SA National Parks (SANParks) & iSimangaliso Wetland Park on their performance and plans, with Minister present

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

11 August 2015
Chairperson: Mr J Mthembu (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee, with the presence of the Minister of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) met with two entities, SA National Parks (SANParks) and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park for Members to develop a broad overview of the entities in terms of achievements and future intentions. SANParks presented the background and history of national parks, the constitutional and legislative mandate of the entity and the high level structure and leadership. The presentation also looked at human resources equity, then national parks system, management and tourism infrastructure and beneficiation of the wildlife economy.  Members were informed of strategic partnerships with the public and private sector and organisational challenges.

Members then engaged on the progress made in addressing the salary disparities of rangers in the Kruger National Park, SANParks role in hosting international conferences, its role in protecting and securing borders, temporal posts, filling of vacancies and the kinds of professions SANParks attracted.  Members questioned what heritage assets were, plans to incorporate provincial parks into national parks for better management, the impact of mining on parks, management of the lion population and if the donation of wildlife and game was a process initiated by the entity or communities themselves. The Committee was concerned about the level of coordination between provincial and national parks, not reaching the national target for the percentage of people with disabilities employed, an issue the Committee raised before, disadvantaged communities not visiting the parks and wildlife, efforts to fight the scourge of rhino poaching, and motivating youth interest in the parks. Members engaged on the reference to statistics of rhino poached contained in the presentation with one Member objecting to the use of, in her opinion, outdated statistics or incorrectly labelled in the presentation. 

The Committee then heard from iSimangaliso who looked at the listing of the entity, its establishment, legislative framework and unique ecological and biological processes with superlative phenomena and diversity. The presentation informed the Committee of plans to empower historically disadvantaged adjacent communities, promotion and facilitation of tourism and related development, heritage values and strategic issues.

Members were briefed by the Department on a dashboard report of its performance for 2014/15. The report looked at all programmes of the Department, namely, administration, legal, authorisations, compliance and enforcement, environmental programmes, waste and chemical management, air quality and climate change, oceans and coasts and biodiversity and conservation. The presentation highlighted which targets and indicators it was having challenges in meeting and the progress then made in each programme. 

Meeting report

Chairperson’s Opening Remarks
The Chairperson noted the purpose of the meeting was for the Committee to develop a broad overview of what the entities, namely South African Parks (SANParks) and iSimangaliso were able to achieve and what it intended to achieve. This broad understanding was important to the oversight work of the Committee.  

SANParks Mandate Presentation
Mr Fundisile Mketeni, SANParks CEO, began the presentation highlighting that “…A national park is not merely a physical entity, a geographical area or a suite of ecosystems and species but a mirror of society and a vigorous symbol” (Jane Carruthers, 1995). “National Parks are laboratories of ideas, offering profound lessons in the natural way of things, and in what that way can mean to the human soul” (Paul Schullery, Historian - Yellowstone National Park, 2003). Looking at the background and history of national parks, the origins of the modern Protected Areas (Pas) were to be found in the 19th Century. The English poet, William Wordsworth, wrote in 1810 of his vision of the Lake District as a “sort of national property”. In 1832 the American poet, George Catlin, pointed to the need for “…a nation’s park, containing man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their nature’s beauty”. The first true national park came about in 1872 with the dedication of Yellowstone by US law as “a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”. In 1866 the British Colony of New South Wales in Australia took the first steps in the creation of the Blue Mountains National Park. In SA, the Sabi Game Reserve was established by the Transvaal Volksraad in 1898 and was later proclaimed as the Kruger National Park in 1926. Thus the modern protected area movement had 19th century origins in the then “new” nations of North America, Australia, New Zealand and SA but other countries were quick to follow suit. There were over 107 000 proclaimed PAs covering 12% of the world’s total earth surface (less than 1% was marine). Global conservation estate covered 19,6 million km² equivalent to  South America. Africa conserved 11,2% of its total surface ( Zambia 30%,Tanzania 28%, Uganda 21%, SA7%).

In terms of the constitutional mandate, The SANParks mandate was underpinned by Section 24(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 which stated that:
Everyone has the right –
To an environment that is not harmful to their health or well being; and
To have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures that:
prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
promote conservation; and
secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

In terms of the legislative mandate, SANParks was established in terms of the now repealed National Parks Act, 57 of 1976 and continued to exist in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 57 of 2003 with the mandate to conserve; protect; control and manage national parks and other defined protected areas and their biological diversity. As a public entity, SANParks was also governed by the Public Finance Management Act, Act 1 of 1999 (as amended by Act 29 of 1999), and it was listed as Schedule 3 A : Public Entity. As an entity managing national protected areas, SANParks core mandate was:
Conservation of SA’s biodiversity, landscapes and associated heritage assets, through the National Park System, which included the marine protected areas and World heritage sites.
Biodiversity referring to the variety of life and its processes, which encompassed compositional, structural and functional elements of ecosystems.
Promotion and management of nature-based tourism, targeting both local and international markets. 
This served as a business architecture to provide organisational self-generated revenue from commercial operations, necessary to supplement government grants for conservational management. 
Deliver both conservation management and tourism services through a people-centred approach.
To build constituencies at all societal levels in support of natural and cultural heritage of the country.

Mr Mketeni outlined the role of SANParks as a schedule 3A public entity and its vision and mission before moving on to discuss the high level structure of the entity and leadership. With human resources equity, SANParks had 4 065 permanent staff:
Women in management: 35%
People with disabilities accounted for 1,2% of entire staff complement

SANParks had the following demographics:
Top Management: 33% Female, 67% Male; 67% Black
Senior Management: 23% Female, 77% Male; 56% Black
Professional/specialists: 37% Female, 63% Male; 55% Black
Technical / Junior Management: 45% Female, 55% Male; 81% Black
Semi-skilled: 25% Female, 75% Male; 97% Black
Unskilled: 44% Female, 56% Male; 99,8% Black

With the national parks system, SA had approx. 550 and 48 terrestrial and costal protected areas respectively and 232 conservation areas. Collectively, terrestrial protected areas exceeded 7,9 million ha (7.5% of the country), while the coastal/marine protected areas comprised over 426,000 ha. Nearly 4 million ha (50.6% of 3.4% of SA surface) of these (protected areas) were under SANParks management.

The presentation then looked at management and tourism infrastructure, beneficiation of the wildlife economy, strategic partners in the public and private sector and local government.  

Mr Mketeni outlined organisational challenges beginning with rhino poaching and wildlife crime noting that on average, annual rhino mortality growth in the Kruger Natioanl Park (KNP), between year 2010 and 2014, was 82.5%. For the 2015 calendar year, 487 rhino were killed, which was a 21.8% (87) increase on the same period last year. For the same period (2015), 135 people were arrested and charged with poaching crimes, which was 92.9% (65) more arrests than last year. Provincial reserves adjoining the KNP had weaker security structures - as a result they were being used as escape routes and hiding grounds by poachers. SANParks had infrastructure with a replacement value of R9.15 billion (buildings, roads, fences and bulk services). Best practice required 2% - 4% of replacement value for maintenance per annum. With only R70 million maintenance budget, SANParks had a short fall of R159 million. Processes were underway to review the opening of certain areas of the Tsitsikamma for controlled fishing by members of Tsitsikamma Angling Forum. The same national parks continued to be exposed to regular floods and veld fires, which caused damage to both tourism and management infrastructure, particularly the KNP and Table Mountain.  For this quarter, visitors from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) (1.5% of total visitors) declined by -5.7%, while guests from other countries (16.8% of total visitors) declined by -8.7% compared to last year.  Some of the national parks were under land claim, (e.g. 70% of the Northern KNP), although various Land Claim Commissioners had been engaged on a regular basis to expedite compensation. National parks were surrounded by highly impoverished communities, who were excluded from participating in the main stream of our economy. It was important that national parks served as a catalyst for socio-economic beneficiation.
On average, SANParks salaries/remuneration packages were 10% to 33% lower than those of other public entities and 70% lower than provincial conservation agencies, with staff at functional levels (e.g. field rangers and cleaners) being mostly affected. Due to increases in operational requirements such as establishment increase and resources to fight poaching, SANParks salary bill was now 58% of the total organisational cost.

In terms of the board, SANParks had a brand new board. It was continuing with the handover report from the previous board and organising itself in terms of its structure, work plans, reporting and charter/charters. Generally the board had been supportive of SANParks and management and were coming to grips with complexities of SANParks and wider issues of transformation.

Discussion
Ms T Stander (DA) asked how far the progress was with the salary disparities of the rangers in the Kruger National Park and addressing these issues. She wanted to know what SANParks defined as “heritage assets”. Were there any plans to incorporate provincial parks into SANParks for better management? She wanted to know how mining activities were impacting on parks. She wanted to know the date from which the statistics presented were effective from. How was SANParks managing its lion population? She asked this in light of media and public outrage of the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe. 

Mr Mketeni answered that SANParks did have a wellness programme for its rangers with the wellness even extending to extended family. Besides dealing with psychological issues, the programme also tried to explain the job of the ranger to the families as it was often not understood. This was why it was important for the programme to respond to families as well and not only the rangers. There was also a bargaining unit and three unions in the parks who recently negotiated fiercely and there was agreement on 8%. However this was one area where SANParks felt challenged. In terms of heritage assets, this referred to both natural (plants and animal) and cultural (history and artefacts) assets due to differing value systems among individuals. It was important to look at these values in managing parks in forming part of conservation. Because of the history of national parks, mining had been allowed to coexist. The wild lions in SANParks were stable and growing in various parks. There was concern about the rate of growth where feeding might be limited. 

Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, DEA DG, added that conservation was a concurrent function between national and provincial spheres of government. Currently the Minister had no plans to incorporate provincial parks into national assets of protected areas. In terms of legislation there were certain areas which qualified to be nationally parks but for declaration, qualifications would have to be met. DEA undertook an effectiveness study a few years ago and the Minister discussed the outcomes of the study with MECs. The outcomes indicated a bad state of affairs in terms of management of provincial parks. The Western Cape initially indicated that Western Cape protected areas should be integrated into national parks based on the fact that the province did not have sufficient resources to perform functions effectively at the time. There had not been as official withdrawal of this request but the Minister did not hasten to agree based on the fact that a inter-governmental process of consultation and studies needed to occur. There were also questions of the resources of SANParks especially financially to incorporate such protected areas.
Mr P Mabilo (ANC) was concerned that the entity was below the target for the number of people employed with disabilities – SANParks was at 1.2% when the national target was 2%. This was a concern raised by the Committee before. Was there a specific timeline where SANParks would move towards meeting the target of 2% for people employed with disabilities? He asked if SANParks played any role in international conferences particularly by hosting them. He was referring to a specific conference which took place annual in Las Vegas. He was concerned that disadvantaged communities were not benefiting in terms of wildlife, per se.

Mr Mketeni outlined that the aim was to meet the disability target by 2015/16 and this would be reported to the Committee at the end of the next financial year (March 2016) with a revised target. Even in looking at the structure of the entity and accelerating this target, he would be mindful of issues of gender and disability.  Therefore the timeline of reporting to the Committee was annually. SANParks did work with the Department of Tourism and others to market national parks to increase occupancy but there were no facilities for big conferences involving thousands and thousands of people. Conferences of a few hundred people however could be hosted. SANParks did benefit when conferences were hosted by SA because it allowed people to visit parks. Parks should be the catalyst for economic development. To enter the industry, the attraction was to wildlife and game. It was important to promote this. Even black South Africans, with a lot of money, never thought about dealing with wildlife instead focusing on mining, agriculture or construction – it was important to then present on parks to business forums. There was a lot of work to be done in this area.

Mr Riaan Aucamp, DEA Acting COO, added that SA Tourism set up the SA National Conventions Bureau in coordination with departments to allow international conferences to SA. The conference the Member referred to in Las Vegas was the Safari Club International (SCI) who only concerned the North America chapter so the USA and Canada. These conferences were not rotated around the world. A lot of the focus of the conference was on hunting which was outside of the focus of SANParks. Although it was labelled as international, this was only a North American conference. However SANParks, the SA National Conventions Bureau and other departments were always checking for which other conferences could come to SA.   

Mr S Makhubele (ANC) was concerned about levels of coordination between national and provinces. He wanted to understand whether DEA and SANParks were playing some role in securing the borders as opposed to what was done by other departments and portfolios – he was also not referring to rangers. He noted that tourism seemed to have decreased but he was interested in SANParks reaching out to the youth so that they grew up understanding and appreciating wildlife. He was concerned that locals had no interest in parks but would rather spend a long weekend in a tavern or shebeen spending money on drinking instead of driving around visiting parks and appreciating wildlife. Often tourists from other countries knew South African parks better than the locals – even in the Western Cape there were local people who had not been to Robben Island or Table Mountain. He found this worrying in the face of efforts.

Mr Mketeni pointed out that there was a national parks week where entry to SANParks parks was free for one week in September. There was also a Kids in Parks programme which was a partnership between education and Pick n Pay. SANParks monitored the number of black visitors to parks and there was a target in this regard but it would continue to be monitored. There was a problem with the Auditor-General questioning the entity on the source document for qualifying this target – presently, rangers at the entrance determined the race of visitors and SANParks respected this judgement. Visitors often did not like being asked about race and so could provide the wrong information so it was not always reliable.

Mr Paul Daphne, SANPARKS Head of Communications, added there were programme to actively target communities who previously had not had access to parks. Through one programme more than 50 000 people were brought into parks in one week. There were also environmental education programmes which specifically targeted youth and previously disadvantaged schools. There was a concerted effort to create this broader constituency for national parks end ensure there was sense of ownership.

On the border and ports of entry and exit protection, Ms Ngcaba outlined that DEA did have direct responsibility through trans-frontier conservation areas to ensure there was work with those countries to achieve conservation outcomes and tourism and development outcomes. There was also work with security cluster departments both inside and outside SA. Currently, the Border Management Agency was underway. Staff were also placed at borders of entry and exit to assess what was coming in and leaving the country in terms of various species and products to ensure they were not criminal.  

Ms H Nyambi (ANC) wanted to know, for interest’s sake, if SANParks had any temporal employees and how long they were employed for. What programme was in place to motivate areas and villages around Parks, like the Kruger National Park, but never visited. Was there any period where schools could visit the park perhaps for half-price.

Mr Daphne highlighted that the number of temporal staff was a fluctuating number – SANParks, at certain times like during a peak tourist season, would bring in temporary staff in order to do certain things as and when the demand arose. The important thing to recognise with temporal and contract staff that were not on the payroll of SANParks was the role played by the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) which was a major government intervention in creating livelihoods especially in rural areas. SANParks had become known as an excellent implementer of the EPWP – this was somewhat of a shift for SANParks as it initially did not see job creation as part of the core mandate but it certainly was now. Today it could be said over 12 000 got up and went to work in a national park. 

The Chairperson said Members wanted to form a better understanding. He wanted to know what type of professions there were in the parks and also what kind of professionals were needed. Bursaries should be geared to get these types of professions that might not even be known by the traditionally black schools. The entity would always be looked at in terms of endeavours and non-endeavours to save rhino – whenever there was talk about parks, people thought about rhino and the difficulties rhino were facing. Broadly, were there plans to do well in protecting rhinos? When the Committee last visited the Kruger National Park, they were told of plans being put in place including making some areas in the Park inaccessible to reach rhino. Was there success in this regard? He was not looking for details but broad plans – it was important for the Committee to have a sense of this. It was understandable that this was international crime and involved many other actors.

Mr Mketeni responded that SANParks covered a number of professionals such geologists. There were careers for ecologists, mammalogists, limnologists, tourists etc. there were also professions of enforcement, pilots and community facilitators. Rhino crime was a big issue but SANParks continued to engage stakeholders. Currently, the SA Police Service (SAPS) was busy with Operation Fiela in the name of rhino poaching which would run until December. SAPS would be going house to house to check passports and many other matters. This has led to a number of increases of arrests.

Ms P Ntobongwana (EFF) wanted to know when SANParks was planning on filling vacant posts in the presentation on the high level structure.

Mr Mketeni replied that interviews had taken place and in some posts, vetting of the candidate was in place. In another post, no suitable candidate was found so head hunting was taking place. These were strategic positions which were being prioritised for filling. 

Mr Makhubele was interested in how SANParks identified communities to which it would donate game – did the communities approach SANParks out of their own initiative or did the entity reach out to communities? Often when people did not show interest, the likelihood of succeeding was low.

Mr Mketeni said SANParks held auctions of excess games. There were risk assessments and habitat suitability and viability because when animals were delivered, it was important they had food to eat and water to drink without which they would not breed. These assessments formed part of SANParks support and advice on what was suitable in which areas. This was also complemented by training. It was also important to look at fencing as the only way animals were protected.   

Ms Stander noted the stats presented were outdated and already released – he did not have the latest stats because they would be released by the Minister at the right time.

Ms Ngcaba said the stats were those released by the Minister on 10 May 2015. She believed the Minister would be releasing further stats and an update on the use of technology and what was being done in controlling criminal activities next week, depending on her programme.

Ms Stander noted the presentation was dated 11 August 2015 while the side made reference to the 2015 calendar year where 487 rhino were killed. This meant the presentation contained false and inaccurate information – the numbers should be as of today. She could not accept this because the stats needed to be correct. Business Day, yesterday, reported a figure of 558 in the Kruger National Park. For the Committee’s oversight role she wanted to know the accurate numbers for poaching, convictions and arrests.

Ms Ngcaba said the presentation dates were incorrect and the stats were as of the last time the Department released and published them (10 May 2015).

The Chairperson said the SANParks CEO could not use any other data apart from what was provided by the Department and Minister. The Minister said the stats would be released on a quarterly basis. It would be unfair to say the numbers reported by Business Day were more accurate than the numbers reported on by the Department and given by the Minister. It was ensured that updated figures would be made available soon. He asked the Committee to leave it at this.
 
Ms Stander recorded her objection. The date of the presentation was 11 August 2015 and the slide stated “for 2015 calendar year 487 rhino were killed”. This information was incorrect and misleading and she did not accept the explanation.

Mr Makhubele thought this was a technicality. Although the presentation was dated 11 August, it did not cover what was happening today as nobody took stats today for presentation on the same day. He cautioned against creating an issue where there might not be one. Things happened constantly but the presentation could not occur on such a basis.

Minister of DEA, Edna Molewa, remembered she said a report n how the Department was faring in fighting the rhino poaching scourge would be delivered every three months or so – the last one was given in May and the next would be done in August. She was setting up a date to release the overall report. She did not think the Committee should be quibbling about numbers – the number to be captured should be those of the last release of the report containing the stats. The presentation must capture the number of the last release. There was a lot of speculation around stats out there but the Committee should follow the official numbers of the Department. 

The Chairperson asked that the Committee agree that the figures it should be relying on were the figures released and presented by the relevant authority. The Committee could not reply on other figures. Perhaps the presentation should make reference to the disclaimer that the number was as last presented on by the Department.

Ms Stander accepted that the Committee should not accept figures published anywhere as it could be speculation but the wording of the presentation should have said “as of May” and not “as of calendar year” – this she did not accept. She noted the Department said it would meet with the Committee in a confidential meeting to be updated but to date, this meeting had not taken place. Also, the Committee said last term it would be meet with SAPS, the Hawks, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) etc but it did not appear in the programme for the Committee for this term. The job of the Committee was conduct oversight – if it did not know what was happening, it did not understand the full scourge. She maintained her objection.

The Chairperson did not want the matter to be belaboured. He asked that the wording of the presentation be changed. He said the meeting with the departments of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS0 cluster was in the Committee’s programme.       

Ms Ngcaba asked that any stats be withdrawn from the presentation. She understood that the meeting was for the Committee to get a broad understanding of the work of the entities and it was not about annual performance plans. If the entity was reporting on APP information to the Committee then it would be verified. She thus asked the figure be withdrawn completely as she could not immediately verify the information and the meeting was not about accounting on statistics.    

Minister Molewa found it better to suggest meetings and dates as opposed to making a semi-accusation that it was not on the programme. Everyone was ready for such a meeting.

The Chairperson asked that the Committee agree that the only available stats were those released by the Minister in May. Other issues raised could be dealt with differently. This meeting had a particular intention, to get what the two entities were doing broadly, and this intention was being met. The meeting was not about APPs.    

iSimangaliso “Creating Africa’s Greatest Conservation-Based Tourism Product Driven by Community Empowerment”
Ms Terri Castis, iSimangaliso Business Director, began the presentation by noting that SA became a signatory to the World Heritage Convention in 1997. iSimangaliso was the first South African site to be listed in December 1999 and it was listed for three World Heritage Values. She went on to highlight the unique ecological and biological processes of the wetland with its superlative natural phenomena and biological diversity.

In terms of its legislative framework, the World Heritage Convention was brought into South African law in 2000 when the World Heritage Convention Act was promulgated. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park was established under the World Heritage Convention Act regulations consolidating 16 different parcels of land under one proclamation in November 2000. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority was established to manage the Park under the World Heritage Convention Regulations in November 2000. 

iSimangaliso’s was established in April 2002. It had a board with a maximum of nine members and included representation from traditional communities and land claimants. Its mandate, as set out in the Act, was to protect, conserve and present the Park, especially World Heritage Values, empower historically disadvantaged adjacent communities and promote and facilitate optimal tourism and related development in Park. Its MTEF allocation for its first year of operations was R3.96m, its total revenue for that year was R16.82m and it had a staff complement of 14 people (this year MTEF was R24.9 and total revenue R126.3m and staff complement was 30).

Ms Castis discussed the mandate to protect and conserve World Heritage Values. iSimangaliso inherited drought, drying up of lakes, plantations and other incompatible land uses. There were 16 different regimes, unauthorised developments and collapsing infrastructure. Now there were pine plantations on the eastern shores and progress was made on tourism routes, community feeder roads, internal park roads, land consolidation and rehabilitation and fencing of the entire park. A big tree aerial boardwalk was developed and new species were being discovered. All naturally-occurring game was introduced except for Eland which was in process. iSimanagaliso also saw the return of elephants after 100 years.

The park also had plans for empowering historically disadvantaged adjacent communities by supporting small businesses through grants, encouraging community-owned tourism operations and payment to claimants for their share of the park’s commercial revenue. There was job creation through construction with local people helping to rehabilitate the land and local people helping to rebuild the park. There were agricultural gardens which contributed to food security programmes, celebration of cultural heritage, park open days for communities, and environmental education – 67 university students were on bursaries with 20 already graduated and 14 interns.

There was promotion and facilitation optimal tourism and related development in Park with the first community owned charter fishing tourism licence in SA and a 84% increase in tourism supply around the park from 2000 to 2011- this contributed to approx. 0.06% of SA’s tourism GDP, 1291 direct jobs and tourism expenditure was estimated at R1219m per annum.

In terms of strategic issues, 10% of total expenditure was spent on personnel – additional budget was required to increase staffing. There were also issues of water provision in the area and drought.

Discussion
Mr Mabilo questioned the punitive measures taken in terms of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

Ms Castis said there were staff dedicated to illegal developments. Typically while the criminal investigation was under way, the park would institute its own civil process as the criminal process and investigation just took so long. iSimangaliso succeeded in serving motions against unauthorised developments and which had been demolished but the criminal process was not complete. In terms of EIAs, iSimangaliso took the legislation a bit further by introducing the requirement for internal scoping and environmental assessment of all infrastructure in the park. 

Mr Makhubele wanted to understand what the water issues of the Park were.

Ms Castis indicated the park was in a draught cycle and there was a potable water issue in the area as well. There were two district municipalities and five local municipalities and almost all had been under some form of administration in the last four or five years so there were certain service delivery challenges for people living around the park.  

Ms Ntobongwana wanted to know how the entity determined who needed bursaries.

Ms Castis said a R5 community conservation levy was introduced at the gate and some of this money was used to fund the bursaries. There was an advertisement process for all students to apply – in the last round there were 2000 applications. There had to be preliminary acceptance by a university and any qualifications relevant to the park were considered, for example, accounting, law, conservation, tourism etc. 

Mr Msimang Mavusa, Chairperson of the Board of iSimanagaliso, noted that iSimanagaliso was unlike other parks and so its challenges were different. There were communities in the park with no fences which were intended to exclude. There had been good financial management and there was planning to ensure that people living within the park had educational and economic benefits. There was acknowledgement of the need to build future workers and managers of the park. The challenge was to maintain this level of performance. He thought the park was run very well even though it was tough and difficult but people kept their heads down and did the work.

DEA Annual Performance Report Dashboard 2014/15
Ms Limpho Makotoko, DEA Chief Director: Business Performance and Risk Management, took the Committee through a dashboard report of its performance for 2014/15. The report looked at all programmes of the Department, namely, administration, legal, authorisations, compliance and enforcement, environmental programmes, waste and chemical management, air quality and climate change, oceans and coasts and biodiversity and conservation. The presentation highlighted which targets and indicators it was having challenges in meeting and the progress then made in each programme.

Programme 1: Administration
Ms Makotoko outlined challenges in this programme related to filling posts in specialised skills/scientific fields and financial constraints and the need to reprioritise or delay the filling of some vacant funded posts. The Department was prioritising key posts and looking at head hunting where necessary. Challenges were also experienced with the implementation of some recommendations related to security risk assessment which required cooperation from other organisations and departments. Additional time was required to facilitate such consultation. Challenges also existed with funding to complete all planned projects as part of the Master System Plan so some projects were cancelled, put on hold or delayed. Funding requirements would be addressed and an intervention plan developed to fast track the implementation of delayed projects. There was a challenge in implementing phase one of the SA National Environmental Information Meta-Database project due to financial constraints. The project had been reprioritised for 2015/16. There were challenges in finalising the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory System reporting regulations but the regulations had since been finalised at the time of preparing this presentation. There were challenges in implementing the annual action plan because implementation depended on consensus with relevant stakeholders – implementation was prioritised for 2015/16 after reaching consensus.  The last challenge was in non-finalisation of the principles and procedures for compilation of the Third National Communication due to delays in securing donor funding. This will be finalised in 2015/16.

Overall, 94% (49/52) of the targets of the programme were met, 6% (3/52) was off target and 41% (20/49) of targets were exceeded.

Programme 2: Legal, Authorisations, Compliance and Enforcement
Ms Makotoko outlined the challenges were experienced in the slow response from stakeholders in reviewing the national strategy for the safety and security of the rhino population in SA but the review will be finalised in 2015/16. Overall, 100% of targets were achieved (10/10) and 40% of targets were exceeded (4/10).

Programme 3: Oceans and Coasts
Ms Makotoko went through challenges of the programme which were experienced with the slow response by stakeholders in nominating members to serve on the advisory committee but this would be fast tracked through the Operation Phakisa Delivery Unit. There was unavailability of the adequate ship (RV Algoa) and lack of staff allocated in a different research cruise which delayed the undertaking of the 2nd research cruise. Overall, the programme achieved 100 % of its targets (16/16).

Programme 4: Climate Change and Air Quality
Ms Makotoko said DEA was awaiting the finalisation of the appointment of a service provider for the draft national carbon sinks atlas but the project would be concluded in the 2015/16 financial year. There were also challenges with the emissions offset policy for air quality management – a decision was taken to publish the document as a guideline and not a policy – this meant that the document produce will not go through cabinet and public consultations. The guidelines had been processed for submission to the executive authority for approval and publication.

Overall, the programme achieved 94% (16/17) of targets, 6% (1/17) were off target and 6% (1/16) targets were exceeded.

Programme 5: Biodiversity and Conservation
Ms Mokotoko outlined challenges were seen with consultation of multiple stakeholders which delayed the finalisation of the additional stewardship site. The finalisation of the site would conclude in 2015/16. There were delays with the regulations for the registration of professional hunters and trainer hunters – based on comments received during the public participation process (when the draft regulations were published for comment n the Gazette) and legal services advised that the revised regulations be published for further public participation. The regulations would be finalised in 2015/16. This also applied to the Threatened Or Protected Species (TOPS) regulations. For the draft norms and standards for the management of protected areas, extensive public comments/inputs required additional time o consider ad to be incorporated into the final norms and standards. These norms and standards would be published for implementation in 2015/16.  This also applied to the first draft national biodiversity economy development strategy.

Overall, the programme achieved 100% (36/36) targets and exceeded 3% (1/36) targets.

Programme 6: Environmental Programmes
Ms Mokotoko highlighted challenges were experienced with some projects starting late which resulted in beneficiaries working more than 23 days a month to catch up on work. These beneficiaries were excluded in accordance with EPWP reporting system validation rules. 73 of 87 implementing agents agreements had been signed and implementation will continue in the 2015/16 financial year without delay experienced in 2014/15. There was a lack of placement opportunities in the Youth Environment Services programme as employers preferred unemployed graduates over young people with only a senior certificate and one year training. The targets would thus be reviewed based on the baseline aligned to demand by the labour market. There were also delays in finalising financial provisioning regulations in terms of streamlining environmental authorisations – the draft regulations would be developed and finalised in 2015/16. Challenges were experienced with the consultation period for mine closure and financial provisioning regulations which impacted on the timeframe for consideration of comments but the two regulations would be finalised in 2015/16. One project was also delayed due to financial constraints.

Overall, the programme achieved 96% (24/25) targets, 4% (1/25) indicators were off target and 29% (7/24) targets were exceeded.

Programme 7: Chemicals and Waste Management
Ms Mokotoko highlighted the challenge of pending issues between DEA and the Department of Health and finalisation of the matters relating to the health care risk waste management regulations. The matter had been elevated to ministerial level to be resolved and the process was being finalised. There were financial constraints and delays in securing funding for projects in terms of unlicensed waste disposal sites. Now funding had been secured and there was appointment of service providers was at an advanced stage and the licensing of waste sites will be finalised in the 2015/16 financial year. This was also the case with the impact on study on Minamata Convention on Mercury. Part of the secured funding was secured (R3 million) and the remaining funds would be sourced for finalisation in 2015/16.

Overall, 100% (13/13) targets were achieved and 13% (1/19) targets had been exceeded.

For the Department overall, 97% (164/169) targets were achieved, 3% (5/169) indicators were off target and 24% (34/144) targets were exceeded.

The meeting was adjourned.    

 

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