DENEL Waste Management: Report; Biodiversity Bill and Protected Areas Bill: briefing


11 March 2003
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

11 March 2003

Chairperson: Mr J D Arendse (ANC)

DENEL presentation
Biodiversity bill presentation (Document Awaited )
Protected areas bill presentation

DENEL presented their draft scoping report on the investigation into alternative waste disposal systems at SwartKlip products waste disposal site near Khayelitsha. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism informed the Committee on the Biodiversity Bill and the Protected Areas Bill.

Briefing by Denel
Mr Lombaard (Enviro Dynamics) stated that DENEL disposed of waste through open incineration. Last year it was decided by Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism that DENEL should hire independent consultants, work with the local communities, raise awareness of the issues, and produce a scoping report which investigated alternatives for the disposal of waste. This report will be produced on the 28 March 2003.

Ms Gilfilian (Enviro Dynamiks) introduced the SwartKlip products waste disposal site, which is surrounded by the residential areas of Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha. Mr Traut (specialist consultant) described how they came up with the recommended waste disposal procedure, out of 60 alternatives. The recommended processes were incineration using a combustion chamber, modified to cover concerns raised by the community.

Please refer to presentation attached.

Prof. Mbadi (UDM) was concerned that the waste disposal sites were so close to the townships. Were the people in the communities consulted?

Ms Yengeni replied that the location of the site was not DENEL's decision, that question should be referred to city council. She noted that DENEL was trying to improve a situation that had been in place for many years.

Mr Moss (ANC) asked how DENEL could assist the communities in getting skilled people to help them with monitoring and informed decision making.

Mr Makasi stated that DENEL was committed to assisting communities in capacity building. They had set aside funds for supplying expertise to communities so that they could make informed decisions.

Mr September asked how far the disposal site was from the surrounding residences, if minutes were kept of the meetings with the residents, and if any of the other alternatives would have been safer.

Mr Makasi replied that the nearest houses to the North were about 400m, to the East, 2.5km, and to the South, 4km. Mr Lombard stated that full minutes of all meetings would be available in the final scoping report. He said that the people of Khayelitsha had not responded to the scoping report yet, and that DENEL would know by 28 March 2003 if people oppose the process or not.
Mr Moorcroft (DP) asked if the process recommended by Mr Traut would constitute a danger to the people in the surrounding community. How dangerous would the emissions and the residue be? Was the process recommended because it was safest or cheapest?

Mr Mbuyasi (IFP) also wanted to know more about the potential hazard. He wanted to hear about other alternatives, like moving the disposal process to a better, safer site. Which people would be included in the monitoring group. Ms Chalmers asked if the recommended incinerator was being used anywhere else. She asked about the trial burns that were required before adoption of the disposal process.

Mr Traut stated that the recommended process was not the most cost effective, but was the most effective in terms of money and safety. He said that similar incinerators were in use all over the world, and that, because the incinerator had to be build in order for trial burns to occur, DENEL was waiting for the agreement of all interested parties.

Mr Lombard stated that if all went well, the new process would have no detrimental effect on people, animals or plants.

Ms Ramotsamai (ANC) was concerned about consultation. She asked whether it was true that the people of Mitchells plain had not been consulted this time, and that the people of Khayelitsha had been included very late. Ms Jonas of the City of Cape Town noted that they had not heard about the health of the people. She stated that people were not capacitated, if they knew of the hazard they would not live so close to the site.

Mr Makasi replied that community representation was all-inclusive. He said that DENEL had contacted the people of Mitchells plain and met with their leaders, that they had contacted all community structures in Khayelitsha and have held several workshops. He stated that the residents were still going to produce a consolidated response.

Mr Lombard said that DENEL hoped to be able to respond about the hazard assessment on the 28 March 2003. Specialists are working on it.

Briefing on Biodiversity Bill
Ms Rampeli introduced the Biodiversity Bill. The main areas of the bill were covered and each chapter summarised. The policy was to strengthen the principles and provisions of NEMA (National Environmental Management Act), to promote co-operative governance, and to support an enabling framework for sustainable development. In developing the bill they followed a process of public consultation, out of which certain key issues emerged, which were addressed. These issues were:
The function of the National Biodiversity Institute
A species vs ecosystem approach to biodiversity planning
The composition and functions of the Scientific Authority
The burden to local government of alien and invasive species
The exclusion of the biosafety chapter
Access and benefit sharing

Please refer to Powerpoint Presentation.

Briefing on Protected Areas Bill
Mr Gowan stated that the motivation for the bill was that there was no single framework for the declaration and management of protected areas, that the National Parks Act was out-dated, and that community participation was not clearly defined in legislation.

The Protected Areas Bill was part of a suite of legislation under NEMA. The bill was an implementation tool of the white paper on the conservation and sustainable use of South Africa's biological diversity.

He summarised each chapter of the bill and described the developmental process. The Bill was published in December 2002 for public comment. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism held workshops and meetings in January, and made a presentation to SALGA (South African Local Government Association). The key issues addressed in response to these consultations were:
The re-arrangement of the chapters of the Bill
The Roles of the municipalities and the Provinces
Linking all protected area legislation
Withdrawal procedure for nature reserves
Wilderness areas were allowed in terms of the act
The consultation process was strengthened

Please refer to Powerpoint Presentation.

Mr Le Roux (NNP) asked how the act impacted on the powers of the provinces, and how the bill helped to increase the percentage protected area in SA.

Mr Moorcroft asked what control SANParks had over the provinces.

Ms Yako stated that National Parks' control of the provinces was not in the act. The act gives the minister power to allocate management authority to other organs of state. She stated that the aims of the bill were:
-To bring in performance indicators and assessments, so that management of protected areas could be monitored
-To bring in constitutional intervention mechanisms for instances where an area was not being managed properly.

Mr Gowan said that the bill makes provision to expand the percentage protected area in the section on acquisition of land.

Ms Chalmers asked about the business plan that was to have been drawn up, and wanted to know what had happened to the biodiversity council. Where did hybridisation and alien species, which were also the concerns of agriculture, fitted into this bill.

Ms Rampeli stated that the business plans for the bills are ready, and that they are investigating the cost of implementing all aspects of the bills. The biodiversity council will be a board accountable to the minister of environmental affairs. She agreed that the issues of hybridisation and alien species do affect the Department of Agriculture, and stated that the department was given exemption in the bill, but there ought to be consultation.

Ms Chalmers asked if consideration had been given to incentive schemes, rather than punishment.

Ms Yako replied that incentives were difficult. Earlier versions of the bill had allowed for financial incentives, but that this needed to be co-ordinated with treasury. It will be worked on in the next year, but it is not included in this legislation.

Ms Ramotsamai asked how easy it was for local communities to get access to the resources in protected areas. Mr Arendse commented that in the National Forestry Act it was clearly stated how provision was made for communities to access forest resources, he asked if provision was made in either of these bills.

Ms Yako replied that the bill allows access in Sections 69 and 72. Provision of access must be part of any management plan drawn up by the authorities.

Mr Linden Booth (Contact Trust) stated that his NGO had been involved in all public participation exercises and had held four workshops. He offered to report on their workshops to the committee. This offer was accepted.

The meeting was adjourned.


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