation project instituted by the Department but he mentioned a particular township where the houses still had asbestos roofs – he hoped this community would be incorporated into the remediation project of the Department. He pleaded for this.

Minister Molewa explained that the Department re-looked at the ban of corrugated roof sheeting where if it was treated or sealed it was not quite threatening. The problem was in the removal and replacement of sheets where the permission of the Department must be sought otherwise non-compliance notices would be issued. There were some schools in the Northern Cape where the floor was worn out and threads were coming through and this was worrying. There was an Inter-Ministerial Committee dealing with this problem comprising of DEA and Human Settlements. It was important to make people aware that permission was needed from the Department first before removing anything because the matter needed to be handled according to standards. 

The Chairperson was alerted to the fact that some South Africans bought used cars from friends in neighbouring countries and brought them into SA for registration. This problem needed to be discussed with neighbouring countries because it was a dilemma. Neighbouring countries should be made aware of the environmental problems caused by second-hand cars where SA was trying to get them off its own roads because of emissions – one just needed to look at the exhaust of these cars. When there were thousands and thousands of smoking cars going to another country this was a problem although one must be sensitive in dealing with another sovereign country. 

Minister Molewa reiterated that the DEA had been tasked by Cabinet to engage with other countries not only on hazardous waste, capacitating but also the dangers - this was a starting point. This engagement would not be limited to SADC countries. What was a crime in SA might not be a crime in another country, an example, it was criminal to be a homosexual in Uganda but this was not the case in SA. Such a discussion required deep thinking on certain sensitivities There were many regulations and tariffs to protect SA with the movement of goods. Second-hand cars’ coming into SA from neighbouring countries, as alluded to by the Chairperson, should never be allowed and was actually illegal but if it was in transit this was a different matter.  Other countries should be brought along and made aware of the consequences of these problems.

Closing Comments
The Chairperson said that engagement programme by programme allowed for deeper discussion and for Members to know exactly what developments were in each branch of the Department and what was happening. He believed the Department was on the right track with pricing waste streams and with time, there should be benefit from all initiatives undertaken. One good thing of the Department was that the Minister accompanied the Department to Committee meetings but if she could not make it she had the decency to call the Chairperson personally. This showed the great relationship between the Committee, the Minister and the Department. Issues raised in the Committee found concrete expression in Cabinet. The Committee would continue to engage with other programmes of the Department. The Committee would also engage with the entities on what was done last year and what was planned for this year. The Committee had no qualms with the preparedness of the Department coming before the Committee – all necessary documents were provided timeously. The Department needed to keep on doing its wonderful work as the Committee was so proud of the work being done in the environmental sector.  

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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