Department of Environmental Affairs 2nd & 3rd Quarter 2015/16 performance (continuation); Analysis of State of the Nation Address: briefing

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

01 March 2016
Chairperson: Mr J Mthembu (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to complete its presentation on the performance of quarter three for three programmes, namely, Climate Change and Air Quality, Biodiversity and Conservation and Chemicals and Waste Management. The presentation covered the performance indicators, status of second and third quarter targets as well as progress and analysis for the above programmes.

Overall, the performance of programme four, 14 of the 22 targets were met (64%), 5 were a work in progress (23%), 2 were off target (9%) and 1 target had no milestone (4%). In programme 5, 92% of indicators were on target (11/12) while one indicator was a work in progress (8%). In programme 7, 64 of indicators were on target (7/11), 27% were in a work in progress (3/11) and 9% (1/11) was off target.

The Committee asked about the impacts and implications of the delay of the Climate Change legislation on localising commitments made in COP21 in Paris, provincial climate change adaptation response strategies/plans and the compliance of provinces in this regard and why there were no milestones for a couple of the indicators. Members also noted their concern the functioning of the air quality monitoring stations. Further discussion was had on the Green Fund in terms of the number and type of projects it funded and at what amount, carbon budgets for companies, if adaptation scenarios were in place and to what extent was there unity between the spheres of government in dealing with the reality of climate change.

A Member questioned the snail’s pace of transformation of the wildlife economy while the Committee posed a variety of questions on programme seven, namely around, the management and monitoring of illegal dumps created by residents themselves which posed a health risk, whether the amount of illegal dumps were increasing or decreasing and what progress the Department made with coal and gold mine dumps on the doorsteps of communities which also posed a health risk. Questions were asked about the community-based natural resource management initiatives with coastal communities and where the responsibility lied for the safety equipment meant to be used by those working in waste management.

The Department then briefed the Committee on the analysis of the 2016 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in terms of what the Address said and DEA’s action thereon in 2016/17 for State Owned Entities, domestic tourism, Operation Hydrate/drought management and revitalisation of distressed mining towns. The presentation also covered the Drought Monitoring and Coordination in SA in terms of the National Joint Drought Coordinating Committee (NJDCC), a summary of the seasonal outlook and strategic and policy considerations. Members were also informed of adaptation implications for the sectors of agriculture, water and disaster risk reduction as well as DEA inputs to the nine point plan to boost SA’s economy. 

Meeting report

The Chairperson noted the Department had not yet completed its presentation on its quarterly performance so it was best to jump straight into that. 

Department of Environmental Affairs Second and Third Quarter Performance Report

Programme Four: Climate Change and Air Quality

Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, DEA DG, took the Committee through programme four: climate change and air quality. Looking at the first performance indicator, Climate Change Regulatory Framework and tools developed and implemented, the target was a work in progress as the Department was still in discussion on the Climate Change Bill although there were delays with the legislative calendar and taking it to Cabinet but there would be a draft version published i.e. the target would not be met by the end of the financial year. Indicators met included:

  • development and implementation of the National Framework for Climate Services
  • implementation of provincial and local government Climate Change Adaptation Programme 
  • draft carbon sinks atlas developed
  • approved pollution prevention plans for carbon budgets (2016 – 2020)
  • four quarterly Green Fund implementation reports prepared 
  • Climate Change Risk Analysis for 2 provinces
  • Provincial Climate Change Situational Analysis and Needs Assessment (SANAS) finalised
  • improvement in the National Air Quality indicator
  • 100 government-owned air quality monitoring stations reporting to SA Air Quality Information SYSTEM (SAAQIS)
  • Small Scale Charcoal Plans Declaration as Controlled Emitters
  • Annual Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation reports published 

Targets which remained a work in progress in this programme included:

-initiation and finalisation of data collection and inception report under the sector mitigation potential and impacts studies conducted indicator

-implementation of five Climate Change Adaptation Sector plans facilitated in the areas of agriculture, water, health, rural settlement and biodiversity

-50% of facilities with Atmospheric Emission Licenses (AELs) reporting to the National Atmospheric

Emissions Inventory

System (NAEIS) 

-annual plans of three priority area Air Quality Management Plans (AQMP) implemented

There were no milestones to be met for the period under review for the terms of reference for the Desired Emission Reduction objectives (DEROs) to align with the carbon budgeting process.  

Ms Ngcaba highlighted the target in the programme which was off target namely, 40 air quality monitoring stations meeting minimum data requirements (80% data recovery) – the draft programme had been developed and it will be presented however the target would be met by the end of the financial year. Another off target was the 2000 – 2012 Green House Gas (GHG) inventory developed – an independent reviewer had not been appointed yet. The request for proposals was currently out and expired in the third week of December 2015. Submission to publish the GHG inventory for public comment had been prepared and processed to the Executive Authority. There was an assurance that this target would be met fully by the end of the financial year.

Overall, in summary of the performance of programme four, 14 of the 22 targets were met (64%), 5 were a work in progress (23%), 2 were off target (9%) and 1 target had no milestone (4%).

Ms Judy Beaumont, DEA DDG: Programme Four: Climate Change and Air Quality, focusing on the indicators off target, she clarified that the draft GHG inventory had been done but the delay was with the quality control as per the UNFCCC’s guidelines and methodology for submission of the GHG inventory – DEA was behind with appointing the independent reviewer however this had since happened and the target should be met on time. The Minister had requested that the inventory go to Cabinet for permission to publish for public comment to ensure completeness of data because the Department depended particularly on business and industry for their data. Submission to Cabinet may slow down the process but it was important that, politically, Cabinet was aware of what the inventory was saying particularly in light of commitments in Paris. With the indicator for air quality monitoring stations meeting an 80% minimum data requirement, the deadline of the Working Group Two was missed which was the quarterly engagement with provinces  and licensing authorities. It should have been submitted in September 2015 but it only went to the Working Group Two in January 2016. The deeper issue was that the Department struggled to keep the monitoring stations, nationally, functioning – this went back to the issue of maintenance and owners of the stations actually putting forward the budget to maintain them. An asset management system was currently being set up which would mean DEA would be able to check, electronically, on a day-to-day basis, to see which monitoring stations were not functioning and why. This would provide a much better understanding of exactly where the problem was – currently this was being done by email. This was partially a budget and partially a technical issue – with budget cuts, some functions were falling off the priorities of provinces and local authorities but the function of air quality could not be allowed to be a non-priority.

Mr S Makhubele (ANC) asked about the agency around the National Climate Change Response Bill. To what extent would DEA be able to test the effectiveness of the provincial climate change adaptation response strategies/plans developed for the provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West? He was also interested in the project timelines of certain indicators. Was there sufficient human resource capacity to keep the air quality monitoring stations functioning? Or would the Department have to rely on the private sector to keep them operational?

Ms Beaumont indicated that there were challenges in monitoring air quality. For each priority area, the Department had a priority area implementation plan and for each priority area, there was a quarterly progress report. The Department worked closely with the stakeholders as to what should be contained in the reports to adequately see where progress had been made and where it had not been made. DEA applied as much pressure as it could also to ensure the information was accessible, transparent and available. This was a difficult area and keeping the monitoring stations operational was a basic. On the question of sufficient skills to keep the monitoring stations operational, it depended on who owned the station – if it was a local authority, they would have their own arrangements because there was not a national team or capacity which moved from station to station. The skills spread was uneven - in some cases there were dedicated technical skills while at other times the private sector would be used but the later was expensive and given budget constraints, this was probably part of the reason for the struggle. To achieve a more orderly approach to managing the monitoring stations, DEA asked city managers or provincial head of department to provide a plan to demonstrate exactly what their needs were in terms of managing and maintaining the station, and what the plan was to get the station up and running – this was important to have clarity on exactly where the problems were and where support was needed.

Ms Ngcaba added that skills were an area to further explore barring resource constraints. Licensing was a function of local government but it might be useful to have a centralised cadet or training of personnel for local government for the purposes of air quality monitoring.   

Mr P Mabilo (ANC) was interested in the actual budget of the Green Fund in terms of the total number of projects funded, the type of project and the amount. How many provincial projects were funded by the Green Fund? He sought a comprehensive response on why there were no milestones for a couple of the indicators for the period under review. He would like for the Committee to see the finalised report on the climate change risk analysis. Were all provinces complying with the information they were supposed to submit? He also sought an update on the carbon budgets of companies.

Ms Beaumont responded that because there was no legal instrument to require carbon budget allocations and compliance with such a carbon budget, DEA depended on voluntary engagement with industry – this meant industry provided their GHG and production data. Of the nine companies the Department allocated the budget, the necessary data was received to enable an accurate allocation – it was critical to ensure the budgets were accurate in relation to production plans and strategies of the companies. DEA was working systemically with companies to ensure the necessary data was provided –this would become a lot easier going forward with the mandatory reporting regulations to have the necessary data to put together the carbon budgets.

With the no milestones for the period under review, Ms Ngcaba explained these were areas where the Department was updating the DEROs and carbon budgets as new data became available. The draft risk analysis report could certainly be made available to the Committee. 

The Chairperson wanted to know what the implication and impact was of delays in processing the climate change legislation in terms of what SA argued for in COP21 in Paris. If there was a discussion document on the legislation, it should be seen by the Committee to ensure everyone was on the same wavelength. If there was no such document, when would discussion begin to take on board and localise what was agreed in Paris? What was the posture of the Department moving forward to localise the outcome of the UNFCCC? SA was supposed to have adaptation scenarios in place – to what extent was this being implemented cognisant of the fact that the scenarios spoke to other sector departments? How were the toolkits of municipalities monitored? Climate change was a reality – were all three spheres of government acting in union on these matters or was there still a long way to go? Was there also a synergy on air quality? – from the Committee’s perspective, this was not so. 

In relation to the Act, Ms Beaumont said there was a draft discussion document where it was at the stage of consultation with the relevant sector departments because, she agreed, it was critical to act in unison for buy-in at both government and stakeholder level. The Bill would be drafted on the basis of the discussion document – a soon as the document was in a more solid form, it would come before the Committee. Given the fact that there was a fairly shorter parliamentary programme because of local government elections and that the Bill was only being drafted now, it was unrealistic that there would a Bill ready to go through Parliament by the end of the term. The Bill would go to Cabinet and thereafter published for public comment so that by the next financial year it could come before the Committee for the full legislative process. In terms of measuring impact, specifically adaptation, the Department had started working with provinces three at a time, for their provincial vulnerability assessment and then to formulate the provincial adaptation strategies. The “Let’s Respond” toolkit was an instrument to enable local authorities to bring climate change mitigation into their local planning, namely, Integrated Development Plans (IDPs). Working with provincial and local authorities was there to ensure they incorporated key climate questions into their planning and priorities for implementation. There were different tools used to ensure coherence vertically and horizontally through government – in terms of the sector departments, there was currently an integrated programme of action for the adaptation sector departments for priority actions drawn from their own plans to measure progress. This was not easy because it was outside of DEA’s responsibility and required allocation of budget by sector departments and monitoring by those sector departments. DEA facilitated the process where it could but its direct purpose was to look at the cross-cutting adaptation requirements, impacts and trade-offs in different climate scenarios. Another tool was a national adaptation strategy to pull together national, provincial and local actions – this strategy was a target in the Nationally Determined Contributions submitted to the UNFCCC for the Paris negotiations. This included a set of monitoring tools which was difficult because it involved sector targets under different scenarios to assess the options. The team was putting together an annual climate change response report which would deal with both adaptation and mitigation finance, technology and capacity building which were all key elements. It also made use of all the monitoring tools and instruments at disposal in terms of consolidation into this single annual report – this first report would be brought to the Committee as soon as it was finalised – the Department was 80% there.

Ms Ngcaba added that with the climate change legislation there were no serious negative implications on what was committed to in Paris. The economic climate would also make the legislation very difficult to process. DEA was to do its homework both in terms of what was required from government and to assess what the gaps were in the other legislation to justify stand-alone legislation. It was also important to assess what would be addressed in the legislation of other departments. This work needed a bit of time in the new financial year. Cabinet had also sent out a memo to ministers to state that few pieces of prioritised legislation should go to Parliament. The capacity of the Department for monitoring was challenging – as a coordinating Department, DEA had limited power to ensure execution happened. For instance with the adaptation scenario planning, DEA had all this in place along with looking at impacts in the different scenarios but there were delays with the sector departments perhaps because they were also grappling with issues of resources and prioritisation.   

Mr Mabilo noted that his question on what happened in the provinces was not responded to. 

Ms Beaumont explained the Department worked closely with every province to understand what climate change response capacity existed in that province. This was in terms of human resource capacity, budget availability, links with research institutions, implementation capacity and whether a climate change response plan existed and included in the provincial departmental Annual Performance Plan. In terms of a snapshot of the provincial capacity for dealing with climate change issues actually was or was not as of the end of last year, very few provinces had dedicated budget or personnel but at least the provinces were putting provincial climate change response strategies or plans in place.    

The Chairperson noted that any legislation put in place must be overarching not only across national government sectors but also across spheres of government. He agreed that it was important for Parliament to ratify the Paris agreement  

Mr Makhubele wanted to know how many pilot projects the Department was running in this programme and at which stage they were. If the Department was busy with pilots in a few provinces or municipalities, the intention was to go to every one of them.

Ms Ngcaba explained pilots were used for different purposes like testing policy to have enough evidence to justify what the policy needed or for best practice. It was not necessary to cover all municipalities due to resource constraints. Pilots could also be used to motivate funding needs to Treasury to demonstrate exactly what implementation needed.    

Programme 5: Biodiversity and Conservation

Ms Limpho Makotoko, DEA Chief Director: Business Performance and Risk Management, took the Committee through the programme noting some of the targets met included:

  • percentage of land under conservation
  • one additional biodiversity stewardship sites established
  • 87% of state managed protected areas assessed with a METT score above 67%
  • tools for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity developed and implemented

The Chairperson wanted to know what a stewardship site meant.

Ms Skumsa Mancotywa, DEA Chief Director: Protected Areas Systems Management, explained these were conservation areas under private or community ownership because the state could not afford to cover all areas requiring conservation. The target was to increase the number of sites under stewardship.

Ms Makotoko continued with the targets met:

  • community-based interventions to promote access to natural resources
  • National Biodiversity Economy Development Strategy (NBEDS) approved
  • additional World Heritage Site nominated
  • benefit sharing agreements concluded and approved
  • sustainable natural resource based enterprises established
  • elephant research conducted on one focus area of the strategy
  • number of research/science-based policy recommendation finalised (intensive breeding)

Overall in the programme, 92% of indicators were on target (11/12) while one indicator was a work in progress (8%).

Ms Ngcaba noted that with the World Heritage Site, the Department was cooperating with the Department of Arts and Culture.

Programme 7: Chemicals and Waste Management

Ms Makotoko noted that in the programme, targets met included:

  • Independent Waste Management Plans (IndWMP) reviewed (e-waste lighting, paper and packaging)
  • waste tyres diverted from landfills
  • unlicensed waste disposal facilities authorised per annum
  • chemical and waste management instruments developed and implemented
  • waste management facilities audited
  • decrease on HCFC consumption
  • jobs created within the waste management sector
  • waste management enterprises established (SMMEs, cooperatives)

A target not met in the third quarter but which should be met by the end of the financial year was the five hectares of asbestos contaminated land remediated – delays were caused by the implementing agent not being appointed but with a change of approach mid-year due to funding constraints, the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) approach was elected. 

Overall for the programme, 64 of indicators were on target (7/11), 27% were in a work in progress (3/11) and 9% (1/11) was off target.

The Chairperson said one issue which was concerning were illegal dumps in municipalities carrying all kinds of health impacts – how was this to be managed and monitored? There were often human settlements next to these illegal landfills which were not even created by the municipalities but the residents themselves. Where was the Department, 21 years later, with all these dumps along with the coal and gold dumps which existed on the doorsteps of communities? Communities continued to be subjected to this waste.

Ms Ngcaba recommended that the Department come to the Committee with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) because there was now some funding for the derelict mines to be rehabilitated – it was an area, the respective Ministers agreed, which was one for job creation. The approach was at least for DEA and DMR to agree on what should be done and what should be prioritised including on the secondary asbestos pollution because it could also be classified as a pollutant which the regulations of the legislation at the time, did not quite control. The point was that there was a project for rehabilitation and regulations were being developed which dealt with mine closure – this would set norms and standards for the existing mines. The old mines, however, were the problem but the Department was working on a plan and perhaps there could be report back to the Committee in the next quarter.

Ms H Nyambi (ANC) thought it was commendable that the Department was focused on community-based natural resource management initiatives – was the same being done in the coastal communities? If so, she sought more information about what the Department was doing.

Ms Ngcaba explained progress was discussed in programme three particularly in respect of the oceans economy – there were projects focused on aqua culture to encourage community participation on the selected sites. This was also with water quality management to absorb young unemployed people with some qualifications in the setting up of laboratories to monitor the quality of water going into the sea in coastal areas. There was also a project focused on caring for the coast that involved a partnership with Tourism for some sort of coast guard in terms of enhancing safety and the status of blue flag beaches. Furthermore, there was the work on harbours led by the Department of Public Works to refurbish and improve the harbour structure to improve local economic development in the 12 proclaimed fishing harbours.

Mr M Shelembe (NFP) appreciated the jobs created within the waste management sector but asked how the Department ensured the safety equipment, used by these employees when carrying out their duties, was monitored. He wanted to understand where the responsibility of risk lied. On the issue of legal dumps, the Department of Cooperative Governance (COGTA) aided in controlling that the refuse was collected – engagement with other stakeholders seemed to be the difficulty of DEA.

Mr Mark Gordan, DEA DDG: Programme Seven: Chemicals and Waste Management, said the aspects of safety were raised during training and where awareness around safety of working with waste could be heightened, it would continue to be addressed.

Mr Mabilo appreciated the progress made with tyre recycling- previously this was a concern of the Committee. On programme five, he sought more elaboration as to why the target on business enterprises was not met. He questioned the progress made with the transformation of the wildlife economy and why there was a snail’s pace with the acceleration of this economy.

Ms Mancotywa responded that DEA had been working with provinces and SANParks in terms of facilitating game donations to communities residing around national parks and other forms of protected areas – this work was ongoing. DEA, however, had to structure the way it did business and the finalised strategy should be approved soon. The Department was also working with some key government departments such as Rural Development and Land Reform. In the new financial year, key projects were identified and funding was secured. Some of the communities were also trained to establish their own businesses and this was where the issue of the business plan came in to ensure the businesses and enterprises established were viable. The Department was also looking at a kind of Operation Phakisa model for the biodiversity economy with the Department of Tourism. There would soon be a clear plan, timeline and responsibilities to upscale the work being done in this space.

Ms J Edwards (DA) wanted to know if the number of functioning unlicensed landfill sites was increasing or decreasing. She was mindful that this was a municipal function. 

Mr Gordan said that three years ago, there was a total of 341 unlicensed illegal landfill sites across the country – this was reduced to 57 last year and by the end of this financial year, the 341 was totally cleared. The issue was that the illegal sites popped up every year so DEA conducted an annual survey to look at what sites had come up. The issue was also that there were holes in the ground just created to dump and then unlicensed sites but provinces, through their own enforcement teams, needed to take on monitoring, compliance and enforcement but this was not happening. This remained, however, a mandate of local government but DEA was constantly doing training and awareness at local government along with being involved in COGTA’s programmes to even further raise awareness at the highest level. It was also a matter of capacity and funding to prioritise waste management at a local government level.

Mr Makhubele questioned if some targets under programme seven were too low. He also sought more information on the timelines and funding needed for the remediation of asbestos-contaminated land – whatever resources were needed must be mobilised to tackle this major challenge where it did not seem as if much effort was put in to deal with it.

Mr Gordan noted that with low target for the tyre recycling, when the Department started out, it was unsure of this first waste stream industry management plan for the country and its level of achievement. This meant DEA worked off a zero base but it had worked so well that 100% could be achieved in the next three years of the plan – this was the level of comfort which was there. Going forward, the target would defiantly be revised as had already been discussed with the Department’s performance unit. Asbestos was a concern but after a detailed presentation was made to Treasury, a budget to deal with the challenge was allocated as of the 2017/18 financial year – a total of about R120 million would be allocated in portions over five years as of 2017/18. This did not come close to the around R10.2 billion required for the total remediation asbestos plan but DEA had been looking at other creative means of funding and there was hope in working something out although it was early days. 

Department of Environmental Affairs SONA Analysis
Ms Ngcaba then took the Committee through the comprehensive presentation and firstly noted remarks in the SONA about state owned entities. The Address meant DEA would have to streamline and sharpen the mandates of the companies and ensure that, where there were overlaps in the mandates, there was immediate rationalisation. Government departments, to which the entities report, will set the agenda and identify key projects for the state owned companies to implement, over a defined period. Those companies that were no longer relevant to our development agenda will be phased out. In 2016/17, DEA would implement the Presidential Review Committee on state owned entities. The Department had initiated its own internal process to address areas raised in the micro-governance review for environmental sector entities. DEA would also have to assess where there could be recorded overlaps in the mandates of the environmental sector entities.

In terms of domestic tourism, SA Tourism would invest R100 million a year to promote domestic tourism, encouraging South Africans to tour their country. In 2016/17, DEA would support development of viable tourism products (eco-lodges, community conservation areas, cross-border tourism (Transfonteir Conservation Areas) and develop supporting infrastructure including construction and maintenance of roads, community education centres, security and tourism infrastructure, multi-function halls, walking trails, tourist access facilities , water supply e.g. boreholes, water reservoirs, irrigation systems etc through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

Looking at Operation Hydrate/drought management, SONA outlined the drought that was currently taking place in most of our provinces was really devastating. Livestock was dying and as a result, the agricultural sector was going through a difficult period. These were tough times indeed. Government will continue to assist farmers and also provide water-tank services to communities. DEA would implement the:

  • Biodiversity Sector Climate Change Response Strategy
  • National Action Programme to Combating land degradation
  • Climate Change Adaptation Plans for South African Biomes
  • National Disaster Management Act of 2002.

Ms Ngcaba then looked in more detail at drought monitoring and coordination in SA noting that there was a National Joint Drought Coordinating Committee (NJDCC) comprising of a number of sector departments including, Water and Sanitation, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Rural Development and Land Reform alongside DEA.

In summary of a seasonal outlook, the below-normal rain situation was still expected to persist for the remainder of the summer season. Virtually the entire country had a high likelihood of the occurrence of warmer than normal temperatures. Isolated heavy rain and/or severe thunderstorm events may still occur, as was typical for the El Nino period. Strategic and policy considerations included:

  1. Implementation of robust and integrated monitoring systems to reduce uncertainty regarding climate variability and change
  2. Advancing Early Warning Systems to mitigate the projected increase of extreme events and support effective Disaster Risk Reduction
  3. Improving understanding of water, food and health nexus as associated the trade-offs to promote sustainable resource use and development
  4. Expanding initiatives such as maintenance of ecological infrastructure and ecosystems to help to maintain, support and sustain livelihoods and ecosystem services
  5. Mainstreaming climate resilience into infrastructure and operational designs 
  6. Building robust infrastructure with an understanding of the long term vs. short term costs and benefits
  7. Increasing education and capacity building as they were a cornerstone of adaptation responses necessary at all levels and in all sectors
  8. Coordination at all levels of government vertically and horizontally in the context of climate change 
  9. Investing in further research into climatic impacts at a local level and across industry value chains
  10. Exploring innovative financing models to support deliver of appropriate adaptation responses

In terms of implementation of adaptation, adaptation plans had been completed and were under implementation by:

  • Department Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • Department of Water and Sanitation
  • Department of Rural Development Land Reform
  • Department of Health to guide adaptation on health impacts
  • Department of Environmental Affairs (adaptation to climate impacts on ecosystems).
  • A number of provinces

The Department of Environmental Affairs was coordinating:

  • Working for Water (managing invasive alien plants for water security)
  • Working on Fire (to manage the increase of veld and forest fires)
  • Working for Wetlands (conserving the ecological services of wetlands)
  • Working for Ecosystems (conserving the ecological services of catchments)

Ms Ngcaba then highlighted the climate change sector plan for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries included:

  • breeding more drought/heat resistant varieties of, for example, deciduous fruit
  • diversification in agricultural practices
  • reduce unsustainable management practices
  • expand land and ecosystem restoration practices

The Climate Change Response Strategy for the water sector aimed to:

  • protect water allocations to poor and marginalised communities
  • ensure all dams had written operating rules
  • address the need for more reliable data to monitor the changes in rainfall patterns
  • develop tools to evaluate the effect of drought and climate change
  • improve science-policy interface for better predictive tools and better data on which to base climate change predictions
  • coordinate with other sector departments in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change
  • infrastructure development, operation and maintenance
  • planning for possible extremes
  • optimise dam and groundwater use
  • enhance water conservation and demand management
  • enhance ground water capacity
  • disaster management
  • build awareness
  • test the Department of Water and Sanitation’s WR infrastructure plans against no regrets/low regrets framework
  • plan for developing new water resources

Ms Ngcaba outlined the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) to:

  • mainstream disaster risk reduction (not simply disaster response)
  • shift from a reactive to a proactive approach
  • improve collaboration between DRR management and climate change adaptation line departments
  • improve DRR management coordination
  • improve delineation of roles and responsibilities around DRR management
  • establishment of DRR management structures
  • strengthen institutional capacity to response to early warning systems
  • support to assist local government with poor disaster costing and reporting
  • support local municipalities in efforts to map community vulnerability
  • costing of damages
  • acknowledge the role of healthy ecosystems and ecological infrastructure
  • invest in research and development for forecasting

SONA also spoke to the revitatlisation of distressed mining towns – a few years ago, our mining sector was in turmoil especially on the platinum belt. The situation had improved and we commended business and labour for the progress made. In 2016/17, an activity hub was to be developed at Phalaborwa by the South African National Parks (SANParks) in order to contribute to destination development in respect of the Northern Section of the Kruger National Park. This was aimed at creating an alternative economy with employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for distressed mining-towns in the area. 

The Committee was then taken through DEA’s inputs to the nine point plan to boost SA’s economy – the nine priority interventions identified:

  1. Revitalising the agriculture and agro-processing value-chain
  2. Advancing beneficiation (adding value to our mineral wealth)
  3. More effective implementation of a higher impact Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP)
  4. Unlocking SMME, co-ops, township and rural enterprises’ potential
  5. Resolving the energy challenge
  6. Stabilising the labour market
  7. Crowding-in private-sector investment
  8. Cross-cutting Areas to Reform, Boost and Diversify the Economy –
  • Science and Technology
  • Water and sanitation infrastructure
  • Transport infrastructure
  • Broadband rollout

     9.Growing the ocean economy including coastal tourism

The Chairperson informed the Committee that the briefing on the SONA was for information purposes and that when Members interacted with the Department, they did not lose the essence and impact of the President’s pronouncements on the work of DEA. It provided a broad perspective of how the Department responded to the SONA and what plans were in place to ensure implementation of the Address.

Committee Apology

The Chairperson noted the standing apology of Mr T Bonhomme (ANC). 

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